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More S'poreans use coupons and opt for house brands to cut spending

By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia
25 April 2008

SINGAPORE: With Singapore's March inflation hitting a 26-year high at 6.7 per cent, many are starting to use a variety of ways to make their dollar stretch further.

One customer said: "I try to buy home brands like NTUC home brand. I try to cut down, I know things are not cheap these days. Everything is very expensive, so we have to cut down."

House brands, with its lower costs, are proving to be more popular. A spokesman for NTUC Fairprice said since its discount scheme was introduced last December, sales of house brand products have increased by about 25 per cent.

The supermarket chain has also been promoting frozen meat as a cheaper alternative to fresh meat. In the last two months, sales of frozen chicken and beef grew by up to 30 per cent, while frozen pork has seen a threefold increase in sales.

Many also look out for various discounts, purchase-with-purchase and rebate schemes.

One shopper said: "Sometimes we choose all those promotions and try to think again and again what I can afford. Now it's really very difficult."

"Plan accordingly - so cut out unnecessary items like entertainment because we can't live without food," said another shopper.

Over at Giant Hypermarket, one of the popular items to stretch one's dollar is the big savings catalogue. It was launched in 2007 and due to its popularity, it was launched again this year.

The catalogue contains a whole series of vouchers and using up all of them can amount to more than a thousand dollars in savings.

Shop N Save supermarket also has an ongoing five per cent rebate promotion. Its spokesman said that the supermarket has seen a ten to fifteen per cent rise in the number of customers using this scheme in recent months.

To help consumers cope with rising prices, more schemes are expected to be announced next week. - CNA/vm