By Eloise Empleton
Did you realise that you can save a small fortune if you shop wisely for your food? This can really add up over time and it is really worth considering how you can be a smart shopper, especially with the cost of living rising at a rapid rate. There can be ways to afford the items you want if you shop carefully. So we have taken a look at how to reduce your grocery bill and here are some tips for saving money:
1. Write a list and keep to it!
Plan ahead, writing a list of the items you want and really need. It is so easy to get distracted and tempted whilst in the supermarket…but do you always need these extra things? The answer is probably not! So be strict with yourself and keep focused on what you’re there for. It could also really help to plan your meals for the week before you do your weekly shop. You can then focus on only buying the ingredients you really need.
2. Avoid shopping when you’re hungry!
People tend to shop differently when they are hungry, so try to avoid this if possible. You could end up having eyes bigger than your wallet and buying much more than you want or need due to your hunger pangs!
3. Grab an evening bargain – food reduced to sell before it perishes
Often supermarkets will offer a good discount on items getting close to the sell by date. Bear in mind that this price reduction process normally takes place early evening so there is time to sell the items. Consider if you can eat the food in time or if not whether it is possible to freeze it.
4. Think about where you shop
If you’re wondering how to save money on your weekly shop, then simply seeking out where to shop for less could make a big difference. Our advice is avoid convenience stores and head to more reasonably priced supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi. Also consider visiting smaller discount stores Home Bargains and B&M Bargains for certain household items. It can work well to stock up from these discount stores every so often and do your regular shopping at your chosen supermarket.
5. Look beyond the middle shelf
Supermarkets often put the items they want you to buy on the middle shelf as this is at eye level. Similar cheaper alternatives can usually be found on higher or lower shelves, so be sure to have a glance around for the best deal.
6. Buy items on sale
Another way to save money on food shopping is to stock up when you see something on offer that you would normally buy anyway. It really pays to buy a number of these items whilst they are discounted.
7. Pay attention to the price per pound
Be sure to check the value you’re getting for your money. Some offers can be deceiving and may not be the best deal. There could be similar cheaper alternatives.
8. Buy seasonal
Watch out for what’s in season, it tends to be cheaper and supermarkets regularly put these items on offer. You can find bigger packs at cheaper prices.
9. Check out the fruit and veg in the frozen aisle
Many of us tend to forget that we can buy fruit and vegetables in the frozen section but it’s worth thinking about as normally cheaper. It’s also still considered just as healthy as eating it fresh.
10. Use loyalty cards
Most of the big supermarkets have loyalty schemes which you can join. Signing up can help you save money. The benefits offered vary though and it’s still important to shop around to get the best prices. Nevertheless it’s worth getting a loyalty card for each supermarket you shop in as every little helps.
11. Reduce your meat intake
Buying meat can be expensive and really bump up your food bill. Consider reducing the amount of meat you eat and you should find your weekly shop costs you less.
12. Compare prices
Shops can really vary on price. It’s best to shop around to check the best prices and it may make sense to switch supermarket. Aldi and Lidl are particularly competitive.
13. Choose store brands
Try shifting down a range. Supermarkets tend to offer luxury, branded, their own brand and an economy option. You may not notice any difference from shifting down and this is one of many easy ways to save money.
14. Use coupons
Check out what coupons or vouchers are available and use them when you can! If you’re signed up to a loyalty scheme, the supermarket normally offer you personalised ways to save money (as well as ways to to save by spending your points accrued). Nowadays coupons tend to be in the form of online codes, apps and cashback, although they can still sometimes be found in a newspaper or magazine. You can find free codes online, check out websites Vouchercloud and SuperSavvyMe. Consider signing up to cashback apps such as Top CashBack, Swagbucks, Shopmium, CheckoutSmart and Green Jinn. You pay for the item in full and then receive cashback, sometimes this can be up to 100%.
15. Buy items in bulk
Buying a larger quantity can work out cheaper, so consider this as one of your money saving ideas. If you live with others in can be worth doing this and splitting the cost in order to save. This can work well when buying everyday household items such as toilet paper.
16. Food shop online
Supermarkets often offer discounts for shopping online, including a significant discount for your first online shop. Shopping online allows you to check for the best prices and prevents you from being distracted and tempted by what is available in store, making it easier to focus on what you really intended to buy!
17. Avoid buying ready meals
Instead of buying a ready meal try to make the dish from scratch. It can work out a lot cheaper and you may find yourself with a number portions to feed more mouths or to freeze ready for another day.
18. Check out different aisles for the items you want
The same items can sometimes be found in different areas of the supermarket for varying prices. For items such as rice and sauces try looking in the world food section. There could be savings to find in this aisle as the brands do not seem to be so well known. You may also find cheaper dried fruits and nuts in the baking aisle rather than where the snacks are placed. Get to know your supermarket and become a savvy shopper!
19. Have a budget day
Certain meals can be easy to make and super cheap. This is another serious piece of money saving advice. You could create a simple pasta dish, even add in some vegetables with a simple sauce and you’re ready to go! Give it a try and start saving!
20. Compare prices at different stores
Become familiar with the prices for the regular items you buy. Some stores will sell items at a much more reasonable price than another. Know what you want to buy and where to buy it from. It can make sense to do your food shop in different stores, keeping to your list and getting the best deals.
Set yourself a budget, take your own reusable bags and away you go!