If you’ve regularly shops for groceries in different retailers, you might have noticed that the majority of stores sell the same items from the same brands but seldom at the same prices. Astute shoppers might even shop for specific items at stores that offer a better price.
Given the tough economic times we are currently enduring, many are looking for way to tighten up their purses so they can get by or even save just a little bit.
So we decided to do a little investigation of our own to help you gauge the prices of different household items that you would commonly find in the various grocery stores in Singapore in order to find the best deals.
For this list, we focused on three retailers: NTUC, Sheng Shiong, and Value Dollar Store. We’ve focused on these three stores simply because of constraints of resources and time.
Lipton Yellow Label Black Tea
If you prefer to start your day with caffeine but not in the form of coffee, Lipton’s Yellow Label black tea is on sale at totally different price points in all three stores. After some reading of the labels, we found that the teas on all three shelves were manufactured in the same plant in Indonesia.
So in this case, your best bet would be the cheapest option.
- NTUC: $2.45
- Sheng Shiong: $2.55
- Value Dollar Store: 1.05 (Ideal choice)
What’s a little breakfast tea without some Nutella toast, right? Unlike the Lipton tea, we found that the Nutella sold at Value Dollar Store was manufactured in Poland while the one in NTUC at Sheng Shiong were manufactured in Australian.
While the ingredients of all three jars remained identical, some of the jars sold at Value Dollar Store were close to their expiration dates.
While we love Nutella and a good deal as the next person, we don’t think it’s wise to risk an upset tummy just to save 85 cents. With Value Dollar Store out of the running, NTUC and Sheng Shiong are both the better bargain.
- NTUC: $5.80 (Ideal choice)
- Sheng Shiong: $5.80 (Ideal choice)
- Value Dollar Store: $4.95
Colgate Advance White
Given all the food items you will see on this list, keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever.
Our survey revealed that all three retailers were selling the same tube of Colgate Advance White toothpaste, which made it perfect for a price comparison.
At NTUC and Sheng Siong, the toothpaste only came in packs of two while Value Dollar Store only carried single packs. Upon inspection, we found that they were all manufactured in the same factory in Thailand. Even so, all three stores had wildly different price points, with Value Dollar still taking the lead for best bargain.
- NTUC: $4.90
- Sheng Shiong: $6.25
- Value Dollar Store: $1.75 or $3.50 for two (ideal choice)
Hansaplast Water-Resistant Plasters
Next we have plasters, an essential component of every first-aid kit. So, it’s fortunate that plasters are sold relatively inexpensively at all 3 stores. Once again, the same brand and pack of Hansaplast plasters from NTUC, Sheng Shiong and Value Dollar Store are from the same manufacturer based in Indonesia. While NTUC and Sheng Shiong offer the same prices, Value Dollar Store sells them for $1.50 cheaper.
- NTUC: $2.50
- Sheng Shiong: $2.50
- Value Dollar Store: $1.00 (ideal choice)
Mini Oreo Cookies
Twist it, lick it, dunk it. That right, Oreo! The perfect snack for a light tea break to get you through the rest of the day.
The cookies were sold dramatically different packaging at all three stores that we visited. The one at Sheng Shiong came in a pack of eight, NTUC offered mini Oreos in single pack cardboard, and oddly enough, the one at Value Dollar Store came in a plastic container cup.
Even so, all three types were manufactured in the same factory in Indonesia according to the packaging. In this case, it really depends how you want to consume and store your mini Oreos. The eight-pack bag offered at Sheng Shiong would be great for stocking up at home while the ones that come in a plastic cup at Value Dollar Store makes for a great grab-and-go snack.
- NTUC: $1.30
- Sheng Shiong: $3.50 for 8 pack – 44 cents for a single pack (Perfect for stocking up at home)
- Value Dollar Store: $1.00 (great for a grab and go snack)
Pantene Damage Care Shampoo
Shampoo is a must have in all bathrooms (not if you’re bald, I guess) so we took a look at the Pantene Damage Care shampoo.
The ones sold in major retailers NTUC and Sheng Shiong is made in Thailand and is sold in 750ml bottles. On the other hand, the Value Dollar Store variation is made in Indonesia and is sold in 650ml bottles. It’s also important to note that there is a slight difference in the Indonesian recipe as well.
A little bit of mathematics tells us that Value Dollar Store offers the best price for this shampoo per 100ml, so even though it is a slightly smaller bottle, you’ll save quite a bit.
- NTUC: $11.50
- Sheng Shiong: $11.50
- Value Dollar Store: $5.95 (ideal choice)
Fab Perfect Laundry Detergent
Most consumers will purchase a detergent that smells good and/or offers certain benefits like colour protection or being antibacterial, or even, let’s face it, if it’s on sale.
For this category, we looked at the Fab Perfect powdered laundry detergent as it was being sold at all three stores we visited. The detergent is sold in the same packaging and size, and is made in Vietnam.
Once again, Value Dollar Store takes the cake for being the cheapest.
- NTUC: $6.50
- Sheng Shiong: $6.50
- Value Dollar Store: $4.95 (ideal choice)
Great Grains Cereal
Now, if you prefer cereal to Nutella on toast for breakfast, you might think of picking up a pack of cereal that is more exciting with some dried fruits and nuts, like Great Grains.
This brand of cereal sold by all three retailers are packed in identical packaging and is produced in same factory in USA. And if you’re wondering, the ones sold at Value Dollar Store are well within their expiration date.
- NTUC: $5.45
- Sheng Shiong: $5.25
- Value Dollar Store: $4.95 (ideal choice)
Kinder Bueno (3-pack)
Another great snack and a scrumptious chocolate in its own right is Kinder Bueno. A hazelnut cream housed in crisp, chocolate coated wafers. Yum!
The pack sold in NTUC and Sheng Shiong are identical while the value pack sold in the Value dollar Store is actually three individual packs stuck together. The ones sold at NTUC and Sheng Shiong are made in Italy while the Value Dollar Store rendition is made in the United Kingdom.
Even so, the ingredients remain the same. But if you’re one of those people who can taste the different, then you should remember to read the label before purchasing.
Although, I doubt that most people would bother reading the fine print. I mean it’s chocolate after all! So you know where to go to get your cheap Kinder Bueno fix.
- NTUC: $5.55
- Sheng Shiong: $5.55
- Value Dollar Store: $3.95 (ideal choice)
Dettol Original Hand Soap
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, are you losing your mind trying to keep your family safe while and healthy? A reputable hand soap like Dettol should be stocked in your home for all the hand washing we’re doing now.
The bottles of soap sold by the major retailers, NTUC and Sheng Shiong, are made in Indonesia while the bottle in the Value Dollar Store is made in India. Either way, we didn’t see a difference in the recipes sold between the varieties and all three bottles claim to kill 99.9 percent of germs.
- NTUC: $3.90
- Sheng Shiong: $3.90
- Value Dollar Store: $2.50 (ideal choice)
We hope that this list has reduced the hassle for picking the best offers in different stores, and can help you make wiser spending decisions. Based on our quick survey for this list, it appears that shopping for certain essentials at the Value Dollar Store could save you a lot of money in the long run.
However, as mentioned, this is only a comparison of three stores. There are other retailers and stores out there that could offer even lower prices for your essentials.
One last thing to remember is that it would be prudent for you to check the expiration dates and manufacturing origins on every item before purchasing, just to be on the safe side.
Keep an eye out for more of these comparisons from us in the future!