When it comes to saving money, no one knows more tricks, tips and hacks than the moneysavingexpert.com team.
And, last month, its team updated their ultimate guide to how shoppers could save money at a number of supermarkets.
They’ve also listed their hacks to get the most out yellow-sticker reductions.
Below, we’ve listed their 30 supermarket shopping tricks which could help save you money.
1. Never shop hungry
Supermarkets are known to try and entice customers by using smells such as the bakeries making us often feel the need to buy a tiger bread loaf.
One of the easiest ways to avoid this temptation is to never shop hungry – it’ll stop you spending money on items you don’t actually need.
2. Be aware of store tactics including its layout
– Treats and magazines placed by the till. These are impulse buys, so putting them near the till gives stores one last attempt to grab our cash.
– Store layouts make us walk the whole distance. Regularly-bought items tend to be spread around the store, so we need to pass many other tempting goodies to complete our shopping.
– Eye-level products are the profitable ones. The most profitable stock is placed at eye level (or children’s eye level if it’s targeted at them), yet profitable goods tend not to be the best deals for shoppers. The age-old adage “look high and low for something” really does apply.
– Sales-type signage for non-sales items. Seedless grapes and other attractive treats are usually near the store entrance, often below cost price, to entice us in. Similar signs and displays are used elsewhere to promote deals, even when they’re not on sale.
– Bright colours and the words “discount” and “sale” make us feel good, yet the reduction may be pennies and cheaper equivalents hidden elsewhere.
3. Sticking to a budget
The team talk a lot about having the right mindset. Their biggest tip is instead of asking “What’s the cheapest way to get all the goodies I want?”. Instead ask: “On my £XYZ budget, what can I afford?”
This means changing from premium brands to supermarket own brand products. For example if you usually open for Sainsbury’s Taste the difference biscuits why not try Sainsbury’s own brand digestive instead?
You’ll save money and most the time the taste is very (very) similar.
Words on labels such as ‘luxury’ are often there to trick the customer into believing the higher price tag can be justified.
5. Get trade-down product suggestions
Supermarket comparison website such as Mysupermarket includes a ‘swap & save’ option based on the Downshift theory, mentioned above.
So when you enter your shopping trolley, as well as comparing the price of all your items across online supermarkets, it gives you the downshifted option too.
This is a quick system and a great way to see the scale of the savings, even if you don’t shop online.
6. Take a look for disgusted own brand products
Often branded product and supermarket own brand products are made in the same factories and contain the same ingrediants.
If you’re looking for ways to save on your supermarket shop take a look at online forums which are often filled with factory workers past and present ready to dish the dirt on whether there is any real difference between products.
7. Compare the cost of your trolley
Compare the cost of your shopping trolley at major online supermarkets with Mysupermarket.
It looks at the biggies including Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Waitrose, Ocado, Aldi, Morrisons, Iceland and Sainsbury’s. For toiletries, it checks Superdrug and Boots, and Amazon, Poundland and Poundstretcher for some products. The prices it shows are often reflected in store, so even if you’re going in person, it’s worth checking to see which is cheapest for you.
It says its prices are updated at least once a day, except for Aldi which is updated weekly as the data is collected manually.
As you enter your data, Mysupermarket also suggests alternative options that may be cheaper. For example, if you’re buying two six-packs of cola and a 12-pack is cheaper, it lets you know.
8. Use coupons
Some people still feel awkward using coupons but they are such an easy way to save money on your shop. You can save more than £100 over a year if you keep your eyes peeled for the best ones.
9. Don’t fall for ‘Special Offers’
In August 2019, Which? investigated the price of 450 products available at seven supermarkets (Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose).
It spotted 65 instances where supermarkets used misleading discounts that didn’t represent the bargains they claimed. Supermarkets’ tactics included upping the price per item when products went into a multi-buy offer and exaggerating original prices to make special offers seem cheaper.
10. Track if you’re really getting a bargain
Most of us know just because a supermarket lists an item as “on offer”, that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. The trouble has been sorting awesome offers from pants promos.
To help, supermarket comparison site Mysupermarket charts products’ price histories to show if a supermarket’s ‘was’ price is realistic.
How to do it: Simply sign up to Mysupermarket for free, then search for an item. On its page, scroll down and you’ll see “price today” and how it compares to the average price.
- Set up a price alert. You can get price alerts on your favourite groceries – ideal for stocking up on favourite items that don’t go off. Search for a product, click ‘add price alert’ and Mysupermarket fires off an email as soon as the price drops in one or more stores.
11. Grab online supermarket vouchers
Online supermarkets commonly put out introductory discount vouchers to ‘capture’ new customers, eg £15 off a £50 spend at Waitrose.
12. Special offer run out? Get a rain check voucher
This little known tip can help you get your hands on sold-out sale items – you can ask for a “raincheck” voucher to make up for the store not being able to provide it.
It’s at the store manager’s discretion, so everyone’s experience may differ, but it’s definitely worth asking.
13. Get money back with cashback
Once you know where your shopping list costs less, you may be able to get paid cashback to enhance savings even more.
There’s plenty of sites that offer more information and warnings – try Top Cashback Sites .
14. Consider lower price supermarkets
When shopping in store, consider Lidl and Aldi too if you haven’t before (where have you been?!)
These can often prove cheaper than the other big supermarkets – many shoppers go once a month to buy all their staples, then use the big four for the rest of their goods.
15. Know when to BOGOF
BOGOF stands for ‘buy one, get one free’.
The time to grab ’em is when the BOGOF (or three-for-two or half-price deal) is on something that won’t go off that you’d buy anyway. Classic examples include toothpaste, bog roll and batteries.
16. Loyalty schemes don’t give something for nothing
To try and keep customers in their stores and not at a competitor’s, supermarkets offer a host of loyalty schemes and reward programmes.
Loyalty schemes like Tesco Clubcard and Sainsbury’s Nectar are incorporated into pricing policies – so don’t stick to one store just because they give you points, but be sure to build points up when you do shop there.
17. Reclaim old Clubcard vouchers
Clubcard holders can get their hands on old or forgotten points by logging into the “Your vouchers” section on Tesco’s website .
The site will allow customers to use the last two years’ worth of unused vouchers to make further savings.
18. Shop on your own
Children can make the food shop quite stressful, as a result that means we are more likely to make bad choices.
That expensive bar of chocolate is calling, that bottle of wine has our name on it, and a bag of buttons to keep the children quiet.
Shopping on your own will mean that you are more focused and you make better decisions.
19. Pay in cash
Work out how much your shop is roughly supposed to be and take the cash out to pay for it. If you know you only have a certain amount of money with you, you are much less likely to overspend, it really works.
20. Ordering online
Like most supermarkets, if you add a product to your trolley and then find it’s out of stock, Asda will always try to find you something similar.
For example, if you ask for a small packet of ASDA Digestive biscuits and they have run out, they might give you a larger packet instead, or a different brand.
In the past shoppers have been known to get an upgrade on some items such as a Smart Price product being substituted for a branded products.
If you don’t want to accept the product they send you, just hand it back to your driver and they will arrange for your account to be refunded.
21. Yellow stickers
‘Yellow sticker’ discounts are when items have been reduced to clear and they can act like a great way to save money.
As a rough guide, the first yellow stickers tend to appear mid-morning, and silly-price reductions begin early evening, when stores cut prices by 75% and more, but this is always subject to change.
Yellow sticker timings can vary from store to store and retailer to retailer.
22. & the best times to get them
The Money Saving Expert team asked shoppers for their tips on yellow stick timings at supermarkets, we’ve listed what they found for the big four.
– Asda. One shoppers managed to get £60 of shopping for £2.55 by shopping Asda’s yellow stickers. Shoppers said reductions often start around 7pm – and most bargains have been snapped up by 9pm.
– Morrisons. Shoppers said reductions tended to start late morning or lunchtime, but Morrisons said it’s up to individual store managers.
– Sainsbury’s. Some said it’s worth looking around lunchtime, but another said big reductions at her local store kick in around 7pm.
– Tesco. Tesco also insisted there’s no hard and fast rule on discounts. Previous reports from shop-floor staff suggested reductions start as early as 8am and big discounts materialise early evening.
23. You can get discount at budget supermarkets too
According to shoppers they say Aldi releases its half price stickers from 8pm. Another says as soon as Lidl stores open you can pick up ready meals for around 20p.
24. Don’t waste food
Do you know the difference between use by dates and best before? Often shoppers confuse the two which could cost money.
The use-by date: Means just that. Eating food beyond that date is risky, even if it looks and smells fine. Typical foods to watch include dairy, milk, fish and eggs.
The best before date: Best before labels usually have nothing to do with safety, they’re just the manufacturer’s view of when they’re at best quality. This is usually longer lasting foods such as frozen meals, tins, sugar, pasta and cereals.
25. Get discounts by “abandoning” your online shopping basket
If you exit a supermarket website while your basket is still full, they’ll usually email you with a discount to try and pull you back in.
Try adding an item to your basket, without purchasing it, then exit and a discount code could end up in your inbox a few days later.
26. Write a meal plan
If you make a plan for your weekly meals, it’s much easier to shop more efficiently.
Check your cupboards to see what you’ve already got so you don’t double up on ingredients unnecessarily.
27. Don’t waste items in the back of your cupboard
Instead of throwing away food that you’re unsure what to do with, research recipes to use up unwanted ingredients and save yourself from going shopping.
28. Buy beyond best-before at big discounts
Not only is it usually safe to eat food beyond best-befores, it’s legal to sell them.
Website Approved Foods, specialises in out of date stock could save you a fortune. Previous deals include three packs of peanut butter Oreos for 99p, 25p bottles of Heinz barbecue sauce and five Mars bars for £1.
29. Stick to the list
Before your next shop make a good old fashioned shopping list and make sure you stick to it.
30. Check whether you’re paying more for less
Often, brands release new products that seem more cost-effective than they actually are.
This was the case with biscuit ‘thins’, which are often double the price of regular biscuits for half the treat.
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