If you’re trying to be smarter with the ways you spend, cutting out non-essential purchases makes perfect sense. However, there are certain costs that you cannot avoid: utility bills and the weekly food shop, for example.
Even when you’re trying your level best to pay off outstanding debts, you still need to eat. Despite this, there are still ways to shop smarter and get more out of your money when it comes to necessary expenses.
If you’re the sort of person, who finds yourself regularly relying on payday loans to ensure your food cupboard isn’t empty towards the end of the month, perhaps it’s time to start putting a little more effort into getting the best deal on your groceries. With these expert tips, you can shop smarter and save on your supermarket trip every single time!
1) Make a Weekly Grocery List
If you end up entering a supermarket with little to no idea of what you’re going to buy, you’ll end up with a trolley full of items that will only end up in the back of the cupboard. On the other hand, if you know exactly what you’re planning to purchase before you get inside the shop door, you’ll be less likely to overspend on items you don’t need. Make a grocery list to help you achieve this.
2) Create a Regular Menu
If you’re the sort of person who enjoys takeaways or eating out, it can be beneficial to try and replicate your favourite dishes at home. Not only will your culinary skills improve, but you’ll also save a fortune on unnecessary restaurant bills and fast food deliveries. For example, you could turn Monday night into Mexican night, Tuesday into Burger and Fries night, and so on. By sticking to a regular menu, you’ll find it easier to stick to your weekly grocery list, too.
3) Keep an Eye Out for Coupons
Advertisements in magazines and newspapers regularly feature money-off coupons for popular products. Marketers also regularly use targeted smartphone advertising for the same purposes. It’s a great idea to make a habit of keeping an eye open for coupons. While 50p off your weekly shop here and there might not seem like a great deal, don’t forget that pennies make up the pounds. If it’s practical, assign an area of your purse or wallet to store coupons for when you really need them.
4) Don’t Be Fooled by Special Offers
If there’s a special offer for an unusual product or ingredient you’re unlikely to use, don’t buy it – it will only go to waste. The same goes for “buy one get one free” offers on perishable goods, too. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Only take advantage of these sorts of promotions if you’re confident that you’re actually going to get some use (and therefore some value) out of the product you’re purchasing.
5) Compare Prices
Prices for grocery cupboard staples can vary wildly from store to store. Why not use price comparison sites to see who’s the cheapest for your regularly purchased items? You could even try creating a price comparison worksheet to track prices in your local supermarkets. It might seem extreme, but over the course of a year, an extra £1 here and there adds up and could help you on your journey towards becoming debt-free or at least prevent you from having to take out a payday loan every now and then to keep from going hungry.
6) Use Loyalty Cards
Most of the major UK supermarkets run loyalty card schemes that reward customers for regularly shopping with them. These rewards can take the form of money-off coupons, ‘buy one get one free’ offers and money back on purchases – so it pays to collect the points.
7) Use Cashback Apps
There are dozens of free cashback apps that allow you to locate the latest deals and special offers while giving you cashback for doing so. Find an offer that piques your interest, avail of it, scan your receipt and enjoy the money back on your purchases. While it’s important not to get carried away with purchases you don’t need, many of these apps feature deals on supermarket staples and ready meals, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s available.
8) Never Go Shopping While Hungry
Did you know that shoppers who visit supermarkets when hungry are more likely to spend more money? In addition to this, they’re also more likely to purchase junk food. To avoid filling your trolley full of cakes, crisps, chocolate bars, sweets and other unhealthy (and expensive) snacks, plan your trip to the supermarket after you’ve eaten a meal. This way, you won’t be tempted to take a trip to the confectionery aisle. While a little treat every now and then is fine, grocery shopping while hungry is the fast track to spending a small fortune on food you don’t need.
9) Walk to the Supermarket
If it’s possible, why not walk to the supermarket? You’ll save money on transport costs, and it will also help you to get in shape. While this might not always be ideal (for example, if you’re anticipating a large weekly/fortnightly shop or the weather is particularly bad), walking to the shop when you can is a great way to look after pounds in your pocket as well as the pounds on the weighing scale.
10) Get Your Shopping Delivered? Plan for a Broader Delivery Slot
If you like to choose your groceries online and have them delivered to your door, it’s possible to save up to 50% on transport costs by being less selective with your delivery times. For example, if you know you’re going to be at home all evening on a Tuesday, choosing a broader 4-hour delivery window will cost you less than if you were to choose a precise time (within the hour or half-hour, for example).
By implementing one or more of these tips, you should find that as the weeks turn into months, the amount you spend on food shopping begins to reduce – allowing you to save further, become debt-free and put yourself in a better position to qualify for finance as your credit score improves. This could mean paying less in interest on payday loans, emergency loans and short term loans when you need them the most.