Compare Unit Prices for Best Buy

— Written By Eleanor Summers and last updated by

Save a few cents each week and soon you’ll have dollars. Comparison-shopping can help save money and one of the easiest places to start is with food shopping. Compare prices by using cost per unit of various foods. The “Unit Price” is usually listed on the grocery shelf. The unit price is the cost of the item per ounce, quart, gallon, pound, or any other unit of measure.

The unit price is the package price divided by the number of units, generally shown in price per ounce. For example, a 16-ounce can of soup that costs $1.39 has a unit price of 9.0 cents per ounce. Meanwhile, the same soup in a larger can (19-ounces) costs $1.49 and has a unit price of 8.0 cents per ounce. Therefore, the larger can of soup is the better bargain because it has a lower unit price.

When comparing the cost of two different sizes of the same food, or two different brands that are of different weights, it can be hard to figure out which one is a better buy. Sometimes the unit price on one package will be based on ounces and the unit price on another will be based on pounds. You need to do the math to convert them to the same unit. Follow these guidelines: 16 ounces = 1 pound; 32 liquid ounces = 1 quart; 4 quarts = 1 gallon.

Make sure the price you are looking at goes with the product you want to buy. Be careful when comparing sale items. Many times unit process may not reflect the sale price. Always make sure you are comparing similar products or products that fit your need.

With unit pricing, you can find the best buy. Choose the food that has the lowest price per unit to save money. Be sure that the food will be used, not wasted. Unit pricing may show that a gallon of milk costs less per unit than a half gallon, but if the gallon of milk would spoil before it could be used, it would not be the best buy.

In recent years, some manufacturers have downsized packages by reducing the quantity of product inside the package while keeping the same product costs. This trend has been most commonly seen in paper products, baby food, coffee, baking products and cleaning products. It pays to compare unit prices.