Guiding consumers since 2009

How to beat food price hikes

By Staff Writer
Some commentators are saying that food prices are set to go up in a couple of months. While this may not be something you can do much about, there are things you can do to reduce the cost of your grocery shop. All you have to do to save on your grocery bill is shop smart, make some sacrifices or consider alternatives:

1.       Make use of coupons: If you shop at Shoprite you can save money by downloading their Eezicoupons onto your phone using www.shoprite.mobi. If your phone doesn’t have internet access dial *120*569*1# to get the coupons. If you shop at Pick n Pay make sure you take note the expiry dates of any Brand Match cash-off coupons you get. They typically expire within about two weeks of your purchases and it’s easy to forget about them.

2.       Take full advantage of reward systems: Make sure you sign up to reward systems, particularly if they don’t cost you anything. It doesn’t matter if you have a Pick n Pay Smart Shopper card, a Woolworths reward card or subscribe to any other type of reward system you will make a saving somewhere. The key is to make sure you know exactly how these savings or discounts are structured and when you can take advantage of them.

3.       Avoid impulse buys: Shops often put tantalising sweets, magazines and other sought after goodies close to the tills. It gives the stores one last opportunity to grab our cash. Avoid the temptation to do so. Better yet, if there’s a store that doesn’t adopt this tactic – which Woolworths soon pledges to do, see “Woolworths removes sweets and chocolates from aisles”, rather shop there.

4.       Familiarise yourself with the store’s layout as soon as you can: Retailers spread regularly bought items across their stores and as soon as you get to know the layout of the store you can dedicate your time to getting in and out as soon as possible so that you are not tempted to buy anything else that you may pass.

5.       Look around you: Commentators say that eye level products or those at eye level with your kids are the most profitable items for stores. Look up and down the eye level shelves to see if there are cheaper alternatives.

6.       Stick to your budget: Don’t ask ‘What’s the cheapest product?’ Rather ask yourself if you can afford the item.

7.       Downshift to another brand: Here’s an example of how you can make savings by switching brands: At the time of writing, 250g of Lurpak butter on Pick n Pay’s website costs R46.99. If you switch to Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter at 250g instead you pay R39.99 – which makes a saving of R7.

8.       Don’t shop when you’re hungry: According to experts, you’re more likely to shop more when you’re hungry. So line your stomach before you hit the shops!

9.       Shop around: It’s not always possible to compare grocery prices but if there are any big items, such as electronics, that you intend to buy from retailers such as Pick n Pay etc., it’s a good idea to shop around online on sites such as PriceCheck to ensure that you are, in fact, getting the best deal.

10.   Consider meal delivery services: Do you know how much you spend on your weekly shop? Compare the weekly price of going to the likes of Shoprite or Woolworths with prices that are offered by meal delivery kit services. You may be surprised to find that using meal delivery services may in fact be cheaper than going to the store. Besides saving you money, these meal delivery services can also save you time as you don’t have to go to the shops after work or on the weekend to top up on your monthly spend. Most of these services, such as The Daily Dish, The Doorstep Chef and The Flying Pan will deliver meals right to your door.

While food price hikes can’t be avoided you can make small changes, such as the ones listed above, to ensure you spend less on your weekly/monthly grocery bill. The key is to keep up with these smart tactics and only then will you be able to beat retailers at their own game. 

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