Save a trolley-load at the supermarket
According to officials from the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), more than 73 million people in 78 countries who depend on food handouts are facing reduced rations. So it comes as no surprise that your average weekly shopping bill is higher now than it was this time last year. Recent research carried out in the UK revealed that a week's food shop is now 15 per cent more expensive than it was 12 months ago based on 24 staple items, including milk, eggs and tea bags. The price of basmati rice has increased between 100 and 120 per cent since 2006 – and with rice the staple food of many households in the UAE, residents are beginning to feel the pinch.
But there are ways to cut back and become a conscious spender and save money. Jane Furnival, author of Smart Spending Tips, says it's easy to save money if you understand how supermarkets price things. "Part of the problem [of increased food prices] has been caused by the weather, so the corn harvest was bad last year. Meat feed prices have also gone up, which has impacted on the customer," she says.
Two of the best tips, Jane advises, are not to take anything from the end of the aisles – because this is where stores put appliances and other "treats" people don't plan to buy but look tempting at the time – and be wary of buying large packs of goods, especially washing powder because they often cost more. "It doesn't make sense, but the key is to read the labels and work out price per kilo, as smaller packs can be cheaper," she says.
But watching what goes in the trolley is not the only benefit to be had at the supermarket. Loyalty and air miles cards can also help make money go further, because every dirham spent is turned into points that can be redeemed against other items. Géant, located at Ibn Battuta Mall, has its own credit card that will be moving to RAKbank next month and allows customers to earn points redeemable against their supermarket shop. There is also a till reserved exclusively for cardholders so they can avoid long queues, too. Alternatively, Spinneys accepts Air Miles shopping rewards cards, where customers can exchange points for gifts.