15 Ways To Save On Your Weekly Shop
The gut-wrenching hit your bank balance takes when the cashier values your trip out for milk and bread at £37.86.
We’ve all felt it, regretted it, and subsequently fallen into the same traps again days or weeks later. Abiding by your weekly or monthly grocery budget is easier said than done, but making some simple tweaks offers a start. Here are 15 ways to save on your next big shop:
Spot and dodge supermarket tricks
Supermarkets are well-oiled machines when it comes to earning your money, and we obey almost subconsciously at times. Look out for:
- Impulse buys
Carefully placed magazines and treats are a last-ditch attempt to take a few extra pounds.
- Profit in plain view
Eye-level products are placed there for the supermarket’s benefit, not yours. Looking high and low will lead you to lower-priced alternatives.
- Shopping the whole store
It’s no coincidence that a pit stop for milk will take you past the hot counter, bakery and food-on-the-go sections. Supermarkets carefully plan routes, so if you’re just nipping in for a top-up shop, keep your hands on the trolley at all times.
Buy one get one free or three-for-two offers are tough to pass on, but may still outprice the more basic alternative. If the product is perishable, are you simply buying unneeded extras?
1. Shop own brand
Be sure you’re shopping based on price and quality, not branding. Try swapping a couple of your usuals for own brand alternatives. Often, the stripped down version is produced in the same factory, and for cleaning products, medication, and cupboard staples like flour, salt and vinegar, the two are almost identical.
2. Don’t shop when hungry
Shopping on an empty stomach is a risky game, and may leave you vulnerable to (tasty) impulse buys.
3. Don’t shop pre-packaged
Looking at price per kilogram is the key here. Fruit and veg is the quickest win; buying loose saves on waste (food and packaging alike) as well as money. The deli counter is another opportunity to save, with some sandwich fillers cheaper by up to £6 per kilogram.
4. Write a list
Planning your meals for the week ahead will allow you to make better use of ingredients, and avoid unnecessary top up shops at expensive express shops.
5. Time your shop
Shopping late in the day is a not-so-secret way to make great savings. Buy reduced food and freeze it for a cheaper day.
6. Dust off your clubcard
When is the last time you spent the clubcard points you’ve been saving so religiously?
7. Avoid snack size
The price isn’t always as fun size. Cereal miniatures, cans and snack bars are some of the highest margin items for supermarkets, and mean low value for money for consumers.
8. Shop odd
Most stores now offer some form of imperfect versions of veg, eggs and more. It’s all the same on the inside, and makes for easy saving.
9. Don’t pay for convenience
The biggest sin is petrol station shops, but supermarket express shops are similarly steep, in part due to the limited product selection. Shop in megastores for the best value.
10. Do your homework
Comparing the price of your basket across various supermarkets may throw up some surprises. mysupermarket.co.uk offers this and other useful tools to save on your shopping.
11. Try a different supermarket
Which? best supermarket scored Aldi as the nation’s favourite in 2018 with value for money and quality of products the highest rated aspects, whilst Sainsbury’s ranked in last place. Rather than shopping at the nearest store, see if a different supermarket will mean a more agreeable bottom line.
12. Try a cash and carry
Though memberships are required, the wholesale style of Costco and Makro means stocking up on cupboard fillers and household essentials can be especially cost-effective.
13. Try a market
The consumer-focussed ease of supermarket shopping makes it difficult to consider a change, but shopping at local markets can cut out the number of markups and pass the savings onto you.
14. Try online
Shopping online can avoid certain temptations and avoid spontaneous shopping. Check online for introductory offers and delivery charge exemptions.
There you have it: thought for food. Try one or two changes on your next shop and see if you can save.