Consumer group CHOICE has compiled its top tips for spending less at the supermarket checkout, and it favours those who don’t mind choosing the ugly option.
CHOICE editor Marg Rafferty said these tips could save shoppers hundreds of dollars at the checkout.
“Many people are dealing with tight budgets and reduced income, so every dollar at the supermarket counts,” Ms Rafferty said.
“We’ve looked across our reviews and research to find the best ways to make your dollar go further.”
Although these frugal habits are second-nature for some shoppers, CHOICE has backed up its tips with research and data.
“If you’re not bothered by some misshapen veggies, picking up some imperfect produce is a great way to save money,” Ms Rafferty said.
Not only does this range of fruit and veg reduce food waste, but it’s also a great choice for recipes where they’ll be cut up anyway.
House brands are best
This one might seem obvious, but CHOICE has gone as far as to share which house-brand products stack up well against – if not better than – their name-brand competitors.
According to a CHOICE survey of vanilla ice cream, Aldi’s Monarc Indulge Vanilla Opulence and Woolworths Vanilla Bean tied with Connoisseur Classic Vanilla for first place.
A survey also found Coles Fairtrade Organic Freeze Dried Coffee to be the best instant coffee overall, outranking brands like Moccona, Nescafe and Lavazza.
Coles Gluten Free white bread also came in second overall, just one point behind Wonder Wholegrain White.
Skip the packaging
Another tip for saving in the produce section is to buy loose fruit and veg rather than pre-packaged and pre-cut options.
“At the moment, Woolworths advertises loose carrots for $2 a kilo, while their shredded and sliced carrots are priced at $10 a kilo,” Ms Rafferty said.
“That’s five times the price! If it’s an option for you, buying whole fruits or vegetables can save you a lot of money.”
Prices can vary depending on which chain you shop at, as well between individual locations.
“A shopping basket of goods at Aldi cost us $80.75 while a similar shop at Woolworths was $141.83, and $145.23 at Coles,” Ms Rafferty said.
“Aldi was also the cheapest supermarket in our Australia-wide research in 2015 and 2017.”
Consider the season
Fruit and vegetables that are in season are usually the best value for money.
However, if you are still keen on something that’s out of season, frozen fruit and veg are an affordable choice.
“Buying frozen fruits or veggies also means that it’s really difficult to waste them, potentially saving you more money,” Ms Rafferty said.
That way, you can still indulge in your favourites year-round.