If you’re scanning your receipts with raised eyebrows and wondering where your week’s worth of cash has gone, you’re not alone. Lots of us are confused as to how we spend so much on our weekly shop, only to have all the good food vanish fast and still require a top-up mid-week. I’ve come up with a few pointers that have steered me well recently.
Don’t be a slave to brands
While we’ve all got our favourites, we don’t have to cave in to the big names every time. Supermarkets use a lot of tricks to coax how we purchase, from where they put stuff on the shelves to the colours they use in their budget brands. Thing is, they’re often just as good as the market leaders. I’ve even contemplated taking Money Saving Expert’s Downshift Challenge from time to time.
Don’t shop hungry
It might seem like an obvious one, but when you’re keen to get the shopping done it’s easy to stroll the aisles feeling peckish. Before you know it, fast food and snacks have taken pride of place in your trolley – and little treats rapidly add up. It’s advisable to fill up with some protein-rich food before shopping, since a sugary snack will fizz out too fast.
I’m not necessarily saying to buy in bulk, but if you buy big in terms of non-perishables you can really make things last. Tins and frozen products are often a massive relief in the mealtime pinch. Similarly, you can make your own ingredients at home go further if you make more filling meals. For instance, I’ve started getting crinkle cut chips instead of thinner ones because they’re more filling, and I’m a big fan of McCain’s Home Chips for how generous their bags of frozen chips are.
Tell BOGOF to bog off
Supermarkets use the tried and true BOGOF, or Buy One Get One Free, to steer our spending habits. A lot of the time this is a great deal, but similarly, it’s also quite often encouraging us to load up on something we don’t need. Next time that flashy label catches your eye, ask if you’d even want what it’s tempting you with if it wasn’t part of a BOGOF deal.
Plan meals in advance
Sometimes I like to think of my weekly shop as a supply run. With total tunnel vision, almost like a military exercise, I hone in on everything on my list, pack it in my bags as I pay and head out. I don’t turn my head for any deals or distractions and I don’t browse. You’d be surprised how much this can pay off!
Music is the food of love… and spending
This one really surprised me when I was browsing this list of ways supermarkets coax us to spend more. The music they pipe out to us in the background is usually specifically chosen to be a certain tempo, so it encourages us to slow down and take our time. I can’t begin to count how many hours I’ve lost without realising it in the supermarket, and the longer we stick around, the more we’re likely to buy. My tip is to go in wearing headphones and not take them out until you’re at the tills – that way you can listen to more energising music that breezes you through.
There are a few of my prized supermarket secrets. Have you any of your own tactics to keep your weekly shop prices nice and low?