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My Top Ten Shopping Tips

I’ve just spent time in one of our local supermarkets. I do this a couple of times a week, shopping for perishables like milk, veg and fruit.

With the weekly food bill rising all the time, I’ve been working on ways to keep the costs down whenever possible. I’ve come up with a list of ‘shopping strategies’ which I thought I’d share with you all. Some of them are daft and others might seem a little obsessive – but them I’m daft and slightly inclined towards OCD … ask anyone who knows me!

But my reasoning is:

  • why should I give money to a supermarket chain when I don’t have to
  • if I have to look at products on the shelves and their price tags, why not take a little more notice and use the intelligence gathered to my advantage

So, this article is aimed at people who shop at the smaller supermarkets (Aldi, Lidl, Netto etc.), Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, the Co-op … and possibly Sainsbury’s. If you shop at Waitrose, you obviously don’t mind paying over the odds so there’s no point in you reading on.

My top ten shopping tips are:

  1. Always check to see if there’s a ‘reduced’ bin or shelf in your local supermarket – usually stuff here is very short dated – not a problem if you plan to use it that day – and you can save up to 50% in some supermarkets. One family member, who has a colourful turn of phrase, describes these as the “dead and dying range”.
  2. Some supermarkets and for some products, the reduced items are on the same shelves as the full price goods … so watch out for the reduced tickets
  3. Check the reduction carefully – sometimes it’s just a few pence off, and not worth getting
  4. Most stores have a fairly regular time when they reduce the prices on stuff which will soon go out of sell by date – skulk around the store at different times of the day to find out when’s the best time to bag newly reduced items
  5. If something’s on offer, the shelf ticket will often show when the offer ends, so you can time your next purchase accordingly, or just buy extra while it’s cheap. I’ve noticed Sainsbury’s don’t show this information, so I’m boycotting them.
  6. Check the price per unit – sometimes the larger pack size is more expensive per unit when you’d expect it to be cheaper
  7. Concentrate on the most expensive items – getting 20% off a jar of coffee saves you more than 20% off a packet of cereal
  8. If you’ve got several supermarkets to choose from, they don’t always run special offers at the same time, so be a shopping tart and don’t be loyal
  9. Some items with a standard pack weight can actually vary quite a bit, so check their actual weights (by feel or on the fruit and veg scales). One example of this is chickens. Supermarkets often sell chickens in weight ‘bands’, so the next time you buy a chicken, check its stated cooking time – the longer the time, the heavier the bird
  10. When buying fruit and veg, go for items with the least trimmings, so tomatoes without their ‘spiders’, broccoli with short stems – why pay for the bits you can’t eat

So, that’s my top ten shopping tips. If you have others to share, please add a comment.