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Discount shops help Brits save at the supermarket

Despite price wars between the big supermarkets pushing down the cost of a shopping basket (and inflation figures), more Brits than ever are taking their shopping list to cut-price stores.

The latest rankings by Kantar Worldpanel saw Aldi move up to become the sixth most popular supermarket in the UK, with 9% of all supermarket shopping taking place in Aldi or Lidl. Meanwhile a separate report by retail consultants Him! found 57% of adults shop for groceries at pound shops and other discount retailers every week, up from 37% last year.

Though plenty of items cost less at a cut-price supermarket, most people still need to visit a major supermarket to complete a full shop. Him! found the average basket spend at discounted high street stores was just £8.93,compared to £31.30 in a supermarket.

To bring your bill down even more, you’ll need to find other ways to save. Here are our top five.

1. Plan what you need and cut down waste

According to Love Food Hate Waste, Brits throw away £39 worth of food each month, either from cooking too much or not eating fresh fruit and veg or baked goods before they go off. Over a year that’s £470.

If you head to the supermarket with a list of what you need and a plan of when you are going to use it, not only will you cut down how much you waste, you’re also less likely to make impulse buys.


2. Don’t be loyal

The easiest way to cut your normal spend is to buy a cheaper version. Many of the supermarket’s own items are actually made by the same people who produce the big brand equivalent. The only difference is they are cheaper. Give them a try to see if you notice a difference.

You might not have much choice, but you can also save by switching where you shop. If you’ve the time you can even split your weekly shop between different companies to save even more. The website can help you compare prices.

3. Little discounts add up

There’s no point buying something just because you’ve been given 30p off. However, if you have a card, coupon or cashback app with a discount for something you were planning to buy anyway, all the small vouchers can add up to a big discount on your receipt.

Likewise, take advantage of any loyalty card schemes on offer. You could get points or freebies as part of a normal shop. Don’t let a loyalty scheme sway you if there are cheaper shops nearby as lower prices could outweigh these benefits.

4. Size does matter

Have you noticed things don’t seem to last as long as they used to? Shrinkage is an attempt to keep prices the same by making the packs smaller. Even items next to each other on the shelf can look the same size, but be 10% different – or more – disguised by bulky packaging.

Big ‘value’ or multi-packs might not work out as better value either. The best way to compare different sized products is to look for a price per unit on the shelf. Though they don’t always make it easy for us to tell, you’ve a better chance of seeing what the product really costs.

5. Don’t get distracted by deals

Just because it looks like a bargain, it doesn’t mean you should buy it if you don’t actually need or want it.

If you time it right there are often fantastic things to be found in reduced aisles. Of course it’s easy to get carried away on 10p loaves of bread and deviate from your plan, so only buy things you can eat or freeze before they go off.

‘Deals’ might not even be deals either. Supermarkets will often use big signs on shelves with the price or red stickers on packs that might make you think it’s cheaper than normal. In reality, it’s just how much it costs. Some multi-buy deals have even been found to work out cheaper to buy separately. So check before you buy.

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  • Exasperated / 9 November 2015

    If most people "do" money saving tips with their food shopping already why waste your time writing blog after blog about it. Do some real financial education!

  • jane fleming / 23 September 2015

    Aldi sells cheese Waitrose Tesco and Morrisons sell branded cheese. Say no to brands. Brands paid Tesco to place their brands prominently.

  • Mickey / 4 May 2015

    I waste nothing. I use mysupermarket web site weekly to check prices. I shop at Aldi mostly and buy exactly what I used to get at Tesco but at a fraction. I get chicken and goat from an Halal butcher at less than half the price of supermarkets. Some goods are purchased in bulk either at the shop or online at a fraction: rice, pasta, washing powder, hand cleanser, washing up liquid, tooth paste, soap, lentils, dried herbs and spices, tea bags, cheap noodles etc. This also means I don't have to carry all these heavy items from the supermarket every week and there is always some food in even when I have run out of other items.

    I have stopped buying apples due to the fact that the price has increased dramatically but get bananas and citrus fruits at a better price. When I had plenty of time, I would pop down to the market and buy bowls of fruit/vege for £1 each and visit the closed market for fresh scallops/muscles and butchers near closing time when everything was auctioned off from 5pm to 5.30pm. Most things would be less than half price if you were lucky enough to win them. I could stock up the freezer for many months with meat and some of the vege I had purchased and prepared. One trip in the car every few months is cheaper than walking to the local shops. Bargain!
    Buying a car via online sites such as ebay ( you must be savvi and know what you are doing)
    Only use your car when you have several things to do rather than multi trips.
    Use online site to let you know where the cheapest fuel is in your area.
    Use the internet to find deals on MOT's (£24 for my last one)
    Service your own vehicle...Buy spark plugs, air filter, oil filter and sump plug. Purchase oil from Halfords in bulk when they have a sale on (almost guaranteed) Get a back street garage to change the oil, filter and plug for £15. Do the air filter and spark plugs yourself. The rest of the service is visual checks and a squirt of lubricant on door hinges!

    There are many other saving to be had without making your property look a mess or having to cut down on food.

  • Ray Baldacchino / 3 May 2015

    In reply to Marilyn Sansom below, please see my earlier comments about best before/use-by dates. I had a Fray Bentos steak & kidney pie today dated 2011! Nothing wrong with it. Any food which was sterile when it was packed, like food in tins and jars, and is still airtight, will keep long after the date. I have butter and cheese which are past their dates, but are fine, as they are unopened and have been packed in a sterile atmosphere. Both of these products are sometimes matured for years by manufacturers - you may have seen cheese - usually cheddar - which has been matured for several years, in the stores.

    Also if you have a freezer, you can batch cook i.e. cook say 4/5 portions, so you can benefit from bulk buying larger packs which are often cheaper.

  • Ray Baldacchino / 3 May 2015

    On size matters, watch out for that when buying from pound stores and the like - you will often find that there is less content and it works out more expensive. Same applies to quality; I bought 10 ballpoint pens in Poundland (for £1) but only 3 worked so I then bought a 10-pack in Asda, they all worked and they cost 28p!

    A lot of food is thrown away because it has reached the best before date, when there is nothing wrong with the food. I have also used food which was past the use-by date as well, because I was satisfied it was OK to eat it. That's what people used to do before the dates on produce came along - they looked, smelt and tasted before deciding if it was fit for human consumption.

  • Marilyn Sansom / 3 May 2015

    Yes shop around if you have the means to do so but if you are partly disabled and not able to walk long distances like me this is not an option. I rely on family and friends to take me shopping and therefore tend to shop in one place only.
    Being on a low income
    I do not waste nearly £40 0f food each month!! And also it is far more difficult cooking for one as I do. Any suggestions???????