At my recent workshop with the Knoxville News-Sentinel, we were talking a little about coupons and generics, and I encouraged attendees to always compare prices. Below are some of my tips about comparing prices:
- Know your unit pricing. One package may be cheaper than another, but it might have less in it. For products like paper towels, I always pull out my calculator to see what is the better price per unit.
- Compare price and quality. In the example of products like paper towels, there is a big difference in quality across brands and generics. Yes, you might be purchasing something for less money, but you might also use it twice as fast because it doesn’t work as well.
- Compare the price of a name brand item with a coupon and a generic. Remember, “A can of corn is a can of corn.” Sometimes with organic products, the store brand is the better deal.
- Warehouse deals are sometimes better than the stores and sometimes not. I don’t have a Sam’s membership, but I have a wonderful friend who lets me tag along with her every so often. Many times I find that I can get a better deal at the grocery if I wait for a sale or coupon matchup. Exceptions to this rule are products like olive oil and vinegar. Usually canned goods are more expensive than the grocery, as are cleaning supplies.
- Know the cost of convenience. Yep, those cute bags of carrots are only a dollar or so, but look at the weight. You’re paying almost twice as much for the convenience of them being ready to eat. Not only that, but the prepped foods usually spoil much quicker than foods in their original state.