Slash those grocery bills
The grocery shopping is one of the biggest monthly expenses for families, these top ten tips will help you slash your grocery bill.
NEVER SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
This is the biggest tip of all. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach will make everything seem appealing and your trolley wheels could potentially buckle under all the unnecessary extras that you load it with.
This simple but crazy fact can save you a lot of money and will also prevent food waste, as you can guarantee that your eyes will be bigger than your belly and you will be throwing away half of the stuff you impulsively grabbed.
Lentils are a cheap and cheerful little meal addition that you should introduce to your store cupboard. Not only are these super healthy because they are full of fibre and have slow release energy which is great for dieters, but they cost pennies.
A cup of these added to a bolognaise, casserole or curry will bulk out your meals and make your food go further. They really absorb the flavours of your meal – and best of all, the kids won’t even know they are there.
OWN BRAND GOODS
The quality of supermarket own brand goods is often as high as the brand market leaders. Simply swapping one or two items will add up to a huge saving over a year.
Thismoneyworks has surveyed the popular items that shoppers consider to be savvy money saving swaps that are just as tasty as the branded goods. Mature cheddar, squash, tomato ketchup, washing pods, bleach, cereal, loose vegetables not packaged, toilet rolls and pizza were all popular choices.
We have investigated a few items
Andrex – 9 rolls £5.00
Tesco Luxury Soft own brand 9 rolls £2.30
Cathedral City Extra Mature Cheddar 550g £5.00
Sainsburys Extra Mature Cheddar 625g £3.00
Saving £2.00 and an additional 75g
Robinson 1 litre No Added Sugar Orange Squash £1.05
Tesco 1 litre No Added Sugar Orange Squash £0.52
Saving 53pence on each bottle.
Why not try one brand product for a supermarket own brand this week and see how much you can save?
The freezer can save you so much money and help reduce your food waste. Everything from freezing bulk or reduced buys too freezing the remainder of a sliced loaf, ready to pop straight into the toaster from frozen. Don’t bin it – freezer it!
Frozen vegetables and frozen fruit are often a very economical purchase. Freezing quickly seals in the goodness and cooking the right size portion will quickly reduce food waste.
If you ever see cheese on offer or if you have more than you can use in your fridge, grate it and pop it into bags ready to go into your freezer. This is perfect for using in pasta sauces, sprinkling over baked potatoes, cauliflower cheese or for just for cheese on toast.
Brown bananas don’t need to be thrown away, pop in a bag and freeze them. Brown bananas are great for adding to a cake or a smoothie. You can use them for banana cake, muffins, or delicious banana bread, so save money by using these up, rather than chucking them away when they go brown.
If you ever see a reduced birthday cake, take it, as these are perfect to freeze. A family of four may have to buy five or six birthday cakes a year, so by buying them for around £2 each could save you about £40 altogether.
Take them out of the freezer the day before you need them and let them defrost in the fridge.
If you open a jar of tomato passata, fresh herbs, fresh chillies or a large tub of cream and have lots left over, why not put some into an ice tray and freeze it? You can also freezer any left-over wine, although no-one at thismoneyworks ever has any left in the bottle!! You can then simply add the frozen cubes to future sauces without the need to buy a new packet or fresh ingredients, perfect for casseroles, chilli con carne, curries.
A well-stocked freezer? Save some money by using up items, giving you room for when you see meat or fish bargains in the supermarket and for when you want to plan-ahead and bulk cook.
Feed the freezer – not the bin!!
DON’T FALL FOR OFFERS
Offers may seem tempting but often you can buy the same item cheaper individually or at different stores.
Supermarkets are very good at pulling the wool over our eyes when it comes to offers and buy-one-get-one-free deals, but don’t be fooled. Two boxes of Pringles, for example, for £3 could potentially be picked up for less than £1.50 each – or shop around and you can even pick them up for £1 each.
Don’t forget – if you weren’t intending to pick multi packs of chocolate, biscuits or cakes, you aren’t saving money you are spending more than you need too.
DISCOUNT STORES / YELLOW TICKET ITEMS
Huge bargains can be found at discount grocery stores such as Lidl or Aldi. thismoneyworks recently picked up a Sharwoods Korma sauce for 59p, while the same Sharwoods sauce was selling for £1.70 in one of the main supermarkets. Discount grocery stores are particularly good for picking up spices and dried foods.
Yellow ticket items, with best before dates fast approaching, often that day or the next day, can result in some savvy bargains. Plan to use that day or freeze as soon as you get home.
Supermarkets have different price reduction times, so find out when they are and shop around these times. For example, M&S reduce prices by about 10 per cent after 9am, 30 per cent after 2pm and up to 90 per cent after 5pm. Tesco reduce throughout the day with the biggest reductions after 6pm. Find out the reduction times in your favourite supermarket and try and shop around these times.
Why pay £1 for a lettuce when it could potentially be 50p an hour later?
REDISCOVER THE MARKET
Large bowls of fresh fruit and vegetables are often sold for £1. A huge saving compared to the prepacked goods from the supermarkets.
If it’s not practical to make regular trips to your local market, don’t write this option off. Even one visit to the market a month or every other month, has the potential to quickly save a tidy sum. Thismoneyworks especially recommends a trip in the summer; strawberries, raspberries, cherries are among our favourite buys. Twice the amount and half the cost of shopping in the supermarket, any left-over can be frozen for a quick and easy trifle, pie filling or fruit smoothie.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
Meal planning is a great budgeting tool as it can keep you focused on what you need when you go to the supermarket, and will also help you keep track of what you have already in your freezer and cupboards.
TIME TO GET COST SAVVY
Keep an eye on the cost per kilo or per 100g on the shelf ticket. Sometimes it can work out far cheaper to pick up two smaller sizes rather than one big family size, or a few pence difference between the small size and one with twice the contents.
Thismoneyworks has spotted Kenco coffee (the office brand of choice) in store for 100g at £2.62 or the 200g size at £6.29 this week, by picking up two smaller jars that’s a quick saving of £1.05.
CONSIDER GETTING THE GROCERY SHOP DELIVERED
Saving fuel, time, and more importantly the dreaded ‘pester power’. Have a look online at some of the options available in your area.
Our top tips for getting the most out of a shopping delivery –
• Double check you need it before adding to the basket, do you already have several in the cupboard?
• Quickly compare the cost per kilo or per 100g
• Instantly see money saving offers from your favourite items
• Delivery costs tend to be far higher at the weekend, delivery can be as low as £1 in the middle of the week.
• Give it a try, after one delivery Sainsburys offered an annual pass at half price. £30 for the year; with a maximum of one free delivery a day. Just two shops a month will mean grocery shopping is being delivered for £1.25 a time. One grocery delivery a week and the cost is down to a crazy 58pence per delivery!!