The rising cost of living has dominated the headlines for the past few weeks and with good reason as inflation is at an all time high, resulting in a price hike on absolutely everything.
With the cost of food increasing, how can we avoid spending a fortune on an essential need?
Often more expensive brands of food are made in the exact same factory, by the same people, as supermarkets’ cheaper own-brand products.
To save an estimated 30%, simply avoid going for the bigger brands or even the supermarket’s “luxury” brands and, instead, opt for the supermarket’s own brand.
This can be done across all food types, from fresh meat and fish to household cleaning products. Many studies and “taste-tests” state there is no difference between more expensive products with supermarket-owned brands, so your food quality will not be affected.
The yellow sticker discounts are when items have been reduced to clear. Normally products with a yellow sticker are close to their use-by date, but sometimes the packaging has simply been damaged with no harm caused to the product itself. The challenge in finding these deals is working out when the best time to visit the supermarket is. Most supermarkets do differ, with yellow stickers popping up in some across the early afternoon yet with others they won’t appear until half an hour before closing time.
Another tip to keep in mind is to look for products that are damaged and nearing their use-by date. If you present this to an employee, and you have a valid point, then the employee will have the authority to reduce the good for you.
However, the temptation to buy cheaper products because you think you are getting a bargain, and not because you will eat the food, is all too real. Be mindful and realistic when scouting out the yellow sticker section: yes 75% off mince is a great deal but have you stopped eating red meat recently?
Do your maths
We have all been tempted by an attractive money-saving deal, whether it’s a “buy one, get one free” deal or a “multi-buy” offer, and sometimes they really can be a great deal. However, take some time to work out whether the deal is really worth buying an extra product. For example, if a fresh product is put on a BOGOF deal, be realistic and if you know you won’t have enough time to cook or eat it, meaning it will go to waste, then there is no need to buy it in the first place.
In addition to this, some multibuy offers are nothing more than a marketing tactic, encouraging consumers to spend more in-store when they don’t really need the products, resulting in food waste. Take your time when faced with a multibuy offer and evaluate how much it would cost separately or how much a cheaper brand would cost for the same quantity. Often you may see a well-known brand on a multibuy offer for, say, “2 for £2.50” whereas when buying individually the supermarket’s own brand costs 2 for £2. Although this may not seem like a huge saving, over time the price will add up.
If you find yourself in this situation, take your time and look at individual prices and other brand products and compare.
No to subs
A massive 59% of Brits do their food shopping online, a number which has increased considerably in the last two years due to the pandemic. Buying online however is not foolproof, as there is no guarantee a product will be available for your delivery slot.
If you allow substitutes then usually you can get a similar product in a similar price range, sometimes you could even get something a bit cheaper, however more often than not consumers report being given more expensive items as replacements and being charged extra. Normally you will receive an email of your receipt before your delivery arrives, so check to see what substitutes you have been given, and you will be able to refuse the produce at the door and receive a full refund.
To avoid this, it is advisable when doing your online shopping order to simply say no to allowing substitutes, as this means you will have more control over what you are spending.
Be wary of supermarket psychology
Supermarket psychology is a very real part of shop layouts. Most supermarkets place more expensive brands at eye level, taking advantage of those who might be in more of a rush to encourage them to get the more expensive items. When doing a big shop, look around the entire aisle as the cheaper, supermarket own-brand may either be hiding on the highest shelf or right at the bottom of the shelves.
Tills are also known for tempting the impulse buyers in us, with checkouts covered in what’s considered essentials and treats to encourage adding to our trolley. Sometimes supermarkets will cover their till with promotional offers to tempt consumers to bulk up their weekly shop.
To one-up the supermarket’s attempts at making us spend more money, you should be ready to spend more time to ensure you save money. Start with going into the supermarket with a strict list and don’t allow yourself to be tempted to stray from this. When looking for products on your list, keep an eye across all the shelves to find cheaper yet similar products and any good promotions or deals which may otherwise have been missed.
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