How to save money at the supermarket – Top tips to save you £1000s at the checkout

7 min read
September 08, 2022

We’ve all watched and enjoyed the hilarity and speedy trolley dash tasks of the classic TV show Supermarket Sweep. Racing to grab inflatable bananas and big money tokens, ensuring you’re back to the checkout in time to claim your prizes…

Unfortunately, the reality of the supermarket shop isn’t quite as fun. From the potentially mundane shopping list to the ever-increasing cost of food items, our supermarket dash seems less ‘go wild in the aisles’ and more of a ‘where can we save money’ chore!

So, to hopefully make your next trip down the aisles a bit less money-stressful, here are our top tips to keep you on track with your list and your wallet and save money at the supermarket.

  1. Make a list – and stick to it!

    Always easier said than done, the list can evade the best of us. Whether you made a quick dash to the shop to pick up some essentials, therefore didn’t feel you needed a list, or you left it stuck to the fridge in an attempt not to lose it, having a list is the number one way to keep you on track when it comes to how to save money at the supermarket and prevent you wildly throwing any old item into the basket.

  2. Choose your trolley wisely

    By choosing a trolley (or basket) size that is adequate to fit those items on your list, it can be a great deterrent to adding in those random unnecessary purchases they place at eye level…leading us nicely to…

  3. Look up and look out!

    We’ve all had that moment, you wander into the supermarket (with your list) and try to navigate the aisles knowing where your regular shop items are located…but what’s this? They’ve once again changed the shop layout of certain items – you head for the eggs and find a stack of Easter eggs for example…you then spend extra time wandering about trying to find the eggs, discovering and adding more unnecessary items to your trolley…how to avoid this? Look up! All supermarkets have aisle signs hanging above each aisle, so you can navigate where your essentials are, without having to scour the shelves, discovering those extra unneeded items!

  4. Budget

    Setting yourself a budget for your shopping is a great way to ensure you don’t overspend at the supermarket. There’s nothing worse than getting to the checkout and finding your bill is £150 rather than £100, because you’re not going to remove items at this point, and, therefore, will have to budget for your week or month when you get home.

    But how to keep track of the spending whilst whizzing around the freezer section? Take a calculator? Price online before you go?

    Or you can make use of the very handy scan-as-you-go technology available at most supermarkets. These hand-held scanners allow you to scan each item as you pop it in the trolley, helping you keep an eye on the bill so you’re not overspending, and they create a speedy checkout exit as all the items are already scanned and you just weigh, pay and go!

  5. Blow off the brand

    Many supermarkets have a range of own brand food, cleaning products and toiletries. Some are super budget where aesthetically pleasing packaging has been pushed aside to bring down the cost, and others are deemed a slightly cheaper version of the well-known more expensive brands.

    But cheaper looks and prices, doesn’t mean cheaper quality. Many ‘own-brand’ supermarket items are just as good (and in some cases better) than those expensive branded products. When the savings could be hundreds of pounds on a big shop, it really is worth popping a few in your trolley to try – you could be pleasantly surprised.

  6. Grab a snack before you go

    One of the biggest factors known to cause people to make rash and impulsive buys at the supermarket is going in hungry! When your body is thinking with its tummy and not its clever money-saving brain, the irrational purchases of empty calorie and quick perishing foods are at their highest – which is no good for your spending at the till or your budgeted meal plans for the week.

  7. Don’t fear the membership

    Becoming a card member of a supermarket has some real perks! From coupons for money off specific items or your whole shop, deals on big brands and big items (like your mobile phone) and in some places, they have a lower price for nearly every item in the shop if you are a card member. These perks can make phenomenal savings and can help you plan and budget for your weekly shop.

  8. Don’t forget your coupons!

    If you are a supermarket card member or receive money off coupons in the newspaper or post – use them! Savings on daily essentials such as milk, cheese and toilet rolls are great ways of keeping pounds in your bank and you can even use money off coupons for items you wouldn’t usually buy, perhaps allowing you to budget for a few luxury items to stock in the fridge and cupboards every now and again, just remember not to dive on the unnecessary too often, as then those higher priced items start to cost you more money.

  9. Shop around

    Making sure you get the best bang for your buck is an essential way to save money at the supermarket. One week one supermarket might have the best prices for your essentials and the next it could be another! The long way to do this is to spend time dipping in and out of each shop but it’s not the most time-efficient way. Embrace technology, use the Trolley app to compare supermarket prices and get shop smart!

  10. Cashback websites and apps – get paid to shop for your essentials!

    So these websites and apps are great not only to save money at the supermarket but also to save money on many online purchases. They’re really simple to use too, login, choose your retailer – Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose etc, do your shop, pay through the app and they calculate your cashback amount based on the deal they’re currently running and the amount you’ve spent. Be aware that you don’t get your cashback instantly in most cases as they need to confirm (this can take quite some time), but as soon as it’s there make sure you withdraw the money into your own account – any cash left in there unclaimed will be taken back if the account seems dormant. Why not check out where you can save money with TopCashback?

  11. Choose BOGOF offers carefully

    Buy one get one free offers can be a great discount, but did you actually need to buy the one, to get the other one free in the first place? Supermarkets tend to put luxury items into these deals and lure you into thinking you’re getting real savings. But if you didn’t need that item in the first place, is paying for it, just to get another for free really a deal?

  12. Reduced sticker savings – get great items at great prices

    You can save tens of pounds by grabbing yourself a bargain with reduced sticker items. It’s a really savvy way to shop, and you can find out from your local store what times of the day reductions are made so you can get the best deals. Just remember to keep an eye on those best before and use by dates – if you don’t use the reduced items by the use by dates, you’re not saving money, you’re wasting it by throwing it in the bin!

  13. Is a multipack a multi-save or a multi-spend?

    There are times when we see deals on the shelf, like BOGOF or buy three for the price of two and instantly think we’re onto a winner – however, you may find that looking at multipacks is where the real savings are…sometimes! It’s a real minefield trying to work out which purchase is going to save you the most, but our top tip is to look at the cost per 100g/mls – this has to be displayed on each price ticket so the less the cost per 100, the better the deal!

  14. Our last top tip to save money at the supermarket is not to go to the supermarket at all!

    That’s right, there are thousands of supermarket items being taken on by incentives called community shops, social supermarkets and waste food projects across the country. These are aimed to help low income households and prevent/reduce the amount of food that would normally be binned by supermarkets. The idea is to be able to buy essentials at extremely low prices, or donate when you can to prevent any food waste and its packaging from being thrown into landfill. They’re a great place to save money and the environment!

There are literally hundreds of money-saving deals out there to save you big time on your weekly, monthly and yearly shopping. We’re working with some amazing companies to bring you great and exclusive deals through our Money Savers website. Visit us today and see how we can help you shop savvy and save big.

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