Author: Sylvia Nankivell
When you’re in the supermarket about to do a shop, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you not only complete your shopping successfully, with some savings, but avoid the potential for waste. Buying bulk is often encouraged for those who want to save, but this often means that much of the purchase does go to waste – after all, there’s only so much you can use at a time! Avoid the pitfalls of waste and take a look at these ideas for how you can save on your next shopping trip, without giving in to the stockpiling urge.
Shop with a sense of purpose
A successful shopping trip starts the moment you get in the door. Having a shopping list is super helpful, and there is good evidence to suggest you will buy more than you need if you go in to the store feeling hungry! Having a meal first and a list in hand will mean that you don’t get too distracted by an extra pack of doughnuts that you don’t need, or those perfectly-placed impulse items on your way to the check out. If you can’t find your paper list, try an app like Out of Milk to keep you on track. This way you can be extra prepared as you enter the supermarket and keep the shop focused on the essentials.
Purchase own-brand items
Sometimes own-brand items look less flashy on the shelves. But the reality is that these products are more affordable, and they normally don’t sacrifice much quality. For a quick guide to how certain own-brands of supermarket chains compare to other independent brands, check out the Supermarket Own Brand Guide. You can make huge savings by picking up the own-brand items from your local, though it should be noted that these can sometimes include more sugars and other nasties. So check labels carefully and ensure you are comparing like for like.
Pick up loose items, instead of pre-packaged or pre-cut
There’s a very good reason that convenient, pre-cut and pre-packaged items cost a little more: someone (or something) had to prep them and package them for your benefit. Save yourself a little here and there and select the loose fruit and vegetables, or those that are not already pre-cut. Remember this at the deli counter, where the selection of processed meats will be a lot cheaper than those conveniently packaged in the other aisles. In general, stir-fry mixes or similar (and even pre-washed packages of mixed salads etc.), will all have required preparation, making it cheaper to simply buy the items individually. This also means that your items were not already handled, and this can sometimes mean they are less likely to be hiding extras that you didn’t want or need.
Don’t be fooled by Buy One Get One Free
BOGOF deals are always marked out in flashy, brightly coloured tabs on the shelves. But check the value per pence according to the weight or size of the item first, before you get too excited. It might actually not be such a great deal, as these offers are sometimes applied to items that are hard to shift from the shelves or close to going out of date. Check the price per kg or ml, and make sure you are getting actual good value for money. After all, if you aren’t likely to use the extra, this isn’t much of a saving! Be realistic about how much you can use at once.
Look for better deals online
If you search online before you hit the supermarket, you can always find great offers from grocery store chains, particularly if you are a first-time online shopper. Student Money Saver has a great guide to couponing, if you’re looking for more ways to slice extra pounds from the final purchase price. Take advantage of the coupons and cost-cutting offers of your favourite grocery store chain.
Loyalty cards can often help augment your purchasing power on single items. But use these carefully – sometimes, competing grocery stores will offer cheaper prices that outweigh the benefits of building up points. Don’t get too obsessed with points-hoarding! Keep an eye out across a few grocery stores to make the best use of points deals as they come up.
With just a few simple strategies, you too can save without cramming your cupboard full of extras. Be sceptical of bulk deals, as waste negates your potential savings. Shop smart and you too can save on your next outing to the supermarket!