The truth of the matter is, if we were still ordering our weekly shop to be delivered from a supermarket, we'd not be able to afford to eat much beyond beans and toast. However, there are ways to make your money stretch that little bit further and enable you to eat varied and decent diet for less and still be able to buy the household items you need. The catch? It's not as convenient as ordering on-line and getting it delivered. You have to shop around.
1. If you have a Home Bargains store near you, use it. You will get all the usual branded toiletries and cleaning products, only cheaper. Also cheap pet food, stationary, greetings cards, books, craft items, towels, crockery, bake-ware, alcohol (oh, hello!) confectionery, soft drinks and toys. You can also get food, cereals and tinned goods especially. Passata for instance and Branston beans are half the price of the Morrisons next door.
2. Frozen food isn't necessarily lesser food and is infinitely better than no food. Shop at your local Iceland or Farmfoods and save an absolute fortune. Erase the preconceived notion many have about these places being all about ready meals and turkey twizzlers, they're not. Frozen meat, frozen fish, frozen fruit and vegetables etc all make for good old fashioned cooking from scratch.
3. If like us you're massive carnivores, many local butchers are now doing 'meat packs' and will deliver, a good way to buy decent meat in bulk at a more acceptable price than the supermarkets.
4. For fruit and vegetables, if you have a local market do use it. You will get infinitely better value for money. Shop around though as you'd be surprised how much prices vary from stall to stall. Some now let you get your own fruit and veg so you even get to see/feel and pick what you like as you would in a supermarket. We literally get double the amount of fruit and vegetables that the same money would buy us from our local supermarket. You'll also be supporting local independent traders, which is always a bonus.
5. Look out for loyalty schemes and vouchers, they all add up.
6. Explore your local pound shops, once again you can get branded products for a fraction of the price that you'd find them selling for in a supermarket.
7. Supermarkets generally reduce items three times a day, the discount getting progressively larger the later time gets. Find out when your local supermarket does it's final reductions and fill your freezer up! Apparently even Marks & Spencers reduce things ridiculously low at the end of the day.
8. Meal plan. Do this before you go shopping and stick to it. You'll have much less waste and buy less unnecessary extras.
9. Some things, in my opinion, need to be branded such as ketchup and beans otherwise the sacrifice of taste really doesn't make the savings worth it. However, many no-frills and value ranges are absolutely fine. Experiment and you may be surprised how much you could save without significantly sacrificing taste nor quality.
10. Cooking from scratch is often cheaper, if you learn how to utilise left overs into another meal (i,e chicken soup or bubble and squeak) then your food goes even further. If you use a slow cooker you can buy cheaper cuts of meats that will come out extremely tasty and tender.
11. Certain items can be bought in bulk and save you money especially if you buy them from places such as Home Bargains. Items such as washing detergent, toilet roll and kitchen roll etc
12. Try doing your weekly shop at Aldi or Lidl. If you're used to shopping primarily at a mainstream supermarket you will see tremendous savings with no sacrifice of quality. However, if you already shop around, you may not find you save as much in comparison to those who don't.
Granted there will be some items that you can only get from a supermarket, yet through utilising other places for the majority of your shopping you will soon see your costs decrease.