How to save on grocery shopping

Top savings tips for supermarket shoppers.

1 February 2016: Going to the supermarket is often a costly experience, especially if you have a family to provide for. There are several tips that can help you save money when you go grocery shopping. Once you save more money, you could decide to invest it or open a savings account.

These four tips will help you get the most out of your supermarket visit:

1. Do your homework and organise yourself

Start planning and developing a meal plan and base your shopping around it. By planning what you are going to buy and eat, you have the potential to save hundreds every year. Having a meal plan will help you to stick to the essentials and necessities. You won’t need to worry about wasting money on impulse buys since you have a clear cut meal plan.

Being loyal isn't always the best thing (when shopping in supermarket). Go with the chains that have the best value and most competitive price. For some, that may mean the local grocer or it could mean the supermarket a bit further away. Some local shops have special deals that you can’t find in supermarkets. So shop around and see what stores offer the best deals.

2. Don’t buy brands. Buy from private labels

In most supermarkets, they have multiple brands and companies all offering the exact same product. Even though well-known brands cost more, people often choose them over private labels because of brand loyalty. For example, Bega cheese and Coles cheese both come from the same place. Cows only have one method for making milk. So Bega and Coles’ cheese both have the same origin, so why would you pay more a brand name?

The brand may be different but the product is very similar, if not, the exact same. Most private label products are made by the same people behind the well-known brands.

3. Be careful when buying in bulk

Magazines and catalogues make finding bargains very easy. Many products like tomato sauce have sell by dates years away and are regularly discounted.

Although there are many perks when buying in bulk, there are a few precautions that you should take. Bulk buying perishable items is something to avoid. Buying lots of meat or fruit, for example, will not help you save money since they go off fairly quickly.

Only buy what you need. If you are bulk buying wine, don’t be tempted by other special offers that are unnecessary. If it’s not on your list, don’t buy it.

4. Look out for wrong pricing

There are plenty of examples where people are spending more than they should. Supermarkets sometimes charge a higher price for pre-packaged items in comparison to you doing it yourself. Sometimes there is less when packages are pre-packed.

Be savvy. Learn the secrets of the trade and concentrate on buying the products with the best value. So learn to spend more on the quality not quantity of the food. Most supermarkets dictate the level of food one should eat. However, buying a whole chicken, for example, instead of chicken parts sold separately is cheaper. If you buy beef or steak, the economy cuts have just as much protein as the premium cuts but with more fat. Although you have to cut the fat off, the price is much cheaper for an economy cut.

By saving the extra money on your supermarket visits, you can invest that money into shares or put it in a savings account and keep it for a rainy day.

Shirley Liu

Shirley Liu is a program manager at finder, formerly the publisher for Banking and Investments. She is passionate about helping people make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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