Skimp on That Supermarket Spend


Nov 27, 2014 by Smart Blog

We've been hearing a lot about supermarkets during 2014. Some are thriving, some are definitely not, but if 2014 is remembered for anything in the retail world it may well be recalled as the year that British residents changed the way they shop.

No longer do we do a single weekly shop, rather we have become adept at comparing costs and picking up several shops in a week, largely according to price. We have also seen a huge increase in the number of so-called 'discount' supermarkets, which have provided serious competition to the traditional stores, albeit while offering a lesser choice.

Nonetheless, the average family still spends around £100 on groceries a week, so any opportunity to save a bit of money is welcome. Read on for some money saving suggestions.


Make a list

Supermarkets exist to make us spend money, and they use a range of questionable techniques to 'help' us to do this. Ever wondered why the sweets and treats are by the checkout? It's because the supermarkets know about decision fatigue, and that by the time you reach the till you will have become so mentally worn out by deciding what to buy, you are less likely to have the willpower to resist that bar of chocolate or can of caffeine-fuelled pop. Of course, you will have become worn out because the entire layout of the supermarket is designed to force you all the way through it, so that you are exposed to maximum buying opportunities.

Having a good old-fashioned shopping list - and sticking to it - is a sure fire way of leaving the shop only with what you came for. It can save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year, and if you combine it with planning your meals in advance, can transform your bank balance.


Look up (or down)

Most supermarkets stock their most profitable ranges at the eye level of the market they are selling to. That is why toys and sweets tend to be at child's eye level, the rest at adult eye level. Look up and down, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how much you can save by purchasing other brands.


Trust your taste

Most supermarkets stock brands of varying degrees of luxury. 'Special' or 'luxury' versions, even if they are the supermarket's own brand, will be more expensive. Do they taste or produce results that are sufficiently better to justify that? Only you can decide. Why not try buying a level or two lower than your usual pizza, washing powder or toothpaste, and ask yourself how much the difference in taste or performance affects you? You may find the cheaper versions are actually better than the pricier alternative!


Meal planning

Planning meals ahead is often touted as a good way to save money and indeed it can be - but you do need to formulate your meals accordingly. If you plan your meals using a Gordon Ramsey cookbook, you might find that the cost of baby asparagus and octopus actually increases your shopping bill! The best policy is to develop a collection of recipes based on produce that is freely available, and to include a few that can make use of the inevitable leftovers from other meals.