box of supermarket vegetables

Five smart ways to save money on food shopping

Grocery prices just keep rising – but there are some simple tricks to help us save money on our food shopping

As the cost of living remains sky high, anything we can do to save on food shopping is helpful.

The good news is that even if we think we’re savvy at the supermarket, there may still be a few tricks we haven’t tried.

So here are five ways to save money on food shopping.

Avoid convenience stores if possible

It’s not always easy – convenience stores are convenient after all! But we pay for it. Don’t be fooled into thinking we’ll pay the same prices at the same store’s bigger branch down the road. There’s often a 10 per cent mark-up at the convenience outlet (for example Tesco Express or Sainsbury’s Local). That’s hundreds of pounds a year! If we’re in a delivery area we’ll probably save way more than the delivery charge if the alternative is a local convenience store.

Shop around

If we’re lucky enough to have a choice of supermarkets or can shop online, there are tools we can use to find out which is currently the cheapest. It’s worth doing – the difference between stores can be 30 per cent. Which? has an up-to-date comparison page on its website and LoveMoney lists the best deals every week.

Look up, down and all around!

Supermarkets often place their most profitable items at eye level. Which means there can be treasure on the top and (especially) bottom shelves! And some items are stocked in other aisles and in different quantities. For example, we might find a tin of lentils in the pulses aisle while there’s a cheaper alternative in the ethnic foods section. They are often sold in bigger quantities too, meaning we get better value for money if we can afford to buy in bulk.

Join a loyalty scheme

This doesn’t mean shopping somewhere more expensive just because they’ve got a points scheme, of course. But if we can switch easily, for example by moving to online shopping, then we may find our new store comes with a better scheme. They vary a lot, but rewards can be anything up to £5 back for every £100 we spend. We should research the most generous one for our typical spend.

Embrace budget ranges

Forget own-brand, there’s an even cheaper range in town these days. They go by different names depending on the store, but they’re typically a good bit cheaper than even standard own brand. The products tend to focus on staples like bread and baked beans but unfortunately they’re not always stocked in every branch. The good news though is that the prices of budget-range items seem to be rising at a slower rate than own-brand and branded goods. At some stores, the budget range might not be branded as the supermarket’s own. Sainsbury’s has Greengrocer, J James and Hubbard, among others. And the Tesco budget brands include Mrs Molly’s and Creamfields.

There are more tips on eating well for less on the Quids in! website. Got any smart shopping tips to share? Let us know on our Twitter or Facebook pages!

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