1. I spend a few hours one day each week doing my main food shop. It involves a few different supermarkets to get the best prices. I take a flask of tea/coffee and a lunchbox. This helps in two ways – first, it gives me a cheap and healthy lunch on the go; and second, shopping on a full stomach means you definitely spend less.
2. Have a price book, a tip I picked up a while ago from French Entrée. Keep a record of all the products you usually buy, with the best price you have paid. This has saved me lots of money in the past. Make time to mooch about and look for three for two deals. I visited a large wholesalers recently and found I could get their ‘cheap’ products even cheaper from the mainstream shops.
3. Always carry a calculator! This helps unravel the best price as you can easily work out a good deal. Many times I have spotted larger packs for more than smaller packs and sometimes the price per kilo/grams are displayed in different units.
4. Don’t forget to check the damaged goods shelf, lots of savings to be made if you don’t mind dents or one missing!
5. Don’t rule out cheap products. I recently took a gamble on buying a kettle for £5 – it’s going strong and while it looks plain and boring, it has served me well. No point in buying to match or to look good.
6. Always have a list on the go for next week and split it into two sections. One for ‘must gets’ and the other for ‘will need soon’ . Once you open a product e.g toothpaste, write it down on the list on the non-urgent side and look for offers, if none found, wait until next week.
7. Take cash, then you will be very careful to keep within your budget.
8. Keep all receipts to update your price book, it is amazing how the prices fluctuate. I never used to know the prices of things I bought but I do now and it has made a big difference to my pocket now. Once set up, it will serve you well.
9. Give yourself ‘thinking time’. If you see something you like but don’t need, walk out of the shop and rethink. It clears your head and makes you stay focused. Wait until the following week and see if you have remembered it and would be willing to go back for it.
10. Use the mantra, is it a ‘need to have’ or a ‘like to have’? Most things fall into the ‘like’ category.