Tips to save money on your weekly food shop

Don't be taken in by marketing ploys designed to get you to part with more cash than you intended at

Don't be taken in by marketing ploys designed to get you to part with more cash than you intended at your local supermarket. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

For many of us, the weekly shop is one of our biggest household expenses.

But according to the consumers’ association Which?, there are some simple tips that will help us keep more of our money in our pockets, wherever we do our food shopping.

1. Don’t always assume a ‘special offer’ is a great deal: previous research from Which? has found that some ‘special offer’ periods can actually last for nearly a whole year - making them arguably the normal price. So if you’re going for something just because it says it’s on special offer, consider whether you might be better off just going with a cheaper alternative.

2. Stay focused: You may walk into the supermarket to buy something specific, but once you’re there, it’s so easy to get distracted by attractive displays. Which? says one trick used is to place a sign in the middle of an aisle, encouraging us to stop and read the offer. Take a deep breath and remind yourself what you went in for.

3. Put your blinkers on: essentials are often stocked at the back of the store, meaning you may have to walk past many tempting treats to get to what you need. Heading straight for what you want might be simple enough if it’s your regular supermarket but can be more difficult in less familiar stores. Bear in mind that often, bread and dairy products are at the back, fruit and veg at the front, and frozen items further off towards the right.

? The final word (for now) on elastic bands discarded by postal workers, the subject of two previous columns, goes to Norfolk postman Kevin Keeler, who shares concerns about the amount littering the streets in some areas and adds: “I read in an RSPB magazine that these can be mistaken for worms by birds so I mentioned it to my line manager, who called us all together to tell us to bring the elastic bands back for reuse. Unfortunately the situation didn’t improve but this ignorant behaviour only applies to a small percentage of posties. Also, the elastic bands quite often snap when removing them from a mail bundle and fly a long way, meaning it can be difficult to find them. However, every elastic band I take out on my round is returned for reuse and when they become worn I dispose of them in the bin.”

Let’s hope that more postmen and women can be persuaded to follow Kevin’s example.

Email your thrifty tips here.

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