Everyone is worried about their financial position right now. If you want to make budget savings, here’s where you should start: the supermarket.

Here are some simple ways you can save money when you do your regular shop.

Shop online

Aside from convenience, online shopping offers many advantages. You won’t get distracted with specials and you’ll only buy what you need. You won’t be tempted by impulse buys.The West Australian revealed that impulse buying is vast. Think about how many times you’ve gone into the supermarket and bought a chocolate bar that you weren’t planning to, but because you saw it at the check out. Other times you may take advantage of two-for-one deals when you don’t need the second item.

If you shop online you need to be aware of the cost of delivery and choose a slot accordingly. At the moment, Coles and Woolworth’s delivery slots are filling up fast because of the pandemic. More and more people are opting for online shopping.

Coles offers delivery slots that range between $2 and $8 so if you don’t need your groceries for a few days or you know that you’ll be home, you can save yourself money on delivery. If you do a weekly shop, you can save yourself $312 each year.

Woolworths delivery prices are $13-$15 depending on the time. The savings aren’t as high at Woolworths, but you can still save $104 a year if you choose the $13 delivery slot.

IGA offers delivery for a flat rate of $15. Aldi only offers online shopping for their special buys, with delivery at a rate of $6.99. Given Aldi prides itself on low prices, if they do allow customers to do their full shop online, it can be anticipated that the delivery rate would be $6.99.

Based on delivery prices, Coles offers the highest savings.

Shop at certain times of the day

Last year the Daily Mail reported the best times of the day to shop at Woolworths. If you shop at certain times of the day, you can save between 20% and 99% on meat, seafood, and baked goods. The best time to save money on meat and bread is before 11 am or 4 pm. Early risers can shop for weekly specials before 7 am on Wednesdays.

The best time to take advantage of markdowns at Coles varies between stores however one woman posted on Facebook that she had been able to get 5 trays of Coles pork loin chops for $3.50. The normal price was $65. She said she often finds savings around 5 or 6 pm.

When taking advantage of these specials, you’ll need to look at the expiry date and think about how much space you have in your freezer, otherwise, you may find the exercise counterproductive.

Use a grocery list

The Organised Housewife says that you should go to the supermarket with a list. Before you start writing your list, you should write your budget and plan your meals. Planning your meals means you won’t forget any vital ingredients and that you won’t get distracted. Shopping with a grocery list can save you up time and money. Research shows that you can slash your grocery bill by between 25 and 30%.

Other benefits to taking a list are that you’ll be less stressed when you go to the supermarket, you’ll eat healthier, you’ll make fewer trips and there won’t be as much wastage because you’ll only be buying what you need.

Shop at different stores

If you know that fruit is cheaper at your local greengrocer, but meat is cheaper at your supermarket, shop according to who offers the best prices. Be careful not to blow those savings on petrol for your car though, or if one of the stores is further away, consider walking or cycling to the shop to save money on fuel. That’s a double benefit. It will also help your fitness and get you out of the house given that people are working from home due to the pandemic and gyms are currently closed. Just make sure that the supermarket is within your 5km radius.

If you have a pet, shop online. There are great websites, like catch.com.au that offer huge discounts on premium cat and dog food, and often the delivery charges are minimal.

Buy in bulk

If your local supermarket has huge markdowns on bottled water, whole chickens, or bread, consider buying in bulk. These items can either be stored at room temperature, or frozen for up to six months, so you’ll save yourself a considerable amount of money.

You can buy many grocery items on catch.com.au such as toiletries and the delivery charges are minimal depending on where you live and if you have a Catch Club membership. If you have a Catch Club membership delivery is sometimes free.

Although many people prefer fresh foods, some items such as bread are just as good frozen.

Familiarise yourself with food prices

When you know the regular price of certain items, such as your favourite pasta sauce, you can take advantage of the specials, or find out which stores have the best prices.

Shop alone

When you shop with children, friends, or another family member you may be pressured into buying things that you don’t need, or that aren’t on your grocery list. You’re more likely to impulse buy. If you shop by yourself you’ll go in with a clear mind and will be more likely to stick to your list. You’ll also save yourself time.

Don’t shop while hungry

If you shop when you’re hungry you’re more likely to buy food that will satisfy your hunger, than what you need in your weekly budget. If you bought just one impulse buy a block of chocolate at Woolworths each week you would spend an extra $182 each year on food you don’t need and it would also damage your waistline.

Don’t always buy organic

Although it’s tempting to buy organic produce, you could pay a premium compared to non-organic produce. Some foods are known as the clean fifteen. The clean fifteen are 15 fruits and vegetables that have peels that pesticides won’t penetrate, so even if you bought organic, it wouldn’t make a difference to the quality of the produce. This includes things like bananas, avocados, oranges, mandarins, lemons, and mangos. You can save yourself money by not buying organic.

Look for cheaper brands

Everyone has brands that they prefer, however, if you buy a cheaper brand you can save yourself money. Most supermarkets sell home brands and branded water. The product is the same. The only difference is the price tag. If you purchased home brand water, you would pay 80 cents per 1.5 litre bottle compared with $2.99 for the branded product. Other items like pasta and rice are the same, consider a cheaper brand to save yourself money.

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