The dreaded weekly shop is a big pain-point in homes across the country. Whatever supermarket you choose to shop at, there’s no escaping that sinking feeling when you reach the checkout and realise that you’ve spent an awful lot of money on not very much at all. The whole experience can be exacerbated by kids squabbling over who gets to push the trolley, or the curly fries vs crinkle cut chips argument that will inevitably break out part-way along the frozen aisle.
Some parts of the supermarket shop are impossible to resolve. However, here are just a few money-saving tips that I hope will at least help to soften the blow.
Plan every meal in advance
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But I’m always surprised how quickly we fall out of good habits and find ourselves wandering the aisles with little focus. Meal planning doesn’t need to be torturous – in fact there are plenty of resources out there to simplify the process. Get into a steady routine and you could find yourself saving big each week.
Stock up the freezer
Frozen food often gets a bit of a bad rap, but when feeding a family it’s essential to have a stock of quick and easy go-to meals on hand. Therefore, I see nothing wrong with breaking the stigma and opting for frozen alternatives where possible. What’s more, things like frozen vegetables are often cheaper than fresh and taste just as good. A bag of McCain Home Chips and some sort of summer vegetable medley are a great place to start and can really help you in a pinch.
We’ve all been shopping with a fussy eater and ended up piling far more options into our trolleys than we actually need. The key is to be decisive and lay down some ground rules about what is and isn’t going home with you. It’s a particularly important tip if you often find yourself spending more due to everyone in the household preferring different things. Be firm and make it clear that everyone will be eating the same from now on – you may be surprised at just how open the kids are to swapping out some old favourites.
Time your shop right
We all know how tempting the clearance shelves can be, and piling things into your trolley just because they’re on sale isn’t always a good tactic. Adopt a smarter approach however and you could save yourself some serious cash. Shops typically start marking down reduced stock in the early evening – around 5pm. Shop during this time and keep an eye out for fresh produce that may be nearing its due date, but can safely be frozen and eaten later on in the week. That way you can make the most of the savings, even if you don’t need the food straight away.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach
An oldie but a goodie. I’ve always been told to never shop on an empty stomach and it’s definitely good advice – I’m often amazed by how much more tempting it is to add extra snacks to the pile when I’m feeling peckish myself. Venture out to the shops after a good meal and you’re far less likely to fall foul of costly impulse purchases.
What are your top tips for saving on your weekly supermarket shop?