The Supermarket Shop
It feels like everything has gone up in price over the past few months and your grocery shop is no exception.
Many Supermarkets claim to have frozen prices on basic everyday items. For a fact, I know this to be wrong in the case of one of the leading retailers. The supermarket in questions went from a pack of 6 filled potato skins to a pack of 4, maintaining the same price point. In another instance, the same supermarket when from selling heads of broccoli about the size of a side plate, to heads the size of a saucer for the same price – they must really think their Customers are stupid!
It’s up to us to make sure they realise we are not stupid. If you feel you are not getting value for money try another supermarket – there are now plenty to choose from, all offering everyday basic ranges, at differing price points. Or shop in more than one. Look for special offers which are REAL offers. Use the comparison websites to see how much competing supermarkets are charging. This is especially useful if you shop online, although many of the retailers now state their own prices and those of the nearest competitor on their shelf strip price labels.
With food being so important it seems hard to think you can cut back and make savings, but with our top tips you should be able to bring the cost down each time.
Time of day
This is an old favourite saving tip and believe me it works! Never go food shopping when you are hungry, everything will seem delicious and you will end up purchasing more food than you really need. Try going after breakfast or lunch and make sure you have eaten before hand.
Make a list
This is something I hate doing as I always forget to put stuff down or find it easier to wander around. However, it is a proven fact that if you write a list before you leave home you will only buy what you really need. But if you do write a list stick to it and you will be surprised how much less you’ve spent at the checkout!
Small Trolley or Basket
You might not think this works but it does, especially if you only have a few items to get. Using a basket keeps you focused on just getting the items you need instead of those you don’t – you only have a small space to carry items and you have to lug it round the store.
The Reduced Counter
This is usually the most popular shelf in the store with everyone looking for a bargain. Sometimes you will find stuff you need and other times you won’t. If you see any meat or fish then don’t worry about the BBD (best before date) just make sure the item can be frozen and freeze it as soon as you get home to use at a later date.
Look at the fresh meat and fish shelves and see when the most popular BBD is and pop back in on that date to grab yourself a bargain. The other day I noticed all the fresh mince expired on a certain date, there were about 5 shelves of it. I happened to be in the store a few days later and thought I would have a look at the reduced counter and there were loads of packs of mince all at a reduced price.
Whilst I didn’t need any for the next few days I still bought a few packs and stuck them in the freezer – perfect for spaghetti bolognaise, meatballs, chilli con carnie, cottage pie and many other meals.
The only items I am really sceptical about are those from the fresh meat or fish counters, as you can’t really see what you are buying. It might say fresh fillet steak at half price but you don’t know how much fat or what kind of cut it is so be careful. It might be a saving at the time but a huge disappointment when you get home!
Special Offers & Vouchers
If you’re looking for offer codes why not try a Tesco eCoupon or a Asda promotional code, we also offer Sainsburys promotional codes that offer online savings only. Whilst these special offers seem too good to be true and you feel you should take advantage of them please be careful. Some will be good offers whilst others just a marketing ploy to make you spend more. The best ones are Buy One Get One Free or BOGOF to those in the trade. These will only be special offers and give you a saving if you actually needed the item and not if you just buying because of the offer. Being a bit of a supermarket shopper you get used to seeing the special deals and my local supermarket has great offers that seem to come around very quickly so I don’t buy certain items unless they are on special offer. I only get the baby wipes when they are buy 1 and get 2 free, for me this is a huge saving with the amount we get through and works out cheaper than most of the store brands. Cheese is also a good one as it has a long sell by date so it doesn’t matter if you have a few packs in your fridge, unless you don’t eat much cheese and will be a waste. Don’t but things you don’t usually have on special offer if they have a short shelf life, as you will end up throwing a lot out at the end of the week. Plus look at the size of family or the amount of people the shop is for, if you are on your own is it really worth buying a large pack of potatoes because you get another free or money off? Would you really use them or simply buy them due to the offer and end up throwing away. Have a good think before taking advantage of special offers, as they might not give you a saving at all in the long run!
Whilst most people prefer buying branded items, it’s worth having a look at the own brand ranges, and the budget ranges especially if you are using the item as ingredients in a recipe etc. There is a rumour out there that the store own brand versions are actually made by the leading manufacturers of branded goods. Recipes are slightly adjusted, and some of the ingredients are cheaper, but overall the taste is very similar. Most people wouldn’t know the difference if they did a blind test despite what they may think beforehand!
Store own brand ranges are usually cheaper but still good quality or value for money. Some of the budget brands are also just as good so why not try them – you might be pleasantly surprised. There is a stigma attached to some of the value brands, but to be honest why pay more for something that is perfectly adequate and saves you money!
Getting Something Back
I am very much one for getting something back from the Supermarket you use on a regular basis, either via money back off vouchers, discounts vouchers for the family on days out or even points to save up for items around the home.
Most big retailers now offer some form of a loyalty programme so make sure you sign up to the ones you use regularly.
Each store has their own rules on what you can get in return for your points. I use Tesco for food and petrol and like to save my vouchers for either a big shop. However, Tesco recently had special offers on their points scheme where you could get double the amount for your vouchers in certain departments – ideal if you need some bigger and more expensive items around the home or garden. Tesco also send vouchers and money off coupons on a quarterly basis, together with issuing additional money saving vouchers on fuel or for use in-store when you spend over a certain amount at the checkout.
Every town and city has seen an increase in the number of budget shops on the high street. Names such as Poundland, QD, Wilkinson’s and the 99p store, selling household staples and hardware items at unbelievably low prices. Lidel and Aldi have appeared in most towns and cities, selling all your groceries, household cleaning and toiletries requirements at very low prices compared to the major supermarkets. You might not recognize the brand names as they are often shipped in from Europe at a much lower cost than the UK’s leading brands. Why not try out these alternatives – you might be pleasantly surprised, and save yourself money at the checkout.
If you have access to the internet then try shopping on line. Most Supermarkets offer an online service where you order what you need and have it delivered to your door. Many stores, having listened to their customers, now offer a “click and collect” service – you order on line and then go to a pickup point at a prearranged time to collect your shopping. This service is free, saving you the usual delivery charge.
Once you add your details online and become a regular shopper, your favourite or frequently purchased items will automatically appear in your shopping basket when you log in, making your selections easier.
Shopping online has a host of benefits. Namely, you only buy what you need as you aren’t being tempted to add other items as you aren’t wandering round the actual store. Plus your online basket is constantly add up, so you know how much you are spending as you continue shopping, meaning you can add or remove items from your basket if you have a strict budget.
Be careful when choosing “loose” items, such as bananas, apples or carrots. I remember a friend saying she only wanted 5 bananas and put 5 in the quantity not realizing she had asked for 5Kg’s of bananas, she had a bit of a shock when they turned up with her delivery.
Remember, usually the special offers in store apply online so you aren’t missing out.
Food shopping shouldn’t be a chore or cost a fortune. By using a few of our tips you start saving money.