TIPS by GoBear: Pay Less For Groceries

grocery savings - Gobear

This week my financial/investment topic is on GROCERIES, or rather specifically, tips on groceries savings.

This was triggered by my recent visit to Oliver Gourmet in Tropicana City Mall.
I spoke to experienced retailer and owner of Oliver Gourmet Mr Tham and from our insightful discussion, it is obvious that cost of fresh produce are of better value if we buy local.
For example, at his store, he offers pork at wet markets prices and seafood from Kuala Selangor.

oliver gourmet tropicana mall - wine liquor bar-002

All of us have to eat for sustenance, and to eat well (definition of eating well is subjective to many) quality of ingredients and price matters.
We can’t deny that the rising cost of goods have affected our budget badly and now, we have to seek value in most of the things we buy.

As a food entrepreneur, I recognised the need for equilibrium between cost and quality but getting the most out of your ringgit now is a skill.

Below is a good article by GoBear which shared some strategies for grocery shopping savings which are sensible.
Try and see if it works for you? 😉

Why Pay More When You Can Save On Groceries?

Have you noticed how much of your overall budget is spent on groceries? Grocery shopping is a significant expense  and regardless of whether you’re feeding just yourself or a whole family, you groceries take a big bite out of your pay check if you do not budget it properly

Grocery stores can be expensive. Depending on whether it’s a hypermarket, supermarket, econ minimart, speciality store, and even, its location, can decide the price difference in a tomato. Since we all have to eat, there’s really no way around this – despite the increasing costs, buying groceries and making homemade meals is still the cheaper and  smarter alternative than eating out

We have good news, sort of: Chances are, we’re throwing down way more money than we should. While it’d be hard to cut grocery spending in half, there are many tricks to avoid over-spending!

The cost of certain food item prices increases either by cents or sometimes even more. Here’s a list of what went up in 2016 as reported by the China Press.

Food Item



Price Increase Percentage

Canned drinks




Sugar (1kg)




Flour (25kg)




Instant Noodles




Canned Sardine




Roti Canai




Chicken Rice




Coconut Milk

RM8.00 per kg (October 2016)

RM9.00 – RM9.50


Even if you are not an avid grocery shopper like our parents, but you would have notice that certain food items have gone up in price , sometimes in a negligible manner of cents but when you add it all up, the number starts to hurt a little.

You wonder why the cost of food in Malaysia increased 4.0 percent in January of 2017 over the same month in the previous year. Food Inflation in Malaysia averaged 3.65 percent from 2011 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of 5.67 percent in October of 2011 and a record low of 1.97 percent in December of 2012(“Malaysia Food Inflation | 2011-2017 ). Here are some of the reasons.

  1. Global price increase

As of late, there have been debates going on whether to increase the cost of refined sugar in Malaysia. The reason given was that the worldwide cost of raw sugar has increased. The present retail cost of refined sugar in Malaysia is RM2.84 per kg. However, some sugar organizations have engaged the government to increase the maximum price tag of sugar by 20-30%. The local sugar organization referred to that the world cost for raw sugar has gone up and is influencing their net revenue if the sugar cost in Malaysia continues as before. Starting at now, no real choice has been made by the government.

2. Removal of subsidy

Being the most common reason for food inflation, Malaysians have been enjoying subsidies for various goods, which also include some food items in the past. However, in this year alone, Malaysians experienced removal of several subsidies including wheat flour, cooking oil, and sugar which led to a domino effects in the market.

3. The Spill over Effect

Once support is taken away from a certain item, the price will then automatically increase and also cause a chain reaction of price increase for other food items. For example, the taking away of money support for wheat flour this year can in turn cause an increase in other food items such as bread, pastries, noodles and roti canai. With the interconnection of food chains and its raw materials, the impact of the price hike is actually greater when more than one food items price increases

Now that you are armed with the knowledge the reasons behind the increase in prices in food items, here are some tips on how you can save more when doing your groceries!

Rebecca oliver gourmet tropicana mall - seafood

  1. Shop With a plan (we know, it’s hard but say FOCUS we say!):

If you stumble around the grocery store and fill your cart with everything that catches your eye, you’ll spend more than if you prepared a shopping list in advance. Plan your meals for the week ahead and make careful note of what ingredients you need to prepare those dishes. Once the list is made, purchase only the items on the list and avoid impulse buys.

2. Get cashback when you make purchases

Using the right credit card can help you get cashback, and this can helps to save money. Using your credit card or your debit card can help reduce the prices of your groceries shopping. E.g. HSBC offers up to 8% cashback on your groceries.

Enjoy even more savings with a rewarding credit card that offers attractive cash back rebates and greater discounts. If you don’t already have one or are looking to switch, do give our comparison page the chance to find you the best card for your needs!

3. Use Store Reward Cards

If the store that you visit most frequently has a reward card, sign up. In some cases, stores raise their prices when they offer reward cards and without the card your bill will be higher e.g. Tesco. If the card offers other benefits, such as a ham for the holidays or a discount on gasoline, maximize your benefits by paying attention to the cut off dates and cashing in your points before they expire.

4. Buy Locally

Locally grown or produced food is often available at a cheaper price, because you don’t pay for long transportation costs. Farmer’s markets, the pasar malam, are all game for deals on tasty and fresh food. Plus it’s always a good feeling knowing you have supported a local business!

5. Shop for Sales

Sales can be a great incentive to switch stores, but only if you need the items on sale. Pay attention to sales on necessity items and stock up on non-perishables and freezer goods. Keep an eye on the price (and expiry dates!), so that you know when a sale price is merely a small savings or when it’s a significant discount.

6. Shopping  apps

Using Shopping apps plays an important role when it comes to saving money. Apps such as Tesco Online, Grocer Express, Fresh cart, help you save money with their in apps. Promotions/prices can differ and if you order above their minimum order, delivery is free (hence you save on petrol and parking). It is also convenient and time saving.

7. Shopping in bulk

Supermarkets like Tesco, Mydin, Giant and AEON BiG generally provide consumer bulk options for groceries. It is possible to save money on bulk buying if you do so for the right items. Non-perishables such as detergent, paper products and personal care items can be kept at least up to 2 years. If you have a big family and find yourself using these up pretty quick; it pays to buy in bulk during a promotion.

In the long run, prices for most items will increase, not just for food items as a result of inflation. The best way to adapt to the situation is to be a smart consumer when making purchases as well as managing your money better to make sure you can stretch your ringgit.

Until next time,

The GoBear Team





Leave a Reply

Related Posts

How to Afford Your Next Getaway

After a sustained period of lockdown, nothing will be more exciting than planning your next vacation. With freedom returning to our streets in the coming