Ten ways to save on grocery shopping

Ten ways to save on grocery shopping

Want to cut the costs of your grocery shopping and actually save money? Here are 10 great ideas for reducing the cost of feeding the family and outsmarting supermarket marketing traps.

Plan before you shop

Planning doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. Paint a kitchen wall with blackboard paint and make keeping a list more fun for the family. Simply take a photo of the shopping list using a smartphone before you head out to the shops, rather than having to write it down.  

Don’t just plan your food list or meals, though. By planning when to visit your supermarket or store could help to slash your bills. Shopping later in the day, for instance, may be when certain items are heavily discounted. If you don’t know the time your local store marks down its good, then ask.

Don’t let it go to waste

Foodwise estimates that Australians waste over $1000 every year on uneaten food, on average, with up to 40 percent of the average kerbside garbage bin being food.

Preserving in times of plenty is one of the most effective guards against waste. Knowing how to make jams, sauces, chutneys and pickles means you’ll never throw away veggies again – or your hard-earned cash. Also consider using up extra fresh food for home-made frozen meals.

Organise your fridge

To keep your refrigerator from becoming the graveyard where celery goes to die, keep stock of what’s on the shelves. When you buy new groceries, borrow a trick from the supermarkets and rotate older items to the front; if you see them, you’re more likely to use them. As items near their use-by date, move them to a “use it up” shelf, so you remember what needs to be eaten soon.

Grow your own

Start a veggie garden – it’s a great entertainment for kids and a big money saver. If you don’t have space in the yard, consider growing a herb garden – you can buy potted herbs for a few dollars, which is a bargain when you consider supermarkets charge upwards of $2 a bunch!

Don’t be lured by supermarket traps

Consumer research shows that we’re vulnerable to subtle – and even not-so-subtle – marketing techniques and impulse buying accounts for a significant proportion of supermarket purchases.

For instance, look to the bottom shelves at the supermarket – chances are that’s where you’ll find the budget-priced goodies.

Also, consider shopping alone. Not only will you get some peace and quiet, you’ll save money (and time) avoiding the kid-pester factor.

Shop clockwise

A report on supermarket tricks, published by Choice and based on US research, found shoppers who worked their way around a store in an anti-clockwise direction will spend, on average, $2 more per trip than clockwise shoppers.

Do your shopping online

Aside from the obvious convenience of grocery shopping from your lounge or desk at work, shopping online can also be a money saver. By shopping virtually, you’re able to sort products by price and see a running total of your shopping trolley. You’re more likely to stick to buying what you need, not what you’re tempted to buy like when you’re in the store.

If delivery times and costs turn you off shopping online, consider ordering online and collecting from the store at a time that is convenient.

Leave the credit card at home

Paying with cash or using a debit card, rather than paying on credit, is another good way to help you stick to your grocery budget because you’ll be less tempted to spend on things that you don’t need at the supermarket.

Also do your homework on rewards cards – rather than using the rewards points on merchandise, consider swapping points for supermarket vouchers. But bear in mind that credit card rewards aren’t for everyone – one report shows that you’d have to spend $170 a week at one of the major supermarkets for a year to earn a $50 gift card. The same is true for most credit card rewards – most shoppers would be better off using a low-rate credit card (if they pay interest), with no annual fee, rather than a rewards card. Compare credit cards to see which option is suitable for you.

Shop around

Spending $100 on groceries at one store may be as little as $70 at another. If you can, shop around for the best deals and know what things cost – that way you can tell if something really is a bargain.

Buy direct and save

As cook and television presenter Maggie Beer says: “think local and think seasonal” when shopping. Using local farmer’s markets is one of the best ways to not only ensure low food miles, but also fresher food options.

If you can’t get to the markets every other week, consider joining a co-operative of shoppers and share the responsibility.

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Learn more about savings accounts

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.

Can you set up direct debits from a savings account?

It’s not usually possible to set up a direct debit from your savings account to cover ongoing expenses or bills, as savings accounts are structured around growing your wealth by earning interest on regular deposits, and discouraging withdrawals.

Some transaction accounts allow you to set up direct debits and also earn interest, though you may not enjoy as much flexibility as a dedicated transaction account, or get as high an interest rate as a dedicated savings account.

How can I get a $4000 loan approved?

While personal loans and medium amount loans don’t offer guaranteed approval, there are steps you can take to help increase the likelihood of your application being approved, including:

  • Fulfilling the eligibility criteria (providing ID, proof of residency, proof of income etc.)
  • Checking your credit history (you can order one free copy of your credit file per year, and make sure that there aren’t any errors that may be bringing down your credit score)
  • Comparing carefully before applying (making multiple loan applications can mean having your credit checked multiple times, which can look bad to some lenders and reduce your chances of being approved by them)

How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

Children’s savings accounts generally don’t have fees, and are structured to help develop positive financial habits by limiting withdrawals, encouraging regular deposits, and earning interest on the savings, similarly to standard savings accounts.

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

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