Sunday, July 10

Coupon Sunday: Avoiding the Trap with Unit Prices

There are a lot of people out there that are skeptical about coupons, my brother-in-law being one of them (hi Ron!). Ron believes that coupons just entice you to spend more money by purchasing something just because you have a coupon. Which is absolutely, 100% true. You see, marketers are smart people, and in essence coupons are marketing. Companies are giving you a discount on their product which in turn puts their product in the forefront of your mind while you are shopping. You see the product and recall the coupon. Maybe you don't buy the product that day, but I'm sure you will again recall it when you need it.  I'm no psycologist but they are using our brains against us.

So how do good couponers avoid falling into that trap? They use a little something called unit price. Thinking it terms of unit prices doesn't come naturally to some, or maybe most, but its the best way to figure out if you are getting a good deal. For example, SSF and I use unit prices most often when considering the purchase of items like paper towels and toilet paper. But it can be applied to almost anything.

Last week when my sister and I went grocery shopping together one of the items on her list were some cookies for the kids. She had a coupon for $1 off the purchase of 2 Pepperidge Farm cookies, which happen to be on sale for $2 each. However, the store brand cookies were also on sale for $1.43 each. Even after the coupon, the store brand cookies would be cheaper by $.07.

But wait there's more....

For fun, and because I love calculators, we broke it down to the cost per cookie. The store brand had a total of 39 cookies per package making the price per unit around $.04 The Pepperidge Farm package had about 16 cookies, bringing the cost per cookie to $.09.

Clearly, the store brand cookies were a better deal. That is unit price, granted it's not the most thrilling example of it, but imagine the savings you could reap just by considering the unit price on your purchases.

Do you consider unit price when grocery shopping? Do you buy stuff just because you have a coupon for it?

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