Deal stack to bring down the cost of a supermarket shop at Marks and Spencer. Find out below how I recently saved 55% on food and drink!
I’m starting a series of articles showing the tricks you can use to pay less at popular supermarkets and first up is Marks and Spencer Simply Food. And it’s for one very simple reason – it’s not cheap!
Though the quality of the grub is, in my opinion, far better than most if not all the other supermarkets, the prices are much higher.
However, since it’s the supermarket closest to the tube station I use to get to and from work, I do tend to pop in for stuff most weeks. So to bring down the costs I’ve found a series of ways to cut what I pay.
Get a Sparks card
This is the first step to start saving. Once you get a card you can use the app or website to apply discounts each week. You’ll see offers such as 20% off avocados or 20% off fish. Simply apply them to your card and show your card at checkout to get the saving.
Frustratingly the app NEVER scans on the self-service checkout when I try, so you might want to carry the physical card with you.
Sometimes these discounts are for non-food items, and you obviously won’t want to buy all the food items offered. So it’s not perfect. But it’s worth a look. Plus every other month or so there’s a broader offer which will give you £5 of £25, or 10% off the total.
Look out for vouchers at the till
When you get your receipt, check that you haven’t also got a money off voucher. They tend to be something like £5 off when you spend £30, or £10 off when you spend £50.
You can usually use these on food, drink and flowers, though do check as sometimes it’s just food.
Also, if you’re using the self-service till, take a look to see if anyone has left theirs on the machine. I recently picked up a few which had better offers than the one I was given with my purchase.
Get a discounted gift card
You can save more if you pay with a discounted gift card. These are easier to get that you’d think.
One way is to get your cashback from Quidco and TopCashback paid as one rather than cash. You’ll get a small boost for doing this.
Or you can check to see if you’re part of any “perks” scheme. You might have this from work, from your health insurance, or even through an ISA. Here’s more about how to find these offers.
Get the most out of the Dine in for £12 meal deal
One of the most popular regular promotions at M&S is the Dine in for 2 for £12 offer. If you don’t know it, you get the following for a tenner:
- A main
- A side
- A dessert
- A bottle of wine
Now if you pick carefully this deal can be great value. I’ll almost always go for the whole chicken as we’ll get a few meals from it. These are priced by weight, so you can sometimes see variation of as much as £1 between the smallest and biggest.
Sides can be a little disappointing, but things like potato rostis are great to throw in the freezer. Desserts all pretty tasty, but things like trifles or apple pies can easily feed four people. Then take your pick of the selected wines.
The last time I used this offer, the items would have totaled £20.51, so that’s more than 40% saved.
Bulk buy offers such as the “3 for £10” meat and fish
You get top quality meat and fish and M&S – but you pay for it. So this is a really good ongoing offer to pay less.
The trick is to pick the products which are most expensive at full-price such as salmon and prawns, The discount then brings down prices to on par or less than at other supermarkets. I’ll usually stock up and throw a few in the freezer.
Another good deal is the regular 25% off wine and beer. You need to buy six bottles.
You can see what offers are currently running on the M&S website.
Look for price matching
Often, especially with fruit and veg, I’ll spot a product has been price matched with a retailer such as Tesco. And the quality is often a lot better.
Raid the reductions
You might have read how I’m addicted to reduced yellow sticker food, and if you time it right, M&S has good reductions on their food. Really good. My freezer has a lot of reduced to clear Marks food!
Open an M&S Bank account
You get a £100 M&S gift card when you switch to M&S Bank, then a further £80 after a year. Free money to spend on food and more!
How I combined all these offers to save 55%
Brilliantly, you can stack all these different tricks and offers which means you can use your Sparks card discount to save an extra 10% on your Dine in for £12 deal and “three for £10” meat and fish, then pay using a free or discounted gift card
This receipt pic below if from a few years ago, but it’s a good example of how this can work.
The full price at checkout was £38.83, though the asparagas was reduced and the tomatoes price matched, so the real total price should have been £41.53.
Then the 3 for £10, dine in for £10 (now it’d be £12) and a £5 off when you spend £25 Sparks code were applied, bringing the cost down to £20.07.
I paid with a discounted gift card, which meant I saved a further 6%.
So this meant I paid £18.86 – saving 55%! I reckon that’s less than if I’d shopped at Asda or Tesco.
Do you have any other tips to cut what you spend on food at M&S? Let me know in the comments below or email me.