Want to save money on groceries? Here’s a little secret

‘The cost of living’ is a phrase that’s returned to prominence with a vengeance. The inflation rate is reaching levels not seen for years and the official interest rate has awoken from its decade-long slumber.

And let’s not forget the price of petrol and energy.

Confronted by this avalanche of price rises, any saving tips are most welcome.

One tip is to pay close attention to the labels on supermarket items that are on special. You’re no doubt well aware of the savings that can be made on discounted items, but there’s a bit of extra information on the yellow ‘on special’ labels at major supermarkets that can help you plan for longer-term savings.

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In the bottom right-hand (or left-hand, depending on your supermarket) corner you will see a shortform date, something like ‘07/06’. This refers to the date on which the discount will end. Given you are already at the supermarket when you see this and can take advantage of the special while you’re there, this might seem of little help.

But it can help you in a couple of ways. If you have dropped in to do a ‘little’ shop for an item or two, you can make note of the date the special ends and make sure you do your ‘big’ shop before the discount’s expiry date.

And these dates can help you with longer-term savings, too. In many cases, these items are discounted on a rotational basis, say six weeks. This means you can potentially bulk buy the item in question, putting six weeks’ worth in the pantry before the price drops again.

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Now it’s fair to say that this plan has several prerequisites for success. First, to kick off the plan you might need to spend more than usual to stock up on the items in question. For those on very tight budgets, this can be a real issue. If you can manage to do it, though, there are genuine savings to be had down the track.

Second, you will need to have a space to store larger amounts.

Of course, the success of this plan also requires a certain amount of organisation and record keeping. If the special ends on 7 November, you’ll need to note that date and keep an eye out for when the item is next discounted so you can work out the cycle length.

Read: Why cost-of-living pressures bite pensioners the hardest

There are other little tricks that can help you save on your shopping. For instance, different supermarkets will have an item on special at different times. If you are a regular customer at two different supermarkets, that could help you to shorten your ‘rotation’ cycle, saving pantry space.

Always check that an item on special is cheaper than a larger size of the same product.

Savings are out there to be had, dear shoppers! But to glean the full benefits, you’ll need to do a bit of ‘shopping reconnaissance’. Are you up for the challenge? Share your tips in the comments section below.

Andrew Gigacz
Andrew Gigaczhttps://www.patreon.com/AndrewGigacz
Andrew has developed knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income and government entitlements, as well as issues affecting older Australians moving into or living in retirement. He's an accomplished writer with a passion for health and human stories.
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