Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5 Ways to save money on your grocery shop

Doing the Whole30 was great for my health, but not so good for my pocket. Now that it's done I am (as always) still concerned about eating good quality food, but I am less concerned about it being organic. Also, as the time since the Whole30 goes on, I can see that I need to eat more like that for the long term.

It's made me put into practice what I already know about saving money on food. Here are 5 ways you can save money on your grocery shop too.

1. Use your local market

We have a great market here twice a week. It has always been my plan to take BB to the market, as an educational and social experience, as well as a money saving exercise. That said, it happens only about once a month. The rest of the time it's just easier to use the supermarket. I pledge to get out of that habit!

With a new determination to eat well for less, I headed to the market this morning. Here is what I bought.

fresh fruit and vegetables from local market
Produce from local market

The total cost of all of this was £12.20.

Using http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk,  I have just worked out how much it would have cost me at the supermarket:

Sainsbury's £20.17
Tesco £22.81
Waitrose £23.01
ASDA £23.03
Ocado £25.15

Le'ts summarise based on an average of that and say that it is about half the price at the market. 

I generally shop online and have my food delivered (I have a very good deal at £1.49 per month for deliveries). Still, sometimes you get produce that you wouldn't have picked yourself, so really, going to the market and picking your own is win win. Better quality, better prices. I must remember that!

2. Buy in bulk and freeze in portions

Look out for deals where you save money by buying more, then as soon as you get the food home, divide it up into portions of a size that you will use for cooking. For us, it works to divide a 500g packet of mince in two. The 250g portion will then (with added veg) make enough for BB and I, plus some leftovers for my breakfast the next day.

Make the most of the deals

Portioned up ready for the freezer
Don't forget to label the bag
saying what it is and the date that you froze it

3. Cook and freeze your pulses in portions

Although pulses like kidney beans and chick peas are more convenient from a can, they taste better and cost less if you soak and cook them yourself. This isn't always practical though, especially of you need to soak them for 24 hours! Again, freezing in portions is the answer. Buy a bag of dried bean, then soak and cook the whole the bag at once. Once they are cooked, freeze in portions. For us, I find about a cup full is the right amount - if we have guests, I simply use two packs.

Chick peas, brown lentils and kidney beans

4. Shop around, with the help of the internet, and NEVER pay full price for many items

I never pay full price for laundry liquid, fabric softener, washing up liquid, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath, nappies, or even ice cream. I have my favourite brands, which I always buy, but where I buy them varies. You can use mysupermarket to check prices. Often they are available somewhere for  about half the 'usual' retail price. When you find them really cheap, stock up.

5. Make the most of your vouchers

You have to be careful here, not to buy stuff you don't need, but if one supermarket gives you a voucher to save £4 if you spend £20 then do it. Use their other vouchers for things you would buy anyway, and keep a tally as you go round the shop. When you get to £20 stop. You have spent all you need to save the £4. Get the rest of your shopping at another supermarket using their voucher.

I have noticed it doesn't pay to do a big shop anywhere. Once you have used your discount when you spent £20 the next one they give you will ask you to spend £40, then £60. You have to stop shopping there before they get to that... they'll soon send you another for a lower spend!

An online shop I am really loving at the moment is Goodness Direct, who are offering £10 off when you spend £35, which includes free delivery. Lots of their prices are very competitive with the supermarkets (e.g. 500mls Blue Dragon coconut milk is £1.36 - current supermarket price is £1.99).

Happy shopping!

My goal is to spend half the amount on groceries in the next 30 days than I did in the last 30 days. That's probably going to be quite a challenge, but I am stocked up on some items, and I don't have to buy organic every time now, and I am going to shop smarter - so I might just manage it!

Do you have any other tips to share?

What's your shopping savings goal?

4 comments:

  1. Very good tips! I hadn't thought to freeze beans! What a great idea. I've been buying assorted meats when they go on sale so I have a variety as I make my menu plan. It's working great!

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  2. Thanks for the tip on the beans. I've been trying to think of a way to cost effectively make beans. I had thought of freezing.

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