9 clever ways to save on your weekly food shop
1. Use supermarkets instead of local stores
It might be that your local convenience store is closer, however, research from Which? found that over the course of a year, you could be paying 9.5% more for shopping at local stores as opposed to regular supermarkets. So, if you’re feeling frustrated by how much you’re spending on groceries, switching up where you shop could be the answer.
2. Don't go shopping without a list or meal plan
According to the Money Advice Service, people who make a list are three times less likely to overspend than those who don’t.
Get your pen and paper out (or use your phone) and jot down everything you need for the week ahead. Plan it down to a tee, including ingredients for each meal you plan to cook. It’s important to stick to your list and avoid throwing in any extras, to avoid splurging.
3. Head to your supermarket at the optimum time for yellow ticket savings
You’ll find the biggest bargains when you keep an eye out for those yellow stickers. Try heading to the supermarket at the following optimal times for reduced items:
- M&S – An hour before they close
- Morrisons – 6pm
- Sainsbury’s – 6pm
- Asda – 7pm
- Waitrose – 6pm
While these can differ between stores, often going to the supermarket an hour before closing will offer the lowest reductions. If you want to purchase an item that is due to expire that day and you see a worker with the yellow stickers, there’s also no harm in asking them if it can be reduced.
4. Save up to 38%
We all have our favourite brands. But with the likes of Aldi winning awards for their own alcohol, grocery, and baby ranges, it is worth ditching the pricey brands.
In 2021, Which? revealed Aldi as the cheapest supermarket of the year, with a basket of 22 branded and unbranded goods costing £24.03. This is 38% cheaper than Waitrose, at £33.06.
5. Never shop on an empty stomach
It always helps to do your shopping after you’ve had a meal. If your stomach’s rumbling, there’s a high chance you’ll give in to the hunger pangs and chuck some tempting treats in the trolley.
Of course, it’s fine to treat yourself, but try to factor them in on your list, to curb impulse buying.
6. Head to the frozen isle for vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables are great - but if you’re on a tight budget, you can still get your five-a-day in frozen form.
Also, if you’re getting a week’s worth of food in one go, buying frozen stuff means you'll have fewer problems with food going off before you use it. Plus, research shows that fresh foods lose vitamins and minerals over time whilst freezing them preserves nutrients.
7. Have some meat-free days
Research shows that meat-eaters spend an average of £752 on meat each year, alone. Just think of how much that could be reduced by implementing some vegetarian dishes into your weekly food plan.
Plus, with more and more people considering a plant-based diet, there are now lots of tasty meat-free recipes to follow online.
8. Start couponing
They appear in supermarket magazines and on packaging (like crisp packets and cereal boxes). You could even write to manufacturers to tell them how much you like (or don’t like) their products.
You never know, they might entice you back with vouchers! The trick is to only use coupons for things you’d normally buy anyway, or your shopping bill could soon add up.
9. Use loyalty cards
It’s a good idea to shop around, but at the same time, loyalty can pay off. Loyalty cards can help you to rack up points at your favourite supermarket, which can lead to some juicy savings.
Just make sure no deals persuade you into buying something you wouldn't normally purchase.