Relative vs absolute cost comparison?

When I’m shopping for, pretty much anything, I compare options on a relative basis. So at the grocery store, if store brand chick peas are 1.00, and brand name is 1.50, I’ll almost always buy the store brand, 50% cheaper!

If I’m booking a hotel, and it’s 200 vs 220, it’s only a 10% cost difference, so if the reviews or location of the 220 seems a lot better, I’ll go with that. But, that’s a lot of chick peas!

I don’t think I’m the only one who does this, it feels natural, but also somewhat flawed, i.e. an overthink of the chick peas.

  • I usually relative cost compare
  • I usually absolute cost compare

0 voters



It’s better to buy the store brand anyway because it’s the exact same product as the regular brand but with the sticker replaced. They are packaged in the same factory that services multiple brands and they just swap out the labels.

What we have here is a failure to denominate :slight_smile:


It’s the reason why I don’t fly bidness class. Counting both directions it’s several thousand dollars more which can buy me many more nights at luxury hotels, so I choose to stay in better hotels every time when considering my budget.

Fair, but, you know what I mean…

While this is sometimes true it is definitely not always true.

Sure, and I participated in your poll.

I tend to look at business as costing ~twice as much and come to the same conclusion of not booking business, but then I also won’t book fancy hotels…

I guess whatever you would substitute it for, like chickpeas or somethin

lol hummus

yo dude I heard like all the planes were like, the same or something, they may be labeled different but they’re really made at the same 2 factories

so just fly Ryanair imo

You’re assuming equal quality between the chickpeas.

True, in my experience ingredients in cans are equal, low, quality. If I cared I’d use something fresher, but if I’m using a can it’s probably part of a bigger recipe being cooked with enough other things it won’t matter.

I am an equal opportunity consumer of chickpeas imo

I’ve never bought a can of chickpeas. I think there’s little to no variation in quality of canned vegetables but other things I do have a preference for and am willing to pay more to have. I think more than price is typically considered, it’s a matter of the value placed by the individual in that price difference, even if it’s only not feeling like a plebe.

Yes, it is flawed to waste brain power on something like that.
Need to add frequency of purchases.
If you bought chickpeas once a day for a year, that would be about $170 saved.
So, you can use that to book the nicer hotel for 8.5 days.
But, if you are booking hotels for 30 days per year, you could save $600/year.
However, I do notice that you have more than price as a factor for a hotel booking. They are not commodities unless you put value on the additional factors.

Now you got me wasting brain power…

Anywho, if you get into the mindset that every frequent purchase (food, mainly, but include monthly streaming services, cell phone costs, gasoline, etc.) you make adds up over time (a typical actuary’s brain IMO), and you are saving $10/day with this mindset, that’s $3650/year. Righteous bucks!

Take the simple task of filling your car with gasoline. I count 5 different inputs to determine where to buy that gasoline. (I leave it to the reader.)
All to save, what, $4? And for me that’s every 2-3 weeks. If it were every day, I’d plan a lot better. As it is, I need gasoline this morning to drive 80 miles or so. Maybe I put in 4 gallons locally, then get Costco gas at a more convenient time (Saturdays take up time).
Now, a new refrigerator? A $2400 refrigerator that lasts ten years costs $20/month for its life. My older refrigerator probably has ten more years in it after I fixed it for $700. That’s about $6/month.

Short story: I think in whole dollars per month.

…but I’ve noticed the error of my ways and, in recent decades, have shown a willingness to pay $0.50 for a quality brand.

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I’ll always pay for brand name coke and cheerios, those I can taste and be bothered by the difference.


Thinking relatively seems simpler than this approach imo.