Fellow broke-asses: learn some damned math.

Most of the people I associate with online and off are college students, college dropouts, freelancers, or artists of various sorts. I fall into several of those categories, myself. None of us have a lot of much any money, so it is absolutely necessary to economize. Sometimes this means buying the cheapest available products. Buying the cheapest products requires determining exactly which products those are.

A small bottle (14 oz.) of mustard costs $1.89. A bigger bottle (20 oz.) of mustard costs $2.19. Which bottle of mustard is cheaper? Duh. The small one. Which mustard is cheaper? Duh. The mustard that comes in the bigger bottle. Which one do you buy? Well… a bottle of mustard doesn’t go bad for upwards of a year. Duh. Buy the bigger one. Hell, buy the biggest one (I took the prices from Peapod, and they don’t have many options to choose from). You’ll probably want to make sure you buy the least expensive brand, too. Because it’s freakin’ mustard. Seriously. The ingredients consist mainly of water, vinegar, and mustard. You’re not going to notice much of a difference.

Unless you’re buying something that goes bad quickly (bread, for instance, and even then, you could potentially freeze it — not that you can usually buy bread in bulk anyway), you should almost always buy the biggest size possible. Or whichever option has the lowest price per unit (the local Jewel has smallest sizes of antihistamines and aluminum foil priced lower per unit than the largest — I presume they must have some sort of logic behind that). This doesn’t even require math skills anymore. Most stores have unit cost on their labels these days.

But what do I see people doing time and time again? Buying the smallest, cheapest possible unit of things (and often the smallest option is a brand name, bumping the ppu up even more). What suckers! You could have been saving those extra pennies, or at least buying beer with them (maybe economizing = more beer* will motivate you). Way to stay broke for the rest of your life! The usual excuse is “but I don’t have enough money to get everything I need, if I don’t buy the smallest one.” Okay. Fine. That works. For the tail end of one paycheque. Next time, think ahead. If you always go with the most cost effective option instead of the (momentarily) cheapest option, you won’t have to rebuy everything 12 times a month. You’ll just have to refill them as they run out, which will be much less frequently.

Now, times when you might want to consider buying things that are smaller or more expensive do pop up. Maybe you don’t have much storage space. Maybe the brand name of something is watered down. Maybe you don’t have a car and you can’t carry the largest fricken’ sack of potatoes home. Maybe when it comes to things other than groceries, it’s better to spend $150 on a pair of shoes that will last you 5 years than to buy a pair of $25 shoes every six months (plus, guys, better shoes will get you chicks). I’d tell you to work out the math, but if you can’t even figure out which bottle of mustard to buy, you’re a lost cause, anyway.

P.S. If you’re broke, stop buying bottled water. Seriously. You’re a moron.

P.P.S. 1-ply toilet paper won’t save you money. It’ll tear up your ass, and you’ll just use three times as much of it. 3 x 1-ply = 3-ply. It’s Cottonelle in bulk for my posterior.

* Not that you should be drinking beer, when it’s so much more cost and time effective if you buy the hard stuff.