We all know supermarket prices are going up while household budgets are being squeezed and food inflation has now topped a whopping 17%.
This means even if you only stick the same stuff in your trolley each week and don’t buy anything different – you can expect to fork out another £811 a year according to retail research group Kantar who regularly number crunch food prices.
And even the cost of basic brands have shot up with pasta probably the most widely publicised case. A budget bag of dried pasta has now almost doubled in price over the last two years.
I’ve been asked about ways to cut the cost of food shopping a lot recently in chats on different radio stations so here’s some of the ideas I’ve suggested.
Swap fresh for frozen
I wrote a feature recently on why some supermarkets are now rationing fresh fruit and vegetables and if you can’t get fresh or just want to save some cash – try frozen.
Buying packs of frozen veg can save money compared with the price for fresh, plus there’s less chance of waste as you only get out what you need.
If you don’t have enough room in the freezer, stock up on tinned fruit and veg – which can last years.
And don’t forget your local market and supporting small traders when shopping for fresh food – most will knock down prices even more later in the day as they clear their stalls.
Buy food nearing its ‘best before’ date
Important to know the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. ‘Use by’ is all about food safety and goes on items like your meat and fish – never eat any fresh food beyond its use by date.
But ‘best before’ is all about quality and tends to be on tins of soup and beans, packets, cereals and biscuits. You can bulk buy food nearing its best before date and save money from sites like Approved Food
Find your cheapest supermarket
Supermarkets are desperate to compete with each other, and while Aldi may have taken the crown for ‘cheapest supermarket’ last year, they’re all still trying to lure us in with deals and discounts on a weekly basis.
Can mean sticking with the same supermarket every week may not be the best deal. Save time and money checking out the Trolley app or website where you can plug in your shopping list and find the cheapest place to shop.
This site number crunches prices across 15 of the biggest stores like Tesco and Morrisons and can knock a third off your weekly shop.
Shop later in the day
Most supermarkets start discounting fresh food with a short shelf life from midday onwards. The exact time varies according to the supermarket store but you’ll often start to see those little yellow discount stickers appearing from around midday.
If you can hold out till around 7pm you may well bag discounts of around 70% on fresh food. You can’t be fussy, so it’s often a case of snapping up what’s in the bargain section and using it that night or freezing it.
Worth befriending the staff who may be able to give you a heads up on what time they start discounting food. And if it’s a store with a cafe, you may find reductions on the fresh food there too.