Supermarkets are brilliant at making us spend, but our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis says you can be a smart shopper and get what you want, while paying less for it.
It ain’t what you buy, it’s the way that you buy it
The downshift challenge: Drop one brand level on everything you buy and see if you can tell the difference. If you can't, stick with the cheaper product. So, if you buy premium brands, drop down to branded products. If you buy brands, drop down to own-brand products. And if you already use own-brand products, try using value brands.
On a typical shopping trolley, you’d save around 30% if you downshifted everything. So, on a £100 weekly shop you could save £1,700 a year – and even if you only stuck with downshifting around half of your shopping, you could still make a saving of around £800 a year.
Reduced items: If you spot a yellow sticker discount – fantastic. Grab it and use it quickly as it’s a saving on perfectly good nosh. The best time to go for maximum discounts is from 7pm onwards, according to supermarket staff.
Write a shopping list and meal plans: Supermarkets are great at targeting our impulses, so nowt’s more powerful than a good old-fashioned shopping list. Buy only what you planned, with a little flexibility for promotions. Even better, if you need really rigid budgeting, is to do a meal planner so you can work out how to eke out the most from your food.
Beware pick-up shops: If you pop into your local shop on your way home to buy a pint of milk as a catch-up midweek – don’t pick up a basket. Do that, and you’ll generally fill it. If you want a pint of milk, buy a pint of milk then leave.
Don’t think ‘express’/’local’ stores are the same price: Often they differ from their bigger parent stores and lack the promotions.
Compare the cost of your trolley: The website MySupermarket lets you compare the cost of your shopping trolley at the major online supermarkets to find out which is cheapest. The prices can often be reflected in-store, so it’s worth doing a check to see which supermarket is cheapest for you.
Consider the less choice, lower prices supermarkets: When shopping in-store, consider Lidl and Aldi too if you haven’t before. These can often prove cheaper than the other big supermarkets – many shoppers go once a month to buy all their staples, then use the big four for the rest of the time.
Never shop when hungry: You’re more likely to buy things you don’t need in a bid to satisfy your hunger pangs.
Don’t chuck it, use it: Do you know the difference between a ‘best before’ and ‘display until’ date? If not, the likelihood is you're throwing away a lot of food unnecessarily. ’Use-by’ dates mean chuck food away after this date, as otherwise it’s a health risk. ‘Best before’ dates mean food is usually still OK to eat after this date, so don’t waste money throwing perfectly edible produce away.
Use up your larder: To stop wasting food that you don’t know what to do with, use sites such as Supercook, which suggests recipes for the items left over in your fridge or cupboard.