Thursday, February 22, 2007

Life Lesson 1: buying food

At about 9pm last night, Emily (my sister) and I went learn about unit prices. Trying to teach this concept is easier in Nova Scotia since the price tags include the cost per gram/bl/oz/etc. For this second year fine art student - with a "grab-the-nicest-picture-I-see" method of buying - , I was excited to pass-on my mad shopping tricks.

Apples: buy them individually or in a bag? The cost per apple when bought individually is $1.99bl. Cost per 4 bl bag is $3.99. Assuming these apples are both the same in taste: Unit Price Man say: buying in a bag is half the cost of buying them one by one.

A complication: what if you cannot eat a whole bag, which means some might go bad? Or in other words, how much of the bag would you need to throw away before it was better to only buy a few? Answer: half the bag would have to go rotten to buy them individually. Suggestion: learn to make apple pies!

Another example: fresh chicken - bone in or out, skin on or off, thighs or breast, which brand? Each of these preferences will determine the price. How do I know what is best? Let's take one example: bone in or bone out? Looking at a single brand of chicken (say Maple Leaf), look at the unit price of the boneless/skinless chicken which costs $17.89kg. Then find the price of the skinless bone-in chicken: $11.89kg. Assuming the bone weights nothing (just say), the price you pay for someone else to remove the bone is $6 per kg. So, the question you need to ask yourself is: is the $6kg worth it or should I remove the bone myself? For the starving student: get out the knife and save that cash (Note: even though the bone does weight something it is much less then 1/3 of the weight).

Shopping will never be the same. Feel free share your shopping tips.

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