How to Save Money on Groceries at the Store

South Africa is recovering from the worst drought in many, many years. Our country’s track record on the international scene is also not the greatest which means we have been paying more than our fair share for both local and imported foods.

Today more than ever we have to stretch our Rands. The fact is that food and groceries make up a lot of our monthly budgets.  I’ve been looking for ways in which we can save on our grocery shopping. Some of us may already be applying many of these.  Here are a few relatively simple ways to save money when buying groceries.


The oldest and most commonly preached piece of advice is making a list. You should have a plan when you step into a supermarket. When you work from a list you will be more disciplined. The list doesn’t only have to include items that are used up, but you can also compile your list by scanning the specials in newspapers and television adverts.


Your plan should also include not falling for that trick. What trick? Did you know grocery supermarkets strategically design shelving by stocking essential items such as dairy products on the opposite ends of the store. These force consumers to walk through all the aisles, which means you will be attracted to things you don’t have written down on your list. Did you just visualize your own local supermarket and realized that the eggs were way north with the milk being way south?

The major supermarkets are in a super saver war with each other and we should reap the benefit. Social media, especially Facebook, is a great platform to share specials with your friends and locals. Many people belong to groups which focus on their immediate neighborhoods and areas. Make use of these to post special offers and to check up on the local specials. Specials nowadays come in the form of combos. Well known fruit and vegetable shops were the first to bring out the 4 to 5-item combos and other stores followed in their steps.

Even though South Africans focus on brand awareness, where only the best labels will do, it is definitely not going to help with saving on food shopping. Generic brands are often the exact same quality as those expensive brands. I agree that certain drinks, snacks and foods just don’t taste like the original, however generic tinned foods, rice, grains and some frozen products definitely compare very well in terms of quality and taste.

Another way to save is by cooking at home. Dining out is very costly. The same goes for buying take-aways and ready prepared meals. You literally pay for the convenience and will always get less food for a higher price.

Back in the day when towns had small shops, our grandmothers and grandfathers had to buy in bulk. The convenience of having supermarkets around every corner has scaled down the bulk buying, but this truly is yet another way to save money on grocery shopping. The well known wholesale stores in South Africa have upped their game considerably. You can walk into these stores and buy in large quantities and stock up on loose items as if you were in a smaller supermarket. Most of these loose items will be cheaper at the bulk seller’s store too. When you have ample storage at home, you definitely should consider buying in bulk. All cleaning products can be bought this way. The same applies to toiletries, tinned foods and grains.

The above mentioned tips are easy to grasp but here are some that sound farfetched but has great, great results! If you eat before visiting the supermarket you will buy less. You read that correctly. If you don’t have an appetite chances are you will not be buying snacks and treats.

Paying cash for groceries will also help you reel in the spending.


When you know you only have a couple of hundred Rand to spend that day, you will think twice about which items will be thrown into the trolley. Speaking of trolleys, by taking a hand basket you will automatically shop less!

Our supermarket franchises have been doing quite a bit to absorb the punch, but we will have to apply these tips and tricks to make the most of our hard earned cash. The small ways can make a big difference!


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