Esther Shaw

Food shopping for less

By Esther Shaw 26/11/2014

Esther Shaw suggest some simple ways to can save money on your food shopping.

If you want to make your cash stretch further when buying food and other essentials, the number one rule is to plan shopping trips in advance. This means working out your menus for the week, making a list, and being disciplined about sticking to it. Not only will this save you money, but can also mean you minimise food waste too.

One good tip is to compare the unit price of products (the cost per kilo or per litre, rather than the total price), to check you’re getting the best value for money.

Another good way to save on food and other goods is by trying the ‘downshift’ challenge. This involves buying all your items one brand level below normal. This might, for example, mean buying the supermarket’s own brand or ‘basics’ range, rather than the brand that you’re used to. Try this for a week or two and note down the products where you do notice a difference (and the ones where you don’t) then alter your weekly shop accordingly.

Many people find they are happy to switch to supermarket own-brands for quite a few items, and especially when it comes to purchases such as toiletries and cleaning products. Cash in on buy-one-get-one free deals when you can (providing the goods aren’t perishable), and stock up on essentials such as washing powder, laundry detergent, toothpaste and toilet roll when there’s an offer.

Make the most of coupons and vouchers, and note that there are big savings to be made by doing your weekly shop online (not least because this reduces the risk of impulse purchases). Also bear in mind that with internet shopping you are given the option of saving a ‘favourites’ basket which means you don’t even have to look at non-essential items.

Try these simple tweaks and you should notice a difference in your finances. For a more detailed budgeting plan, try our new Savings Calculator or take a look at our practical guide to better budgeting.