Menu
Lifestyle

The only way to save on groceries

Sam Lee, founder of Trolley Saver, says checking unit prices is important.
Sam Lee, founder of Trolley Saver, says checking unit prices is important.

SAVING money when shopping for groceries might seem as easy as buying loose items instead of prepacked goods, or bulk products rather than small packages.

However, supermarkets are not that simple, especially when weekly specials conspire to confuse shoppers, so there's just one way to make sure you buy the best-value stuff: unit pricing.

The big supermarkets have to display unit prices - the costs of item per unit of measure such as 100g or litre - and consumer specialists say it's not difficult to compare. If you get confused by different measures, there's always the calculator on your smartphone.

Research by the Queensland Consumers Association found that people could save a quarter of their shopping bill simply by switching from a high unit price to low unit price product.

Trolley Saver’s Sam Lee says specials can confuse shoppers. Picture: Kylie Else
Trolley Saver’s Sam Lee says specials can confuse shoppers. Picture: Kylie Else

The association's spokesman, Ian Jarratt, said many people followed shopping rules of thumb where buying in bulk was cheaper, loose items were cheaper, and specials delivered the best value.

"It 'ain't always like that," he said.

"You quite often get the situation where the company puts on special the medium-sized package.

"And one of the mysteries of life is why in Coles and Woolworths the packaged carrots are always cheaper than the loose carrots per kilo." Nuts are often similarly priced.

Mr Jarratt said specials could mess with your mind, but comparing unit prices always painted a clear picture.

Queensland Consumers Association’s Ian Jarratt says bulk buying isn’t always best.
Queensland Consumers Association’s Ian Jarratt says bulk buying isn’t always best.

Trolley Saver founder Sam Lee said some shoppers didn't bother to check unit prices if they saw a big enough discount percentage advertised on an item.

"I've seen shoppers that will buy a smaller sized item at 30 per cent off when the regular priced larger item is actually cheaper per unit," he said.

Shoppers should check the expiry date when bulk buying, Mr Lee said.

"Don't just buy larger packages because the unit price is cheaper - it may end up more expensive after wastage," he said.

"Watch for increased consumption - having larger packaging may cause families to consume more than they normally would.

"Look at unit pricing. Sometimes smaller items on special can be cheaper than larger bulk items - but often it is better to wait until the larger bulk items come on special."

People could set alerts for specials on the free Trolley Saver app, Mr Lee said.

Topics:  bulk buying christmas shopping discounts editors picks supermarket



Incredible drone footage of Byron Bay, Gold Coast

A shot from the stunning video. Credit: @LukesDroneEdits

"I basically go out exploring and I film it.”

Grafton gallery boss to retire after 15 years at helm

Grafton Regional Gallery director Jude McBean will be leaving her role at the end of March after 15 years at the helm.

Long-serving gallery director set to retire at end of March

Day of Federation a fitting time to party

BETTER OPTION: Dennis Seal would like to change the date of Australia Day to the country's Federation Day, on January 1.

"I reckon Federation Day should be the Australia Day."

Local Partners

Why swearing is good for you

LOVE dropping the F-bomb? Well, you’re in luck, because a new book has combed through all the science and says we should all be running our mouths off.

'Breathtaking': Tears flow as Gladstone women say 'I do'

PERFECT DAY: Mikayla and Emillie Glossop were the first Gladstone same-sex couple to wed after legislation was passed late last year.

Emotions were high as the Glossops finally wed.

Aussie Nando’s stores infested with rats

The Nando's Restaurant in Lake Street, Northbridge.

Two Nando’s stores fined after failing to meet hygiene standards

BIZARRE: Woman creates turkey dinner using just her mouth

She chews up all the ingredients and spits it into a bowl

First name revealed for I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here

Isuzu D-MAX will be in the middle of the reality TV action this year.

Series four name revealed ahead of program launch.

Massive snake kills 6-day-old baby goat on farm

A carpet python has killed a baby goat at a Northern Rivers hobby farm.

Don't joke about living with a python (warning: Distressing image)