I’m not suggesting you go all Extreme Couponer on me, but even if you follow just a couple of these basic steps, you should be able to cut your supermarket bills each time you shop – then use that money elsewhere. On average I pay 33% less on a monthly shop.
1) Plan & Make A List
Yeah, I know you don’t have time or can’t be bothered, but it will help you get more for your money. Food that gets wasted and chucked in the bin because people buy more than they need costs the average household £470 a year.
I tend to make a quick note on my phone when we run low on something. Then before heading to the supermarket I check my diary to see when I’m in for meals and build a list around those things.
2) Compare Prices Online
This takes time but can be well worth it. MySupermarket (read our Clever Site guide for details) is fantastic for this. You’ll be able to find out if one supermarket is cheaper than another, and check out the different offers available.
3) Compare Brands
There are some things where cheaper brands just aren’t as good, but plenty where it’s difficult to tell the difference – except on price.
I’m not saying swap from finest to basics, but consider if you need to have Green & Blacks every time when you pay half for an own brand premium choc.
Sometimes it’s simply a case of getting the brand that’s on offer and switching each time you shop.
4) Compare Sizes
Just because it says ‘value pack’ it doesn’t mean it’s actually cheaper than two smaller ones. Likewise something might look more expensive but it’s price per ml/gram might be the same or less.
You’ll also see more and more that supermarkets, and especially pound shops, have unique sizes making it more difficult to compare prices with different sellers. There could be 60 tea bags rather than the normal 80, or a bag of Kettle Chips weighs 110grams rather than 150g.
Most supermarkets will have a price per unit/size/weight on the shelf label so use this to see which of the different brands and sizes is best value, though it’s not always easy to compare deals.
5) Check If A Deal Is A Deal
They’re crafty folks those supermarkets. How often have you seen something like this:
Yes it seems a great deal, but last week you could get a pack for £1.09. If you want it anyway and there isn’t a cheaper option, no harm done. But I’ve been caught out before, and I’m sure you have too.
Be careful too of products that are actually on offer more often than they are ‘full price’. It probably not a great deal. You can use MySupermarket to check average prices of items too, so you’ll be able to see what something normally costs.
6) Find Reductions
This is the time to stray from your list. People often say Waitrose is expensive, but they usually offer the best reductions – if you
time it right. Try and find out when your local supermarket marks things down to get the best bargains. But only buy it if you will actually eat it! After Easter I picked up these Lindt bunnies, loaf of bread and strawberries for £3.31 – they should have cost over £8.
Watch out for items which would actually be cheaper to buy on a BOGOF deal at full price. Though sometimes this can work in your favour as you might get the promotion on the reduced products too.
7) Use Coupons
Stories of people getting a shop for nothing through coupons are misleading, but they can cut the cost.
If you’ve a Tesco Clubcard, you’ll regularly get vouchers on products you buy so don’t chuck them in the bin.
Supermarket magazines often have some additional ones, and there are plenty of sites that let you print out discounts – especially for cosmetics and baby items. We’ll be publishing a guide to coupons next month.
8) Buy In Bulk
If you have the space, when you see a regular item in a great deal or reduced, it can be worth stocking up. Make sure you check dates and don’t forget about anything perishable! It helps if you have space in the freezer – though we regularly get to the point where it’s full and we have to base all our meals for a week on its contents.
9) Use Cashback Apps
Before you go shopping, see what products they have offers on, check which shop the offer is in, then buy the item in store as normal. You then upload your receipt and get given some money back. Most offers are around 20p to 50p, but can go as high as £5.