Your weekly food shop is likely to be one of your biggest expenses, so we’ve put together these 10 tips to help you save.
1. Pick up a basket instead of a trolley
This might not be possible if you’re doing a full weekly shop for the whole family, but if you tend to shop for just a few days’ meals at a time, or you’re just nipping in for a few bits, then grab a basket. If you start putting unecessary items in there, it’ll make your arms ache and you’ll be desperate to finish and get the till! The result? Less items you don’t need. It’s a good way to burn calories too.
2. Be smart on deals
Some deals can provide a great saving, but if you end up buying something you don’t need, then you’ve just wasted your money. If there’s an offer on something you wouldn’t normally buy, it’s probably not worth it unless you’re positive it won’t go to waste.
3. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
This tip might sound silly, but even if you’re certain you’re going to stick to your list, you’re bound to pick up a few extras if you’re feeling peckish. Supermarkets are designed to make you want to buy things, so they’ll position the tastiest looking food at eye-level and fill parts of the shop with the smells of freshly baked goods. Make sure you at least have a snack before head off on your weekly shop.
4. Don’t take the kids
If there’s any way you can avoid it, don’t take the children with you! Never underestimate their pester power when you’re feeling tired at the end of a shop. Can you leave them with your partner, a relative or a neighbour? Perhaps you can offer to look after your friends’ kids while she shops in exchange? Better yet, shop online – that way even you won’t be tempted by all the goodies the shop wants you to buy.
5. Switch to the value range
We have a lot of trust in branded products like Heinz, but supermarket own brands really can be surprisingly good. Tesco have just relaunched their Everyday Value range, so it tastes even better but still costs the same. If you’re unsure about the products, just try a few each week and see if you notice the difference.
6. Try the deli counter
It’s easy to assume that the deli counter is just full of fancy products and is therefore worth avoiding all together, but that’s not necessarily the case. You can often get great deals on things like cheese and ham because you’re not paying extra for the packaging. It’s worth checking – but compare with prices of items on the shelves to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
7. Buy bigger packs
Although bigger packs will cost you extra in the short term, they save you money in the long run. Buy all your staples in bigger packs – things like cereals, pasta, rice, cheese and so on. If you’re buying meat in bigger portions, just freeze the extra.
8. Go when there will be reductions
Most supermarkets start reducing items at about 8pm-9pm, or 4pm on Sunday. So it’s a great time to go and grab a bargain. Just remember that it’s only worth it if it’s a reduction on something you’d buy anyway.
9. Use your calculator
How often do you get to the till and feel shocked by the amount you’ve spent? Get your phone calculator out as you’re going round and keep count of how much you’re spending – it might put you off adding some items to your trolley. If it sounds like a hassle, try just rounding up or rounding down to the nearest pound on your calculator – that’s a bit quicker, and will still give you a general idea of what you’re spending.
10. Go to a supermarket where you can top up your petrol
Supermarkets often have low prices on petrol, but the last few months have seen shops like Tesco offering money off their fuel when you spend a certain amount in their shop. Keep your eye out for these deals and top up on fuel when you shop. 2 birds, 1 stone.