The biggest cost we face involves putting a roof over our head, with housing – rent or mortgage – accounting for 18 percent of our weekly spend.
But a recent Trolley Trends report by Woolworths found groceries run a close second, with food and non-alcoholic drinks accounting for the second largest share of our wallet at 17 percent.
Not surprisingly that makes supermarkets big business, and the major chains leave nothing to chance when it comes to getting consumers to open their wallets. But a few simple strategies could see you pocket valuable savings on weekly groceries.
Shop on quieter days
According to the report, Sunday is becoming the new Saturday for supermarket shopping, with 18 percent of Australians making Sunday their primary shopping day. However, this can be one of the most expensive days to fill your pantry.
Nicola Field, author of Baby or Bust said, “Many supermarkets stock up late in the week in anticipation of the weekend shopping rush. That means Mondays and Tuesdays are often mark down days when perishables like meat can be purchased at generous discounts – stock up your freezer and save.”
Wait until late in the day
Field also believes that daily discounts are available to shoppers who delay visiting the supermarket until late in the afternoon. She explains, “Late afternoon and early evening are great times to shop when items that are produced daily like bakery goods or prepared salads are often heavily reduced.”
Stack up the savings with generics
A $1 loaf of home brand bread versus around $3 for a branded product? It’s a no-brainer that no-frills means big savings – and not just on price. For basics like sugar and you probably won’t even pick the difference. A 2013 survey of milk by consumer group Choice found consumers are not sacrificing drinking taste when choosing supermarket brand milk.
Cast your eye
There’s nothing random about product placement on supermarket shelves. The most expensive items are often located at eye level because marketing experts know we tend to reach for what’s in front of us. Cast your eye to the top and bottom shelves and you’ll often find a budget priced product.
Use unit pricing
Unit pricing was introduced in Australia in 2010 and it’s a shopper’s best friend letting you compare value even when similar products are packed in different weights or volumes. You’ll find the unit pricing details displayed on shelves, and they provide an on-the-spot answer to which product offers best value.
Put your savings to work
Small savings at the supermarket checkout can translate to big long term gains, if you put your money to work. Adding extra savings to your home loan, for instance, can go a long way to reducing the amount of interest charged. RateCity’s home loan calculator shows that paying an extra $50 per month towards a $300,000 home loan at the current average variable rate could reduce the interest bill by more than $15,000 over 25 years.