Figuring out Cost per Unit


It can be quite confusing sometimes, but always worth checking before shopping if you’re using coupons or cashback.


Figuring out the cost per unit, or bigger is not always better??

When I started my cost cutting journey, I bought into the notion that the larger the package, the better the value.

Once I learned to calculate cost per unit, I soon found out that often smaller packages are a better bang for the buck, especially when you have a coupon or cashback.

This weekend, I needed dog food. My fur kids eat Purina One. I had a $4 coupon from my last bag of food, good on large bag only. I also printed 2 x $3.00 coupons. The 3.6 kg bag was $13.62, while the 6.8 kg is $25.99. The 3$ coupon could be used on the smaller bag. So, using the cost per unit formula, price divided by unit, I came to understand the cost per unit on the smaller bags was better:

SMALL BAG: $13.62 – 3.00 COUPON = 10.62 ÷ 3.6 = 2.95 (cost per kilo, or unit)

LARGE BAG: $25.99 – 4.00 coupon = 21.99 ÷ 6.8 = 3.23 (cost per kilo, or unit)

So, even with a higher value coupon, it was still less expensive to buy 2 smaller bags.
I have used this trick for a while now and often end up saving on smaller packages, especially if I use “good on any size” coupons.

Another example might be when you buy toilet tissue. You can pay $5.99 for the 12/24 rolls or $9.99 for the 18/36 rolls and if you have a $2 coupon, you’ll end up paying $3.99 for the smaller pack or $.16 per roll, and if you use that coupon on the larger pack, you’ll pay $7.99 or $.22 per roll. So you can see that even though buying the larger pack at the time seems to be the cheaper option, once you add in coupons or cashback the math changes and the smaller pack is the better value.


Another way to look at it is when you use a Royale $1 coupon (good on any product), you can usually pick up a box of Royale tissues for free when they sell for under $1. You can buy several boxes, thus having a nice haul of free tissues. Now if you use that $1 coupon on a package of 6 Royale valued at $6.99, you’ll pay $5.99 and it will cost you $1.00 a box.

Therefore using coupons on smaller sizes usually ALWAYS ends up saving you bigger money.


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