Here are YMM's hints for making dazzling savings the next time you grab groceries.
1. Master the layout
The layout of any supermarket is cleverly designed to maximise your spend, although you can be a smarter shopper when you take note of these techniques. For example, marketers will pay to have their more expensive, well-known branded products placed on a shelf that meets your eye-level. If you look a few shelves below, you’re bound to find a cheaper brand.
Keep in mind that items like bright stationery, confectionery and toys are placed together at the kids’ eye-level, so you may want to avoid passing those shelves if you’re shopping with the little ones.
Magazines, 600mL soft drink bottles, and individual lollies are always placed near the checkout to give customers waiting in line plenty of time to be tempted by these items. These products tend to have the worst value. So if you’re really keen for that Cherry Ripe, you’re better off going back into the confectionery aisle and buying a bag of 12, which is normally cheaper.
2. Don’t drift from your list
Each week, write your shopping list before you leave home. Keep looking back at the list as you push your trolley, if that’s what it takes to avoid compulsive purchases. Sticking strictly to the list will cut your time wandering aimlessly through the aisles.
3. Don’t fall for the premium brands
A smart consumer is one that won’t pay for a product that’s three times more expensive - yet tastes almost identical – to a generic brand. If you want the generic brand product to have pretty packaging, then it’s best to shop at ALDI.
4. Eat before you shop
Shopping on an empty stomach is guaranteed to produce bad decisions, such as buying an over-priced doughnut from the bakery department or a king-size packet of chips. Having brekky or lunch before any shopping trip will give you a clearer mind and greater self-discipline to steer clear from compulsive (and often unhealthy) buys.
5. Set your menu beforehand
Before you write your shopping list, plan a dinner menu for the next week. By doing this, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you need to shop for and avoid excessive spending. The forward planning will also reduce the number of trips you make to the supermarket.
6. Compare prices online
With more businesses entering the Australian grocery market, it’s critical to regularly compare prices and keep abreast of the different sales at the supermarkets. Coles, ALDI and Woolworths still mail out catalogues, but you may have to go online to find prices for Costco, IGA and other lesser-known supermarkets.
7. Shop from home
If you’re unable to make it to a store and don’t trust anyone in your family to buy the right brand of linguine pasta, you might want to consider online shopping. More supermarkets are now offering online shopping and home delivery services. Woolworths Homeshop, for example, involves staff literally running around the store with a print-out of your shopping list, putting together your items.
8. Put your customer loyalty to good use
Do you stick with one supermarket for all your grocery needs? If so, check to see if there are any customer loyalty or discount cards you can use. A Flybuys card for Coles enthusiasts or an Everyday Rewards card for Woolworths fans can allow your grocery spending to give you discounts or entitle you to a range of products. Or you can simply register for both cards, since neither cards charge joining fees.
9. Collect coupons
If you want a site that publishes the latest deals across Aussie supermarkets, then check out OzBargain, Deals Guide and Shop A Docket. Just be sure to read the terms and conditions, and check for any expiry dates.
10. Hunt down deals and discounts
In addition to collecting coupons, keep an eye out for specials, buy-one-get-one-free deals and reduced for quick sale when you’re at the store. You can negotiate prices with the staff for a slightly dented tin or shampoo with a torn label.
-- By Stephanie Hanna
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