AIBU to use my calculator in the supermarket

(76 Posts)
GrassIsntGreener Fri 27-Sep-13 09:22:26

You'd think so by the looks I get! I think it's sensible as we can't afford to waste a penny or get a shock at the till.

So why do I get weird looks? Is it a supermarket faux par? Is it because I do it in 'budget' supermarkets?

Maybe it's seen as unreasonable. I remember my mother doing it, one shop even had a little calculator on the trolly handle once!

Smokedsalmonbagel Fri 27-Sep-13 09:29:00

I use the calculator on my phone so probably not very noticeable.
Think it's very sensible. Some of the offers they have are ridiculously difficult to work out!

Funghoul Fri 27-Sep-13 09:30:53

I do it, don't be worried! We have a budget and have to stick to it. If I don't use the calculator I have no idea what we've spent.

Finola1step Fri 27-Sep-13 09:32:43

I sometimes use my phone. If I saw you, I would think "hmm, sensible shopper that lady" and then I might follow you a little bit with my trolley to see if you spot any good bargains.

SilverApples Fri 27-Sep-13 09:32:57

I used to do this all the time when I had a low income and paid in cash.
It was either that or put things back at the till.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Fri 27-Sep-13 09:32:59

I do it too but like smokedsalmonbagel I use the calculater on my phone so people probably just think I'm texting.

quoteunquote Fri 27-Sep-13 09:33:33

AIBU to use my calculator in the supermarket

Yes, because you should be able to do it your head. grin

I always know to the penny what the bill is going to be, so if it is incorrect, I know they have had a miss labelled offer up,

I catch them out nearly every time.

Wishfulmakeupping Fri 27-Sep-13 09:35:11

I use the one on my phone too I do it because I'd be more embarrassed if I didn't and then didn't have enough money and had to put something back at the checkout blush

GrassIsntGreener Fri 27-Sep-13 09:38:40

Quoteunquote do you manage this with an overtired screaming baby and a bored child? Salute you if you do. Pre children I did it in my head too.

Happiestinwellybobs Fri 27-Sep-13 09:38:51

I sometimes get my phone out to calculate the difference between all the offers to work out which is actually best.

Maybe as its my phone it's less noticeable - and I tend to do my list on my phone too.

But if I were to see you with a calculator I'd think 'sensible person!'

CoffeeTea103 Fri 27-Sep-13 09:39:17

Use your phone, the calculator is odd

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 27-Sep-13 09:50:11

I need a calculator because the per unit price tag doesn't apply to multi-buy offers.

MisselthwaiteManor Fri 27-Sep-13 09:53:55

It's sensible, I don't know why you'd get funny looks. I bet there are a lot of people doing it on their phones.

I do it in my head but with rounded up figures so it's always slightly cheaper than I estimated and for some reason that cheers me up even though I purposefully overestimated.

Morloth Fri 27-Sep-13 09:54:07

I too use my phone now, but used a calculator pre smart phone.

HootShoot Fri 27-Sep-13 09:56:11

I tried once but hit the wrong numbers. Its easier to use the scanners I think. YANBU or odd!

ivykaty44 Fri 27-Sep-13 09:58:40

possibly they think it is very old fashioned - similar to using an abacus grin

Trills Fri 27-Sep-13 09:59:11

Not unreasonable, but do try not to do it with your trolley sideways blocking the aisle, and if you've stopped to do some sums keep an eye out for the people who really want to look at the products that are behind you.


If budget is tight I used to use a calculator but usually use the one on my phone now. We normally go together, so one of us works out unit price etc on offers and the other keeps a running total!

I do an 'online shop' on the supermarket website beforehand (without checking out) so that I can see exactly what it's going to cost, and then make my list based on that.

Makes the actual 'inside the supermarket' bit much faster.

VenusDeWillendorf Fri 27-Sep-13 10:12:56

Try doing the sums in your head.
It's good for you, even if you're sleep deprived, and weirdly satisfying if you're correct!

<I know it's difficult with kids in tow, but they can help!>

Mogz Fri 27-Sep-13 10:14:58

YANBU it used to be my fave part of shopping with my mum, she would let me add everything up.

BackforGood Fri 27-Sep-13 10:19:07

SOunds pretty sensible to me. I'm just a bit more old fashioned, and do the same with paper and pencil grin

nonmifairidere Fri 27-Sep-13 10:22:38

Quoteunquote, the human calculator - and not the least bit smug about it!

daisychicken Fri 27-Sep-13 10:24:09

If I haven't already costed my shopping out (on mysupermarket and then I write the prices on the list so I can double check at the supermarket) then yes I will use my calculator (on my phone now) as I hate nasty surprises at the till!

I do wish trolleys had a clipboard or tray attached - I wouldn't have to have my list and phone in my hand while trying to push the trolley or get items!!!

CwtchesAndCuddles Fri 27-Sep-13 10:24:25

I like to compare offers and despite being ok at maths (work in accounts) I often resort to the calculator on my phone to work things back to a base price in order to see is cheaper - yesterday I did it for dishwasher tablets!!!

PipkinsPal Fri 27-Sep-13 10:28:13

YANBU. I use the calculator on my phone to work out which "offer" is best. I make a list and check on Tesco, Sainsburys websites to see what is on offer, especially things like olive oil and Ribena. Luckily Tesco and Sainsburys are less than a mile apart so no real wastage in shopping around. Usually I go to Lidl and there is a Home Bargains next door which things like packet savoury rice and dried fruits are generally cheaper.

InsertBoringName Fri 27-Sep-13 12:29:08

I do it every week! I used to have a special little shopping calculator but it broke so now I use my phone which pisses me off!

Latara Fri 27-Sep-13 12:33:45

It's a good idea, I should use mine really then I wouldn't get a nasty shock when I get to the checkout (like I did the other day)!

WowOoo Fri 27-Sep-13 12:48:02

Me too; it's for working out the offers and what actually is cheaper, like others on here do.

I can't do all this in my head.
The supermarkets are so clever with the way one item will be in kg and the other in grammes or per item.
This unclear labelling and attention grabbing red signage really pisses me off.
As does larger bulk items being more expensive than smaller packages sometimes. Or an 'offer' that works out more than the thing next to it.

If I get weird looks I've never noticed. (but I often go shopping late at night when it's dead in there) I'm with you GrassisGreener!

Gerbilectomy Fri 27-Sep-13 12:50:55

I do it in my head. I am smug about it, because mental arithmetic is a skill worth having, in my view.

And being tired doesn't make any difference, in the same way that I can still spell when I'm tired.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 27-Sep-13 12:58:55


Well done you, Gerbil.

You may get Mumsnet's Star of the Week.

<crosses fingers for Gerbil>

starfishmummy Fri 27-Sep-13 12:59:43

Mixture of all. Usually do it in my head and jot the total on my list as I go round. Sometimes I do it on the phone

randomAXEofkindness Fri 27-Sep-13 13:05:48

I'm just glad we all get out alive tbh. I would deffo do that though if I could. Maybe those are looks of envy? I'd just give them a big cheesy grin

5Foot5 Fri 27-Sep-13 13:09:41

Sounds very reasonable to me.

I remember my Mum wanting to do this when I got my first calculator back in the 70s. However, I think part of her motivation was that she didn't trust the people on the tills at our local supermarket to ring things through properly so she wanted me to double check.

I entered the prices as instructed but there was no way in the world that I was ever going to challenge them if we disagreed. Can you imagine the scene - my Mum with a trolley load of shopping put through and me saying "I think you must have made a mistake because I make it 4 1/2 pence less than that!"

KhunZhoop Fri 27-Sep-13 13:56:46

Do your shopping online. The website does the maths for you.

intangible Fri 27-Sep-13 14:06:09

I never used to and would always have a shock at the till. Now im trying not to be such an idiot with money. I meal plan out how much of what we need. . then I take my calculator (phone) too!

yanbu. .but probably use your phone :p

Topseyt Fri 27-Sep-13 14:28:32

Not unreasonable at all. I used to do this quite a lot in the past and I just took no notice of anyone else around me.

I used to have a small calculator which I kept in my bag to use only for shopping. It was my friend. I used to prop it on the child seat of the trolley, and I only stopped using it when our two local Tescos introduced hand-held barcode scanners for their new scan and pack systems, which I like. The scanners give me the running total of what I am spending as I go round the store, which is largely what I want to know. The rest I work out in my head as I decide which offers would be beneficial for us (or not, as the case may be).

Online shopping also gives the running total, though it pays to shop midweek, as I find the delivery charges are overall a little cheaper. I can als sit with my laptop in the kitchen and trot around checking whether I really need more of a particular item yet before buying it. I am also less likely to impulse buy if I do it online. So, I can still be quids in there sometimes.

I do like to pop into the store sometimes though.

mrsjay Fri 27-Sep-13 14:38:55

I see a few people using calculators and their phones in the supermarket I look because i think it is a sensible idea and why didnt i think about doing that ,

kmc1111 Fri 27-Sep-13 14:40:20

I do it in my head but with rounded up figures so it's always slightly cheaper than I estimated and for some reason that cheers me up even though I purposefully overestimated.

I do this too! Even though I know I've overestimated somehow it always feels like a pleasant surprise at the till.

StuntGirl Fri 27-Sep-13 14:43:14

I use the one on my phone, but only because I always have my phone on me.

complexnumber Fri 27-Sep-13 14:55:40

You being vu, you should have used your fingers. smile

In my childhood days, mums had to add up £sd, now that was tricky! And there were no calculators available.

allforoneandoneforall Fri 27-Sep-13 16:05:33

In the big tesoc's near me you can take a pricing maching thingy around with you so you can scan as you go and know how much you are spending - It's great - Maybe this will catch on in the larger supermarkets?

OctopusWrangler Fri 27-Sep-13 17:09:34

I like the scan and shop widgets, but so do the children so I'm back to trying to keep track in my headgrin

GeeTeeEff Fri 27-Sep-13 17:55:53

I do it in my head but with rounded up figures so it's always slightly cheaper than I estimated and for some reason that cheers me up even though I purposefully overestimated.

I do this too!


ummlilia Fri 27-Sep-13 18:01:18

I am unemployed and have no credit cards so it's vital the total is no more than the cash I carry. I have a small notebook-every week I make a meal plan and a shopping list. I keep a running total on my list as I go round (no calculator) and so far I have not been caught out. It's not unreasonable at all..(incidentally am so aged that I didn't get my first calculator until I did my O levels-and they weren't allowed in the exam- not sure they were available before

utreas Fri 27-Sep-13 18:04:08

I wouldn't because it does make you look a bit dim

DameDeepRedBetty Fri 27-Sep-13 18:04:08

Waitrose trolleys often have a built in clipboard. And scanners that work the price out for you as you go, and handily bleep if you scan a BOGOF that's lost its promotional label.

Clean, well-stocked, fantastic standards ethically, friendly helpful staff.

Just wish Morrisons wasn't half the price.

<puts MN to bed and goes to Morrisons to get kid's tea>

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Fri 27-Sep-13 18:09:01

Not odd or U at all. I use the calculator on my phone for big shopping trips and add it up in my head if it's a quick essentials shop. We put a lot of time and effort into minimising our grocery bill (family of 6) so it's vital for us to not accidentally overspend. On the odd occasion I've shopped with wild abandon, I've felt physically sick at the checkout watching the total go up and up beyond what I'd imagined. Couldn't do that every week!

YANBU, it is very sensible to add up as you go along. Do it on whatever works for you, fingers, write it on your list, phone, calculator, take the ipad if you like, it's no one else's business really! Although I can say from experience the calculator on a Sony Ericsson was shit, and routinely made me £10-ish out at the till, annoying, probably my errors but still...

Anyone giving me an odd look for adding up would get a very fierce glare, how rude of them!

Trumpton Fri 27-Sep-13 18:19:50

I remember going round the supermarket with one of THESE ( scroll down to see it as it has been sold) in the early 1970s as a poor student. Frantically clicking away to stay within budget. Very sensible to keep a tally.

AnnaRack Fri 27-Sep-13 18:28:12

Yanbu at all. I can never work out whether it's cheaper to buy 300g of cheddar for £2.99 or 350g for £3.50 and they dont always show the price per gramme on the shelf, which they're supposed tondo.

RobotLover68 Fri 27-Sep-13 18:35:07

I was in Costco the other day and was using my calculator to work out which was the cheapest deal on dishwasher tabs.

The "special offer" on the all singing and dancing tabs was considerably dearer than the run of the mill tabs. I noticed an old man watching me as I looked up and he turned to his wife and whispered "let's wait until she's worked it out" so I looked at him and pointed to the cheaper deal - him and his wife went off happy - OP YANBU - my nan used to say, take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves

liquidstate Fri 27-Sep-13 18:44:01

I check online beforehand using mysupermarket. I shop at Sainsburys mostly so if things are cheaper at Tesco and Asda then I get the voucher for the difference.

I tot up in my head as I got round but I round up for ease so its usually a bit cheaper at the till.

use your calculator, it wouldn't make me stare.

Vivacia Fri 27-Sep-13 18:45:20

I think it's a good idea, but it's something you could reasonably be expected to do in your head.

I can never work out whether it's cheaper to buy 300g of cheddar for £2.99 or 350g for £3.50


MissStrawberry Fri 27-Sep-13 18:54:46

300g for £2.99, there is nothing in it.


irishe Fri 27-Sep-13 18:55:39

Yanbu. If I don't have DH with me, who really is a human calculator, I whip out my phone to check on prices. I think the supermarkets are deliberately obfuscating in how prices are displayed. For some reason I find it hard to work out cheapest dishwasher tablets and toilet roll sometimes.

Jan49 Fri 27-Sep-13 18:57:16

I wonder if people are looking at your calculator thinking "what kind of mobile has she got there?" because it is a similar size and mobiles are so common.

I think it's a very sensible idea. But if I did it, I'd make lots of mistakes and get the total all wrong.hmm

GemmaTeller Fri 27-Sep-13 19:04:39

And thats why I take my DH to costco with me grin

MissStrawberry Fri 27-Sep-13 19:14:50

On most price tickets they do state how much per item so it will say how much per dishwasher tablet.

MousyMouse Fri 27-Sep-13 19:37:06

I am really angry with supermarket making a real effort to not make prices comparable.
recent example:
pack of same sorts of bisquits
1) branded biscuit price per 100g (fair enough)
2) own brand price per biscuit, but no indication how many biscuits per pack
3) value biscuit price per unit + number of biscuits per unit, but no information how many biscuits per pack (wtaf)

That really peed me off too mousy!

Some tabs give no per Unit info at all, which is also very irritating.

With the fruit and veg I always have to weigh the bags because their prices are given per unit, but the loose is given per 100g/1kg then do the conversion to compare. Complete waste of time when everything could be described the same way.

Sometimes it's hard to compare online for the same reasons.

We also have to check all the allergy labels so supermarket shopping takes a hideously long time.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Fri 27-Sep-13 19:46:38

Our local Tesco has just got Scan and Shop - a little handheld scanner that slots into the trolley. You scan as you go, it alerts you if you miss an offer and it keeps a running total. If you want, you can put stuff back if you go over budget. I love it!

teacherandguideleader Fri 27-Sep-13 21:02:10

I really should do this ...

NoComet Fri 27-Sep-13 21:06:33

Nope, as other say dishwasher tablets often warrant a calculator as does squash, washing liquid and other things that come in different pack sizes and volumes.

My metal maths is ok, but a calculator is quicker.

2kidsintow Fri 27-Sep-13 21:20:31

Anyone else vaguely remember when the Tesco (I think) trolleys had a little calculator built into the handle area? That was good.

Bet they broke rather quickly when left outside in the rain, though.

AnnaRack Fri 27-Sep-13 21:21:41

vivacia and missstrawberry it's a simple enough calculation in itself but my brain somehow goes to mush in a busy supermarket with kids in tow! And often there are 3 or 4 similar products in different sized packets which makes it hard to compare prices per unit or per 100g grammes. And the larger packets arent always cheaper, sometimes they are more expensive (per unit/gramme that is).
Using my phone calculator would really help, but i would need to do it every time as prices fluctuate, special offers come and go etc.

Pixel Fri 27-Sep-13 21:28:31

Perhaps people are staring because they think you are from a rival supermarket checking up on prices so you can have a sign saying "cheaper than x and y" grin.

Donkeyok Fri 27-Sep-13 21:34:42

I need to do this too.

SunshineMMum Fri 27-Sep-13 22:32:28

I have done this in the past, I cannot hold number in my head at all.

I take my tablet with a spread sheet consisting of shopping list, quantity, price, 'good price, buy lots', and the broken down cost I.e.£/100g. I update it as I go along .

I also use the fruit scales if they have an offer but mismatch the price breakdown I.e. unit price on one and per 100g on the other.

I am completely immune to the hmm looks. I don't care, I save money and don't get conned by the supermarkets.

Vivacia Sat 28-Sep-13 00:05:37

AnnaRack for the cheese example you gave, what would you put in to the calculator?

cumfy Sat 28-Sep-13 00:14:23

Aren't all the prices per kilo displayed now ?

MrsMook Sat 28-Sep-13 00:34:13

I did it when I started uni and didn't have much idea about how much my shopping was going to be.

Ahh, the good old days when prices stayed the same for more than a week grin

Morloth Sat 28-Sep-13 00:48:26

I round up as well.

Feels like a discount when you check out.


MousyMouse Sat 28-Sep-13 09:59:52

they schould be but often aren't.

Meglet Sat 28-Sep-13 10:07:01

Yanbu. I use my phone calculator when I'm down to my last £6.43p and have to spend every penny wisely.

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