Expat life hacks: 11 ways to save money at the Czech grocery store

Knowing where, when, and how to shop for food in Czechia could save you hundreds of crowns every month.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.02.2024 17:02:00 (updated on 13.03.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

It’s no secret that the cost of living is rising in Czechia. Although changes in value-added tax may bring the price of groceries down a little, knowing where, when, and how to shop for food in Czechia could save you hundreds of crowns every month.

To help you, we’ve put together a guide on smarter ways to go grocery shopping that are easier on the wallet.

Seek out price-comparison sites

Prices change constantly, and knowing whether Lidl, Albert, or Tesco stocks the cheapest pasta can be a headache. Thankfully, multiple price-comparison tools available online – and for free – can show you which stores offer the most affordable versions of the products you want. Such sites include Pricemania.cz or Zboží.cz.

Sign up for loyalty cards and apps

Each major supermarket chain in Czechia has different loyalty programs that offer discount coupons or better prices for their users. The Tesco Clubcard, for example, can often slash prices by around half. The Můj Albert (My Albert) application also offers more favorable prices. The Billa Bonus Club gives you 1 point for every CZK 50 spent. The more points you earn, the more you can buy for free in return. 

Use apps to find promotions

If you see a tempting “buy one, get one free” offer in a supermarket, it may be well worth claiming it. Some apps, however, do the hard work for you and seek out special promotional deals from supermarkets in Czechia.

  • Kupi: Over the past few years, the Kupi.The cz application has become a staple for users buying promotional or otherwise discounted goods. The application registers your location and immediately offers you current deals based on your nearest supermarkets.
  • Akčníleták: This location-based application is similar to Kupi and also allows you to filter the chains according to the type of goods they sell. Like Kupi, you can also compare the prices of the same product in different supermarket chains.
  • Prometheus: This application – offered in English – interestingly shows promotional flyers from other countries. The app also has an offline version, making saving and accessing all flyers easy. Unfortunately, the app does not compare the prices of the same product in different stores.
  • Mojeletáky: This app allows you to filter the flyers of individual store

    categories – but you cannot search for specific foods on this application.

Do your shopping online

Not only is delivery highly convenient, but grocery shopping online via platforms such as Rohlik.cz and Košík.cz forces you to be more mindful of what you're putting in the cart and helps you cut down on impulse buys. Remember: delivery prices depend on the time of day you choose; try to select off-peak times to get the best deals.

Buy store-brand products

Consider opting for private-label groceries over branded items. Unbranded products like Albert Quality and Tesco Everyday Value food items, or even batteries labeled by IKEA, can provide better value than premium brands. This is because manufacturers invest less in marketing, enabling them to offer these goods at more economical prices than well-known brands.

Shop by unit prices

When shopping on a budget, make a habit of comparing grocery prices based on weight. A practical tip is to focus on the cost per 100 g rather than the displayed retail price. Beyond the retail price, most products also indicate their cost per 100 g, providing a more accurate basis for comparing similar items. This will help you get the best value for your money.

Keep track of inflation

Stay informed on which grocery store items are most impacted by inflation. In January 2024, the cost of fruits and vegetables increased, specifically potato prices, by 5.7 percent. The Czech Statistical Office consumer price index offers a good overview.

Shop according to season—and time of day

Choosing fruits and vegetables based on seasonality can help slash your grocery budget. Beets, cabbage, and leek are in season in the Czech Republic (February), but you’ll have to wait until May to see seasonal strawberries and cherries hit the shelves, for instance.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to embrace “ugly” produce in stores; it's just as good but more affordable. Opt for items with expiration dates in the discounted section; they are still usable.

Beware the Baťa price

In Czech shops, the so-called Baťa prices, have historically been used to create a false perception of affordability, leading to unnecessary purchases. These prices, named after the famous Czech shoemaker, traditionally ended in 9 (9 CZK, 49 CZK, 499 CZK), though today are more likely end in 90 (190 CZK, 490 CZK). 

Know your rights—and exercise them

Did you know that Billa and Lidl have policies about wait times that give customers discounts for waiting in line for too long? Or that Kaufland will reward you if you discover an expired product? In a country where customer service and food quality are constantly called into check, learning and applying these policies can add up!

Go to Poland (or Germany…or Austria)

Those living near Czechia’s border regions may have already traveled to a different country to stock up on certain items. Various research has found that groceries in Poland have been markedly cheaper than in Czechia for almost two years, and some products are less expensive even in neighboring Germany and Austria. 

If you have the time, hop over the border and see what deals you can find. You can even use the Prometheus application to get a double deal by hunting out promotions in other countries’ stores.

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