It sounds obvious, yet many of us get busy or distracted and neglect to set a strict budget before hitting the supermarket. Allocating a weekly or monthly allowance for groceries is the first step to steering clear of unnecessary purchases and saving cold hard cash.
Suss out weekly deals and specials online before you head in store. Then base meal plans around produce that’s on special, rather than deciding on a meal and buying the ingredients regardless of cost. Apps are also a great tool. The ALDI mobile app allows you to save items to a shopping list and create reminders – both very useful after a long day (or week!).
It’s often more cost effective to buy your groceries in bigger pack sizes. They generally have a lower unit price (more on this later) than smaller packs. If you use a product often or it’s non-perishable like, say, toilet paper, buy a bigger size to save money in the long run.
If you’re trying to save money, stick to the outer aisles. Typically that’s where everyday essentials are kept, whilst treats and other impulse-type purchases are in placed the middle aisles. So, if you don’t trust your willpower around the biscuits, avoid the aisle altogether.
The RRP is always the largest thing on the label, but savvy shoppers zone in on the smaller unit pricing: the price per kg or 100g, for example. Always go with the cheapest price per unit, not just the cheapest RRP, to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.
Try to avoid shopping on an empty stomach. When you’re hungry, anything and everything looks good – regardless of how much it costs. Shop when you’re full up and satisfied and you’re less likely to end up with a trolley full of random products that you don’t really need.
The big appeal with pre-prepped food like grated cheese, chopped veggies and diced meat is that it saves you time. But it also costs you more because effectively you’re paying someone else to do your job! A nice idea, but one that’s going to add up in the long run.
Some supermarkets charge for plastic bags as an eco-initiative to reduce plastic waste so get into the habit of taking a BYO bag or box. Just think: it’s good for the environment and your economy.
Ask supermarket staff to point you in the direction of their discounted area as soon as you arrive. You’ll often find slightly damaged goods (like dented cans) that have been marked down. If you can, switch to late-night grocery runs. Most supermarkets discount fresh produce or products that are close to their use-by date at the end of the day.
Go grocery shopping on your own. You’re less likely to be swayed into a purchase when you’re flying solo and it’s easier to stick to a strict list without the kids. Those grapes and crackers might keep them quiet for five minutes, but distraction purchases soon add up!
Before you leave the supermarket, glance over your receipt. If you notice anything wrong, speak to a member of staff because, according to the Australian Retailers Association code of practice, if an item scans up wrong, you get it for free. Conditions apply.