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GROCERY HACK: How to cut your supermarket bills in half

Shopper checking unit prices to save on grocery bills. Picture: Eugene Hyland
Shopper checking unit prices to save on grocery bills. Picture: Eugene Hyland

SAVVY shoppers can slash their weekly grocery bills in half by using unit pricing and choosing home brands, a new study shows.

Research by Queensland Consumer Association found clever comparisons in the supermarket cut the cost of a basket of 32 common packaged goods from $140.60 to $70.55.

 

Unit pricing looks at the amount per kilogram or litre, rather than the package cost. Picture: Eugene Hyland
Unit pricing looks at the amount per kilogram or litre, rather than the package cost. Picture: Eugene Hyland

QCA spokesman Ian Jarratt, whose lobbying led to the introduction of unit pricing in 2009, said even he was surprised and impressed by the size of the savings.

"The big message is that there is this potential to save really significant amounts of money regularly on things that we all buy," he said.

Unit pricing looks at the amount per kilogram or litre, rather than the package cost.

The study compared the cost of medium-sized packs of everyday items such as breakfast cereal, pasta, baked beans, frozen peas, instant coffee, and toothpaste and dog food.

The consumer guru looked at what you would spend choosing well-known national brands - and then compared the cost using the lowest unit price - which was usually for home brand products.

The Consumers Association wants to see the rules extended to cover supermarkets under 1000 sq metres and expanded to other shops such as pharmacies and hardware stores. Picture: Eugene Hyland
The Consumers Association wants to see the rules extended to cover supermarkets under 1000 sq metres and expanded to other shops such as pharmacies and hardware stores. Picture: Eugene Hyland

The result was a 49.8 per cent saving for the basket of packaged goods.

Comparing another 11 goods available packaged or loose - including cheese, chicken, fish and fruit and vegetables - unit pricing produced a 24 per cent saving.

For the 42 grocery items combined, the total saving was $84, or 42.4 per cent.

"With very little effort, people can reduce their expenditure - or they can spend the same amount and get a lot more for their money," Mr Jarratt said.

"We know many people are struggling with power bills, rates and other household costs so here is a simple way to keep some extra money in your wallet to help with that.

"It is particularly relevant now coming up to Christmas when people are under pressure to spend more than they normally would."

Mr Jarratt said there were some key points for consumers to be aware of.

"Special offers might not be the best buy when you look at unit pricing," she said.

The laws requiring unit pricing to be displayed cover large supermarkets and some online retailers.

The legislation must be reviewed by the end of next year and the Consumers Association wants to see the rules extended to cover supermarkets under 1000 square metres and expanded to other shops such as pharmacies and hardware stores.


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