5 ways to cut the cost of your supermarket shop
The amount we spend on food has rocketed in recent years, with the price of family staples such as bread, milk and bananas rising every month. While the country is at high risk of a triple dip recession, shoppers are facing a 2.7% increase in overall living costs, according to the latest official figures, and groceries are eating up more and more of their cash every week.
There are lots of easy ways to keep your supermarket bills down, though. Here are five of the best...
Take advantage of discount vouchers
When you come to pay for your shopping, you will often be handed vouchers that allow you to claim discounts on next week’s shop. And these, together with the discount vouchers you can find in magazines, newspapers and online, can help you to make big savings.
Recent offers featured in the Tesco Magazine, for example, have included £1 off Ariel and Lenor washing products and the chance to win one of 200 £5 fruit and vegetable vouchers.
Just remember to take the price of a magazine into account if you are only buying it for the vouchers it contains.
But beware of BOGOF
While some supermarket discounts are worth having, there is no point buying Buy one get one free (BOGOF) items that you can do without.
It is also worth noting that 'bigger pack, better value' products are sometimes more expensive than smaller versions of the same.
Before picking up food and other items on offer, it is therefore worth asking yourself a few questions. These include: 'Is it cheaper by weight in a big pack?' and 'Do I really need this much?'
Doing your weekly shop online can be a great way to save both time and money. Not only do you save on petrol or transport costs, you also avoid paying out for all those extra items you might be tempted to pick up on your way round a store.
This is particularly true for mums who shop with their children in tow – and for anyone who happens to be in a supermarket when hunger strikes!
Use cashback/reward cards
One of the simplest ways to cut the amount you spend on food shopping is to pay with a cashback or reward credit card – and then pay the card off at the end of the month.
Cards of this kind include the market-leading Barclaycard Cashback Card, which offers a massive 6% cashback on your top five purchases in the first three months and up to 2% thereafter, but comes with a £24 annual fee that pushes its representative APR up to 24.8% (variable).
The Tesco Clubcard Credit card is also attractive if you tend to shop at Tesco as it offers Clubcard rewards that you can use to cut your grocery bills as well as interest-free purchases for 16 months – after which it charges a variable representative APR of 16.9%.
For Sainsbury’s shoppers, meanwhile, the Sainsbury’s Cashback Credit Card pays 5% on all Sainsbury’s shopping for the first three months and 1% on all retail purchases made thereafter. It has a representative APR of 17.9% (variable).
You can get more information on these and other reward and cashback cards on MoneySupermarket.
Plan your meals
Globally, an incredible 50 per cent of the food we buy ends up in the bin. But planning your meals and making a list of the things you need before heading to the supermarket can help you to limit food waste in your home.
If you have the space, it is also worth freezing products that you use a lot of, such as milk, so that you do not have to do a 'top up shop' that could easily add £20 to your weekly food bill a few days later.
Every week, Clare Francis, financial journalist and editor-in-chief of comparison site moneysupermarket.com will offer tips and advice on all things money-related to help iVillagers make the most of their hard-earned cash. From energy bills to car insurance; credit cards to children’s savings accounts; mortgages to discount vouchers Clare will show you how to make sure you’re getting the best deal. For more, visit Clare Francis on Google+.