May 6, 2009

once you go Pak, you never go back

We were New World and Woolworths babies in our first year in NZ. We thought we were fine. But I discovered Pak 'N Save. What a stretch that shop does to our dollar.

While PNS may not offer the high-end products you can find in New World or Woolworths, it sells almost all of the other products for cheaper.

To prove my case, here are a couple of examples.

S26 Soy Formula: NW $29, PNS $21.75 (They sometimes go on sale for less than $20!)
Watties Little Kids Baby Food: WW $2.10, PNS $1.65-1.80 (sometimes even cheaper)

I wanted to post more but these 2 are the ones I know by heart being a mom. But also because these 2 are examples of items whose prices don't shift like those of fruits and veg.

A couple of weeks ago we went to Countdown again just for a change, but I'm definitely going back to PNS and won't be trying any other shop for a looooong time.

PNS has no loyalty cards. They do offer their own brands called Budget, equivalent to Home Brand and Signature Range. We've been buying Budget nappies since we've tried them the first time. I may be frugal but I'm not cheap. I did use the popular brands, like Treasures and Huggies, because I want to use the best for my child. Budget is not any different. The packaging is very simple and the nappy has no design except for the colorful front part where the sticky strip is put on. We have also tried Budget canned food and they're not shabby either.

Cost of plastic bags
Oh, PNS charges for each plastic bag so don't forget to bring your own. They have boxes there for use but only works if you live close by or have a car. I think each bag is about 50c.

You can sign up for this for free. Once you receive your bar-coded card (with 2 extra bar-coded tiny cards that you can put in your key chain), you can use the hand-held scanner. I love this scanner because I can check my total every time I scan an item. When I am truly in need to stick to the budget, I get rid of the extras in my shopping cart. I know how much I'm going to pay before I go to the counter. To deduct an item from the total just scan it again after pressing the minus button. How easy is that? There is also a special SHOP'nGO checkout counter where I can just pay straightaway. No queuing (if no other SHOP'nGO customers are in line, that is)!

I can also get a printed list of discounted items that are not available to non-members by scanning my card in the station next to the scanners.


  1. Glad to hear Budget nappies work for you!

    They also have Pams as a house brand. The one thing I won't buy Budget is pads/tampons, and I haven't ever bought Budget cleaning products.

    I guess the thing about PnS is they don't quite have the range of items that other chains do, but they are so much cheaper, esp. on name brand stuff (like the Watties canned baby food you mentioned!)

    What's this ShopnGo thing you mentioned?

  2. I haven't tried Budget pads yet and like you, I'm a little wary! :-P

    I have tried PNS bleach and it seems the same as any other brand.

    You should sign up for ShopnGo! Ask the service desk for an application form. The scanners are usually stationed close to the entrance. They are scanners that you can use as you shop. It's basically scanning the items yourself instead of having the check out person do it for you. It's fun :)

  3. WOW i love that ShopNGo!! that would keep me from throwing random things in my cart!

    i wish there was a pakNsave within walking/reasonable bus driving distance of me in AKL. :(

  4. Sense, I know! I didn't see one in central there. PNS needs warehouse-size space so I suppose that's why they can't put one in CBD. Maybe someday you will move to the burbs :)

  5. That's one thing that puts me off the city....expensive groceries!

    I guess you have the odd Asian shop, but nothing like out in Mt Albert, Sandringham, etc.

    And omg, the Lincoln Rd PNS in Henderson is SOOOO cheap. It's massive (biggest supermarket in NZ?) has a huge range, and is somehow cheaper on many items than other branches. Love it, wish it was closer.

    I will def. have to ask about ShopnGo next time I'm there :)