Friday, April 23, 2010


Supermarkets are in business to make money, and they have ways of making you spend more than you intend to. I've talked before about only shopping the perimeter of the store, but most of us tend to wander up and down the aisles from one end to the next, indeed, if you need bird seed or toilet paper then you have to. Here are a few tips for getting more for less.

Know your supermarket.
Knowing where different items are stacked in your supermarket speeds up the whole shopping process. Using an unfamiliar shop can be confusing and time consuming. I use a supermarket 2 kilometers away because the one closest to me had a big reshuffle about a year ago, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of logic behind their shelving. For example the curry paste and curry powders are two aisles apart! I can never go straight to the item I want.
Always, always eat before you go shopping.
A rumbling tum does nothing for your will power when you can smell freshly baked bread and the rotisserie chickens at the deli. If you are really hungry, then buy an extra piece of fruit to munch.
Always, always have a shopping list.
You have planned what you are going to be cooking over the next week and carefully worked out what you need to buy. If it is not on the list, you don't need to buy it this week.
Move your eyes.
The bigger brands often give supermarkets incentives to shelve their product at eye-level. Look up and look down - there is probably a nutritionally comparable, lower priced equivalent nearby.
Check the nutrition facts and ingredients labels.
The cereal you buy should have at least 5gm of fibre. Any product claiming to be whole grain should have 'whole' as the first word on the ingredients list. If you are buying low fat or fat free products, check the different brands for the lowest fat content - you'll be surprised how much they vary (even fat free isn't entirely fat free).
Avoid special and '2 for 1' offers.
Unless the 'special' is on your list, or is something you know you will use, don't buy it!
Bigger pack, cheaper price.
This is so often not true! It is cheaper to buy my favourite brand of tea bags in packs of 100s rather than 200s - okay, I only save about R1.00 on the deal, but have you checked the price variance on coffee by size, or soap powders?
Time to pay.
 If you shop at peak times, there may well be long queues at all the tills. This gives you (and the kids) time to be tempted by all the sweets and snacks on display. Curb the impulse - check your shopping list again to make sure you have everything; rearrange the goods in your trolley for ease of loading onto the counter; start up a conversation with the person behind you; quiz the children on general knowledge or their times-tables.

Oh, and be green - take your own shopping bags with you.

Have a great weekend.

No comments: