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The Best & Cheapest Things to Buy from ValuDollar & ABC 2018

ABC valudollar singapore

Clara Lim

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ValuDollar and ABC have been around in the heartlands for the longest time – surely you must have seen this familiar “FIRE SALE!!!” signage around.

But I suspect many of my fellow Singaporeans have not actually shopped at one. I myself finally visited a few months ago. Then I got hooked. I’m going to tell you about the best things to buy from these stores, but first the question on everybody’s mind is…

 

So cheap… are the products real or not?

I’ve had the same qualms about shopping at ValuDollar and ABC Bargain Centre (which are owned and operated by the same company, Radha Exports).

But I came across this post about B-stock goods on the personal finance blog, Frugal in Singapore. Having worked in the industry before, the writer explains that the products here are known as “B-stock”. There are a few types of B-stock at these stores:

Overstocked items where there was not enough demand to buy up the supply. A likely example of this is Nescafe instant coffee sold in Italy, see below.

Phased-out products like seasonal items that are no longer sold. For example, at ABC I found all-white Skittles from their rather tone-deaf marketing campaign last year.

Damaged labelling or packaging like dents, tears or typos in the labels, therefore can’t be sold in regular stores.

Food items nearing their expiration dates. For some items e.g. canned food, dry pasta, it doesn’t matter so much, but I bought some Lipton tea that was nearing expiry and it tasted very weak.

Parallel imports from other countries. If you see labels in Thai, Bahasa, Spanish etc. – these are very obviously parallel imports.

Obviously, buy at your own risk and don’t eat anything you’re not 100% comfortable about! But my experience has been great so far. If you’re wary, stick to known brands and check the country of manufacture, and of course always check the expiry dates!

 

Chocolate bars

abc valudollar kit katabc valudollar tobleroneabc valudollar lindtabc valudollar magnum

I would strongly discourage diabetics from visiting ValuDollar/ABC. The range of chocolate is just insane and dirt-cheap. I’m talking about $0.50 Snickers and Mars bars, enough Kit Kat and Toblerone to give you a seizure, and even nicer brands like Lindt and Godiva.

Let’s compare the prices against NTUC Online’s prices. (BTW, I’m not picking on NTUC FairPrice – it’s just the most popular supermarket chain around so I think it’s fair to use it as a yardstick.)

Item Price at ABC Price at NTUC Savings
Kit Kat (5 pc) $1.50 $3.70 $2.20
Toblerone (100g) $1.35 $2.35 $1.00
Lindt chocolate bar (100g) $2.95 $6.05 $3.10
Magnum Signature bar (90g) $1.95 $4.50 $2.55

 

Junk food & soft drinks

abc valudollar pringlesabc valudollar laysabc valudollar root beer sprite

ValuDollar/ABC seems to specialise in junk food. There are way more salty snacks here than I could photograph, but they’re the usual suspects like Pringles, Lays and Twisties. These aren’t that cheap though. I like hunting for the odd gourmet snack, like these quinoa chips which cost the princely sum of 1 whole dollar.

You can wash down all that sodium with a small selection of parallel imported soft drinks from Malaysia. Coke usually sells out fast so grab it while you can, otherwise you’ll have to settle for Sprite and Root Beer.

Item Price at ABC Price at NTUC Savings
Pringles Original (150g) $1.95 $2.70 $0.75
Root Beer / Sprite (1.25L) $1.00 $2.05 $1.05

 

Coffee & tea

abc valudollar liptonabc valudollar tea

After filling my basket with enough junk food to kill a giraffe, I went to look at my next favourite food group, caffeine. I don’t care much for the coffee products as they’re mostly instant or 3-in-1 coffee.

The tea selection is small but usually better. I’m comparing Lipton below since it’s widely available, but the Twinings teabags (also cheap) are better. I’ve tried the Impra teas too. They’re from Sri Lanka and are surprisingly good given the laughable price of $0.50 for 10 teabags!

abc valudollar nestle gold

Look, here’s evidence that some idiot at Nestle tried to market instant coffee to Italy, the birthplace of espressos. LOL.

Item Price at ABC Price at NTUC Savings
Lipton tea (100 teabags) $3.95 $5.65 $1.70
Nescafe Gold (200g) $8.95 $13.90 $4.95
Nescafe Original (200g) $4.95 $6.80 $1.85

 

Pantry staples & canned food

abc valudollar maggi noodlesabc valudollar barilla spaghettiabc valudollar garbanzo beans peasabc valudollar ligo canned sardines

While up to 70% of the shop space is devoted to snacks and convenience food, in bigger outlets you can usually find some “real food” if you poke around. These items are usually tucked away to the side or back.

You can usually find a few shelves of canned food in the back. Survivalists are going to go wild here because it’s rare to find such cheap canned food in Singapore. Baked beans and peas cost at least double elsewhere, while garbanzo beans (chickpeas) easily cost quadruple.

 

Item Price at ABC Price at NTUC Savings
Maggi noodles (5 packs) $1.50 $2.20 $0.70
Barilla spaghetti (500g) $1.25 $2.25 $1.00
Garbanzo beans (400g) $0.50 $2.20 $1.70
Peas (400g) $0.50 $1.05 $0.55
Baked beans (400g) $0.50 $1.15 $0.65
Ligo canned sardines (425g) $1.35 $1.50 $0.15

 

Toiletries & personal care

abc valudollar darlie colgate toothpasteabc valudollar toothbrushes

First of all… their toothbrushes and toothpaste are the cheapest!!!

abc valudollar dove soap

In addition to their bestselling oral care products, the bigger outlets often stock parallel imported toiletries from Thailand and Vietnam. You can find lots of bar soaps, but shampoo and liquid body wash are harder to find.

ValuDollar/ABC is a great place to pick up multi-packs of shavers for cheap. Women’s razors are usually more expensive than men’s in most pharmacies and supermarkets (a phenomenon known as “pink tax”) but over in this discount utopia, they cost exactly the same. ValuDollar is WOKE AF.

abc valudollar tiger balmabc valudollar mosquito repellent patches

Public Service Announcement: Never pay more than 70 cents for Tiger Balm again.

Item Price at ABC Price at NTUC Savings
Dove soap (1 bar) $0.50 $1.28

($3.85 for 3 pc)

$0.78
Darlie toothpaste (3 pc) $2.95 $6.10 $3.15
Colgate Triple Action (200g) $1.95 $2.95 ($5.90 for 2 pc) $1.00
Toothbrushes (3 pc) $0.80 $2.80 $2.00
Shavers (6 pc) $1.00 $1.95 $0.95
Tiger Balm (20g) $0.70 $4.40 $3.70
Mosquito repellent patches (36 pc) $1.00 Not sold in NTUC

Watsons sells it at $3.45 (for 24 pc)

$2.45

 

Household stuff

abc valudollar plastic wrap aluminium foilabc valudollar cif cleanerabc valudollar detergent

Mixed among the toiletries and personal care items are all sorts of household products. Even if you’re iffy about buying food from discount stores, surely you’d be at least a little tempted by the prices of these common kitchen and cleaning items.

 

How much money can you save?

So we’ve compared the prices of individual products in a rather piecemeal fashion, but how much can you actually save monthly if you take your business to ValuDollar. Here’s a projection based on my typical ABC/Valu$ haul:

Item Price at ABC Price at NTUC Savings
Lindt chocolate bar (100g) $2.95 $6.05 $3.10
Kit Kat (5 pc) $1.50 $3.70 $2.20
Pringles Original (150g) $1.95 $2.70 $0.75
Root Beer (1.25L) $1.00 $2.05 $1.05
Nescafe Gold (200g) $8.95 $13.90 $4.95
Maggi noodles (5 packs) $1.50 $2.20 $0.70
Barilla spaghetti (500g) $1.25 $2.25 $1.00
Garbanzo beans (400g) $0.50 $2.20 $1.70
Peas (400g) $0.50 $1.05 $0.55
Ligo canned sardines (425g) $1.35 $1.50 $0.15
Dove soap (1 bar) $0.50 $1.28 $0.78
Darlie toothpaste (3 pc) $2.95 $6.10 $3.15
Toothbrushes (3 pc) $0.80 $2.80 $2.00
Shavers (6 pc) $1.00 $1.95 $0.95
Tiger Balm (20g) $0.70 $4.40 $3.70
Cling wrap (100 sq ft) $0.80 $1.90 $1.10
Cif bathroom cleaner (spray bottle) $1.50 $3.95 $2.45
Energizer LED light bulb 60W $2.90 $6.00 $3.10
TOTAL $31.10 $62.28 $31.18 (50%)

There you go – you can actually halve your grocery bill if you shop at ValuDollar and ABC! Yes, you would definitely need to supplement your purchases with fresh produce, but for snacks, coffee/tea, toiletries and household items, these prices just speak for themselves. Do note that there are differences in price based on location! Here are several ValuDollar and ABC Bargain Centre location across the island you may want to check out.

 

Selected ValuDollar locations

LUCKY PLAZA
304 ORCHARD ROAD, #06-48
SINGAPORE 238863

JEM
50 JURONG GATEWAY ROAD, #04-56
SINGAPORE 608549

292 YISHUN
BLOCK 292 YISHUN STREET 32, 
#01-265
SINGAPORE 760292

CENTURY SQUARE
2 TAMPINES CENTRAL, 
#03-03
SINGAPORE 529509

 

Some ABC Bargain Centre locations

PENINSULA PLAZA  
111 NORTH BRIDGE ROAD, #01-32/42
SINGAPORE 179098

ANCHORPOINT
370 ALEXANDRA ROAD, #B1-28/29
SINGAPORE 159953

WOODLANDS NORTH PLAZA
BLOCK 883 WOODLANDS STREET 82, 
#01-486
SINGAPORE 730883

BEDOK NORTH
BLOCK 213 BEDOK NORTH STREET 1, 
#01-135
SINGAPORE 460213

 

The full list of store locations can be found at Radha Exports.

 

This post is NOT sponsored by Radha Exports, ValuDollar or ABC Bargain Centre. Didn’t you see the LOSE MONEY! signs?!

 

Would you ever shop at bargain stores? Why or why not?

 

Image Credits: Clara Lim

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Clara Lim

I used to be MoneyDumb. I hung out at H&M every day and thought that a $50 lunch set was a good deal. These days, I spend my time researching the crap out of life and trying to maximise utility on micro-decisions. I'm not sure if that's an improvement.