Ultimate Guide On How To Avoid Overspending At The Supermarket And Save

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We have a set amount each week that we spend on our weekly supermarket shop (or rather an amount that DON’T go over!).  Don’t get me wrong we do top up with bits a bobs during the week I mean who doesn’t.. fruit and veg doesn’t seem to last long as long from the supermarkets as it does from the greengrocer but the hints and tips below on how to avoid over spending at the supermarket helps us massively to stick to our weekly shopping budget.

Spending Too Much On Groceries?

Order online

I order my shopping and collect because I know if I walk around the supermarket myself I WILL buy things we don’t need.

Ordering online allows me to see what we’ve bought before and what’s on our ‘usual list’. If I need something specific that’s not on that list then I search for it and it takes me straight to it; I don’t go walking past the Nutella aisle to get bread!

Avoid Branded Foods

Next time you go shopping, why not look at avoiding any of the ‘made for you’ or specialist hand made products and try the cheaper version. There is always an alternative to those that have a ‘posh’ label on.. particularly when it comes to things like dairy.

In my opinion milk, eggs & butter taste no different whether they have a ‘made for you’, deluxe or whatever label the supermarkets want to put on them to suggest they are the ‘better’ option.

I always make sure I go for the cheapest butter when baking because it’s all exactly the same so why should I pay 50p more in Asda than it is in Aldi for example… it doesn’t make any sense! That 50p I’ve saved on my butter will. buy my flour (couple of times over… if you get the smart price one!)

Opinions vary massively on the substitution of food produce, my husband would know immediately if I don’t give him Aldi bread instead of half and half (there’s always one isn’t there!) but there is nothing stopping you saving on things for certain members of your family who are happy with what you put in front of them and sticking a loaf of 50/50 bread in the freezer solely for when that pain in the backside wants the ‘decent bread’ ūüôā

To me everything goes down the same way and food is food. I’m grateful for whatever is on my plate but my watching the pennies on certain items does allow you to splurge elsewhere (Aldi’s marshmallows coated in chocolate… maybe?!)

There is also evidence out there to suggest that supermarkets just brand things for their target market and the only different between a product is that wrapping. Someone going to a supermarket specifically looking for a product that might be ‘made by you’ may not entertain smart price even though it’s said that many are the exact same product only with a different label on.

Next time you’re in a supermarket… grab both and take a look at the ingredients!

Consider Supermarket Dupes

Herons own chocolate fingers that taste so much like Cadbury’s it’s uncanny. and for a big bag at just 85p such a bargain too!  I have to say compared to when I first tried them they no longer seem as close tasting but that could be down to the fact I’ve probably ate too many!

picture of blue packet 'chocolate biscuits' from heron

So in our house we LOVE and I mean LOVE yorkshire puddings but no one will entertain anything but Aunt Bessies!

If you too love yorkshire puds then check the mix out from Asda – it’s cheap, it makes so many, they taste like proper yorkshire puddings AND you can get creative with them too – me and my youngest had toad in the hole last night!  

I cooked some sausages in the oven for 10 minutes (if that!) then sorted the batter in a deep cupcake tin, cut up the sausages and popped them in.  20 minutes later a quick, easy and delicious traditional home cooked dinner!

picture of Asda batter mix in red tub alongside Dory mug with flowers in

Meal plan

We have a list of all our favourite foods. We try to look down it before every shop and plan our meals for the following week. I say try because even though the thought is there it’s easier said than done!  

By meal planning we find we again only buy what we need for that week. School holidays are the worst time to meal plan I feel as we are in and out not knowing what we are doing from one day to the next AND we have lunches to prepare too…. it’s so much easier when they have packed lunch or school dinners and I only have to think about the kids evening meal!

Make a Shopping list

If you can’t order online and basically order from the list you use every week then make sure you physically go with a list in hand every time you walk into the supermarket.

Do NOT deviate from said list! The list should come from your meal planning!

Check the offers

Not every offer is as good as it looks.  Always check the price per unit against the singles before you commit to popping a pack of 6 in there before it’s reduced by 50p.  Look out for ¬£1.10/kg or similar and compare with other pack sizes around the same area.

butchers meat on display

Bulk Buy

As long as you are buying what you actually need, you are checking the offers and not being taken advantage of and buying something that isn’t a good deal at all you CAN also buy in bulk to save.

We regularly buy in bulk the foods that go into packed lunch, especially savouries.

The next time you go shopping, in addition to the savory items you get for dinner; pick yourself up some freezer bags and immediately freeze everything you’ve just bought the minute you return home.

Whether that’s sausage rolls, chicken fingers, scotch eggs or the mini sausages…. freeze them all!

In addition to saving time, money and having nothing go to waste; you also don’t need to worry about varying the kids lunch either because they can choose what they want every single day, getting out to defrost what the little one is actually going to eat that day.

Look For Yellow Stickers!

Be sure to make a note of the supermarket reduction times… it’s the best time for a cheap shop!

Majority of supermarkets tend to have set areas within each of the them where they house their yellow sticker food.. that’s if they’re yellow sticker users at all!?

Not to confuse you but not every store using yellow stickers. Don’t be blinded into going hunting for solely yellow stickers.. Aldi for example uses red (so much easier to see in my opinion!).

aldi discounted pizza with red sticker on '50% off half price'

Some have an area in the fridges where they house all their reduced food that needs to keep refrigerated. Some have just shelves at the end of aisles where they shove anything on them and some just keep them where they’re meant to be and stick a sticker on them!

Supermarket Reduction Times

Co-Op

I have found Co-ops reduction times being not long after school has finished but this may well be because our’s is only a small store and they want rid well before closing. I reguarly pop into Co-Op when dropping my youngest off at dance class just after 4pm and always find something.

Sainsburys

Sainsburys is another supermarket that has that is around the end of school. I used to head in on my way home from work at 3pm to find them stacking the refrigeration ‘reduction’ area.

Tesco

I don’t have a big Tesco supermarket nearby to us unfortunately however I know that my local one-stop Tesco owned shops and petrol stations start discounting around lunch time.

I’ve picked many bargains up from my local garage including 20p loaf of bread.. the later you can go in the better!

Tesco’s tend to just shove all their discounted produce in a small area in the fridges. Again I can’t comment on Tesco supermarkets but because of the lack of space in the smaller stores and the popularity of petrol stations, particularly in an evening, it’s not long after they are put in there that they are snapped up so be quick!

Aldi

Aldi doesn’t seem to have a set time I’ve found… believe me I’m in there A LOT! I’ve turned up first thing in a morning before and they’ve been ton’s of red tags on fruit that they’ve clearly got way to much of!

They are really on it with ensuring very little goes to waste and are red tagging quite regularly! Their discounts are set discounts though which I love.. unlike other supermarkets where they mark down a certain % at say 2pm for example and then 50% by dinner .. Aldi just have a blanked 50% off anything with a red sticker on it so you can pick up some right bargains throughout the day!

You probably have a much better chance than any of the supermarkets I’ve mentioned, of getting something discounted at Aldi during the day than you do if you chose to go before closing.

My Aldi, for example, are hot on reducing waste as I’ve already mentioned. They even save up things for local community or charities to come in at the end of the day and take anything they can no longer sell past that day. So I personally wouldn’t wait for closing at Aldi.. head in first thing!

Asda

Asda tend to do gradual reductions throughout the day I’ve found. Their stickers can be anything from 20% off after lunch right through to 90% prior to closing! You can get some bargains but again you have to be in the right place at the right time!

Asda also keep all their refrigerated produce in one place meaning it can be a bit of a free for all whereas they tend to put other things that maybe don’t need refrigerating at the end of aisles on racking meaning you do have to go looking!

Use Supermarket Cashback Apps

My top 3 supermarket cash back apps that can not only save you money but means you could potentially also make money whilst shopping too.

The three I’m going to mention here are all app’s that require you to save you receipts, photograph clearly and upload it to the app in order to get your cashback. The guidance on each of them is very simple and easy on what and how to photograph.

Download the FREE Shopmium app by searching Shopmium in the App Store or via www.shopmium.com/uk/download pop in my referral code: KMFHUAFN to bag yourself a free gift!

CheckoutSmart is a lot more like a traditional cashback site than the type of cashback that Shopmium offers. You don’t get the money back straight away – it’s banked until you reach a certain amount (at the time of writing this it’s ¬£20.00).

Clicksnap is good if you have Quidco account as it’s all connected which is handy; if you use Quidco you will probably find this one works quite well for you.  If you aren’t already signed up to Quidco I would probably say first off sign up to them here using my refer a friend link if you wish then go download the app and sign up using your Quidco account. It just saves you having two accounts and you’ll get the cashback in one place for both.

If you also use the link I provided above (at the time of writing) you will get £10 added to your balance to start your Quidco fund off!

Leave the kids at home!

How many times have you got to the till and found as you empty things on the conveyor belt ice lollies, chocolate bar, a box of Kellogg’s (posh!) cereal!  Don’t tell me it’s never happened to you so if you can leave the kids at home (obviously with a responsible adult & not on their own!) that’s another way to save money and stop supermarket overspending!

I hope this post is of use… if you feel someone else may also benefit from a read then feel free to share. If you get to the point where financially you have no money to get any food whatsoever then check out the blog post below.

Be sure to let me know your tips on how to avoid overspending in a supermarket in the comments below!

3 Comments

  • Louise Bielby 11th October 2018 at 16:04

    Amen to leaving the kids at home. Mostly for my sanity! We always order online now it’s so much easier to track what your spending. Great post!

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    About The Money Saving Mum

    About The Money Saving Mum

    I've always been financially savvy but when the kids came along I needed to up my game! Our finances and priorities changed overnight and it felt like I was spending money as if it was going out of fashion! I needed to start earning extra money just to make ends meet and continuously make sure we got the most out of every single penny we had! Sound familiar? Keep reading... I'm sharing my story to help people like you!

    Kirsty

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