Use Calculator to Get the Best Price

Calculator shopping was popular back when hand-held calculators first became cheap and easy to get. Nowadays, I rarely see anyone shopping with a calculator, but there are many good reasons to use one. Here's how to always get the best price with a dollar store calculator.

Per-unit Prices:

The per-unit price is usually posted on the shelf sticker below the product. This is helpful, but if you shop often, you'll find a lot of mistakes. For instance, a bottle of disinfectant is priced by the gallon. The one next to it is priced by the ounce. Neither is a one gallon bottle.

To figure this one up: There are 128 ounces in a gallon, 32 ounces in a quart, and 16 ounces in a pint.

The Produce Aisle:

I've seen produce priced per pound, per each, per bag, and priced by a variety of other containers and packages. The packages must be marked by weight, and you can weigh individual produce on the scales.

For this one: There are 16 ounces in a pound.

Package Pricing:

Pens, notepads, and all sorts of things that come in packages don't seem to come with the same number in each package. For instance, a package of crew socks contains 3 with a free bonus pair. Another bag contains 6. Start with the package price and divide by the number of pairs to get the per-pair price.

Warehouse Deals, Surplus and Odd Lots:

I've bought bulk, discount food markdowns, odd lots, overstock and surplus. Often all you'll get is a small price sticker on the package. Start with the package price and divide by the unit (ounce, roll, sheet, etc.) to get the unit price. This also works for clearance merchandise.

Once you get used to figuring up unit prices, get a little notebook and write down the best deals you find and where you found them. Take it shopping with you and you'll always get the best price.


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November 24, 20141 found this helpful

You really can't be sure of the weight of a bag of produce at a warehouse club. They don't have scales to weigh them. I used to work at one of the clubs. When the sign says 5 lbs, etc. may be 5 lbs and maybe not. The produce associate at the club I worked at would take out bad or bruised produce from the bag but didn't replace with another. I've seen it happen many times. The reason I don't buy bags of produce at the clubs.

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November 25, 20140 found this helpful

Thanks for telling me that. That's good to know.


I usually buy produce in my local grocery store because it's fresher and will last longer.

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November 25, 20141 found this helpful

This is so very helpful. My calculator will be busy from now on. Thanx for sharing ;)

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November 25, 20140 found this helpful

Thanks for your feedback. I like to know if I've helped or not.

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November 30, 20141 found this helpful

This is a great way to save money. My ex thought I was nuts, but when I should him a big pack wasn't always the cheapest, he bowed to my superior shopping savvy. Cell phone have calculators now so most already have one handy

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December 1, 20141 found this helpful

Tracking the prices in a notebook is what is known as keeping a 'price book.' I kept one for years. In the back, I kept clothing and shoe sizes, sizes of furnace filters, types of water filters, window and table sizes, etc. It was the first thing I grabbed when I left the house, since you never knew when you might find a good deal.


You can also keep track of sales in it, since most stores sales are cyclic. It's amazing how much you can save by dong this, especially if you are open to trying new brands.

I quit using mine when prices started changing so much on my weekly trips that I couldn't keep up updating my book. Now that they've stabilized somewhat, I'm going to start a new book. I've found that a small 3-ring binder works best, as you can add and remove pages as needed.

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December 8, 20140 found this helpful

You're right, Donna. The biggest pack or jug isn't always the cheapest. Thanks for your comment!

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December 8, 20140 found this helpful

Thanks, Susan. I like your idea of keeping the sizes of things that you use.

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