A Simple guide to cutting your food shopping budget

Thu, Jun 28, 2012


It’s Saturday morning, time for the weekly trip to your favourite supermarket where you try in vain to spend as little cash as possible while finding offers on the items you buy regularly. Now if you are anything like me you want to maximise the value for money as the food bill in a house often accounts for up to 12% of a household budget.

This guide raises a few issues to help you save a few extra pounds when shopping for food without sacrificing on the quality that your family demand.

Make a Food Budget

Grab a spreadsheet and create a food budget to ascertain how much you spend each month. Identify the items you currently buy in column one, the things you really need in a second column, and the things you don’t necessarily need but do want in another column.

In this final column, sum the items you purchase and subtract the items that you don’t need and see your totals. Look at the difference between what you need and what you want – the difference is massive. Finally go and do your shopping – when you come back go back to the spreadsheet and see how much you have overpaid/underpaid. You will be surprised by how effective the supermarket marketing is and how easily you can be swayed by their offers.

Buy non brand food for less

Non brand, or generic goods are almost always significantly cheaper than their brand name counterparts. The generic brands tend to taste the same and are often produced in the same factories to the same specifications than the name brand food items. If you don’t want the cheapest possible because you believe it won’t taste as good, try going for something just a little more expensive than the generics and see how you like it. You will still save money when buying the food you need. It can sometimes be a fun test to blindly test your partner to see if anybody can in fact taste the difference!

Use Vouchers and Coupons

Vouchers are now available for just about every single type of product in a supermarket – it used to be the case that you could only pick them up in the newspaper, not anymore. They are available online and in print for grocery shopping.

Try using coupons for foods you normally buy so you can get the greatest value. It reminds me of an old adage – “saving getting £10 off a £20 jumper is still £10 too much if you don’t want it!”. Don’t just jump in and buy things that you don’t need. The volume of the savings can be significant, for example, some supermarkets offer a buy one get one free deal on frozen goods that can be saved for months, I have even seen a 10 meals for for £10 deal on frozen ready meals.

Time it right!

You can also save cash when going shopping at certain times; if you shop later in the evening the goods that are due to go out of date are often significantly reduced. Asda’s “whoops” range often reduce bread items to as little as 10p per loaf, a 90% reduction!

Change your Supermarkets

We all have a preferred supermarket that we check out, but bear in mind that changing supermarkets might benefit you with a significant saving. Switch from Sainsbury’s to Asda will be quite a tasty 5% reduction – but keep in mind the petrol expense on each trip out there. Some supermarkets offer larger coupons than others – experiment and keep an eye on your supermarket choice and one eye on your food bill!

Be aware of Temptation

There are a few tricks when going food shopping to lower your budget, firstly don’t go there hungry – grab a meal before you leave.  Secondly,be aware of the promotions and use your budget at the same time – when you go to the cash register the items are designed to persuade you to just pay an extra pound or so on chocolate or a drink. RESIST!

That’s 6 simple rules that will save you a tasty sum each time you enter the supermarket; I saved around 20% when I started to pay attention to the spends, see how much you can save too!

For more information check out Money Blogger and their sister site Moneysavingblog.org

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