In today’s world money is tight. We all know it, we all face it – but what can we do to help stretch that family budget and ensure the best buy out there?
Let us introduce you to a shopping technique that will guarantee savings. With just one to two extra hours a week – and a complete change of mindset – you could cut your weekly grocery bill considerably.
The technique involves a combination of shopping mindfully, using vouchers and other techniques in a structured fashion to get the best possible value. Here’s how to get started:
1. Getting prepared to save money
Before you get started, take a careful look at your shopping habits and be prepared to change them. Shopping must no longer be a mindless chore – you must approach it with eyes wide open, observant and questioning at all times. It can even become fun sniffing out the best buy!
2. Do your homework
Keep your supermarket receipts and start reading them so you know where your money goes. Track your eating habits and set up a box or filing system where you are going to keep any paper coupons you receive.
Set up a price book to keep track of the price fluctuations for all your main buys. The more you know about the changes in prices, the cleverer you can be with your purchasing.
You should also stop throwing out junk mail – many deals and offers come through the door or the inbox, so keep your eyes open. You might also set up a separate email address so you can sign up for promotional material and newsletters without clogging your regular inbox.
3. Do without the product
If you are saving money for a specific and pressing purpose, you may want to ask yourself if you can do without some ‘luxury’ items.
4. Make your own
If you are time rich but cash poor you may choose to save money in some of the following ways. You could also find yourself a new hobby…
- Cooking more food from scratch
- Cooking meals in batches and freezing them
- Growing your own produce
- Making your own jam, cakes, sweets, gifts
- Knitting, crafting… even beekeeping!
- Making your own cleaning products
- Reusing and recycling products in your home
5. Buy less of the product
Understand what you and your family need and actually use. The best way to go about this is to:
- Track what you use
- Only buy what your family likes and needs
- Avoid waste – reuse leftovers and plan portions carefully
6. Try a different brand
If you’re serious about money-saving you need to say goodbye to brand loyalty. Buy something cheaper, and always be prepared to try different flavours and new things with own brand and even value ranges.
7. Try a different place / time
Be flexible in your shopping habits and you’ll be surprised how the savings add up.
- Try shopping online – or if you normally do, try the supermarkets again.
- Shop at different supermarkets, including the discount ones like Aldi and Lidl. Lose any prejudice you may have and experiment with different places to shop.
- Try farm shops, farmers markets or anywhere local to you where food is sold at a discount.
- Pound stores are known for haberdashery and non-food items, but many of them do stock food items at deep discounts.
- MySupermarket.co.uk is a website that compares the prices at five major supermarket chains. You can do your shopping on it to grab the best buy on your essentials or simply use it as a price checking tool.
- End of Day discounts – many shops reduce prices at the end of the day, and particularly on Sundays (or Saturday night if they don’t open on a Sunday). By changing when you shop you can often bag some big bargains.
- ApprovedFood.co.uk is a website that offers products which are near their sell by date or where a shop has seriously overstocked. The products change every time, but the discounts to be had here are substantial.
- Use MyFamilyClub’s Best Buys table to easily track the cheapest place to find your essential buys each week.
8. Buy when a product is on offer
Be mindful of prices and offers and be prepared to jump when the price is right. You could even bulk buy several items at a time depending on space.
9. Buy using a coupon or voucher
Once you start money-saving, you will start to notice coupons and vouchers to inspire your next best buy everywhere. Where once you’d walk past such things, you’ll soon find that you spot them wherever they appear.
10. Buy using loyalty cards
Buy using a card and you get points – points get you money off a future purchase. If this is available in your shop then use it.