6 ‘no brainer’ tips to cut your supermarket spend

Get the everyday essentials you need for less

The amount my family used to spend shopping at the supermarket was shocking. Whether we went weekly, fortnightly or just popped in when we were running low, we’d always seem to spend a fortune.

Last year when we started to look at how we could cut our spending our attention immediately turned to this most obvious outgoing. We knew as a family that even though we love eating well, there was clear room to save some serious cash.

Over the last 12 months we’ve tried many things to cut the cost of our shop and I’m going to share my top tips with you today.

It’s all in the planning

Whenever we used to go shopping, we’d never have a list. It would be a case of wandering around the aisles picking up anything we liked the look of. The problem with this casual attitude was that we’d always buy items that weren’t needed and waste a load of money in the process.

Now before we head to the supermarket we plan. We normally do a fortnightly shop, and a few top up shops, so we draw up a meal plan for the same amount of time. We know what we like to eat and each of us can choose our favourite meals.

Once we have the meal plan we check what existing items we have in the kitchen and finally write up our shopping list. Not only does this save time in the shop, it also saves loads of money on items that in the past would not have been used, gone off and thrown in the bin.

Don’t forget mobile phone apps

It’s always worth doing as much forward planning before shopping and mobile phone apps help with this as I can check what’s on offer on the go.

I don’t necessarily have to do all the planning before I leave the house as I can use the Mysupermarket app to check prices while in the supermarket. If another supermarket has a better deal then I’ll get it there later.

Once home from the shops and everything has been put away the savings don’t stop there! I hang onto my receipt and upload it to apps like ClickSnap where I earn cashback for certain items. Doubling this up with using coupons will give you extra savings and it’s amazing how quickly the cash adds up!

Don’t be a brand snob

I used to be very brand conscious and would only ever buy Heinz baked beans, Hovis bread and Pampers nappies. Thinking back I actually cringe thinking about the money we wasted doing this when there were cheaper items available.

We now generally only buy the supermarket own brands (with the exception of when I use vouchers – see below!).

Their own brand foods are by far cheaper than their expensive counterparts, the quality isn’t noticeably different and we’ve slashed our bill considerably.

Check out these cashback offers

Cook from scratch

One of the biggest things we did to reduce our supermarket shop was to start to cook from scratch. In the past our shopping trolley would be full of ready-made sauces, microwave meals and frozen pizzas.

By changing the way we cooked we were able to reduce our overall spend. Using basic and fresh ingredients, we now prepare and cook everything from scratch. Instead of spending a couple of pounds on a ready-made sauce we cook from scratch and spend a fraction of the cost and it doesn’t take that much more time.

Check the price per unit

Buying something that has a cheaper price on the label doesn’t mean that it’s the best overall value. Supermarkets play a game with prices and pack sizes to get you to spend more money.

The top ten supermarkets in the UK have promised to be clear when showing the price per unit on products they sell but things can still be a little confusing.

Although the prices should be clear it can be harder when the items are loose, like when you buy fruit and vegetables. Most people believe that buying loose vegetables works out cheaper but this is where you have to check the price per unit on the price on the shelf.

It’s always worth having a calculator nearby and working out the difference when you are in the shop. I was amazed of the difference in prices and cut our bill by checking the detail.

Use coupons and vouchers

Buying own brand food certainly makes our food bill cheaper but we can sometimes buy branded goods for cheaper still! We collect coupons from magazines, newspapers, and freebies that are sent to us in the post to use in store to get money off.

If you plan it well, you can use a voucher when the product is already on offer in store and get an even bigger saving.

You don’t just have to use coupons in store. Sign up to email lists from the supermarkets and they quite often send voucher codes to get reduction on your shop online too.

Doing this alongside using Morrison’s Match & More, Sainsbury’s Nectar, or Tesco Club Card points can really slash the costs so it’s worth signing up – to all of them!

Ricky Willis is the founder and editor of the award winning Skint Dad blog. As well as hunting down bargains on the High Street and online; you can also find Ricky sharing his money saving ideas on Twitter and Facebook.

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Ricky Willis / @SkintDad

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