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How to save at the supermarket - Canstar Blue

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A recent Canstar Blue survey has revealed that 70% of Kiwis spend over $200 per week on groceries. So, with a shopping bill upwards of $10,400 per year, how do your take the strain off the purse strings when it comes to supermarket shopping?

"You wouldn’t think of buying a big-ticket item like a car or even a TV without shopping around, researching or waiting for the sales, but when it comes to the weekly shop, it feels like most of us are on autopilot." Says Canstar Blue spokesperson Emma Quantrill. "This can lead to spending more than we need to, often on food we end up throwing away."

To help keep the food bills down but the cupboards stocked up, there are a few simple steps that can help:

Plan your meals. Before you head to the supermarket, decide what meals you will make that week. When you have a plan, you will be less likely to spend additional money on fast food or convenience meals and if you fancy something different, there are plenty of recipe ideas online (just avoid the ones with special ingredients that you’ll only use once).

Make a list and stick to it. As well as making a list, if you really want to get more bang for your buck, read the ‘deals of the week’ emails you get bombarded with and see what savings you can make there. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of putting stuff on the list just because it’s discounted and not because you need it.

Avoid the ‘quick visit’. You know the one where you go in for a carton of milk and come out $50 lighter! If you do need milk, take just enough cash with you (no cards) to pay for the milk and then you can’t overspend.

Don’t shop hungry. Studies have proved that shopping when you are hungry means that more will appeal to your appetite and inevitably end up in your basket.

Try to shop alone. Shopping with kids can add to your grocery bill and supermarkets know this. All grocery items that are geared towards kids are placed at eye level and those little hands can be pretty adept at sliding things into the basket or trolley un-noticed. Look for reductions on produce and meats. If you intend to eat the fruit or vegetables the day you buy them, it often works out for the better because they are ripe and ready to eat. Fruit that is marked down is also great for baking, such as bruised apples or overripe bananas. Meat is often marked down a day or two prior to its ‘Best Before’ date so it’s great to either that night or freeze. Stick to seasonal. Vegetables and fruit are cheaper when they’re in season. Online recipes will give you clues about the most delicious ways to use produce that’s in season.

Quantrill concludes:

"There are some really simple things we can do to make huge differences to our budgets. Keeping targets manageable, for example a goal of saving $15 per week, soon adds up to an extra $780 in your bank account by the end of the year. It’s a pretty painless way to make your money go further."

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