Second only to our mortgage, food shopping is the next biggest expense we have as a family. And it’s not like it’s an optional expense either, I mean, we all need to eat! But, there are things you can do as a family to cut the cost of your supermarket shop.
1. Get Organised
Before you even head out to the shops, get organised.
Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and see what you already have. Make a note.
How many times have you stood in the supermarket aisle and questioned whether you had a certain ingredient for that nights meal? Unsure, I bet you bought another (just in case) only to discover you had it already when you got home? For that same reason, I have 4 jars of chilli powder in my cupboard right now. That will take years to work through!
2. Plan Your Meals
You may really fancy a particular meal one night this week, but does it make good financial sense if you have none of the ingredients already to hand? Rather than buying what you fancy, try planning around what you already have – and then only buying the few extra ingredients that you need.
If you’re struggling for dinner ideas, I love AllRecipes.com – a great website where you can search for recipes by ingredient.
Aim to do just ONE food shop per week and plan your meals by expiry date. For example, eat your fresh meat and veggies early in the week, with frozen meals and frozen/canned veggies later in the week.
Personally, I’m not a fan of clipping coupons from newspapers and magazines. It’s time consuming, clutters up your bag and purse, takes additional time at the check out and nearly always results in purchases of stuff you don’t really need. Rarely do you get coupons for fresh produce, it’s usually junk food or non-essentials.
That said, I am an avid user of store loyalty cards and look out for the coupons that are tailored to my personal shopping habits. It’s like their computer is saying, “Hey, you haven’t bought you favourite shampoo for 4 weeks, you must be running out. Here’s a coupon off your next purchase!”
4. Voucher Codes
Voucher codes are like coupons but often found online. They are redeemable online for an instant reduction on your bill. Many supermarkets offer incredible incentives when food shopping online. Check out websites such as My Voucher Codes which set up to help you and you can bag yourself some great deals like £16 off a £60 spend!
4. Shop For Offers Only
If you are flexible with your meal plan, aim to purchase only foods that are on special offer or promotion. If it’s not on offer and you don’t need it in the next 7 days, leave it. There is no point in spending full price on a product you don’t need right now, when it may come on offer at a later date.
5. Top Up Shops
If you planned your meals well, you shouldn’t need to do a mid-week top up shop at all. (Because we all know it’s impossible to pop out and buy just ONE loaf of bread or pint of milk).
If you do find yourself short of a ‘must have’ item mid-week, be sure to buy ONLY that item.
6. Shop Online or In-store?
Personally, I love to shop in-store. With supermarkets now like mini shopping malls, I love to browse the clothes, the homewares, stop for a coffee…
But yikes. ^^^ Expense. Expense. Expense
Supermarkets are strategically planned to make you spend more money and all those ‘extras’ are a distraction to what you are really after. And all those end-of-aisle promotions and mark-downs that you convince yourself are a bargain, are an added expense if you didn’t plan to purchase them anyway.
Shopping online keeps you focused. It’s harder to become distracted by the smell of freshly baked doughnuts when you are working from a shopping list at your computer and you are more likely to buy only what you need.
Do you have any other great tips for saving money at the supermarket?
Leave a comment below and share your best tips with us!