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Two students looking at fresh produce in supermarket

3 December 2021

Saving your money as a uni student: see these savings tricks for the supermarket

Welcome to December! We hope you’ve been enjoying our ‘Saving your money as a uni student’ series and have found it useful for your budgeting as we begin preparing for the holiday season.

So far, students Izzy HoltAmber Leach and Jasmine Lo have covered ways you can save on your energy bill, leverage rewards and discount schemes and use online tools to spend less on everyday goods. This week, in the final instalment, the Money Matters team delve into tips that will save you money at the supermarket.

See what advice you can put to good use for your seasonal shopping and keep hunting for ways to save your hard-earned dollars in 2022! 

By Izzy Holt and Amber Leach

Are you shopping on a tight budget? Then it pays to know where to shop for the best savings!

Where should I shop?

What are the best ways to save at the supermarket?

Plan ahead! Before you even set foot in the shops, it pays to think about what food and supplies you’ll need to make sure you have enough to last through your pay period. Plan if you’re going to cook meals in bulk and freeze left-over portions, or chip in with friends or housemates for other meals. Bulk cooking does save you money but it can be time-consuming so factor this into your plans – you could put time aside to do this over the weekend, or shop in the morning and dedicate a day to slow-cooking up some meals while you clean the house. Want some inspiration for how to build simple meals? Take a look at our suggestions below!

Graphic with ingredient suggestions for building simple meals Graphic with ingredient suggestions for building a breakfast meal

Look up the cost of items. Make sure you know the approximate cost of more expensive items (such as washing liquids and powders, spices, toiletries and luxuries, etc.) before you shop so you don’t end up surprising yourself with a larger total cost than you expected once you reach the register.

Bring a calculator. There is no shame in shopping with a calculator in hand to track how much you’re spending! I spent two years shopping this way. Keep in mind that you’re only human and your calculations can sometimes have errors – that’s why planning ahead is a good way to make sure you’re still shopping within your budget.

Look for items on sale or that you can buy in bulk. Keep an eye out for sales – the discount area of stores may have something you want or need at a cheaper price. Also keep an eye out for bulk items on sale that can last for long periods of time (like bags of rice, hygiene and cleaning products, washing detergent/powder, toilet paper etc.). Buying smaller amounts of such items can really add up in cost over time, so if you are able it may be worth thinking ahead and buying more things in bulk.

Remember to scan your membership cards. Rewards cards and membership programs such as Coles’ Flybuys and Woolworths’ Everyday Rewards offer points for every dollar you spend and can be redeemed for various discounts and offers (see our earlier blog about rewards and discount schemes for more information!). Woolworths also has a program called bunch, where you can receive free food samples for reviewing products. Membership is often at capacity, but you can register your interest to join. I was added after a few months on the waiting list. 

Do you have a Health Care or Pension card? If so, you can present these at chemists to buy medication at a cheaper cost as long as it is on a prescription.

Bring a washing basket… If you choose to shop at Aldi, they tend to check you out at lightning speed. If you drive or were driven to the shops, it’s handy to pop a washing basket in the boot. When they check you out, put everything loose in a shopping trolley and then straight into the washing basket in the boot, ready to be carried inside without worrying about the hassle of bagging groceries at the same incredible speed of the cashier.

Or a wheelie bag! If you walk or catch public transport to the shops, a wheelie bag can offer you the same convenience of easily packing and getting lots of groceries home while saving your arms!

Now go forth and keeping saving!

We hope you found our money-saving tips and tricks helpful and encourage you to please share this (plus any of your own tried-and-tested savings tips) with a friend. And always remember to pack your shopping bags! 

Our thanks to the Office of the Dean of Students for supporting the Deakin Money Matters project team to create these resources.

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