Tips and tricks for saving money on groceries from savvy shoppers

Tips and tricks for saving money on groceries from savvy shoppers

OPINION: Stuff readers give their shopping strategies to fight high grocery costs. A draft Commerce Commission report found? supermarket shoppers are forced to pay too much for not enough selection because of a lack of competition.

Terry Arnold 

I shop at both Countdown and Pak’nSave, make use of their website specials, and carefully buy between the two.

 Often, I bulk-buy to save money. For example, Nescafe coffee sachets are $13 for a box of 26, but this week, Pak’nSave have them at least $8. So, I buy six boxes to last until the next special.

We don’t buy fish anymore, or expensive cuts of meat, unless there is a maybe a rump steak special. We will then use it in a casserole, rather than the dearer blade steak.

Generally, to survive on the superannuation, you need to suffer cheaper everything and buy between both stores.

Do without tomatoes during the winter, or buy tinned. Pak’nSave seems like a safer shop across the range, and cooked chicken is always on offer as a cheaper meal.

We bulk-buy toilet tissue and anything that we use a lot of.

Pak’nSave seem more generous on windfall fruit and vegetables than Countdown. Pak’nSave sell celery in halves, whereas Countdown does not. 

Item for item, it seems best at Pak’nSave, but a few items are not available in brands we like.

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Ian Brown

I go to Church Corner in Christchurch.

There are four or five Asian stores that sell fruit and vege that are at times 50 per cent cheaper, if not more, than the supermarkets.

For example, a bunch of coriander is $1, bok choi is $1.80 for five, tied with flax, and bananas are $2.

Also, there are three butchers whose meat seems better in quality, cheaper, and is not pre-packaged. So, you can buy what you need, rather than having to settle for the portion size that the supermarket dictates.

I have noticed that most owner operated businesses that sell fruit, vege, and meat are usually cheaper than the supermarkets.

If these small shops, by comparison, can sell their produce, which seems fresher and cheaper, one must question how the supermarkets can justify their high prices.

Karen O’Connor

We shop once a week at one supermarket with a list and buy only what is on the list.

Vegetables and fruit are purchased from the local markets and meat from the local butcher.

We do use a loyalty card, and although the rewards are small, we are grateful for them. Check your list for errors before you leave the store, but most importantly, be aware of how much you spend.

Save time and money by shopping once a week. Supermarkets seem to encourage people to shop several times a week as, on average, they spend more.

Some shoppers are using savvy strategies to cut the cost of their groceries.


Some shoppers are using savvy strategies to cut the cost of their groceries.

David Fletcher

Avoid anything that is not grown or made locally and read the country of origin labelling. You’ll be amazed how much is imported.

Buy produce when it’s in season, and when you find a bargain, look to preserve or freeze for later.

Grow as much produce as you are able to on your own property and freeze it down when you have a surplus.

Make your own jams from surplus fruit when cheap.

Support your local farmers market and local roadside stalls.

Compost your waste and recycle what you can.

Align your purchases with companies that have a sustainable philosophy.

Barter with neighbours and family. Who knows, they might be hunters or fishermen.

Always use the checkout that has a person on, and avoid the self service aisle.

Above all, take every opportunity to convey your feelings about their pricing.

Martin Loach

We avoid the supermarkets for as many products as we can. 

We buy as much produce as possible at farmers markets.

We buy our meat from a locally owned and run independent butcher, Meaters of Marlborough, which really supports our local community.

We save a lot of money by not buying pre-prepared foods.

We source our milk from independent supplier, Oaklands Milk, which is A2 milk in a glass bottle, delivered to our gate. It seems better quality and cheaper than supermarket milk.

We grow some vegetables and catch a good quantity of seafood ourselves, which we share among our family and friends. This is much more sustainable and affordable than commercially supplied seafood.

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