Money is a commodity it seems fewer and fewer have in excess now a days, the fruitful spending of the by gone years of almost worldwide financial growth where jobs were stable and opportunities we’re everywhere are no longer the case. With everyone’s job seemingly at risk and the money from your pocket on the line you may want to start making general every day savings, just anything to to play to the age old adage “take care of the penny’s and the pounds take care of themselves”. But how do we save money shopping for something that in all honesty, we need to survive. It’s easy enough to stop our excess spending on entertainment, going to the cinema less and buying fewer new clothes, but food is a necessity.
Well fear not the ways to save money on food shopping are plentiful and often simple, they may take a little more effort but the savings can be massive when added up through out a year. First of all don’t be loyal, the shops and produce aren’t loyal to you, they put their prices up and expect your loyalty to them to continue so look elsewhere. A problem my grandparents got into was also going to ASDA’s and until recently they still would, to do all their shopping, not realising other stores sold the same products at a lower price, with most of these stores less than a 15 minute walk away (a 5 minute drive) it was silly to pay more. With a town that have an Aldi, a Lidl, a Netto, a Tesco, a B+M and a Home Bargains and a Morrison’s they have choices to buy most items they want from any of them.
They’ve now learnt that fruit is usually cheaper in Lidl, so despite doing a bulk of their more normal shopping still in ASDA’s they will make a weekly trip to Lidl. Other shops each have their own selling points Tesco’s is usually where they go for wine, whilst Morrisons seems to be the place for pre-made pies and the such.
Using online price checkers it’s possible to not only see which shops are cheapest for the items, but to effectively create shopping lists to fit your self, so that you could take one around each store knowing you’re getting the best deals out there. This may seem a petty way to save 5p on a can of beans but if your buying 3 cans a week every week it soon adds up (£7.80 a year would be saved on just the baked beans). Again try the competition on the product if you’ve bean eating Hienze since being a child it doesn’t mean there are no alternatives, Branston’s for example are similar and may be worth trying as their usually cheaper and not much worse in quality. Though in the case of baked beans what you may also find is that multi tin packs are significantly cheaper, so stock up when their on offer as they won’t go off.
However don’t stock up too much on perishables, things yoghurt’s can often go to waste due to over zealous buying, so just buy what you expect will be eaten. If Dave likes a yoghurt after tea as a form of desert but no one else in the house likes them just get 7 instead of 20, unless their use by dates are good. It’s not a bargain if your throwing most of the product away, soft biscuits have been a killer in our house as people open the packet then put it back in the cupboard without making anyone else aware their open so they go soft and then no ones wants to eat them.
Use by dates, a key in the clever shopping guides is to find the longest use by dates possible, which in turn give you the longest time to use the product. Think things like milk where you may not make a cup of tea for a few days which may result in some going off if it’s use by date is short. One of the secrets is that shelf stacker’s place the newer stuff on the back of shelves trying to get lazy shoppers to buy the older stuff at the front, so wise up to getting the older ones to give yourself ample time to use it. In fact things like UHT milk which have vastly improved life cycles may be a wiser purchase if it’s just for tea and coffee, though I wouldn’t personally put it on cornflakes.
One exception to the above rule is the products you intend to eat that night for your evening meal, which can sometimes see you pick up at ludicrous prices due to the short life time they have left. Things like curry’s can be bought for less than ½ price due to it needing to be served that night, a nice saving for tea time rather than buying a full price one, the “oops” and “whoopsies” sections have become favourites of my mum’s with big yellow stickers on them.
Store brand products can often taste a bit cheap and cardboard-like but sometimes they can be brilliant, the Shreddies clones that one store do are probably just as good as the original products. This is a rarity but it’s often worth trying occasionally for some products where a company can’t go wrong, chocolate biscuits are a good example where a Tesco branded digestive or rich tea isn’t going to taste significantly worse than the Mcvities biscuit that’s much higher priced. Though by the same token as looking at alternatives, sometimes the more expensive product will be cheaper than the branded one due to multi buy offers.
Frozen food can often just get thrown in the freezer and forgotten about, so know what you have in your freezer, their no point in forever buying burgers if you have last weeks and the weeks before in there. It’s all very well stocking up, but make sure your stocking up on things people are eating rather than things that are just filling up your freezer for the sake of it. This it’s self can save money as an over full freezer can cost more to keep running than a moderately full one. It may seem simple but some people don’t seem to realise it.
Alcohol, our family loves a weekend end drink…or 2 or 3 you get the idea, so what we do is get the multi pack boxes often on offers such as 2 boxes for £16 or 3 boxes for £20. The super markets are surely selling them as loss leader, but who cares when you can get 60 cans of booze and a bag of popcorn and walk away with change from £25. I’m not the shop, neither are you so don’t worry too much about their pricing structure.
Little or large argument when it comes to fizzy drink is an easy one when 1 can (330ml) of coke costs 60p whilst a 2 litre bottle can often be bought for less than £2.50. It’s a no brainer to take the bigger the bottle even if it’s less convenient for you. However scores like B+M often have some cheaper small bottled alternatives for as low as 29p for a 500ml bottle, so who cares if it’s not coke, it’s convenient and ml for ml a fair bit cheaper.
So on the whole look at the alternatives, look at pricing guides, get what you need and get the stuff that will last long are the key tricks to saving money whilst food shopping.