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How to save money at the supermarket

by

Editor's note: this blog post was originally written in 2014 and has been updated for clarity and with the latest information.

Get supermarket savvy!

Looking for ways to save money at the supermarket? We've pooled together all our top tips to help you save some extra cash when doing your weekly shop. First things first...

Don't forget your carrier bags

Since October 2015, the majority of retailers now charge 5p per plastic bag due to a change in the law that aims to reduce the use of single-use carrier bags.

Carrier bags tend to now be made from a sturdier material and most retailers will replace your bag if it starts to break. Keep a couple of carrier bags in your desk at work, at home and in your car, so you always have one to hand.

5p isn't much once or twice, but keep forgetting and the cost will soon rack up!

Save money by getting online

Screenshot of mySupermarket website

Save money by using a price comparison site that does all the legwork for you, finding out where the cheapest products are from across 15 supermarkets.

Compare and save up to 30% on every supermarket shop with sites like mySupermarket.

If you have a shopping list that you tend to stick to every week, it's well worth checking to see where the cheapest options are.

Snack before you shop

Go to the supermarket on an empty stomach and you'll find yourself spending more money than you planned to.

Instead of buying foods that you need for the week, you'll end up buying foods to snack on in that money. To save the pounds (and your belly!), it's worth having a snack before you head out to do your shop.

In a rush? A couple of glasses of water should do the trick.

Write a list

Yellow pen resting on lined notepad with shopping list written down

Another great way to keep the cost of your weekly shop down is by writing (and sticking to!) a list.

This list could detail the meals that you plan to cook or every item you need. The presence of this list and a pen to cross them out will stop you making impulse purchases. 

If you visit the same supermarket each week, it is a great idea to list out all the items by the floor layout. This will make your shopping time faster, and again prevent you from buying unnecessary items.

If the thought of a pen and paper list is a bit archaic to you, there are lots of free shopping list apps you can download to help you keep track of what you need to buy, how much it will cost and stop you buying things you don't need!

Keep your coupons

Hand cutting Princes Tuna free food coupon

If you see a coupon in your local newspaper or find a deal online don’t forget to cut or print it out. You could save yourself some money on anything and even try new brands who are trying to promote their products.

Shop weekly, not daily

Get into the habit of doing one big weekly shop, rather than visiting the supermarket each day to pick up the bits you need.

By planning for the whole week you'll not only find it easier to stick to a budget, but it'll also reduce unnecessary impulse purchases.

Look up and down

The most expensive items in a supermarket are almost always at eye level on the shelves, with the cheaper options on the bottom or top shelves.

Make sure you look around and up and down when doing your shop, as you could be missing out on a bargain!

Look straight ahead

However, when you get to the checkout it's a different matter.

Sweets, chocolate bars, magazines and mints are often placed by the tills in an attempt to encourage you to pick up a snack on impulse.

Keep your eyes forward and don't get sucked in!

Get rewarded

Grab yourself a reward card and rack up some points. Normally the cashier will ask you if you have one which definitely helps you to pick them up. Sometimes there may even be a prize draw scheme which you can enter, and points really will mean prizes!

Rummage through the reductions

Tesco asparagus reduced to 23p

Credit: The Closet

There will be items such as meat, bread and cakes that can be picked up from the reduced items. Search through all these and more and stick them in the freezer, they can be used at a later date or as a treat the same day.

Research your food

Take a look online to find out which cuts of meat are the cheapest, you'll find this will knock a substantial amount off your food bill and your family won't notice the difference.

Also take a look at what items of food are in season, as they will be cheaper because of the amount available and will taste much fresher!

Don’t always shop at the supermarket!

If you are looking to buy fruit and vegetables, consider heading to the market or farmer’s markets if possible. This means you are eating local food, and cutting out the middlemen. Also buy in bulk to save money, like a large sack of potatoes and a large sack of rice which you can find from your local Asian grocer.

Colleen x