There are things we buy everyday and other things we buy very infrequently. Take things we often buy in gallon containers and consider how much you pay for them- in various sizes. It often amazes me how packaging is an important component, likely one of the main components, in determining the price of an item, even a gallon of “stuff.” The first thing to come to my mind in gallon quantity is gasoline, home heating oil and milk. What are the prices of these things? I regularly see gasoline selling for somewhere between $1.50 and $1.90 a gallon, depending on whether you need jet fuel or basic gasoline. As a kid we used to buy a very high octane gasoline called “Turbo Blue” for our old muscle cars and it sold for about $3.00 a gallon in the 1980’s.

Home heating oil is something that swings in price depending on how much you need it. When the summer is here and we don’t need it much the price is relatively low, somewhere near $1.00. I’ve been told that lately some folks have paid as much as $2.00 a gallon.  Consider buying an oil contract where you pay a fixed price that cannot go up but if the price goes down during the winter chill (not likely) you’ll be entitled to the lower price.  It has been so cold around here lately that I feel warm when its 30 degrees.  That is scary.

Milk is somewhere between $2.00 and $3.50 depending on where you buy it and whether or not you use a coupon.  You’ll typically pay more for convenience at Cumberland Farms or 7-11 and less at discount stores or warehouse stores.

Take a moment to consider how much you pay for some other things per gallon that may not come in gallon quantities.  Oil for you car is about $1.50 a quart or $6.00 a gallon.  A bottle of “spring water” is $1.00 and that ends up being $10.66 a gallon.  My little girls love “drinkable yogurts” that they bend you over a barrel for.  They sell them in four 3.1oz containers per carton for $3.19.  That makes them $32.92 a gallon.  (We now buy a large container of yogurt and blend it to make our own drinkable yogurt concoction for under $2.00 a gallon-the girls love it)  A 2 oz container of vanilla extract is $1.79.  That’s $114.56 a gallon.  Dunkin Donuts Coffee is $1.79 a cup and that translates to $22.91 a gallon.  A specialty 1/2oz of nail polish is $10.00 at the salon.  That is an amazing $2560.00 a gallon.  1.7oz of perfume at Filenes is $90.00. That’s $6776.00 a gallon.  Think about the price of things before you buy them on a relative basis.  You can buy many things for less than water.  People complain about $1.50 for gasoline and wait in line to pay $22.91 a gallon for Dunkin Donuts Coffee.