Don’t you find it annoying when your money seems to disappear on food alone? Before you’ve even gotten to the fun stuff, groceries eat up those pounds from the monthly budget. If you’re looking for ways to get more nom for your money, here are our top tips:
Let’s face it: Sainsbury basics don’t look quite so appealing sometimes. But the reality is that these products are more affordable, and they normally don’t sacrifice much quality. You can make huge savings by picking up the own-brand items from your local, instead of fancier independent brands. For a quick guide to how these own-brand compare to other independent brands, check out Supermarket Own Brand Guide.
Go loose over pre-packaged
There’s a reason those convenient, pre-cut and pre-packaged items cost a bit more: someone (or something) had to prep them! Save yourself a few bob here and there and go for the loose fruit and vegetables, or those that are not already pre-cut. Sure, it’s a tiny bit more effort, but the packaged versions are often a decent bit more. The same goes for the deli counter, where the selection of processed meats will be a lot cheaper than those conveniently packaged in the other aisles.
Buy in bulk where possible
This is especially helpful if you have a decently sized freezer. Buy items in bulk, cook them and freeze in smaller chunks in order to save yourself a lot of time and money. This way, you’ve got healthy portions of soups, sauces and more on hand for when you’re too lazy to prepare meals from scratch. These will be a lot cheaper than ready-meals in the grocery store, and also mean you can take advantage of buying in bulk upfront. This is also particularly great if you live alone or only cook for one – it can be expensive to always buy just enough for one person.
This follows on from the previous tip: if you cook too much or have too many leftovers, it can be tempting to just throw them away. If you know you’re likely to over cook, make sure you can freeze or store it. Otherwise, it’s time to adjust those portions. Avoiding waste means avoiding pouring extra money down the trash!
Don’t discard deals
Deals are everywhere to be found, and there’s definitely value in taking them up. Online alone, you can always find great offers from grocery store chains, particularly if you are a first-time online shopper. Take advantage of the coupons and cost-cutting offers of your favourite grocery store chain. Student Money Saver has a great guide to couponing, if you’re looking for more ways to slice extra pounds from the final purchase price.
Don’t assume BOGOF deals are good value!
Buy One Get One Free – it always looks like a great deal. But check the value per pence according to the weight or size of the item first. It might actually not be such a great deal, as often these offers are applied to items that are just plain hard to sell. Check the price per kg or ml, and make sure you are getting actual good value for money.
Use your loyalty (with caution!)
Loyalty cards do often give you some added benefits to up your purchasing power. But don’t let loyalty get out of hand – sometimes, other grocery stores will offer cheaper prices, outweighing the benefits of building up your points. If this is the case, don’t get too obsessed with points-hoarding! Make sure to keep an eye out across a few of the cheaper grocery store chains to make the best use of points deals as they come up.
Shop with purpose
Having a shopping list is super helpful. It means you don’t get too distracted by an extra pack of doughnuts, or those perfectly-placed impulse items on your way to the check out. Keep a list and stick to it to avoid buying on impulse – and never go to the grocery store feeling hungry! It’s a sure way to stock up on extras you don’t actually need. If you can’t find your paper list, try an app like Out of Milk to keep you on track.