Supermarket tip that could save you thousands each year

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While purchasing generic branded products over more expensive brands or buying in bulk may save you money each week, there is an interesting way to shave thousands more off your grocery bill each year.

Buying cheaper brands is, as savings guru AJ Wilson puts it, “a good strategy, but it’s not a great strategy.”

He says that while it’s a good way to save money, it doesn’t challenge your budget, and  challenging your budget is where you can save even more money in the long.

Instead of buying cheaper brands each week, he takes a different tack by focusing on specials and price-reduced items.

This means that he may go to the supermarket with a shopping list but will change the list to take advantage of cheaper items.

“My old strategy would see me visiting the grocery store to buy the ingredients for spaghetti bolognaise; a key staple in our household and very cheap to make,” writes Alex.

“Instead of grabbing the cheapest mince, the cheapest sauce and the cheapest $1 pasta – I would first check whether there were any specials that would see me completely change my purchases. For instance, chicken was dramatically cheaper than beef due to markdowns, thus I scrapped my intent to cook bolognaise and instead focused on a dish that uses chicken.”

Mr Wilson also suggests that shopping later in the day dramatically improves your prospects of seeing marked down items.

Along with this strategy, he recommends choosing generic cleaning agents, buying seasonal fruit and limited-edition versions of products that are no longer sold.

Adopters of this strategy may also have to try products they’ve never tried before and may also be forced into trying new recipes based on cheaper ingredients.

This method will see your weekly grocery bill vary, mostly in a downward direction and you can use the extra money to help pay bills, put more into super or savings or even treat yourself a little.

How often do you shop for specials? Would you adopt this strategy? Or do you have one of your own?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 16
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  3. 0

    We check the Junk mail each week, it gets recycled anyway so no problem having it delivered.
    However, supermarkets also provide their weekly specials in the junk mail so we can make decisions about what to purchase and where to prior to heading off to the shops. As easy as!

  4. 0

    Good old LEON, teaching granny (and granpa) to suck eggs again!

  5. 0

    Sure, buy cheap milk, foreign produce and old food at reduced prices – stuff our dairy industry, Australian produces and supermarkets who deliver quality products!
    Do you know why our farmers are in so much trouble?
    Its because we haven’t paid them their worth and they haven’t the money to drought proof their farms. Do you know why our fisheries, our canned fruit industries have closed down?
    Because city people buy cheap, old second rate products packaged in plastic and we don’t care about how its that cheap or where its from.

    • 0

      Not me….I’d rather pay a few cents extra for Australian produce,

    • 0

      I agree with you, Rosret. I check the ‘product of…’ on everything I buy. I don’t buy a lot from supermarkets as I’m vegetarian and get the majority of my eats from local farmers’ markets, but even with non food items I try to buy Australian.

    • 0

      Spot on Rosret. We’re on the DSP so money’s always tight but I will NOT purchase foreign foods, even if it means we go without.
      If more Aussies (of all persuasions) supported OUR farmers, we’d all be better off. But it won’t happen. People don’t think when they’ve found a “bargain”.

    • 0

      Some fisheries are processing fish off-shore and have their trawlers registered off-shore as they don’t meet Aust. maritime standards. one large company lost workers at sea a few years ago. The trawlers was supposed to have had maintenance work done on it before it left shore off W.A. shore.

    • 0

      Old stock at reduced prices. That has been happening for at least 40 years that I know of. “Best By” dates are a guide only. Some charities will not accept low coded or out of date “best before” items at all. Others will go to supermarkets/warehouses and collect them. These items usually have prominent stickers on them.

      Also, what a lot of people fail to realise is that generic brands such as Coles, Homebrand, Kirkland, Black & Gold, IGA + some others are ALL made by major manufacturers or growers and put in the various brand labelled packaging. They are not made by Coles, Woolworths etc.

      I worked in the grocery distribution sector for 40 years so I have some knowledge of the systems.

  6. 0

    The specials aren’t that big to save thousands of dollars per year. If you live in a country town those specials are often less price-wise. I noticed last week-end a Coles “somewhere” was off the air due to a technical glitch with their cash registers. Lo and behold right in the front of the store was a Cauliflower special – $1.72 per cauli. Eighteen years living in a country town I have never seen a cauli that cheap. The cheapest I’ve ever seen is $3.00.
    Fruit and vegetables and fresh meat/chicken/fish etc. is so expensive, but its my staple diet. Every year my grocery/supermarket bill increases. Prices are down down down certainly doesn’t apply to the fresh food section.

    • 0

      Not as cheap as it sounds,MITZY. Those cauliflowers are called lost leaders. The supermarket knows that if it can entice you in you won’t only buy that one item you’ll wander round and end up with a lot more in your basket than one rather jaded cauliflower. A win for the supermarket and a weight loss for your purse.

  7. 0

    Stop giving away the secrets Leon.

  8. 0

    I personally avoid buying so called ‘generic’ brands unless I have no choice. I always check origin, I always favour Australian or NZ products and products from certain countries I will not purchase under any circumstances. Fortunately we eat mainly fresh food but it is disappointing to find even some fresh produce is imported. I also used to buy ‘bake at home’ rolls from Woolies but no more as they are manufactured in France, I am sure there are bakeries in Australia who could supply a similar product.

  9. 0

    I do agree with AJ Wilson – and do adopt this occasionally. As regards shopping later in the day – had to do this when we were working as this
    as the only time we had – so yes we got many cheaper purchases then,
    ironically – when we had more money. Goigf that late in the day not so
    good when you are Pensioners and especially in Winter – and the roads are busier at that time.

  10. 0

    We need to support Australian growers, farmers, producers and manufacturers. I am so glad they have brought in the new labelling to show the percentage of what is Australian. I go for 100%. There is a website called where you can find out where your favourite products are made and who owns the companies, or you can learn about new Australian products to buy. I found out the toilet paper I was using is made in China. Also there is where you can buy straight from farmers and producers. There are many options to save money buy not spending it elsewhere. I prefer to go without my favourite magazine or a haircut so I can eat healthy Australian fresh food. So much packaged food is coming in from all over the world which is not good for our economy only good for the profits of importers and sellers. I also buy in bulk for dry goods direct from growers, ie; I just bought spelt flour from Tasmania.



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