Today we’re going to talk about Unit Price. It’ll start us off on the math you’ll need to be a successful and sensible saver. This is also a great opportunity for you to get your hubby involved – especially if he’s a human calculator like mine. 😉
So, what is unit price?
Simply put, it’s the price you’re paying per serving, per diaper, per can of soda (or 12 pack), etc.
Why is unit price so important?
This goes back to knowing when a sale is a sale. Sometimes a product that’s on sale may not be the best deal. I can (and do) calculate unit price quickly in my head and determine whether or not that sale price is good enough to warrant my purchase. My husband is very good at this. As a matter of fact, he’s better at it than I am at this point. He can spot a good unit price faster than I can and alerts me to the best deal when I’m hemming and hawing between a few of the same products.
How do you calculate unit price?
This is pretty simple math but I’ll be honest with you, I use the calculator on my phone to help out. Hubby on the other hand is a crazy math genius and can do it in his head in about five seconds.
Here’s the equation:
Price divided by total number of units (whatever unit that may be) in the product = price per unit
Let’s take a look at some unit price examples that you’ll probably encounter at the store. The first two are sales tags from Target.
In the picture above, I’ve circled the sale price and unit price information. In this instance, the unit price is measuring fluid ounce. In this sale, you’re paying 5¢ per ounce for bottled water. You can see that they also list the regular price for the item, and you can see that you’re saving 19¢ per bottle – approximately 16% per bottle. If it were me, I’d want a coupon to help up that savings percentage.
If you were paying regular price your unit price would be calculated as follows:
$1.19 divided by 20 ounces = $0.06 per ounce. Not a great sale – you’re only saving a penny per ounce even with the sale price.
Here’s a unit price tag for 14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes. Again, they are using ounces as their unit.
Let’s do the math:
Regular Price: 97¢ divided by 14.5 = $0.07 per ounce
Sale Price: 87¢/14.5 = $0.06 per ounce
Again, not a great sale, but if I can use a coupon I can get that unit price way down making the deal much sweeter.
Let’s say that I have a 20¢ off one Hunt’s canned product coupon. Here’s how I would calculate my unit price after coupon savings:
87¢ – 20¢ = 67¢/14.5 = approx .05 cents per unit.
Also, remember that I have a price list and 67¢ per can is well within my target price for that particular product so it would definitely be on my list to pick up that day.
One of the most common unit prices that I calculate regularly is on soda. I don’t buy it often, especially if it’s not on sale, but when it is, the savings can be steep. Let’s take a look at an example of an actual purchase I made this past summer:
Our local grocery store Giant, ran a sale on Coke products 5 (12 pks.) for $12.
I used the 12 pack as my unit so I divided $12/5 and got $2.40 per pack. My target price for this item is usually 4 (12 pks) for $11 or $2.75 per pack. This was a great store sale! And remember, you can combine coupons with store sales so your cost could even end up less than that per pack! The regular price per 12 pack is near $5 in my area. A good sale like this cuts that in half.
My best friend is notorious for using unit price to increase savings. Y’all she calculates unit price per diaper. And she’d also tell me to remind you that diaper unit price will change as your little dumpling grows and changes diaper size.
Other reasons to pay attention to that shelf tag:
Unit price isn’t the only reason that shelf tag is important. Let’s take a look at a grocery store tag and see why:
- Obviously “Your Price” is the price you’ll be paying (Well, unless you have a coupon and then woo hoo! Go you!) Take note of prices, especially sale prices because sometimes when they ring it up it doesn’t come up correctly. Watch that checker like a hawk!
- “Item Name and Size” is very important when you’re couponing. Remember how I said coupons (and sales) have terms and conditions? Sometimes that means specific sizes or quantities only. Make sure you’re getting the right size and quantity.
- On this shelf tag (from my favorite grocery store Wegmans) the store calculates unit price per pound, but the item you’re buying comes in 8 ounce bags (see Item Unit). Pay close attention to how they calculate their unit price and then adjust if need be. Remember unit price could even be per serving. This especially comes in handy when buying in bulk which we’ll talk about soon.
Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you.