Remember that old expression ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’? Well this useful little proverb is now more valuable than ever, as the difficult economic climate takes its toll on bank balances across the country.
When it comes to pinching the pennies of your monthly budget, there is no better place to start than on your trip to the supermarket. Follow these 5 top tips to ensure that you make it in and out with the least damage to your savings as possible.
This is, without a doubt, the most important piece of advice that I am about to impart – so listen carefully. Do not be tempted to leave your home without a well honed list. Sit down before you leave for the supermarket and plan your shop with military precision. Ideally you should plan out exactly what you are having for each meal and the ingredients involved. You now know that if you stray from the list then you are buying on impulse – which is where money is wasted and is exactly what the supermarkets want you to do.
One thing that is often difficult to do is to deviate from your favourite brands, regardless of the expense. You may have a favourite brand of tomato ketchup which you have only ever eaten but how will you ever know that a competing brand (that is also cheaper) isn’t to your liking as well? So why not branch out and experiment with some different options? Even better than that, give some of the ‘budget’ label-less items a whirl – which are often simply the same product as their more expensive equivalent, without the fancy packaging that is so enticing.
Is there a more enticing sight in your local supermarket than ‘discount’ or ‘sale’? I would suggest that there isn’t, but with this in mind you must still be on your guard when purchasing any items labelled in such a fashion. These discounts, often advertised by large lettering and lurid colours, may work out at only a very small price cut on an item that you would never have normally considered buying.
Keep an eye out
Supermarkets invest many millions of pounds each year into making sure that their stores – the layout, the music and the colours – encourage you to spend as much money as possible. These tactics range from intentionally wafting the smell of freshly baked bread around the store to encourage you to buy their fresh loaves, to placing sweets and magazines by the till in a position that best lends itself to impulse purchases. One particularly cunning tactic employed by the supermarkets is placing their most profitable items at eye-level, counting on the lazy customers to choose simply the easiest products to find, so for the real bargains make sure to use your eyes and look up and down.
Compare and Contrast
Price comparison websites should be second nature to anyone who has recently looked online for the cheapest travel insurance, holidays or credit cards – but did you know that there are many sites now which will compare the price of an average shop at a selection of the biggest supermarkets? By using these sites you can ensure that you are shopping at the cheapest possible supermarket, which is certainly a good start towards the cheapest possible weekly shop.