It seems like every day, prices go up and our everyday expenses rise and rise. If you're not careful, you could end up leaving quite a chunk of your paycheck at the supermarket for just basics, like necessary groceries. But that doesn't have to be the case. If you're smart about it, you can even go as far as cutting your grocery bill in half. You might want to even use a budgeting tool from Citizens Advice. Want to know how to achieve that? Keep reading, and learn how to save money on your shopping trips.
Own Brand Is Just Fine
If you're trying to save money on groceries, now is not the time to be a snob. Who needs the premium range, when own brand is just fine? Plus, a lot of products are the exact same anyway, and you're only paying for the nicer packaging. Especially for stuff that you don't even really feel the taste of (ingredients in a stew, for example), go for own brand without giving a second thought.
Frozen Produce Doesn't Go Moldy
Ideally, we'd all be able to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables every day. However, not only are they much more expensive, but they also go off very, very quickly, especially in summer. If you know that you tend to throw away produce because you don't get around to eating all of it, it's time to switch to frozen as much as you can.
Only Buy 3 For 2 If You Needed 3 Anyway
Retailers think they're smart and try to trick you with offers like 3 for 2, but you're not stupid. If you buy 3 of one thing that you didn't want, it doesn't matter that you get 1 free; you still paid for 2 of them. 3 for 2 only comes in handy when you were PLANNING on buying multiples, anyway. Only in that case are you really saving money.
Check Out The Clearance Section
The clearance section is a wonderful thing, because you can find perfectly fine products with respectable expiration dates. They're just not super new and shiny. You don't even have to dig deep, you'll most likely be able to find a lot of your favourites just sitting there, half off or for mere pennies. Anything from food to bath products and even homeware bits can be found in the clearance section.
Shop Late At Night
And speaking of clearance, the best time to shop with this purpose is at night, particularly on Sunday night. Make your trip just before closing time, because you won't just find the bread items on clearance, but also fresh produce that is normally very expensive. Buy everything you need and head on over to self-check-out.
Don't Shop When Hungry Or In Need
Conventional wisdom says that you should never shop when you're hungry, and that is entirely true. You will be tempted to a) overbuy, and b) overspend. When you're hungry, every product in the store suddenly looks really good. And what's a couple quid more when you REALLY want some chocolate biscuits? But that is the demise of your grocery budget. Instead, go shopping on a full stomach and your impulse purchases will be eliminated. And speaking of budgets, if you need help in that department, the Money Advice Service can offer you some information.
Study Up On Regular Offers
When you shop regularly, you come to notice that a particular store has a series of offers they cycle through. 3 for 2 on certain products, 25% off on others, buy one get half off on others, etc. The trick here is to go often enough and make note of these offers to learn when they roll them out. That way, you can always enjoy your groceries on offer, especially your most expensive products, like fish, for example.
Plus, don't forget about your loyalty points! Tesco has a really good rewards program via their Clubcard. Money Saving Expert has a really good and comprehensive guide to maximising your Clubcard points!
Don't Pay More For Slicing, Dicing, Or Peeling
In the produce section, you will often find packages of fruits and vegetables that have already been peeled, sliced, diced, and even paired together for a salad. All you need to do is open the packet and dump it in a stir-fry. So easy and convenient! But you are paying a lot more for that convenience, and it's not worth it. Slicing and dicing your vegetables literally takes two minutes, I think you can spare that instead of paying a few quid extra.
As you can see, it's not difficult at all to cut your spending in half. There are a lot of tricks you can employ to make sure your grocery shopping is more efficient and cost-effective, so next time you go for your food shop, keep all of these things in mind and see how much you've saved.