We all know the standard advice for cutting down the amount we spend on our weekly food shop – do one food shop per week, make a list, meal plan, don’t shop when you’re hungry, shop at discount supermarkets etc. While all this advice is perfectly valid, there are a few other tricks you can use to save money on your expensive food bill.
1. Study the shelves
If you think items are placed on the shelves at random, you’d be very wrong. Supermarkets invest big money in research to determine exactly where they should place items to maximise their profits. They want you to spend more money, so they place the more expensive items at eye level. However, if you have a good look around the aisle, you’ll probably be able to find a different brand of the same product for a cheaper price at the very top or bottom of the shelf.
2. Find out what’s in season
Plan your meals to comprise fresh ingredients that are in season and you will save yourself a fortune at the tills. Locally sourced fruit and vegetables are not only cheaper, but by buying produce with less food miles, you’re helping the planet too.
3. Use a small trolley
According to research, if you use a big trolley, you’re more likely to fill it. So, choose a smaller trolley or even a basket if you can – this will prevent you from adding unnecessary items because it will fill up quicker. You’ll have to fight against the tight space and really consider whether to add each item.
4. Don’t go to the deli
The deli section is crammed full of tasty-looking meats, cheeses, pastries and dips. All are packaged beautifully and served directly to you by a member of staff – but you are paying a premium for this service. If you hunt around the store, you’ll often find the same items at a fraction of the cost.
So, don’t be fooled by the swanky deli counter – often its food is of no better quality than other items you can find on the shelves.
5. Do Your Research
Meal planning and list writing are great ways to make sure you don’t overspend, but dedicating a bit more time to preparing for your weekly shop can save you even more. Research the deals available to loyalty card holders and try to plan your week’s meals around what’s on offer. Using coupons and other vouchers in the same way can also shave off £ from your bill.
There are plenty of apps, such as My Supermarket, available to help you find the best deals and some, like Top Cashback, also offer discounts to their users. Some supermarkets even have their own apps to help their customers access the best deals. If you have a bit of dead time during the day, for example when commuting, use it to research the best deals on your food shopping.