How much do you spend on your weekly supermarket shopping? Whatever the total, you’ll no doubt notice that it has skyrocketed in recent months.
Thanks to the rising cost of living, these essential stores are creating a much bigger dent in our budget than they were this time a year ago.
So it makes sense to look for a few tweaks that can help you cut costs. From shopping for discounted or clearance products to keeping an eye out for special offers, there are plenty of tried-and-true methods to shave a few bucks off your bill.
However, Richard Jackson of Housetastic, believes there are a few other hacks you can use to create even bigger savings and potentially save hundreds on your food bill each year.
Here is his advice…
How to Save Money by “Downgrading”
Often the more expensive brands of food are made in the same factory, by the same people, as the cheaper own brand products in supermarkets.
To save around 30%, just avoid the big brands or even the so-called “luxury” supermarket brands and opt for the supermarket’s own brand instead. This can be done for all types of food, from fresh meat and fish to household cleaning products.
Numerous studies and “taste tests” indicate that there is no difference between more expensive products and supermarket brands, so the quality of your food will not be affected.
Beware of yellow labeled products in supermarket aisles
Yellow sticker discounts are when items have been discounted for clearing. Normally, products with a yellow sticker are close to their expiry date, but sometimes the packaging has simply been damaged without the product itself being damaged.
The challenge in finding these deals is determining when is the best time to visit the supermarket. Most supermarkets differ, with yellow stickers appearing in some in the early afternoon, but with others they won’t appear until half an hour before closing time.
Another tip to keep in mind is to look for products that are damaged and close to their expiration date. If you present it to an employee and you have a valid point, the employee will have the power to reduce the good for you.
However, the temptation to buy cheaper products because you think you’re getting a good deal, not because you’ll eat the food, is very real. Be mindful and realistic when looking for the yellow sticker section: yes, 75% off hash is a lot, but have you quit eating red meat lately?
Are the specials really worth it?
We’ve all been tempted by a great offer to save money, whether it’s a “buy one, get one free” (BOGOF) offer or a “buy multiple” offer. , and sometimes they can really be a bargain. However, take the time to determine if it is really worth buying an additional product.
For example, if a fresh product is put on a BOGOF offer, be realistic and if you know you won’t have enough time to cook or eat it, which means it will be wasted, then it is not no need to buy it in the first place.
On top of that, some multi-buy offers are nothing more than a marketing tactic, encouraging consumers to spend more in-store when they don’t really need the products, resulting in food waste.
Take your time when faced with a multiple buy offer and assess how much it would cost separately or how much a cheaper brand would cost for the same quantity.
Often you can see a well-known brand on a ‘two for £2.50’ multi-buy deal, while the supermarket’s own brand will set you back £2 for two. Although this may not seem like a huge saving, over time the price will add up.
If you find yourself in this situation, take your time and look at individual prices and other branded products and compare.
Shopping online? Why it might pay to say “no” to submarines
A whopping 59% of Britons shop for food online, a number that has increased significantly over the past two years due to the pandemic. Buying online, however, is not foolproof, as there is no guarantee that a product will be available for your delivery window.
If you allow substitutes, you can usually get a similar product in a similar price range, sometimes even something a little cheaper.
However, more often than not, consumers report receiving more expensive items as replacements and being charged extra.
Normally you will receive an email of your receipt before your delivery arrives, so check which substitutes you have been given, and you can refuse the product at the door and receive a full refund.
To avoid this, it is advisable when ordering online to simply say no to substitutes, as this means you will have more control over what you spend.
Learn about the psychology of supermarkets
Supermarket psychology is an integral part of store layout. Most supermarkets put the most expensive brands at eye level, taking advantage of those who might be in a hurry to encourage them to buy the more expensive items.
When doing a department store, look around the entire aisle, as the cheapest supermarket own brand may be hiding either on the top shelf or just at the bottom of the shelves.
Crates are also known to tempt the impulsive shoppers in us, with crates covered in what’s considered essentials and goodies to encourage adding to our cart. Sometimes supermarkets will cover their checkout with promotional offers to entice consumers to increase their weekly store.
To moderate the supermarket’s attempts to make us spend more money, planning is key. Start by going to the supermarket with a strict list and don’t be tempted to deviate from it.
When looking for products on your list, keep an eye on all the shelves to find cheaper but similar products and any great promotions or offers that might otherwise have been missed.