Making Your $ Go Further – Supermarket Shopping

What you pay at the register seems to increase every time your visit the supermarket. Organize your supermarket shop around what you need, what’s on sale and where’s best to go.

  • If you’re only doing a little shop, pick a small supermarket. You may pay a fraction more, but if you’re only after a few bits you’ll be less tempted to buy extras you don’t really need at a small basic supermarket.
  • If you’re buying in bulk, go large. If you’ve a tribe to feed, you’re having a party or you’re a pro at freezer meals, buy what you can in bulk from the supermarkets when it’s on sale.
  • Watch out for sell-by dates. Late in the day, produce that’s about to go past its sell-by date (not the use-by date) gets marked down. Have a look in the bakery section and you could save yourself a good few dollars, but remember it’s only a bargain if you can use the food up straight away!
  • Always make a list. Buy what you need to make the meals you’ve planned and to restock your cupboards, not just at whim. Plan a few days ahead and pop back in for extras rather than buy food you end up throwing away.
  • Shop around. You can save a lot at bargain basement supermarkets, even if you buy certain items elsewhere. It’s a jungle out there, so the golden rule is try everything once. Decide where you’d rather spend your hard-earned cash on quality items and where you can get hold of the same quality for less.
  • Don’t be fooled by swish packaging and ignore your own prejudices. The supermarket’s own brand products can also be just as good as the pricey big brands and save you dollars, so road test them. Try out the different supermarket brands as well: once you’ve got the packaging off, it may be you can’t tell the difference between the glossy premium brand and the smiley budget brand…and you don’t need a degree in marketing to figure out which one the supermarket wants you to buy!
  • Items like flour, rice, pasta, noodles, tomato sauce, milk, cream, paper towel are all great examples of home brand items that you don’t know the difference with. In fact, if you read the labels on some of them, they are probably made in the same factory.
  • Compare the price per 100g only. The supermarkets are starting to show this on the price tickets. It’s the best measure for price comparison. Don’t forget – just cause the small box is on special, doesn’t mean the big box isn’t cheaper at the regular price.
  • Don’t be a slave to supermarket gimmicks. There’s a reason why the chocolate and magazines are placed by the register, the children’s sweets are placed at their eye (and hand) level, and you have to spend hours cruising the aisles to find the few little bits you popped in for (you never find the bread, milk and eggs together in the first aisle). Another trick: take a closer look and you’ll see that the most expensive products are tactically placed on the middle shelf, at your eye level. Look up and down for the lower prices.
  • Special offers, reductions, and other promotions can be false economics. Especially if the supermarket puts the price up just before reducing it, to con you into thinking you’re saving more. If the reduced item is on your shopping list, it’s in the bag. If not, look at the price per kilo, check how much you’re actually saving and only buy it if you’re sure you’ll actually use it.
  • Shop on a full stomach. The smell of fresh bread from the bakery or the BBQ chicken’s from the deli is wafted over to entice you as soon as you walk in. If you’re full, you’re more likely to stick to what you need rather than filling your trolley with pricey, processed cakes, biscuits and chocolate.
  • If you only need a few things, don’t get a trolley; get a basket. You are more likely to grab extra things you don’t need if you have a trolley.
  • Get a loyalty card. Don’t tie yourself down to one supermarket just because you can earn points there, but by all means get loyalty cards for all the supermarkets you shop in and save up your points to use at Christmas or earn yourself gifts.