Financial Survival

In times like these when every Rupee counts, how do you balance your family’s monthly budget?

This is the question on everyone’s minds.

With the never-ending increase in prices of everyday items, electricity and petrol, well, you know what I am talking about, it has become imperative that we look carefully at everything we spend money on and see where savings can be achieved.

 This is the only way you can survive financially. Instead of always feeling upset or stressed about the increase in prices, you should try and be pro-active and find innovative ways of saving money.

In an earlier article, we spoke about doing a monthly expenditure budget to get a handle on how much money you need to cover your expenses. I am sharing a very simple format for what a budget for family should look like and suggest that you do this as the first step of our cost saving strategies.

Expenditure Item

Amount - PKR



School Fees


Tuition Fees


Motor Vehicle Expenses


Staff Salaries








Gym memberships/Club Fees


Other Expenses








Total Monthly Expenses



Now that you have a clear idea of your monthly expenses, let’s focus on some of the big-ticket items.

This week, we will focus on everyday groceries and see what we can save from shopping around. With the ease of shopping online, I decided to go to few of the well-known sites and shop for everyday groceries and see what we could find out. The quantities and the type of products you buy may vary, you may also have your own preferred brands, but the focus of this task was to see what the various famous supermarkets chains will cost you for typical items and if there is a substantial difference.


On our shopping list included.

Atta – 5kg

Washing Powder - kg

Nestle Water – 1.5 litres

Fruit Juice

Coke/Sprite 2.25 litre bottles

Milk – Olpers

Tea Bags 100

Tea 480 grams

Coffee Nescafe 200 grams

Rice 5 kgs

Ghee- 2.5kg

Canola Oil – 4.5 litres

Sugar – 2kg

Dal Channa 1kg


In some cases, you would expect to find small differences in prices of items due to a variation in quality, for instance the quality of basmati rice varies, as does atta or even items such as daals. However, for standard items, you would not expect to see any variation, as the manufacturers normally specify the retail price.

With that in mind, we compared the prices between Metro, Alfatah and also the delivery platform called Cheetay. We tried Imtiaz supermarket’s website as well but found it to be too difficult to navigate and struggled to find the items we were looking for.

It is fair to say that it is worthwhile shopping around as you can save lots of money by picking and choosing which items you buy from where.

Here are the highlights from our shopping detective work:






Atta 5 kg

PKR 920

PKR 789

PKR 1010

There may be a difference in quality, however, our focus was 5kg of atta only. Metro was the most economical option.

Rice 5kg

PKR 1,995

PKR 1,675

PKR 1,990

It is difficult to compare quality of rice, however, Alfatah was the most expensive option for 5 kg.

Tea – Lipton Yellow Label 480g

PKR 1,499

PKR 1,449


On standard items, you would not expect any variation in price, however, Metro was PKR 50 cheaper

Tea Bags – Lipton Yellow Label - 100

PKR 895

PKR 949

PKR 950

With tea bags, Metro and Cheetay turned out to be approx.PKR 50 more expensive

Daal – Channa 1kg

PKR 255

PKR 489

PKR 349

A big variation was found in the price of daal. It may be due to the quality but for 1kg of daal, one would not expect such a difference.

Nescafe – 200grams

PKR 2095

PKR 2,750

PKR 2,500

There were some variations in the coffee, however, our focus was Nescafe and 200 grams. Significant difference in prices with Alfatah being the best option.

Dalda Ghee 2.5kg

PKR 1,390

PKR 1,355

PKR 1,560

Cheetay was by far the most expensive option with Metro being the cheapest.


By now, you get the idea, you need to shop around for the best deals. In some cases, Alfatah was cheaper and in others Metro was a better option. Cheetay were generally not the most economical option and would end up costing you more for your monthly shopping.

The amount and extent of savings you can achieve depend largely on what you buy, the quantities you buy and the quality of certain items. The larger your family the more savings you can achieve by shopping around. The advantage of online shopping is that you don’t have to drive all over town to find the bargains. Most sites will offer you free delivery if your order is above a certain amount.

So, now you know, shopping around for your groceries will help you to balance your monthly budget and as they say, every little bit helps.

The writer is an Australian Chartered Accountant, International Author and Management Consultant. He can be reached at

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