Affording the weekly grocery shop is an essential element of every Australian household budget. There are heaps of different supermarkets spread across the country, with IGA topping the list at more than 1400 stores across Australia, followed by Woolworths with 995 stores, Coles with 800, and ALDI with 570.* Whatever your supermarket of choice is, we’re sure you regularly spend plenty of your hard earned money with them.
So that’s why we’ve prepared these expert tips to help you shop like a pro and reduce your spending at the supermarket.
Create a meal plan
First of all, create a weekly meal plan before heading off to do your shopping at the supermarket. List down what you want to make for lunch and dinner for the entire week. Having a list handy when you do your grocery shopping helps you avoid buying things you don’t need. Check what items are on sale at the nearest supermarket to help you decide what meals to prepare.
Check your current stock
There’s one more thing you should do before heading out, and that’s to do a quick check of your current stock in the fridge and pantry. That way, you can avoid buying what you already have, and it’s a good reminder of anything that is getting close to its use by date that needs to be used up. So put your thinking cap on and decide on some recipes for the stuff that’s starting to wilt away in the back of the fridge – that’s a guaranteed way to spend less!
Shop at your local markets
There’s really no getting away from the big supermarkets, but you can save heaps of money by shopping at your local markets. Fresh fruit and vegies are always in season and you can usually pick them up for a lot less than you’ll pay at the shopping centre. And as an added bonus, you know they haven’t been sitting in a cool store for months before you bring them home.
Check out the top and bottom shelves
Shelf placement is an important strategic planning activity for the big supermarkets, and you’ll find the items they want to promote are usually sitting at eye level so they’re easy for you to spot and buy. While often these may represent some good savings, don’t forget to check the higher and lower shelves as these usually have the plain package versions that are still way cheaper than the big brands being promoted.
Check the rewards program
The rewards may seem a long time coming but those Everyday Rewards (Woolworths) and Flybuys (Coles) do add up and it only takes a moment to scan your card. Both cards give you 1 point for every dollar you spend, and 2,000 points will earn you $10 off your grocery bills. They both have regular boosters on offer too - so keep your eyes peeled for those and take advantage of them (but only if it’s for something that you actually need).
When you shop alone you can be pretty single-minded about what goes into your trolley (after all, you’ve got your list and when you’re by yourself it’s easy to stick to it). But with the kids or your significant other in tow, things can get out of hand pretty quickly. Don’t let yourself be pressured into buying something you don’t really need – go solo and stay in control.
Avoid ready-made foods
While it’s absolutely convenient to buy foods that someone else prepared, so all you have to do is pop them in a microwave, it’s usually an expensive way to shop. A pro shopper who wants to reduce their spending at the supermarket will avoid the costly ready-made goods and make their own meals from scratch. Not only are they cheaper, they are also much healthier.
Limit the quantities of perishable goods
Items like fruits and vegetables are easily perishable, so buy only the quantities you need and can consume in a short time. Spoiled food that ends up in the rubbish bin is not a joke - it’s a huge waste of money, so stick with smaller quantities or buy frozen.
Our two cents worth
It’s super easy to spend more money in the supermarket than we need to, and we hope these tips will help you reduce your spend the next time you go food shopping.
We also know that with everyday prices skyrocketing, managing the family expenses can be a real challenge - but we’re here to help. Just take a look at our cash loans from $500 - $5,000 to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, the cash is usually in your bank account within a few hours – so you can relax a little from the money worries.
* Source: Google search.