Inflation has hit its highest rate in more than 20 years and consumers are feeling it at the supermarket checkout. Here are some handy hints for beating the price rises and saving on your grocery shop.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed the nation’s annual inflation rate hit 5.1 per cent in the March quarter, a rate not seen since the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) in 2000.
It confirmed what most of us already knew – that prices are surging across virtually all sectors.
But nowhere is the price pain being felt as widely as at the supermarket. Regardless of what you’re buying, your weekly shop is going to cost you more.
A survey conducted by financial broker Savvy shows that 62 per cent of respondents are concerned about increases in the cost of food and groceries and 56 per cent plan to switch to cheaper brands.
Most worryingly, 48 per cent of respondents said they will simply “buy less” food.
Rather than deprive yourself of nutrition and household essentials, here are some tips for slashing your supermarket bill.
Plan your meals and make a list
Probably the biggest cost-saver at the supermarket is making a comprehensive meal plan for the week, and then creating a shopping list based off that.
Try to think of meals that use similar ingredients as this will allow you to buy the item in a larger quantity, reducing the price per unit.
More important than making a list is sticking to it once you get to the shops. Checking your pantry for items you may already have can reduce the chances of impulse buying.
Split shopping between supermarkets
Choice of supermarkets is somewhat limited in Australia, but it’s still important not to become wedded to one particular chain or store over another.
Splitting your shopping between stores helps you take advantage of the best deals in each. This does require some preplanning, so sign up for online alerts from supermarkets near you to keep on top of the latest deals.
Additionally, buying fresh produce from local markets, butchers or fruit and vegetable shops can often be much cheaper than at the major chains.
Reduce meat consumption
Meat was already one of the most expensive items on a lot of shopping lists and the recent inflation figures show meat prices have risen 4.8 per cent in the past three months.
Reducing the amount of meat you eat every week can drastically reduce your grocery bill. You don’t have to become a vegan or vegetarian, but even going meat-free for one day can have a noticeable effect.
It’s also better for your health and increases your vegetable intake. Each time you take meat off, and add more vegies to, your list you’re saving money and eating healthier at the same time.
Savvy PR and communications manager Adrian Edlington says finding cheaper alternatives to your preferred brands is a good way of cutting costs, particularly for products where the difference in quality will be hard to notice.
“For things like sugar and flour, I think your homebrand options are certainly best,” he says.
We all have our favourite brands, but for items where you’re not really fussed, looking for cheaper alternatives can save you a heap each week.
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