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Looking beyond the price

By Julie Norman

The battle of the grocery budget is not won by looking at prices alone.  I've learned from reading lots of blog posts, articles, etc that you have to look beyond the total price.  First, you've got to look at the price per ounce, or the unit price.  That price will tell you quite a bit.  For instance, 18 eggs are cheaper per dozen than one dozen eggs.  While the total price might be a little higher, you're getting a better deal overall; if you eat a lot of eggs you might as well pay the extra .60/cents for an extra half dozen eggs.  Take this mozarella cheese:

This is an 8 oz block for $2.99.  The yellow circle on the tag shows the per ounce price:  37.4 cents/ounce.  Now, check out this block of cheese:

It's $7.99 for 32 ounces.  That's 4x the size of the 8 ounce block.  Look at the per once price though:  It's only 25 cents per ounce!  If you bought 4 blocks of the 8 ounce cheese, at the $2.99 price, you'd pay right at $12.  This block is only $8. If you've got the extra $$$ in your budget, you should go ahead and get the larger block of cheese and freeze half of it.  That way it won't go bad before you use it all up and you'll have saved money in the long run.

Another way to find savings in the grocery store is by looking at the top and bottom shelves.  The eye-level shelves are where grocers place items that they know people will buy most.  They know you mostly look at what's right in front of you and you choose from that.  BUT if you take a minute to look down below or up high, you can often find surprising savings.

Here we see 2 18 oz Strawberry jam/preserves each $2.99.  At this point you might think, "Well hey, I can get the name brand jam for the same price as the store brand!  I'll get that."  Instead, look down to the very bottom shelf. Here's what I found there:

This is a 32 oz jar of Strawberry preserves for the SAME PRICE as the 18 oz jar!  It's on sale for the same price as a jar almost half its size.  Because it's on the bottom shelf the grocery folks probably feel it's a risk worth taking because most people aren't going to notice it anyway. 

Take some time to really look around at unit prices and on the not-so-noticeable shelves the next time you're in the grocery store.  You might be surprised at what you'll find.



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