Here are six tips on buying cheap(er) supermarket foods:
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1) If you live in an area with several supermarkets, do compare food prices between each shop. My area has 3 supermarkets and I discovered that one has better meat and fish deals, while the other has better deals on veggies and general food. The third supermarket just turned out to be more expensive in everything so I just don't go there :P
2) 100yen Lawson food stores don't always have the cheapest foods! Some products that cost less than 100yen in other supermarkets are still labeled as 100yen goods in Lawson. *Even products that are usually more expensive in regular supermarkets can end up being cheaper than Lawson if they are on sale. For example, usually cocoa bottle cost 119yen (with tax) in regular supermarket and in Lawson it's 108yen (with tax). But because of a sale in the supermarket it is down to 101yen (with tax). So you get to save 7yen, which is a big deal to a housewife such as myself lol
3) Unlike foreign supermarkets, Japanese ones don't practice those "1+1" or big discount sales. Instead, they have up to 50% discounts at their ready-made bento food corner. They start discounting the food with 10%~20% around 7pm (discount starting time depends on your store's closing hours) and gradually change the discount until it reaches 50% off!
4) Big supermarkets also have a "nighttime fair" in which they discount (not much, tho) veggies, fruits and meat/fish in the evening hours.
5) Also, search for the "nearly expiring" food corners! Many supermarkets don't make those corners obvious, but when you do spot them you might get well discounted goodies such as sweets, teas, sauces, etc.
6) Finally- get their membership card and earn points that can be later converted into money! :)