I love supermarket shopping. It might make me strange and in the minority but I do. I love taking the children to the supermarket and watching their faces as we glide through the aisles, with a brief stop at the toy section and then finally leave wondering why everybody else looks so miserable.
As I unpacked my shopping at home I realised people may hate shopping because it’s spending money. But it’s not spending money the way we all want to, on holidays, expensive clothes or a “night on the town”, no, it’s spending money on the bare essentials.
The rise in the cost of food has risen by 12% in 5 years and it’s squeezing family budgets. This means the same shopping a year ago is now unaffordable.
I’ve created my 10 top tips to save money at the supermarket and it means I always leave a happy bunny!
Top 10 Tips to Save Money at the Supermarket
I love shopping, but I love to save money more. These are my top 10 money saving tips for the supermarket!
Tip 1: Create a List
The most valuable item at the supermarket, after a trolley, and maybe money is a list! The shopping list is a essential for successful money saving at the supermarket. We’ve all went into supermarkets “blind” and selected items because the packaging looked nice or something was easily located. This is simply impulse buying. Yeah, we’ve all got an idea of what we need for the house, but “fail to plan, plan to fail” and a shopping list ensures we only buy what we need and we get everything required so it’s only one shopping trip.
If you can, some supermarkets will deliver shopping to you. This means you buy online the items your household needs. I’ve never tried it because I like going into the supermarket but in theory this should be a perfect online shopping list and it’ll help you avoid some of the other pitfalls detailed below.
Tip 2: Say No
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare having to say no to their children but it’s what being a parent is all about, setting the boundaries! My children used to put items in the trolley (sweets, cakes and biscuits) or cry if they didn’t get a toy they saw. When I totalled our shopping over a 6 month period we spent 9% extra on items we didn’t usually buy because the children wanted them. 9%!!!!! That’s hundreds of pounds a year.
Say no, your children may not thank you for it today but in the future I can only hope my children appreciate the money saving knowledge I’m passing on.
Tip 3: Don’t Stop at the Cafe
The cafe at supermarkets is a place I adore. The children love a piece of fruit and a drink and I love a coffee and a newspaper. I mean where else can I have a coffee and a read of the newspaper while the children have their fruit and a drink… oh yeah, home. The place I pay the mortgage on is relaxing and I won’t be charged a premium price for items which I’ve already purchased while shopping. Ironically I was stopping at the supermarket cafe because I wanted the items I’d just purchased in my trolley.
Go home and the supermarket and unpack – the coffee will taste even better when you know you’ve completed the task.
Tip 4: Don’t Go Shopping Hungry
The smell of freshly baked bread, warm coffee and sweet dohnuts is deliciously sweeping me off my feet and before I know it I’m off to the land money forgot where I open my wallet and cram as much unhealthy and expensive food into my trolley as I can manage. I never go shopping hungry anymore because it’s easy to think of food in a supermarket and say “I want”. If you’re not hungry then food isn’t a top priority and we can reduce our impulse shopping needs!
Tip 5: Check The Use By Date
I hate feeding the rubbish bin (garbage bin for my U.S. and Canadian friends) the waste from the kitchen fridge. Nothing is more infuriating than throwing away food – it’s a waste. The primary reason for throwing food away is because it’s past its use by date, not because we don’t like it. I found that this is caused because the supermarkets were stocking items which only had 2-3 days before they were off.
Checking the use by date… and calories for that matter, is essential.
Tip 6: Plan Meals Before Going Shopping
When you’re in the midst of writing your shopping list, think about each meal. On Monday we have pasta so I need to purchase selected items. Working through the week you’ll create a list of the items you’ll require. The beauty of this plan is that we reduced our take away consumption by 50% because we had already decided on a meal and who would make it.
Tip 7: BOGOF!
I’m at the cheese section in the supermarket and I’m looking at a block of cheese for £1.97. I go to walk away when I see it’s two blocks of cheese for £2.00. For 3 pence it’s a bargain. Cheese is used on toast, pasta, sandwiches and pineapple hedgehogs, so it’s a bargain I couldn’t resist. There are plenty of bargains like these in supermarkets. Remember, the key is 1. is it a product you normally buy? 2. Is the product perishable? 3. Is it actually a good deal?
Buy One Get One Free deals are great but if the second item is past it’s use by date when you’re ready for it then it can be a waste. Some supermarkets will place large signs under your nose to encourage you to buy the deal, but stop and ask if it’s really a good choice.
Tip 8: Bring Coupons / Clubcard
I’m guilty for forgetting coupons and my clubcard. These are points and money off vouchers that can really make shopping cheaper. Be careful though, money off vouchers for products you don’t want or don’t normally buy is just spending more money.
Tip 9: Don’t Rush
If you rush around the supermarket you will miss items on your list. It’s a false economy to do the hard work of the tasks above then hurry round the supermarket and miss half the shopping. Take time and be methodical, that way you won’t have to spend petrol going back up to the supermarket at a later date.
Tip 10: Count as You Go
My wife and I have a game we like to play at the supermarket. It’s called, “let’s see who gets closest the to total”. Granted, it’s not a catchy title. The object is to total up the shopping in your head and whoever gets closest wins. Because of this game – and our bitter rivalry – we both end up tallying the shopping as we go so we’re prepared for the total. We’re always within 10% above or below and it’s a great way to have fun, shop and budget!
Expert Money Saving Tips at Supermarkets
I’m not an expert at saving money at the supermarket but these rules help guide me along the path. Do you have any money saving supermarket tips you want to share? How do you reduce your impulse buying? And, which of the tips above do you like the best?
Source: rise in food http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/food/pocketstats/