#TellYourStory: 5 tips for supermarket shopping

Chris Hack

Food shopping. It’s one of those mundane tasks that we all have to do. Yet go about it the wrong way and you could end up blowing your entirely monthly budget in one hit!

So to help you out here are five of my top tips for saving money on your supermarket shop.

Plan your meals

Plan your meals

It’s a good idea to plan your meals for the week before you head to the supermarket. That way you know exactly what you’re going to eat each day and what ingredients you need to buy in order to make it. If possible, try and stretch your ingredients to last a couple of days. For example, why not buy a slightly larger chicken and use the leftovers from your roast to make a curry or sweet & sour?

Don’t rule out ready meals either if you’re on a tight budget. A lot of the supermarkets run regular offers where you can buy a certain number of ready meals for a set price. It can often work out cheaper than buying all of the ingredients separately, and it’s a lot less effort to cook. Buy a ready made lasagne for example and pair it with some broccoli and garlic bread for a cheap and cheerful meal.

Oh, and it’s a lot easier to stick to your food budget if you make one big weekly trip to the supermarket instead of lots of impulsive ones. 

 

Try own brand

A great way to make considerable savings on your weekly shop is to switch to own-brand products. These are considerably cheaper and usually just as good, if not better than the more familiar branded goods. Why not try replacing your usual branded shop with supermarket own-brands for a week and see how you get on? 

A great example of a switch that could save you considerable money each week is washing capsules. Supermarket own brands are usually two or three pounds cheaper than the likes of Ariel or Persil and will clean your clothes just as effectively. 

Another one to consider is toilet rolls. As much as it’s nice to have expensive toilet paper that’s double quilted and enriched with cocoa butter, it still ends up in the same place. Think about it.

You might find you actually prefer some of the cheaper brands and switch to them permanently. 

Scan as you shop

Scan as you shop

If you’re on a tight budget it’s probably best to avoid shopping blind. One of the best ways to keep an eye on how much you’ve spent as you trundle round with your trolley is to use a scan as you go system. Most of the major supermarkets offer this service and as the name suggests it allows you to scan your own shopping as you go. The handset will tot up your total as you scan each item, enabling you to stick to your budget and avoid any nasty surprises when you get to the checkout.

Some supermarkets allow you to do the same thing using a phone app. Tesco’s Pay+ app even allows you to add funds to a digital wallet which you can then use to pay for your shopping each week.  

Get a loyalty card

One of the ways to get the most out of your weekly shop is to sign up for a loyalty card. Pretty much all of the big supermarkets have these such as offer these and it’s usually completely free to sign up. 

By using one each and every time you make a supermarket trip or purchase fuel from a supermarket petrol station you’ll accumulate points which – once you reach a certain milestone – can be used to take money off of your shopping bill. Some  of the loyalty schemes such as Tesco’s Clubcard and Nectar allow you to redeem your points at other retailers as well. So you can make savings on everything from train travel to cinema tickets.

Sweet Treats

Avoid impulse buying

Supermarkets love to try and make you buy more than you went in for. Ever wondered why they always place tempting treats such as cakes and sweets at the end of the aisles? It’s to try and catch your eye and encourage you to put them in your trolley. We’re all guilty of it.

One of the easiest ways to avoid impulse buying is to make sure you’re not hungry when you visit the supermarket. Because if you’re hungry you’re going to instantly crave whatever delicious goodness they’ve deliberately placed in your view.

Write a list and stick to it. 

Do you have any money saving tips when it comes to food shopping? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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