As the title and the above infographic suggests, with a bit of thought you can shop for much less saving as much as half the cost of your shopping bill. Sound too good to be true? Well to be honest no, this is one of those times where it actually isn’t. With just a few tips and adjustments to your shopping routine can literally save you hundreds if not thousands per year on your grocery shop. Have a look below at my step by step guide for the top ways to save money when getting your groceries.
Eat before you go
I know this sounds crazy when you need food you go shopping but why should you waste time eating when you could grab a nice snack there? Studies have shown that you are more likely to add snacks, treats and other little ‘extras’ to your trolley when you are hungry. Your brain is not only telling you that you need to eat but when you look at the goods on the shelve your brain digs into your memory to associate that food with a feeling of satisfaction and as such you feel compelled to add it to your trolley. Think back, has there ever been a time you have opened something and eaten it and paid for the opened product at the checkout? Also another point of note there are many coffee shops springing up near supermarkets. They are strategically placed to take advantage of you when you get that ‘I deserve a treat’ feeling. Save it until you get home and can have a great coffee there. Have a look at this link where you can save over £2000 per year on coffee by buying a great machine to satisfy that craving and save a shed load of hard earned cash to boot!
Make a list and stick to it
This sounds pretty straight forward but most people don’t write lists and as such end up with 2 of something and nothing of something else and also add more items to their trolley without realising it. Get a list and stick to it. Number one rule! (exception to the rule is buying promotional items which are on your list anyway, see below). If you only get what’s on your list you will never stray into the dark side or overspend.
Don’t grab the by the door promotions
That’s where they try and get you. If you love shopping you will be all hyped and ready to buy, especially when there is a big neon sign telling how great it is. Or if you hate shopping grab it quick to get it over with. Beware the in store promotions, especially the ones that hit you in the face as soon as you walk in. But the deals are great aren’t they? Otherwise why would they say so? Well sorry to tell you this but the aim of the shop is to get you to part with as much cash as possible whilst not alerting you to the fact they are taking you for a ride and even getting you to love them! There is a whole industry around just the psychology of shopping , where to place items, where to ‘hide’ best value items etc. The bakery always smells great even when they are not baking, why’s that? They want you to salivate over the smell and buy the goods!
Check the own brand/basics range, avoid premium brands
This sounds a bit counter intuitive given that I have just told you they are trying to grab as much of your cash as possible. Why then would I recommend own brands as opposed to branded or premium items? Well it’s easy to make immediate cuts with certain items without sacrificing too much but it takes a bit of thought. Own brand items such as flour, salt, sugar will be similar if not identical to their premium counterparts. A top UK chef has his own brand of Himalayan pink salt which costs around £3 for 90g !! which in my mind is sheer indulgence at it’s finest. You can buy sea salt for £0.70 for 350g or own brand table salt for just £0.35p for 750g. If you absolutely MUST buy pink salt you can get it from Intralabs (link here) for £2.29 for a 1 kilo bag plus postage.
It’s not just basic cooking ingredients like flour and salt to look out for but things like dried pasta, it’s made with durum wheat and salt and again you will pay around £1.20 per kilo compared to £3.10 for the premium brand. I cannot tell the difference in taste, I doubt many can to be honest.
To recap if you are buying it to make as part of something else like a cake, a lasagne, a curry etc. ask yourself will I taste the difference? You will be surprised at how often you will think probably not! If you are in doubt try it, it can’t hurt! If the item is a standalone like a packet of cookies then it will be purely up to personal preferences but if you are saving money hand over fist by buying better value items then you can treat yourself without feeling guilty.
Don’t be loyal to just one store
They will swap out your favourite baked beans or cereal in a flash if it means a bigger bottom line so play them at their own game. You may not have time to run around from store to store with 20 lists trying to get the cheapest items from each. Even though this is one of the best ways to save money it’s just not practical. You can though, definitely find the across the board winner that gives you the items you like and need at the best prices. Play their game, after all it’s your money you are playing with right? You have the right to get the best value for money so do your homework. It may take time and may mean switching from store to store until you find the right one but you will only need to go through this process once until you find the right store for you.
Check the labels carefully
What I mean by this is for you to check ALL of the label, not just the front that tells you what it is. Quite often you will find that if you check the price per weight you may see 2 x 300g cans of something being cheaper than 1 x 600g. The same can be said with the loose items. Often you will see vegetables priced up per bag which people grab quickly but if you check the price per weight you will see it can be much less, sometimes up to 30% cheaper, plus you get to select the best on offer yourself. Avoid chopped and peeled prepacked items these work out ridiculously expensive compare to the time saved.
An added bonus of checking the labels is that own brand items compared to the premium brands often have less sugar and fats, designed to make them cheaper by putting less ‘love’ into them, this can in some instances make them a healthier option.
Look everywhere not just where they want you to look
Often you will find great deals on the top or bottom shelves. Going back to the psychology of shopping the stores know the best place to sit their best items is at eye level as we are naturally inclined to look ahead to see where we are going and not automatically crane our necks up or stoop low as part of our normal daily routines. As well as being slower moving the items in less visible areas may even have a longer shelf life to compensate for the slower turnover. Try looking in the international or world food sections of the store. You can often find the same item for a fraction of the cost.
Frozen is cool
Check the frozen sections for shopping especially if you find yourself constantly throwing away rotten vegetables where you are not getting to them fast enough. Frozen food can be just as tasty as fresh and will keep for ages as opposed to fresh items which can go bad very quickly.
Special offers / Promotions
Now I did say at the beginning to avoid the in your face promotions when entering the store but that’s not to say avoid them altogether. If you can save money by getting a 3 for 2 or 2 for 1 offer and it’s A.something you were going to buy B.not going to spoil before you use it unless C.you can cook it right away of store/freeze it then I say go for it. Often stores cycle their special offers so if you take advantage of the offer you can often do so again just as you are running out when the next offer comes around. I remember going for about 7 months before having to pay for fabric conditioner at full price because I always bought 3 or 4 when they were on offer.
Buy ingredients which you can use for more than one dish
I hope you are or will soon be an avid follower of my site. If you have checked my recipes then you will see a lot of crossovers with them. If I buy a bag of apples to make a pie and end up having some cooked apples left over then I will freeze the rest and use it for an applesauce side or even make an apple turnover. If I make meatballs and have the tomato and onion sauce left I will keep it and use it for a lasagne or maybe make a chutney with it.
If you are stuck for ideas then hop over to my recipe blog page for some inspiration or you can hit an item on the menu tag cloud on the right hand side of this or any other post/page if you have a particular hankering for something like Thai or perhaps something with chicken. You will find a list of items containing that ingredient/food type. Enjoy!
Try to plan your meals with multiple dishes in mind and you will often find a use for those leftovers. Be creative, you will find it’s not only fun but you will avoid throwing away food and end up saving loads of money too! I hope you enjoyed reading my top tips for ways to save money on your grocery shop. Please comment below if you enjoyed my article or if you think there is anything you would like me to add to this.