13 Ways to Save Money at the Supermarket
Your weekly or fortnightly grocery shop offers plenty of opportunity to beat the marketing temptations and save your hard-earned cash. Here are our favourite ways to shop smart at the supermarket.
1. Take a shopping list. Avoid buying unnecessary items by writing a shopping list before you go, and then stick to it! Don’t get sidetracked buying snacks.
2. Do a weekly (or fortnightly) meal plan. Write down each meal, the ingredients you need to buy, and the items you have already. Add all ingredients to your shopping list.
3. Shop on a Sunday evening. Meat is one of the biggest costs for most families, and meat packs are often marked down to clear on a Sunday evening. Meat close to expiring is perfectly fine – either eat it straight away or throw it in the freezer to use later. Buy discounted meat in bulk, head home and divide into portions for the freezer. Label it if you need to.
4. Shop online. Shopping online prevents you from being tempted to buy unnecessary sale items, and you can track your spending as you go. If you shop online often, Countdown offers a Delivery Saver, where you save money on multiple deliveries.
5. Buy ‘own brand’ products. In many cases, they’re the same as the branded products next to them; just sold in plain packaging – and for 10 to 15 per cent less money.
6. Bulk out recipes with cheaper ingredients. Look for cheap ways to bulk out recipes, to get more bang for your buck. Add cheaper ingredients, such as lentils, chickpeas or pasta, to dishes. For example, add lentils or beans to your spag bol mince recipe, and slightly reduce the quantity of meat you use.
7. Reduce your meat intake, and up the veges! Meat will probably be the most expensive item on your grocery list. Check in with recommended portion sizes to see if you need to be eating as much as you are. Sign up to Meat Free Monday and enjoy challenging yourself to create delicious vegetarian dishes – and save money in the process.
8. Shop seasonally. Avoid buying out of season or imported fruit and veges, and stick to ones in plentiful supply. Basic veges, such as carrots or potatoes, are cheap year-round. And don’t be snobby about frozen veges – they’re much cheaper, and research shows they are just as nutritious. If you’re following a recipe for dinner, look for cheaper alternatives than what the recipe says. Be flexible.
9. Use canned food. Items such as canned tuna or salmon are much cheaper than fresh, and are very versatile. Add it to salads, pasta, or eat it on its own as a snack on rice crackers. Bonus: canned food keep for ages in the pantry.
10. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. This age-old mantra is true – if you go to the supermarket when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to be tempted to purchase ready-prepared snack items that are more expensive and are often things you don’t need. Eat before you shop to reduce temptation.
11.Think carefully about your recipes. If a recipe requires you to buy more than four items that you don’t already have, choose another recipe, or cut out the non-essentials.
12. Swipe a loyalty card. Use your loyalty card, such as Onecard or Clubcard, to gather points because, if you’re doing large, regular supermarket spends, the points will add up.
13. Shop around. Don’t feel like you have to go to the same supermarket every week, though this might be easier. Look around your area and check out options – there might be a cheaper greengrocer or Asian vege store offering better deals and, potentially, fresher produce. But be smart about it – driving to four different supermarkets means you won’t save – on either fuel costs or your time.
By the JUNO team
First published 14 February 2018
JUNO does not contain financial advice as defined by the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Consult a suitably qualified financial adviser before making investment decisions. This story reflects the views of the contributor only. Content comes from sources that JUNO considers accurate, but we do not guarantee that the content is accurate. Charts are visually indicative only.