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Aussie mum's secret to saving 50% on school snacks

This tip for budget-conscious parents will come in handy all year long.

Close-up detail of a man shopping in a supermarket
Shoppers are looking at alternative stores to bag a bargain and there are plenty of options available. (Source: Getty) (Minerva Studio via Getty Images)

It's no revelation that shoppers are looking for a better deal when it comes to groceries, thanks to the rising cost of living. But the stores at which they're scoring bargains might surprise you.

Rachael Hallett, co-founder of the Mums Who Budget and Save and podcast told Yahoo Finance Australia she's definitely noticed a shift in spending from the thousands of mums who follow her pages across social media for savings tips.

"People are certainly trying to shop smarter to feed their families," she said. "Shoppers are dropping more and more luxuries or switching what their luxuries are. Just so they don't feel like they're missing out."

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The shift is also prompting shoppers to turn to alternative retail options for items that really push up their grocery bills, like school snacks.

Save up to 50%

Hallet says one of the most unlikely yet cost-effective places to score budget snack items is The Reject Shop. Some of the savings included Bluebird chips for $2, compared to $4.50 at Coles; and Vege Deli Crisps for $3.25, compared to $6.50 at Woolworths. Other budget products included Cobs Popcorn for $2.50 and Oho Lentil Chips for $3.50.

Sharing a post to the Mums Who Budget Facebook page about the discount retailer's prices, one customer recently confirmed she'd scored some big savings. "$75 gets us about two months worth of school snacks and a heap of snacks for my allergy kid, too. It's helped our grocery bill dramatically," the woman said.

The Reject Shop snacks
Some of the snack foods available at discount retailers can save shoppers up to 50% depending on the range in stock. (Source: Facebook)

Shoppers are branching out to other discount supermarkets too, depending on what's available in their state. "These types of supermarkets have heavily discounted items which might be past use-by, close to use-by or have some other fault like over seasoning/wrong recipe or even just be old packaging or a discontinued line," Hallet says. "You can save huge amounts of money on snack foods, especially at these places."

Where to save on snacks

Some outlet options offering big savings include Silly Solly's, a variety discount store where shoppers will find nothing over $5 and Ten Tops which offers nothing over $10. There's also Savemore, Bargain depo, NQR - Not Quite Right and food factory sales.

Ten Tops grocery store
Ten Tops is a discount retail outlet with a huge grocery and frozen food offering, with nothing over $10. (Source: Supplied)

But snack foods aren't the only items shoppers want to buy at alternative stores. Good deals on meat are in high demand too. "Other alternatives are wholesale or bargain butchers. Places vary in every location but places such as Oakdale Meats, Tasman Meats, Australian Butchers Store, Meys Meats and other online butchers too," Hallet suggests.

"Meys is specifically great for large meat packs designed to last a while, just make sure you have the freezer space or consider spitting with a friend."

Shoppers want value over brand

Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behaviour at Queensland University of Technology, Gary Mortimer agrees that customers are shifting their shopping focus towards value rather than branded products.

"There's a focus on own-brand products at the supermarket now and shops like Aldi have really legitimised private label consumption in Australia," he told Yahoo Finance.

"Shoppers are relatively savvy these days. They understand that supermarkets have spent millions of dollars on improving the quality of private-label own-brand products."

He says supermarkets are now leveraging on this shift, with Coles alone introducing 600 new private-label products to their award-winning Own Brand range, bringing that range to over 6,000 products.

"Private-label product sales contributed to about 33% of their revenue for the first half of the year, so it suggests that consumers are looking at private-label options for better value," Mr Mortimer said.

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