November 3, 2010

Value Size ≠ Value

Over the past year or so, I've learned how to save money on groceries by clipping coupons, looking at grocery store circulars, and reading blogs about deals. Before I did any of that, the one way I saved money was examining unit prices on everything I bought. All the places I buy groceries have them displayed in big type right next to price, so all you have to do is pay attention. Clearly, not everyone does pay attention though or we would not have situations like this:

The 3 oz. size of real bacon pieces is $1.68, or 56¢ an ounce. For the 4.5 oz. "Value Size" bacon pieces, you pay $2.56, or 56.9¢ an ounce. This wasn't the first time I've seen this, so it wasn't just an error. Also interesting is that fact that both sizes have a lower price per ounce than the store brand. Walmart seems to have a lot of strange pricing though, like different sizes of cereal boxes for the same price.

Have you noticed any unusual pricing at grocery stores?


  1. I do the same thing! The kids get tired of waiting on me to do all the math in my head b/c I scrutinize everything per oz, serving, tiny bag of teddy grahams vs. cracker packs or whatever... :)

    Another awesome way to save money if to find a bread outlet. We are lucky enough to live close to an Orowheat outlet - I routinely walk out with 3-5 bags stuffed full of perfectly yummy breadish items for 18 bucks or less. 18 is the most I've spent for 2 weeks of bread for a family of 4 (that includes the occasional box of donuts, "sandwich thins" and pancake mix). And we eat bread like it's going out of style. $1 a loaf compared to 3 or more? I'll take it!

  2. The Walmart here does the same thing. I rarely ever shop there - tend to hit the other grocery stores like Kroger and Meijer instead. In general these prices may be more expensive, but that's why I shop circulars + coupons.

    I think the problem is convenience. If you shop at Sam's Club, you may think you're getting a great deal... but more than likely you're not. You're just buying a larger amount at one time. (And with paper products, you probably aren't saving anything.) It's interesting to note these things and see that people still carelessly pick up the biggest bag or the "value size." Good job being investigative! It may take more time, but at least you aren't being suckered into spending a little more money here and there because of "convenience" or just plain not caring. :)

  3. @Betsy - It doesn't look like we have a bread outlet close enough to make it worth the drive, but I'm sure it would be great to have one!

    @Kayla - The goal is definitely to become a Meijer/Kroger/Marsh shopper exclusively and never set foot in Walmart again, but I'm not quite there yet. Buying in bulk has never appealed to me, but I'm sure you're right about it not being as good of a value as people think.


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