I happen to like freshly squeezed orange juice. There is something about it that’s so refreshing and energizing, particularly on a warm day. The sugar seems to go to work right away, which is precisely why I rarely get it anymore. Oh, and it’s expensive to buy and takes some effort to make at home.
With that in mind, it’s only a rare treat for me to get fresh squeezed juice. It might have been around 6 months since the last time. This is why at the grocery store recently, a container of what looked like orange juice caught my eye. As it turns out it was actually tangerine juice. Close enough, I thought.
It wasn’t freshly squeezed on the spot, but I wanted to get it anyway. The packaging was nice, and it just looked good. That is, until I took one look at the price, and then had to do a second and third look to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. The container which included just 8 ounces of juice was selling for $5.99. That’s right – 8 ounces of tangerine juice for $5.99.
Think about that – that’s almost $0.75 per ounce of juice. For many, that might be but a sip. For $0.75? Seriously? How could juice be that expensive. For $5.99, that 8 ounces of juice had better make me into a superhero or something!
Clearly, that’s probably expensive for more than just a few people, and we can count me in that group. Reducing food expenses is a goal of mine, or at least keeping these costs under control. Now, I’m not one to sacrifice health for money, but I think that there are healthy alternatives that are also cheaper than spending so much on a small container of fruit juice.
Example #1: Buying Whole Fruit.
I recently bought a bag of clementines for $4.99. Okay, clementines might not be the same thing as tangerines, but they are comparable enough to me. It’s not like we’re comparing apples to oranges here. Lame joke, I know 🙂
Anyway, this bag of citrus had at least 10 individual pieces of fruit in it. Probably more, but let’s say 10 to be conservative. This means each clementine cost no more than $0.50. Doing the math, we can see what the opportunity cost of the $5.99 juice is: 8 ounces of juice, or 10 whole clementines.
The choice for me is clear.
Example #2: Drinking water
Okay, so maybe we don’t want whole fruit instead of juice. As an alternative, perhaps we use another drink as an example: water. Clearly, drinking tap water saves money versus some other beverage options. I would think it would save money versus this juice option.
Let’s say that an 8 ounce glass of water costs $0.05 each to have at home. I don’t really know what the exact cost is, but it can’t be that much – at least where I live! So, just to be conservative in our comparison, we can overestimate the cost of water to be a nickel per glass. In that case, using that price assumption, we could have 120 glasses of water for the cost of one glass of juice.
Bottom Line: we can save a decent amount of money by thinking of opportunity costs of expensive purchases, including those from the grocery store!
My Questions for You:
Have you noticed any surprisingly expensive items at the grocery store?
Do you ever think of opportunity costs with your food or drink purchases, comparing to what else you can buy for that same amount of money?