Shopping at warehouse clubs has programmed a lot of us to believe that buying in bulk is better for your wallet, but that’s certainly not always the case!
Don’t be fooled by this retail pricing trick!
Consumerist has coined the term “Target Math” to refer to times when a smaller package has a lower unit price than a bulk item or when sale items aren’t really discounted at all.
We went to a Target store in Atlanta and found this example:
As you can see in the picture below, a 4-bar pack of Caress (16 ounces) is $3.49 and an 8-pack (32 ounces) is $7.49, making the smaller package a better value.
It’s really easy to compare when the unit price is listed, but that’s not required in all states. You can always pull out your smartphone and use the calculator app to determine the lowest unit price.
In this case, it’s simple math because the larger product is double the smaller product’s size.
So after multiplying the price of the smaller pack by two, it became obvious that I would save 51 cents by purchasing two 4-packs instead of one 8-pack.
“This isn’t just an issue with Target,” Clark said. “I want you to be aware that it’s common in retailing, especially in supermarkets.”
In fact, foods are often times priced higher per ounce when you get the biggest package of something versus one that’s smaller. Pay particular attention to snacks, like cookies and chips.
Clark explained on the radio show that the retail industry has discovered that many people who buy in bulk are doing it because they want more of the product, not to save money.
To make sure you’re getting the best deal, always check the unit price or calculate it yourself!