Woolworths is introducing a new round of permanent price cuts on some of its more popular lines, maintaining its ongoing war with Coles to claim your food-spending dollar. Those reductions will be welcome if they cover products you regularly buy, but careful shopping and a sensible choice of store brands remains your best weapon to cut your supermarket bill.
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The sample list of "Every Day Value" price cuts which Woolworths is introducing from today in its stores covers a range of products, from roast beef to nappies. The biggest percentage reductions on the list are rump steaks (down 28.87 per cent) and Fab laundry liquid 1 litre (down 28.57 per cent).
In some cases, this changes the way you might consider buying items. For instance, a 10 pack of Arnotts Shapes biscuits (250 grams total) for $3.20 is cheaper than Woolworths' regular pricing for a box of shapes ($2.96). Shapes go on special with ridiculous regularity — Coles has them for $1.30 this week — so it's not the ultimate strategy, but in a non-special week it's a rare example of a more highly-packaged product being cheaper than the more basic alternatives.
Even with the cuts, however, there are instances here where house brand goods are still cheaper, sometimes substantially so. The 725 gram box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes may only be $4, but a 500 gram box of the Home Brand equivalent is $2.04, giving it a slightly cheaper unit price. Two litres of Home Brand laundry detergent will cost you $1.49, less than a sixth of the price of the newly-discounted Fab. House brand products tend to have identical prices across the main chains, so you could score similar deals at Coles or ALDI.
We know: some of you refuse to buy house brands because you think they give the supermarkets too much power, because you perceive the quality to be inferior, or because they're more likely to use imported products. The first point is debatable, and the second really needs to be taken on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, store brand goods actually taste better. If you're an economy-minded shopper, it's foolish to skip them altogether.
Lifehacker's weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.