Most people do most of their shopping at supermarkets. Generally, that’s a sensible option. Supermarkets usually do offer the most affordable prices overall. Unfortunately, they’re also places where you can spend a lot of money you didn’t intend or need to. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to get the best value from your supermarket.
Ignore the marketing
One consistent feature of supermarket adverts is that all supermarkets claim to offer better value than their competitors. Many adverts offer some form of proof to back up this claim. The simple truth of the matter is that all supermarkets offer better value than their competitors in some areas.
In general, forget about trying to figure out which supermarket offers the best value for what. It’s probably going to change over time anyway. Just assume that all supermarkets offer much the same value for basic household products. Similarly, just assume that, in general, all standard own-brand products are much the same.
Forget customer loyalty
If you have the chance to shop at different supermarkets, you should generally take it. There’s a high likelihood that they’ll be running different promotions. This can save you quite a bit of money.
With that said, keep this within reason. For example, remember to factor in the time and travel costs of going to different supermarkets. If these are too high, they will outweigh any savings you make on products.
Remember your loyalty card
Loyalty cards are a data-collection exercise. If you’re really concerned about privacy, then you may want to pass on them. For most people, however, they’re an easy way to boost your spending power.
If you’re really concerned about having certain items recorded against your name, ask the cashier to scan them separately. Alternatively, scan them separately yourself at a self-service till.
Try to avoid shopping with children
This also applies to online shopping as well as real-world shopping. If a child can see your screen, they can decide they want what they see on it. That can then become a battle you don’t want or need to have.
Admittedly fighting that battle in your own home is probably better than fighting it in a supermarket but it’s still best avoided. It’s easier on your nerves and it avoids the risk that you’ll end up caving just to get some peace.
Do your main shop with a list
Impulse shopping is the easiest way to waste money at a supermarket. The reason it’s particularly easy at supermarkets is that many impulse purchases look like bargains. In fact, in principle, they can be. In practice, something is only a bargain if you get enough use out of it to justify the price.
Do your main supermarket shop with a list. If an item isn’t on that list, it doesn’t go into your basket. This applies to online shopping as well as real-world shopping. Supermarkets use persuasion tactics online too.
Visit real-world supermarkets as late as you can
Supermarkets often discount food heavily just before closing. This means you can score some real bargains. What’s more, a lot of the discounted food can be put straight into the freezer for longer-term storage.
It’s risky to plan your food shopping around being able to find these bargains. It is, however, very astute to give yourself a chance to find them. The food you get this way can help to liven up your regular diet.
This can also be the time to look at general supermarket special offers. You’re not doing your main shop so you should be under less pressure. Take advantage of this to think about whether or not an item really is worth the money.