Food prices are showing no signs of reducing and may, in fact, be set to increase. Urk. Without wishing to sound like a grocery-obsessive, I bring you five tips to reduce the amount you spend on food and household stuff.
1. Grocery shopping is likely to be a significant expenditure so why not make something back on the money you spend? There are credit cards that give you either a percentage cash-back or store points, such as Tesco Clubcard or Nectar. Take one out and use it only for groceries and you’ll be able to keep track of your expenditure, too. Make sure you set up a direct debit to pay the balance in full every month so you don’t incur any interest charges, though.
2. If you’re not too sniffy about best before dates, consider stocking up on store cupboard and long-life items from Approved Foods. The stock changes all the time, but there are significant savings to be found. For example, I just had a quick look and found plain couscous at just 30p for 500g, Sharwoods Balti Wrap kits at 39p a pop, and 2 litres of Pepsi Max Citrus for 69p.
3. For (most) of the big supermarkets, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda, you can price-check your groceries via My Supermarket. Plus, if you’ve shopped online with any of the supported supermarkets before you can import your favourites.
4. One of the easiest ways to instantly reduce costs is to go down a brand. So, if you usually buy something branded (for example, Heinz Tomato Soup), then try the supermarket-own version instead. If you usually buy the supermarket-own, then try the value one. If you try a couple of items in each shop and keep a note of which you’re happy with, you’ll soon see a difference in your wallet. If you have fussy eaters in your household who are likely to resist this approach, try decanting the cheap stuff into the branded packaging (if possible!) and see if people can really tell the difference.
5. Food retailers spend a lot of time and money making sure that we equate ‘more expensive’ with ‘better’. This isn’t always the case; quite often a premium product can have almost-identical ingredients to the standard. Also, taste is a matter of, well, taste, and you won’t know which you prefer without being a little bit flexible in your choices. For extra help, or if you’re anxious about trying ‘cheaper’ brands or discount supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl, check out Supermarket Own Brand Guide. Created and maintained by food writer and taster, Martin Isark, it’s stuffed full of food reviews to help you sort out the hidden gems from the ‘don’t buys’.
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