Grocery items you should never buy full price

Supermarket specials

We’re all watching our budgets at the moment, but one good tactic to minimise the pain is to chase supermarket specials. And there are some grocery lines that go on special so often you should never pay full price.

Here’s a basic rundown.

Morning Fresh. I love this product – lots of bubbles, good cleaning factor and it’s so often slashed to half price or near half price you could buy it every other month. I’m finding the larger size is less likely to be half price these days, but the smaller versions are very often discounted. They come in more interesting fragrances too.

Clothes washing powder. There is always one brand on sale. This is not a coincidence. The vast majority of well-known brands are owned by just a handful of companies, so they negotiate special prices over a set period to always have something on sale. Even better, Aldi is almost always cheaper on cleaning products with no loss of quality.

Toilet paper. Same as the above, there is always a brand on sale. Unless you are in a worldwide pandemic and then it’s every panic-buying idiot to themselves.

Chips. My goodness chips have escalated in price. Thankfully, you can usually find a brand with at least a bit off. It helps if you don’t buy them every week. That’s hard for me.

Coke. I don’t want to recommend this sticky drink on health grounds, but the truth is it is one of Australia’s best-selling grocery lines. That and dog food – make of that what you will. Anyway, Coke and Pepsi bring out so many versions it’s now possible to buy at least one of them on special every week if you’re not too fussy.

Mayonnaise. Used to be you could only buy one brand and that brand was Praise. Now there is a variety available and usually one on special every week. Even if it’s not on special for one week, you aren’t going to need a tub every week, are you? Please say you aren’t.

Ice cream. Supermarkets like to spread their specials over every department, so don’t worry, there will be a sweet, frozen treat on a stick or in a tub at a good price out there for you every week.

Bonds underwear. Both the big two chains have half-price specials on Bonds every couple of months or so. Definitely in the ‘nuthin fancy’ end of the scale as far as underwear goes, but does the trick.

Festive chocolates. Do not pay full price for Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day chocolates. There will be a shelf end full of half-price specials, sometimes better than half price. See the IGA listing below.

This week’s best deals

IGA

Sensible: Don Pan Size Rindless Bacon, 250g, $6.55. I will never understand people who make a fancy Christmas Day breakfast. Haven’t you got enough to do? Bacon and eggs are about as far as I get. Take it or leave it.

Indulgence: Cadbury Favourites or Lindt Lindor Gift Box, $11, save $13.50. IGA has disappointed me this festive season. Usually they have a special in the festive guide that has nothing at all to do with the season – think socks in the Easter catalogue. However, this ripper special makes up for it.

See the catalogue here.

Aldi

Sensible: Speciality Selected Triple Smoked Half Leg Ham, $13.99/kg. Okay, it’s now time to buy your Christmas ham. This is not the cheapest ham going about but CHOICE voted it third in its taste testing of supermarket hams. Still cheaper than buying those dinky packaged servings or from the deli, if Aldi had delis, which they don’t. So you can’t.

Indulgence: Collezione Oro Prosecco DOC Rose, $13.99. I love that it’s hard to find an expensive bottle of wine at Aldi. This stuff is the bees knees if you want some cheery bubbles for Christmas but don’t want to pay too much. Who knows what you are drinking after the first bottle anyway?

See the catalogue here.

Coles

Sensible: Obela Hommus Dips, two for $8. I’ve discovered this great thing called loaded hommus, which is just a big plate of hummus covered in all manner of delicious things such as feta, tomatoes, olives, chickpeas, pine nuts, dukkah and herbs. It’s so easy and everyone goes nuts for it. This two-for-$8 should sort that out. Christmas snacky snacks sorted.

Indulgence: KB’s Thawed West Australian Whole Cooked Lobster, $24 each. We had great supermarket quality rock lobsters in supermarkets there for a while when the Chinese stopped buying our seafood, but things have slid back a bit. At this price it would be okay as part of a salad, but I wouldn’t buy it for a main.

See the catalogue here.

Woolworths

Sensible: Half-price Bonds socks and underwear. There comes a time in every man’s life when Christmas means socks and jocks. Nay, Christmas requires socks and jocks. If you have left it until the last minute, Woolworths is here for you. I’m not keen on Bonds’ quality these days, but desperation sometimes trumps standards. I could put that on a family crest.

Indulgence: Woolworths Large Pavlova Base, $6, down from $9.20. Somewhere Australian Christmas morphed from an entirely pudding-based dessert to something less onerous in the cooking department and I’m here for it. Slash that cooking load by buying a pav base. Like most desserts, load enough cream on it and no-one notices what’s underneath anyway.

See the catalogue here.

Do you make a point of stocking up when items are on special? What’s your favourite shopping tip? Why not share it in the comments section below?

Also read: Grocery price guile gets most of us in

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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