Whether you're living alone, with a partner or a family, the supermarket run can be a daily or weekly occurrence for most people. If you are regularly the person visiting the store to pick things up, knowing what products are over-priced can really not only help you navigate the supermarket floors more efficiently but also spend far less.
Supermarkets in most cases provide a variety of the same product, whether that be different brands or different quantities and packaging for convenience. However, even though it’s sometimes easier to grab those more convenient items, that convenience comes at a price. And if you're not careful, you may end up paying as much as 300% more. To test just how savvy you are, see if you know all eight of the below savvy-shopping tactics.
Pre-Cut or Cubed Meats
Meats generally have up to a 60% mark-up from production cost. As meat has a refrigerated shelf life of around five days, most meat departments aim for a minimum of a 30% mark-up, but generally much higher to make up for losses on unsold produce and spoilage.
Whole steaks for example are marked up by roughly 40-50% with cheaper cuts being as much as 60%. Cheaper meats, which are typically pre-cut into pieces for stews or stir-fries are marked up by as much as 300% and in my opinion should be avoided like the plague. Slicing the meat yourself to save 250% doesn’t sound like too much of a bad deal.
Big Brand Herbs N’ Spices
If you like seasoning meat with herbs and spices then be aware of the fact that they are marked up by as much as 97%. Savvy shoppers that I know will buy spices at natural food stores to make these kinds of savings. Usually though it requires you to bring your own container, but for a saving of 97% on each herb and spice, its not a bad idea to stock up for the year at heavily discounted prices.
These items have very cheap components, especially when manufacturers produce in bulk, so the mark-up on them is purely related to convenience. If you were to buy a pre-made supermarket cake costing around $30, you would very likely be able to make a similar cake for between $5-$10 at home. Particularly when combining deals, sale items and coupons together for even bigger discounts. Eggs, flour, sugar and icing separately shouldn't cost anywhere near $35. The only other ingredient which you may or may not chose to assign a cost to, is your time to produce it of course.
Cereal is a massively competitive market where differentiation and brand promotion are fundamental to success. Production costs are roughly 35% and retailer mark-up is about 20% of the retail price, with the remaining 45% being the average manufacturer margin.
The notorious Kelloggs’s Corn Flakes have the highest average mark-up of around 44%. Lesser known brands usually have an average of around 18%. So for an easy way to save money, compare like-for-like products and if their ingredients match, they will usually taste similar. However, in most instances big brand manufacturers produce the supermarket equivalents and the only reason they are cheaper is because the supermarket brands haven’t had lots of money spent on creating attractive packaging. Ultimately, save 50% immediately simply by switching to supermarket own brand cereal equivalents.
Marked up by as much as 60%, these little energy bars can be a costly purchase. Try to avoid battery impulse buying at store counters or near the check out desks and instead add them to your online cart the next time you purchase electronic products online as they will be much cheaper. Even better, warehouse stores and bulk purchase stores will have batteries on sale at much cheaper rates, and because there is no expiry date or shelf life for batteries, buying in bulk is perfectly acceptable.
Anything pre-sliced, pre-chopped diced or cubed before you buy it comes at a higher cost. On average you will pay 30% more for the chopping service, than you would buying the whole vegetable or fruit. Again this is a convenience purchase, but in reality chopping takes less than 5 minutes so, justifying the additional cost is irrational in my opinion.
Warehouse and discount stores like Costco provide unbeatable prices on household cleaning products, but sometimes a visit to these stores is a little out the way. A good tactic I like to use is shopping online, it allows me to buy larger quantities of items and save more on my bulk purchases, plus the delivery guy does all the heavy lifting. My advice would be to buy laundry products in bulk because unfortunately cleaning is a never ending chore so you can guarantee the product wont get wasted. Buckscoop currently has 8 different vouchers for Woolworths at the moment, so if you're nowhere near a Costco store, make sure that you utilise these free discounts.
Health and Beauty
Health and beauty products are becoming more and more prominent in our shopping baskets, especially as looking younger for longer is a collective human aspiration. However, my rule of thumb is that unless its on sale or you have a voucher, forget it because products like shampoo, toothpaste and soaps go straight down the sink. This in my eyes is literally like throwing money down the drain.
Hopefully after reading this post you have absorbed the information and earned your Buckscoop savvy-supermarket-shopper badge. Saving money is important in all aspects of life, especially when buying the exact same product only in a different form (whole vs sliced) can save you up to 300% in some instances.
If you have any other tips that you would like to share with us, please leave your comments below.