Friday, August 20, 2010

Five tips on how to save on groceries, and beat the inflation

“Shoppers hit by record rise in price of groceries...”

- Evening Standard 17th Aug

The latest inflation figure hits just above 3%, which is well above the Bank of England’s target of 2%. According to the Office of National Statistics, compared to over a year ago, prices of vegetables increased by 4.7%, fish by 7.8% and fruits by a whopping 10%. How many of us consumers see even a pay rise assuming we are still holding on to our jobs?

Not only that, mySupermarket, a groceries prices comparison site, noted that that two staples Britons cannot do without – tea and bread, has their prices increased by 30% and 18% respectively from last year.


Though I may not have kept records of the prices at my local Tesco, I can’t help but notice that prices of Tesco basic toilet rolls (rolls of 4) was 39p in May 2007 and has increased to 51p over three years – an increase of just under 9.4% annually!

The luncheon meat, is another prime example. Tesco was selling it for £1.25 per can when it started stocking it in 2008. A year on, the price was increased to £1.75 (40% increase) before being taken off the shelf altogether. But there are some ways of saving on your next grocery run and here are five tips of how to cut down your grocery bill.

Five tips of how to save on your groceries

1. Make a list

The good old list is still alive and well. Never underestimate the difference a scrap of paper can do. By simply scribbling down a list of items that you’re going to get during your next grocery trip, you will never miss out on another item.

More importantly, it reduces the time that you spend in the supermarket to a minimum as the amount that you will spend increases every single moment you remain in the shop. Supermarkets know that too and it’s their job to make sure you remain as long as possible in the store, not you.

2. Avoid the bobby traps

Not only supermarkets make it a point to delay your exit, they go all out to make sure every penny is wrangled from you even at the cashier. Ever notice the colourful candies, chocolates and other knick knacks strategically placed along the queue lines to the cashier? Keep your focus on reaching the cashier. You’ve got every single thing that you need.

3. Buy in bulk

Never underestimate the savings made from bulk purchase. Common deals like “2 for £2.50” for items normally go for £1.50 each amount to a 17% discount.

Obviously, this is only if you have a large fridge. There’s no point bulk purchasing only to have them spoil at the end of the day. Oh, check out the expiry dates – there’s a reason for them to go on bulk discounts.

4. Go for quality not quantity

Given a choice between a pack of organic chicken thighs (250g) at £3 and ‘basic range’ chicken wings (500g) at £1.24, chances are you’ll go for the latter in order to cut costs. Think again. You’ll notice that when things are cheaper, you’ll tend to consume more, which isn’t necessary ideal.

Also, for some reason, ‘basic range’ products tend to have shorter expiry periods, which mean that you might end up chucking most of it into the bin. So go for quality whenever possible.

5. Compare prices and shop online

Not only it’s more convenient, you could very well compare prices across various major supermarkets and end up with sizable savings. MySupermarket allows you to do just that.

By pulling prices from Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury and Ocado, the site allows you add items into your basket and then compare identical or similar items across these four major supermarket chains. You could then switch from one store to another before checking out all within a single portal. The only downside is that you’ll have to pay delivery charges, which amount is dependent on which store you eventually go with and delivery times.

How do you reduce your grocery bill? Care to share it?

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William K Wallace said...

Over the past few months I have noticed less and less special offers at Sainsbury's.

I definitely need to start making a list before I go shopping, I'm always forgetting or buying things I don’t need...

Lady Banana said...

Also, don't shop when hungry, you will buy way more than you really need!

Emm said...

I've been using MySupermarket too for ages! They really are a good deal.

C K said...

Ah, a Sainsbury guy here. They have one of those coupons that get printed with your receipts every now and then. 2 quid off a twenty quid purchase or something like that. The problem is that I never get around to bringing them along...

@Lady Banana,
True, true! Worse, you'll end up with more crisp than bread. :)

Over time, do you notice which vendor you end up with most of the time through MySupermarket?

Emm said...

We only ever buy from Sainsburys. For almost three years now our basket has been cheapest through them. I guess that is because we are careful to buy specials too.