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How Can I Save Money at the Supermarket 

Steep price increases are affecting many New Zealanders’ food budgets at the moment. Basic food items such as vegetables, milk and bread have risen as much as 22%, and the Commerce Commission concluded in 2022 that the major supermarkets were making an astounding $430m a year in excess profits.

So how can I save big at the supermarket? This article will show you five different ways you can save around $50 to $200 each week on your grocery budget today and outsmart the supermarket’s marketing. We’ve all heard the common tips like “shop the horseshoe of the supermarket” (which is not only great for the budget, but for nutrition too) and “eat before you shop” so you don’t waste money on snacks or junk food – don’t worry, these tips are a little more structured if your self-discipline is on the weaker side, we’re all human! So let’s get into it.

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Tip #1. Go with a plan.  

Set a limit. Think about how much you actually want/need to spend at the supermarket each week. Put this amount into a budget or a spending plan and stick to that limit. Before you even get to the supermarket, you already know how much you’re going to spend. If a certain week proves cheaper than others, stock up on things on special such as meat that you can freeze or canned tomatoes that you can shelve and use towards other meals in the coming weeks.  


Tip #2. Make a list based on your exact meal plan and household needs. 

Planning your meals in advance is a great way to avoid unnecessary spending. Figure out what meals you’d like to cook and what household items you need to purchase this week and stick to just that. If it’s not on the list, and it’s not a necessity, don’t get it. If you have a preferred supermarket you usually shop at, you’ll find that after a while you’ll learn to skip certain aisles altogether.  


Tip #3. Don’t go to the supermarket.  

For certain items such as produce and meat, you can actually avoid going to the supermarket altogether. Go to a Saturday market or get a cheap produce box like Wonky Box to be delivered to your house. The produce is a lot cheaper and you get a great variety of items and it can pack more fruit and veg into your everyday diet!  


Tip #4: Do a stock take before you go.  

Before stepping foot into the supermarket, do a stock take of what’s already in your fridge, pantry, and freezer at home beforehand. How can you use what you already have and incorporate it into your meals? This eliminates waste, particularly with perishable foods, and also ensures that you’re only putting items on your list that you really need. So that little container full of dry lentils that’s been sitting in the back of your pantry forever? Decide that maybe this week we’ll make some dal with the rice and coconut milk that’s sitting in the pantry too. 

Shopper pushing a grocery trolley

Tip #5. Use cash.  

It’s an old school way of budgeting, but it guarantees that you won’t go over budget every single time and you cannot overspend with it. After you decide what you want to spend, take it out in cash and only use that at the supermarket. It gives you a hard limit on what you can spend, and if you go over, you’ll have to put some items back.  

In summary, plan ahead of time! It will save you so much more on your weekly shop as you’ll be sticking to the limits you’ve set for yourself and BONUS – you’ll have some extra cash to do whatever you want with it.


If you feel like you need more help with your weekly spending habits, book in a 15-minute no obligation financial coaching chat with us and we can talk more about your current financial situation, where your areas of improvement lie within your current spending, and what your financial goals are in the near future.

Keep in mind this article is providing general information and not individual financial advice. 


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