When you shop in the supermarket, are you bagging lots of bargains and working out which brand or offer is the cheapest?
When you go to the supermarket, do you feel bombareded with confusing information and end up buying things that you had not intended? Do you feel dupped? Or do you feel able to get the most out of what they offer?
Would you ideally like to go back to days before supermarkets or do you appreciate being able to get all your shopping in one place as quickly as possible.
Key Tips For Supermarket Shopping
You may feel confused, disillusioned and conned by the supermarkets, but if you have to keep using them – here are my tips for making sure you are not hood winked into feeling you have got a bargain when you have not:-
1. Make a list before you go shopping and only stray from it for a really good reason
2. Don’t automatically assume a large pack is better value than a smaller pack – check the price per kg displayed – or do your own check. Take a calculator with you to make this easier
3. Don’t automatically assume a buy 3 for £2 type offer will work out cheaper – it may include items that are individually cheaper than 67p
4. Consider whether you need more than one -even if an offer does work out cheaper per pack for a multiple purchase. It may be better value but it is still getting you to part with more money than you may have planned. Sometime the saving is so small it may not be worth the extra outlay and dent in your shopping budget
5. A price is sometimes presented as an offer even when it isn’t – according to the Panorama programme eg £1 each or two for £2 – which people will be enticed by.
6. If you are tempted to buy something not on your list when you see it is a good offer – buy one get one free for example. My rule for this is:-
- I have a mental list of things I will buy, but only when on offer – ie it is something I really like but I would normally consider too expensive
- Can I use it without wasting any food (ie without wasting food I had planned to use this week)
- Can I freeze it / does it have a long shelf life
- Is it cheaper than equivalent foods that I would normally buy (ie if it is a branded pasta, for example, although cheaper than normal it might still be more expensive than the supermarkets own brand, I normally buy)
- If it something that I would never normally buy, I try to resist temptation, because otherwise I am still spending more money than I intended to
7. Know your prices – make a mental note, or keep your receipts, so you know the price of items you regularly buy. That way you will know when a bargain is genuine, whether in your usual shop or if you are out and about
8. Try the supermarket economy own brand of things you buy, to see if you like them. Do a blind taste test if you can to avoid being influenced by price and packaging. For me things like tinned fruit, plain yoghurt, tinned tomatoes and evaporated milk are all fine in the most basic own brand. I like own brand baked beans too.
9. Check out you local green grocer, farmers market and market stalls for fruit and vegetables which are likely to be cheaper than your supermarket
10. Free range eggs are around 50p per half dozen cheaper at a farm shop, farmers market or local food store than in the supermarket
11. If you are unsure whether apples priced per kilo are better value that a bag of six, often the only way to tell is to weigh them in the store. There are usually scaled placed in the fruit and veg aisles. The price discrepancies can be large, so its worth checking.
12. Check your till receipt before you leave the shop, to ensure all the offers have been honoured – I have often found that discounts or buy one get one free offers, have not actually been included at the till
If all this seems like hard work – remember a family can spend between £3000 and £5000 (or more) a year in the supermarket. A single person is likely to spend at least £1300. If you were spending that much on any other item, you would do research and consider carefully the options.
Do you have some great tips to share to ensure your supermarket shopping is the best value? Have you seen some dubious supermarket practices you would like to alert people to? Please do share your tips in the comments box below or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Because I can’t remember how much a particular food item costs at another store, I like to use math to help me decide which items are a good deal. For example, I look at a prime steak and see that it would cost about $10 per person, but it is on “sale” for $7. Then, I look at the pork medallions and see that they would cost only $2 per person even though they are not on sale.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that some sale items are not a good deal at all, while it may make sense to start trying cheaper items. Remember, you can always marinate and slow cook lower quality meats to make them taste better.
I get really annoyed when the loose fruit and veg is priced per kilo but the pre packaged stuff isn’t – it makes it really hard to compare. And my local supermarket doesn’t have scales. As a rule, the unpackaged stuff is usually, but not always, cheaper.