Nine smart ways to save money at the supermarket

Like to shave dollars off your grocery bill without compromising on taste and quality? Here are some great tips to make your food budget go further…

Beware of ‘supermarket tricks’

Have you ever gone on a quick trip to the grocery store for some basic essentials, and travelled back with all sorts of goodies? You may have fallen into a supermarket trap.

We don’t blame you. Being surrounded by a maze of signs vying for your attention doesn’t make budgeting any easier. Plus, supermarkets place items strategically – it’s no secret. For example, you’ll often find better-value products above or below eye-level, and staples like milk and butter at different ends of the shop.

These are all subliminal messages and well-known ways to ‘trick’ you into buying more or purchasing different items than you want.

Don’t go too often or for too long

Studies on consumer behaviour found that the more often we shop, the more we tend to spend on unplanned purchases. And of course, the more time we spend in a store, the more money we spend. So try to limit your shopping trips as much as possible, and use a shopping list to ‘stay on budget’.

‘Large’ isn’t always ‘convenient’

On the surface, larger-size products may seem cheaper, but are they really? To be sure, check the unit pricing (per item or per kilogram) on the shelf. You may find out that two 50g boxes are actually more affordable than one 100g pack.

Don’t shop when you’re hungry

Have you noticed it before? If you shop when you’re hungry, chances are that you’ll end up with food that appeals to your appetite rather than fitting your budget – and a lot of it.

Are loyalty cards worth the ‘loyalty’?

Don’t let a loyalty card prevent you from shopping cost-effectively. Sure, everyone likes a ‘freebie’, but are those rewards actually worth the hassle? You might save some precious money now by shopping at a different store.

Unpackaged food costs less

Packaged items are often more expensive, as you also pay for the layers of cardboard or plastic. So there’s a double benefit in buying unpackaged food: for you, and for the environment.

Listen to upbeat music

It may surprise you, but according to research, shoppers who listened to slow music while shopping bought 29 per cent more. Is it time for a new playlist?

The good, the bad and… the ugly

Wonky vegetables and fruit may not look pretty, but they actually pack the same amount of nutrients for a fraction of the price.

Get to know the food prices

Keeping track of special deals can be confusing, so if there are particular products that you buy often, take note of any changes in price. Next time, you’ll be able to identify whether you’re getting a good deal or not.


These are just a few (of many) strategies for spending less at the supermarket.

Now, keeping an essentials’ list in the pantry is a good way to get started. Focus on what you need, rather than what you like. And remember: even small tweaks to your grocery-shopping habits can help you reduce waste and save money in the long turn.

An Adviser Disclosure Statement is available free and upon request.