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How to Save More Money at the Supermarket

Updated on January 18, 2013


As someone who has just gotten her own mortgage, I’ve started to become more aware of the need to be frugal in the current economic climate. I will be writing a series of hubs on how you can save money in your everyday lives. This first hub looks at saving money at the supermarket.

Some Ideas...

1. Buy in Bulk

You can save a lot of money buying things in bulk that don't have a use-by date. Unless you have a big family, there's not a lot of point in buying perishable items (e.g. milk) in bulk. However, if you're at the shops and see a non-perishable item on sale (e.g. toilet paper) buy in bulk! Good items to buy in bulk include:

  • paper items (e.g. toilet paper, paper towel, tissues)
  • tinned or frozen food that does not expire for a long time
  • cleaning products (e.g. dishwasher detergents, soap powder, bleach, sponges)
  • dried pasta products
  • nappies/diapers/feminine hygiene products
  • personal hygiene products (e.g. toothbrushes, razors)
  • meat (as long as you have enough freezer space!)

2. DON'T Buy in Bulk

I know this sounds like a complete contradiction considering my last point, however let me explain. Sometimes it is cheaper to NOT buy in bulk. Today, for example, I was buying tampons. I looked at the prices. A pack of 40 of one brand worked out to be 19c per tampon. A pack of 16 of the exact same brand worked out to be 18c per tampon. Make sure you check the prices carefully at all times.

Also, don't buy perishable items in bulk, unless you have a lot of mouths to feed. It may be cheaper (per item) to buy a tray of mangoes compared to a single mango, for example, but if you live on your own, chances are you'll end of throwing most of them out. If you have a lot of friends who love mangoes however, and you're organised enough to do this, buy a whole tray but split the price, and the mangoes, between all of the members of the group.

3. Buy Home Brand Staples

There's no denying that Home Brand (e.g. No Frills, You'll Love Coles [in Australia], etc.) items are cheaper than the most popular brands. There are some people, however, who claim that some of their favourite foods just don't taste the same when they buy the Home Brand. The good news, however, is that you don't need to buy Home Brand for all of your groceries to make savings. Unless you're a gourmet chef, for example, you don't need the most expensive brand of flour and sugar. The Home Brand will suffice. In my opinion, tomato sauce tastes the same regardless of the brand, for example. You may disagree, but if you buy even just a few Home Brand items the savings will all add up. Good Home Brand items to purchase include:

  • Cooking ingredients (e.g. flour, sugar, salt, pepper, spices)
  • Milk
  • Paper products (e.g. toilet paper, tissues, paper towel)
  • Pasta products
  • Anything else where you personally do not notice a difference in taste/quality

4. Look up. Look down

The people who run supermarkets can be quite sneaky. The items places on shelves at eye level are the ones they want you to buy. If you look a bit higher, or a bit lower, chances are you'll find the same items, but cheaper.

5. Plan your meals ahead, make a list, AND STICK TO IT!!!

If you walk into a supermarket with no plan as to what you are going to purchase, chances are you'll walk out with a bunch of things you don't need, and will end up throwing out. At the beginning (or end) of the week, plan your meals for the next seven days. Work out what ingredients you will need, and write them down. Add to your list any other items you may need, e.g. toilet paper, detergent, etc.

When you walk into the shop only buy the items on your list. Resist the temptation to buy items you don't really need (e.g. ten block of chocolate!) just because they look nice on the shelves and you feel like you simply HAVE to have them.


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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      useful tips. I do buy things in bulk, those that don't expire. Food, i buy only when in need and yes, look up and down for cheaper items are wonderful ways to cut down cost. Voted useful

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 5 years ago from Southern Spain

      I save money by not planning my meals ahead sometimes as I buy what is on special rather than stick to what I had been thinking of buying ! Some good ideas here . I saw you in the answers section so came over to have a look at what you write !