Post written in paid partnership with The Grocer
In the last 3 years, I’ve been on maternity leave twice and have now taken the plunge into the unpredictable world of freelance, so it’s fair to say I’ve had to keep a close eye on our finances. Before the babies came along, we were terrible at spending too much money on food shopping. We’d decide on dinner 5 minutes before cooking and lived a few doors down from a convenience store, so I’d go there nearly every day to grab a few bits and spent a fortune on small baskets of food and essentials, with zero planning.
In recent years, we’ve had to change our ways. As a family of four I have to be so much more organised – an impromptu trip to the shops with the children is almost impossible, so thats a deterrent in itself! Instead, I’ve learned to plan, budget and prepare, not only so we have yummy food on the table every day of the week, but I’ve managed to HALVE our food shop bill too.
So, I thought in this post I’d share a few of my tips and ideas on how to save money on grocery shopping – I really hope it’ll help you save a few pennies too!
Plan, plan and plan some more! The more prepared I am, the more I stick to my shopping list and avoid buying things we don’t need. I was wasting to much money buying duplicates of items we already had (especially fruit and veg that doesn’t keep) so now meticulously plan what we need and stick to it.
Find the right supermarket
I’ve been loyal to the same supermarket forever, it was so easy to shop online every week as I had my regular order and delivery time – but I realised it wasn’t the best value for money for us. After shopping around, I found products we needed were rarely on offer and other supermarkets did cheaper alternatives! Not only that but I’ve started to shop at multiple supermarkets to get the best prices. It’s more time consuming but I find where the offers are and head there for our shop. For example, for nappies I check Bum Deal for the best nappy prices then stock up in bulk! Don’t stick to the same supermarket, mix it up!
Try the Supermarket Own brand
It’s human nature to gravitate to the brands that we know and love, but often supermarket own brands are just as good in quality, taste and are much better value for money. I’ve got a little system where I try a couple of supermarket own brand products per week, on the promise to myself that if I don’t like them, I’ll swap back the following week. So far, it’s rarely happened! Supermarket own brands have been just as good and so much cheaper.
Compare prices properly
Whilst comparing similar products, don’t look at the price, but the ‘price per ml’ or ‘price per g’ that is displayed in smaller text on the price tag. Often I realise something looks like a great deal but you are getting so much less of the product in reality!
Coupons and Vouchers….
are a girls best friend! I am a coupon fiend and will religiously cut coupons off packaging, saving them all for my next shopping spree. If they did a series of the US TV show ‘Extreme Couponing’ in the UK I’d apply.
Bring your own bags
Every little helps – although plastic bags are only 5p or 10p a time, it all adds up. Bringing your own bags every time saves money and the environment so it’s a win/win situation!
Look up and down!
Supermarkets are geared up to entice you to spend money. All of the popular, glossy, premium brands are placed at eye level to lure you in, whilst supermarket own brands are often lower down or higher up. Check out the full shelf before making your selection. When shopping online, learn your supermarket own brand names – for example I was searching for ‘Weetabix’ which is the brand name and only this came up in my search, but the cheaper supermarket alternative is called ‘Wheat Biscuits’.
Watch out for offers
Offers can be the best way to save money, but they can be dangerous too! I’m often guilty of buying things I don’t need as they are on offer. Only buy it if it’s something on the list or something you really need! We have a cupboard of extra food I’ve stocked up on when it’s on offer, if it has a long sell by date buy a couple and put one away for a later date.
Don’t shop whilst hungry
The classic tip, but it really does work – don’t shop whilst you are hungry, or tired, or rushed or trying to stop your toddler from pulling everything off the shelves/throwing themselves on the floor as you just won’t be able to concentrate. Toddlers also have a habit of sneaking extras into the trolley too. I either shop online if I don’t get any childfree time or I go late at night so I can shop at my own pace, without distraction!
Once you’ve done your shopping, batch cook meals to maximise ingredients. I like to look up recipes that use up all my leftover veg on the day before our food shop, like this Hidden Vegetable Sauce that the babies LOVE to eat.
So, thats it! I hope you’ve found these tips helpful and are ready to start saving some money on your weekly food shop! Let me know if you try any or if you feel like it’s helped.
What is your top tip for saving money on the food shop?
The Grocer Great Food Labels
How do you know if the own brand product you’re buying is as good as the big brand version? By looking for our Great Food and Great Drink labels, of course. Supermarket products with these on let you know that they have been tried, tested and loved by an independent panel, which is made up of hundreds of shoppers from across the UK. Look out for the logos in store now.