If you want to make your money stretch as far as possible, then you must put in the effort and the hard yards. This means splitting your food shops across multiple venues. I will demonstrate this by using myself as an example. Once a fortnight I go to a “value shop” such as Quality Save or even Wilko and get all the essentials I know I will need to buy at some point. They will not be cheaper anywhere else, but most likely up to double the price. There are a huge number of brand names available here, and you simply get more for less in such places. Then I visit a good value supermarket such as Aldi. They do not have the range of products of somewhere like Tesco, so I will sweep up there. However, I have one more trick to use. I use Ocado too for home shops – these are not cheap, but they regularly offer me big discounts on my shop, and with free delivery it is worth my while to shop there too. Especially as i go big on their offers section. If you have been shopping for decades, you have a very good idea of what things should cost. Thus you know if you are getting good value for money or not.
You need discipline to shop efficiently, so it makes sense to shop alone. Having company, especially children could well add to your shop, for items you did not intend to buy when you entered the shop. There are other ways to stay disciplined too though. If your intended list is small, take a basket so you do not tempt yourself to buy extras. Walk to the shop and don’t just buy fresh items, so that you have options and less waste back at home.
First off, the reduced aisle. Many will turn their nose up at such a section, but there are bargains to be had there, and all the food should be perfectly edible. Elsewhere, check the offers and use them if it is for items you needed anyway. This is how a home shop can be beneficial. There you see every offer, but you have to be disciplined. do not throw in a few treats to offset the savings you make. Away from the offers, be aware that own brand are often of the same quality as brand names. Often they are the actual same product, made in the same factory. So save a fortune by weaning yourself off pricey brand names, I make an exception for Heinz!
Arrive with a list, knowing what you want. Only buy those items. Ignore prominent displays designed to entice you in. Just get what you need then leave.
You may want to count every coin you have and take to your bank so that you do not lose out with commission. But my local Sainsbury’s has a coin-counting machine that rewards you with vouchers that I spend in the supermarket. It is not true of course, but it feels to me like a free shop!
It may contradict an earlier point, but there is a clear advantage in buying in bulk. Buying a four pack of tinned tomatoes or soup is cheaper per tin than if bought individually. Use the system to get the best value. The problem is weight if walking there.
don’t just pick up the first piece of cheddar you see. Check if any cheddar is discounted. Check the deli counter as there may be an offer on there. Or it may simply be cheaper per lb from there. If you are not super-picky about what you want, check every alternative for the product. Some similar products may be far away, such as in a world foods aisle or speciality cuisine area. So check those aisles too. Keep a rough running total of your shop so you know where you stand. Always use your loyalty card and any vouchers you may have.