Multi-supermarket shopping - good for saving?

Hi Community members - are you someone who does all their grocery shopping at one supermarket or do you visit a couple of stores in one trip to save money?

I’m working on an article on multi-supermarket shopping and want to see if it’s a practice consumers are using and finding useful.

If you’re a multi-store shopper when it comes to the weekly groceries, does it save you money? How much? And what tips would you give to others considering giving it a go?

Mod EDIT: Thanks for the responses everyone! It looks like there are some big savings on offer if you can shop at multiple supermarkets. From the article:

  • Spreading your regular grocery shop across multiple supermarkets is one of the best ways to find savings

  • CHOICE Community members who practise multi-store shopping tell us they can save 20% to 40% off their weekly groceries

  • This method requires planning, and resisting supermarket tactics designed to get you to spend more

Read more here:


We have a Coles and Woolies virtually across the street from each other. Reasons for shopping at both every week is that each has some products we want the other does not stock; the ‘Only at […]’ matters.

Secondarily since we will be at both anyway we use their apps to check competitive prices. Yes it saves us money. Some weeks many $10’s on modest shops (by many comparisons).

  1. check the catalogues and make a list of what you need from each
    1a) if you are in their programs check the emails/apps for your offers and tick the ones you need
  2. have the apps for real time comparisons. There are often store specials the apps reveal.
  3. resist impulse purchases and if you have the room, keep a spare (on sale) so you have a better chance of lasting to the next sale before you need to buy it again

There is also an Aldi near by but because Aldi products are 99% (?) store branded and thus unique, we go to Aldi for specific items rather than for comparison shopping.


We do multi-supermarket shopping, but, it is very much dependent on our movements.

The local Woollies is about a 2 minute walk away, with the nearest Coles being in the ‘big smoke’ about 50 kilometre away. The nearest big IGA is about 16 kilometres away. The other supermarket is No Frills (owned by Tasfresh Foodservice) about 45 kilometres away also in the city.

We rarely shop at the IGA because it is significantly more expensive than the others. If we are visiting the city (about once a fortnight) we will visit Coles and possibly No Frills. Coles mainly to pick up products not available at our local Woollies and any specials which are of interest. We visit No Frills because they sometimes have products significantly cheaper than the others.

It isn’t really done to save money, but because we happen to be in the city. To do regular weekly multi-supermarket shops would be more expensive due to mileage driven. If you have to make a special trip to get specials/particular products it would not be worth it for us.

We also support independent fruit and vege stores, such as the one locally and when in the city. One of the independent F&V (Youngs F&V shed) has some grocery items not available at the supermarkets. We purchase these from time to time as well.


We use multiple shops to buy what we need. Within a reasonable distance are Costco, ALDI, Woolworths, Coles, Greengrocers, butchers, Big W, Target, KMart. We use whichever provides the best value for money (including travel time and cost) to obtain our goods. Sometimes a small cost saving on the actual price of some products is more costly to buy considering having to leave the store where we are and go to where the item is cheaper. Knowing prices before deciding on store visits reduces the risk of spending a lot to save a little. So planning is important to make the best savings.


This shopper summed it up perfectly (in regards to where I’m coming from anyhow).


I also shop at different main one is Aldi
If there s something I need ill hope over to Coles or small lebanese supermarket Abou Salim or woolies
Always getting the bargians and.discounted stuff 1st.
I cook around my shopping


Yes, I am a multi supermarket shopper. I shop at Carnegie where there are 2 Woolworth stores, Aldi, IGA and 2 inexpensive fruit shops in close proximity. I start with a shopping list and make my way to at least 2 stores and pick up what’s on sale and in season. I also don’t shop to a recipe as buying that way is more expensive. I just create meals from what I bring home. I try to buy what’s on “actual” sale rather than what’s advertised as on sale as the supermarkets are creative with their price tags. This method of shopping doesn’t take me much longer than usual but I estimate that I save 30-40%. Shoppers can be creative too!


Thanks Lora - those are decent savings!


Thanks Phil - if you had to put a rough % figure on the $10s you’re saving, what would it be?


Limited choice here. We don’t get supermarket junk mail, so we don’t see their specials. We travel to the next biggest town to an independent supermarket (they act like a “cheap shop” buying up discontinued lines & seconds). We shop there once a fortnight and spend up to $200. I didn’t realise until I arrived they were having a 99c sale. I saved $36 off my usual shop. Mostly fresh Fruit & Veg & staples. $0.99 for drumhead cabbage, 2.5kg washed potato, cauli, 1kg carrots, iceberg lettuce, pears etc.
During the fortnight, if we need milk, etc I go to our local Foodworks (only shop in town) which is way overpriced, but I balance that against the distance and time to get it cheaper.


It varies widely from week to week but the range is 10~30%. The low end is when the shop is mostly grocery items, the higher when it is weighted toward meat, fish, and F&V.


Hiya. Im an advocate of ‘multi’ store shopping and also resetting my habits now and then in a similar way. There is little doubt shops/centre work overtime to engage at a loyalty level and the soft sell trappings result in spending more and spending higher. There is NO loyalty on price and so using different stores ensures you remain sensiti e to price hiking for same goods and this assists me in protecting my spend.

Yes, quality of goods has its place but like for like, price is almost everything

This is all good if you have multiple shop choice within convenient reach. Spending $10 petrol for a 5% save on spagetti is not a good reality.

An international supermaket executive once explained to me the " no brainer" standard on pricing in supermarkets is to low price limited key items to bait us all into shopping but then to surround them with high margin products
He explained it is a universal approach and we all see those cheap fruits that look okay right next to the bigger brighter version of the same. All those adhoc isle extra goodies hanging abt are priced for profit, not economy.

We all see its effects with both Woolworths & Coles just releasing abt 5% lift in net profits - $billions, that is a significant return, blaming their hiking on inflation. BS.

Sticking to the point, I personally use the low loyalty approach to shopping over that of price where quality is not unduly affected.

Just an add on, using this approach with products such as insurance is essential to reset your annual increases. Insurance in particularly offer new customers a first year discount thereafter bringing the price back up upon renewal so unless we move about at least ocassionally insurance only has 2 economy options, lessen cover/increase excesses both not good for the consumers. Eg my nrma policy renewal notice on my home rose 40% this year if I let it roll over. I requoted for the same cover on nrmas own quoting model with a $500 discount result compared to the renewal price… I have to plug Choice here for their product reviews as a great aide for cutting through the marketing crap and compare like against like. Yes Im a fan but not a subscriber, although should be.

So, as frustrating as it is some of the time, I try not to get brand “loyal” unless the product has unique benefits… SHOP AROUND!!


Their ‘catalogues’ are available on their websites. This is what we use:

and for completeness, others:

Not all specials are in the catalogues, so a quick search of the supermarket websites is also worthwhile as well.


Just checked Coles on-line for fresh carrots - $1.20/kg on special (I paid $0.99). The big shock was Snacking Carrots $17.50/kg. How can they justify that?


The carrots cost ~20c but the PET container cost $3.35?


Hi I usually shop about once a month at Aldi so that I can stock up on some basics. Some items are at least 1$ cheaper there than Woolworths. However, they do not sell everything that I need so then I go to Woolworths, as I have found them a bit cheaper on the products that I like, than Coles, and Coles are in another town - so that would mean more petrol. However, I have a disability, and Woolworths have just taken away the 10% discount (on one order per month) we could get if ordering on line if we had insurance with them. It is very difficult to do a big shop with a walker as one can’t wheel a walker and a trolley, so I have to do small shops with them and don’t get the 10% discount any more. i would like to see Woolworths give the 10% discount to people ordering on line with disabilities. I could still drive to the shop and pick the order up.


I usually shop at only one place each week but decide where to shop based on:

  1. specials (I stock up on these when they are at their lowest price, especially tea, coffee, and chocolate, I will only buy when deeply discounted. Likewise special cheese, hot chicken, deli items, meat.)
  2. convenience (Aldi is 30km away so I stock up there when visiting the town for other things–meat, a few grocery items, deli, especially dips)
  3. Some items I can only buy when I visit the “big smoke”, including speciality grocery items. So those are bought in bulk as well every couple of months.

When I run out, I do without.

My default supermarket is Coles, which:

  1. has more of my essential items and is cheaper than woolies for F&V.
  2. is the closest
  3. has the longest trading hours, and I often shop in the evening
    Although I activate most of the “boosters” and “deals”, I don’t spend or shop based on those. There’s only a rare chance that I will qualify for any of them, but it doesn’t hurt to click just in case. And inevitably I forget about them immediately.

It’s hard to compartmentalize savings, but I guess if I bought everything at one place, and didn’t wait for specials, I would spend 30-40% more. Or buy less interesting food.


We shop primarily at Aldi, which is a short drive, and often on the way to somewhere else we are going. We often shop at eg 7 pm, when there are many items, specially meat, & chilled meals etc, which have "stickers’, ie, are near their use-by dates, and are further marked down - usually round 10-15%. The meat, chicken etc goes in the freezer if we’re not going to use it by the use-by date.
There are a few things we regularly use which are only available at Colesworths, who are closer, not much, and almost side-by-side. I get all 3 catalogues online, mostly for Aldi Special buys, and for Colesworths 1/2 price specials. Interesting that one thing we usually buy at Aldi, and which Coles often have on 1/2 price, and their 1/2 price is DEARER than the normal Aldi price!! The only thing I regularly keep an eye out for at Coleworths is the 500g tins of Instant Coffee, which they fairly often have at around 1/3 off. I drink gallons of the stuff [sorry, real coffee drinkers, lol], and Aldi just doesn’t stock it.
We usually get fruit at Aldi, and mostly use frozen veg. Anything in particular which is wildly in season, or can only be bought at supermarkets in larger quantities than we would use, we go to a local F&V place, which has a fabulous range of excellent quality stuff, & which you can buy loose, but that means another shortish drive in a direction we rarely go = a special trip. Worth it when stone fruits are in season, lol!
We belong to both loyalty schemes, but that very rarely influences buying decisions. Usually the conditions are inappropriate or too onerous for our requirements, but I always “Boost”, just in case, and rarely use. When our loyalty points do actually get to a level where something happens, we use them, but that doesn’t happen often. Petrol can be got on a regular trip much cheaper, except when we get enough points to get the 10c a litre off, when we use that for some 98 petrol, as the car likes that a lot, lol, but it’s too expensive to buy anywhere regularly.
No idea how much we save, we’ve been doing this sort of shopping for years, but I’m often staggered when, on the occasional visit to Colesworths, to see something at their normal price on the shelves, and know that we regularly buy the same or similar at Aldi for a LOT less, all the time. I also know that we always have more stuff in the cupboards & fridge, and more choices for the “What’ll we do for dinner tonight”, while gawping aimlessly in the fridge, than other pensioner friends who can’t/won’t/don’t shop at Aldi, and are often in the “It isn’t payday till Monday, oh bother, another 2 days of baked beans on toast” boat.


As Aldi only have a limited range of goods, we go there first and buy what they can provide from our shopping list. The one thing we never buy from there is milk, as they never have milk on sale at reduced prices and their normal price is the same as Woolworths.

Slightly off topic: When needed from time to time, I am guilty of picking up some of Aldi’s middle aisle general merchandice specials, as there we can save huge money in comparison to similar items bought elsewhere. One example is a Bahn TV made by Samsung. A comperable Samsung TV would be in the order of $1500 more expensive.

Our next port of call is an independent fruit market 20 meters away in the mall. We have a look at their loss leaders out the front, and any discounted items. The only other thing we buy there is 1kg vacuum packed pealed (Chinese) garlic which we haven’t found anywhere else for a better price.

Lastly we head into Woolworths and check out any mark-downs (including milk) we can find and pick up all the remaining items from our shopping list; plus any discounted items that we can use.

Coles is nearby in the mall too, but having been through there many times we have concluded that their prices are generally higher than Woolworths, and they don’t have enough markdown items to make the circuit of the store worthwhile. Rarely, when we have excess time and are in the mood we will have another look there, but rarely come out with more than a few items.

Savings are hard to quantify without doing cost comparisons and calculating the price differences. At a ball park guess, I would say we are saving in the order of $25 per week this way, not including the mark-downs we buy.


Well we have a Coles, Woollies and an IGA in the Western Australian country town where we live, all within a short distance of one another. We mainly shop at Woollies because it has a good undercover carpark compared to Coles, which is a nightmare to park in, and IGA is not much better. We are Reward members at Woollies and find the daily emailed specials useful. It is also more spacious, probably because it is about ten or twelve years younger than Coles. We also get Frequent Flyer points there which seem to mount up quite quickly. However, there are some things we like we can’t get at Woollies and vice versa. Our impression is that the veggies are fresher at Coles, despite Woollies being the “Fresh Food People”. IGA is noticeably more expensive and the fresh food quality variable. We sometimes shop for specific things we like at Aldi, but it’s a 40km drive away, so go there only if we are in the vicinity.