In one of our earlier articles on cost savings during baby’s weaning stage, one way to save money is to cook at home rather than buy outside food. However, nowadays household groceries don’t come that cheap either, and weekly visits to the supermarkets/wet markets for meats, vegetable and other essential items can easily cost hundreds. So how can we keep our grocery cost low, without compromising on the nutrition of our daily meals and the quality of other grocery items?
Make a trip to the discounted store
Discounted stores can be found in many of the heartland malls, where the stores sell B-stock items such as parallel import items, phased-out items and overstocked items. These items are sold at a fraction of the prices in other supermarkets. These discounted stores can offer very attractive prices for groceries like toiletries, personal care items, daily household items and even food items. Please note that for the same chain of discounted stores, the prices can vary among different outlets.
Buy house brands
If you are not comfortable with getting your items from discounted stores, the next cheaper option will be the house brands of your favorite supermarket. House brands represent a cheaper alternative to the established brands, without compromising on the product quality. House brands are generally cheaper as they cut out the intermediary costs and other expenses such as advertising. Buying house brands can help you save around 5% to 20% as compared to buying the established brands.
Do not rule out frozen yet
A lot of times shoppers avoid buying frozen food, be it frozen meat, vegetable or fruits, due to the misconception that frozen food is less nutritious than fresh food. Many shoppers hence avoid frozen food, despite the fact that their prices can be much cheaper than their fresh counterparts. For example, frozen chicken wings (mid joint) cost $7.40 for 1kg undiscounted, while their fresh counterparts cost $3.80 for 300g undiscounted. When there is a promotion for frozen foods such as the aforementioned frozen chicken wings (mid joint), one can save even more, as illustrated below.
Buy in large quantities during the right time
Buy in bulk/larger quantities when there is a promotion. For example, buying one whole fish during promotion periods will be cheaper, even when compared to buying frozen fish. Normally the supermarkets e.g. NTUC Fairprice have promotions for such whole fish during Fridays and weekends. You always request the fish monger to clean and slice the fish based on your preference, be it fillet or steak. For example, instead of buying the normal salmon fish fillet at $2.99/100g during non-promotion periods, you can get fresh salmon fish fillet at around $2.10/100g by buying a whole salmon during promotion periods, depending on the promotion at that time. As a bonus for buying the whole salmon, you also get free fish bones and head, which you can use for fish stock. Freeze the fish if you are unable to finish it within 3 days.
Buy fruits and vegetables during seasonal promotions
Often, when supermarkets bring in too much of particular fruits and vegetables, they will offer attractive discounts to clear stocks. For example, avocado can cost around 5 for $5.95 or 3 for $3.90 during promotional periods, as compared to the usual price of 3 for $5.90. Blueberries can cost 2 for $3.90 during promotion as compared to the usual price of 1 for $3.50. Moreover, the large stocks available during such promotions may that there's a good chance you will get fresh and good selections.
Choose the right period to buy the right item
As mentioned above, buying one whole fish during promotions is a good way to save money. However, during certain occasions such as Chinese New Year, the price for most fresh food, including fish, will increase. For example, threadfin which normally costs around $1.99 per 100g can cost around $2.39 per 100g during CNY. Often, during such festive occasions, many supermarkets will have promotions for their frozen products including fish and other meat.
When buying baby and kids products such as daily essentials, comparing prices between different retailers is one of the most effective and obvious ways for you to save money. Through websites such as loviya.com, you can find prices for baby and kids products from a variety of popular online platforms, baby fairs and physical stores, and easily compare the prices for the best deal. While the respective price by each of the online platforms, baby fairs and physical stores is already very competitive, comparing between them will help you save even more. For example, the same diaper (MamyPoko Extra Dry Skin tape, L size,) which costs $17.67 per pack on one online platform can cost $20 per pack on another online platform, as illustrated below.
There is a perception nowadays that eating healthy is expensive. Is it really the case? Not really. For example, you can buy raw vegetables to prepare your own salad, which will cost less than buying those prepacked salads from the supermarkets. Seaweed chicken, popcorn chicken and other pre-marinated meat are not only unhealthier than fresh or frozen chicken, they are also more expensive. Similarly, a small packet of apple juice will cost more than simply one fresh apple.
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