When you go grocery shopping do you automatically select items in the larger “family-size” packages in order to pay less per unit (i.e. per ounce or per serving)?
I actually did that until recently because… well, everyone knows you save money when you buy in bulk, right?
Well, I found out by accident that’s not always the case.
A while back I walked into the cereal aisle to pick up a box of my favorite breakfast cereal. They just happened to be out of the large “family-size” boxes so I picked up one of the smaller boxes.
Just out of curiosity I looked at the price per ounce for that smaller size and compared it to the price per ounce listed for the family-size box to figure out how much savings I’d be giving up by buying the smaller box.
What I saw really surprised me…
The price of the smaller 12 ounce box was $1.86, which works out to be roughly 16 cents per ounce (rounded up).
The price of the 18 ounce “family-size” box was $3.96, which works out to 22 cents per ounce.
As you well know, 22 cents is more than 16 cents. That means I was actually saving 6 cents per ounce by buying the smaller 12 ounce box!
Thinking maybe this one item was just an anomaly, I compared the unit prices of the regular size boxes of several other cereals to their larger “family-size” boxes and found seven other varieties that cost more per ounce for the larger boxes!
That got me to thinking ( which is almost always a dangerous thing)…
If this is going on in the cereal aisle, how about other types of grocery items?
Well, I did a little checking and discovered that the larger cans of some varieties of canned vegetables and canned pasta items were also being sold at higher per-unit prices than their smaller counterparts.
Now, to be sure, this wasn’t the norm. The larger packages of most brands and varieties were indeed being sold at lower per-unit prices than smaller packages of the exact same item.
But that being said, the practice of charging a premium for larger sizes seems to be wide-spread enough to warrant a close look every time you go shopping for groceries.
After all, if you always buy the same brand of cereal or baked beans and the larger sizes of that particular brand always costs more per unit than the smaller sizes, that can add up to some serious wasted cash over the course of a year!
Bottom line: Assuming that you’ll always save money by opting for larger “family-size” or “economy-size” packages of the things you buy can be a very costly mistake.
To finish up, here’s a fantastic short video offering several other tips for saving money every time you go grocery shopping. Check it out!
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon that will pop up in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.