Rewind 18 months and I’m ashamed to say that the family food shopping bill was enormous and frankly out of control. As a family of 5 I knew realistically we weren’t going to manage to reduce our bill to the minuscule numbers I often see discussed on social media, but something had to change. Now this isn’t going to be one of those posts that tells you that we have managed to save ourselves thousands of pounds a year, instead we made some changes which in turn have helped us cut back our outrageous supermarket spend. Could we reduce our costs further? Most probably, however we are happy with where we are now, we still have treats and don’t feel like we are missing out at all. I have therefore decided to put together my top tips for cutting your supermarket bill in the hope of helping other families achieve the same.
Set A Budget
This might seem completely obvious but work out how much you have in your budget for groceries and stick to it! Before changing my old habits, I literally had no idea how much I was looking to spend on food and as a result ended up spending crazy amounts.
Planning Is Key
Before heading to the supermarket sit down and write a plan of the meals you are going to make. I bought myself a pad of weekly planner sheets and religiously plan the meals we will eat so I know what I need to buy and which dates the ingredients will be needed. By doing this I not only ensure I buy what I need, but I also check the dates on the products as I shop to reduce wastage. The old me used to drift around the store picking up anything I fancied, often ending up with half of what I needed and finding they were all short-dated.
Make A List
Following on from your meal plan, making a list should be a breeze as it will be easy to identify the ingredients needed to make the planned meals. Whilst making a list be sure to check that you don’t already have any of the ingredients lurking in the back of the cupboards to avoid duplication. Once your list is made stick to it and don’t be tempted to make additional unnecessary purchases.
Before I changed how I shopped I was guilty of popping to the supermarket numerous times a week and this invariably ends up costing more as little extras always seem to slip into the trolley! I now shop once a week, only popping to the shop once a week if we need a top up of bread or milk.
Meat Free Meals
Meat can be very expensive and eats into your shopping budget if you use it in every meal. We therefore decided to have at least one meat free meal a week in order to help reduce our spend.
Change Your Brand
I will happily admit that I use to be a huge brand snob, everything had to be a well-known label and I turned my nose up at Supermarket own brands. Equally I am happy to say that those days are gone! If you usually buy a branded tin of beans give the supermarket own brand a go. Likewise, if you buy the Supermarket’s own brand why not give the basics range a go. I have discovered that I actually prefer the majority of the swaps we tried – the family however will not compromise on Tomato Ketchup it has to be Heinz!
Change It Up
I used to buy everything from Asda, never even contemplating using any of the other supermarkets until I was persuaded to try Aldi. As I have already said I was self-confessed snob so I was reluctant to swap shops, but I seriously haven’t looked back. I now do the majority of my shopping at Aldi with a mini trip to Asda for the things Aldi don’t stock. I have found everything we have tried to be of excellent quality and at a much lower price. I also find that the restricted choice in Aldi means I am less likely to make impulse purchases, which has got to be a good thing!
I know that most people reading this simply won’t have the time or inclination to get their shopping from several different places, however if you can there is money to be saved. I don’t do it as much as I did when I first began my money saving mission, but if you look online you are easily able to compare prices for the items you are buying to see where you can get the best deal – obviously these are only a good deal if you aren’t driving miles to save a few pence!
It’s Not Always A Deal
We all know the deals 2 for £3/ 3 for £10 that the supermarkets place conveniently on the aisle ends to tempt the customers in! When shopping remember that these ‘deals’ are only value for money if you actually need them. Before I would happily pile my trolley full of such deals smiling smugly about all the great bargains I was getting only to get them home and realise I had ended up buying much more than I needed to save a mere 50p on the individual cost. Obviously for some these offers work, just make sure there right for you before you are drawn in by the in your face advertising.
Those £1 deals are to blame for many of my overspends as they always seem like such a deal and of course they are only a pound! What I used to forget is that all those £££’s added up, bumping up my shopping total for things that I didn’t realistically need. Always consider if you are buying it based on the ‘special offer’ or is it something you actually need.
I was the queen of pre-packaged products, everything from fruit to snack packs of biscuits. I very quickly realised that all I was doing was paying over the odds for the exact same thing. Why was I buying pre-chopped carrots at twice the price when I could easily do it myself? – convenience is the answer and I made the decision I would much rather spend a few minutes doing it myself instead of chucking my money down the drain as I had been. Instead of snack packs I buy large bags/packs of biscuits and snack putting them in re-useable containers for on the go – it takes seconds to do and saves a fortune!
How do you save money on your food shopping ? Feel free to share your money saving tips in the comments below, we are always looking for extra ways to save – it’s quite addictive once you start!