This weekend, I saw something that reaffirmed the adage that bigger is not always better.
I was at the grocery store, picking up a few items on my list, and one of the things I needed was cat litter. Now, I usually buy the medium sized container. It weighs 20 pounds. There is a smaller container and a larger container, but for me, the medium size works quite well. On my list of tasks this weekend was to clean out the litter box and refill, which takes more than 20 pounds of litter, and while I usually have at least one half-full container at home, I hadn’t kept up with my purchasing.
I had never really looked much at the big container. I’m not sure what it weighs, but it’s big and heavy and I walk to the grocery store. 20 pound containers fit in my awesome tote from L.L. Bean. The bigger ones would not. But since I needed more than 20 pounds, I considered it.
Until I noticed the shelf tag. Cost per pound for the 20 pound container? Around 41 cents. Cost per pound for the bigger container? 44 cents. Forget that! Conveniently, 2 20 pound containers fit in my shopping tote, so that was the final decision.
I’m lucky that my grocery store posts all of these numbers. Of course, if something is on sale, the sale tag doesn’t show the cost per unit, but I can work around that. I think the assumption is always that buying the bigger container will save you money. And that’s what the manufacturers want you to think. If your store isn’t like mine, you might want to consider walking around the grocery store with a calculator every so often, just to get an idea of unit prices. Who knows what you might find out?