Grocery shopping is one of the biggest expenses in most Irish household budget. With rising prices and a plethora of options, it can be hard to keep costs under control. But with a little bit of planning and smart shopping, you can stretch your budget further and save money on your weekly grocery haul.
To help you become a savvy supermarket spender, we've put together a list of 10 tips to help you save money without sacrificing quality or nutrition. From taking advantage of loyalty programmes to buying in bulk, these tips will help you get the most bang for your buck at your local grocery store. So grab a pen and paper and get ready to start saving!
1. Write a shopping list and stick to it.
Yes, this can be easier said than done but those impulse items can be a killer so try to avoid them if you can. There’s a reason that Aldi and Lidl fill the middle aisles with cordless saws, espresso machines and kids fancy dress-sets. They know you may not have one already. But don’t be fooled by the amazing prices. Think about whether you definitely need one. The same goes for all that extra chocolate at the till.
2. Do some pre-shop research
It’s worth carving out a few minutes to check out the offers sections before you do your shop. Tesco, Supervalu, Dunnes, Lidl and Aldi all show their weekly specials online. At SavvySpender.ie we show all the specials on our grocery specials compared page. This is a good way of identifying the best deals before you get to the store. Supervalu and Lidl also have coupons in their apps. These are worth checking checking out too.
3. Bigger is better (value that is).
Generally speaking you should buy in bulk wherever possible. However, be mindful of pesky marketing tricks! Not all offers are as good as they seem. Often brands pack products together to make them look more appealing than they are. In this example the three smaller tins are advertised as ‘value packs’, however their cost per kg was 40% higher than the single tins. Try to look out for the smaller print cost per 100g/kg on price labels too – this is a great way to see which option is the best value.
4. Own-brand always cleans up
From our research, own-brand cleaning products typically cost about half of what branded versions that are on promotion cost. And it follows that the gap is even greater when comparing own-brand to branded ones not on promotion. So why spend more?
5. Play chicken with your Sunday roast
Another area you could save on is your Sunday roast. We examined what a typical meat costs. On a per kilo average, it turns out that chicken costs only a quarter of what beef does. So, changing your Sunday roast to chicken could save you around €855 a year! And changing from beef to ham fillet could save you nearly €600! Both scenarios assume a weekly 2kg roast over a year.
6. Use your loyalty points on partner brands, not in store.
This might sound slightly counter-intuitive but using your supermarket points in store gives you less value than on their partner brands. For example, 500 Tesco Clubcard points will get you a €5 money-off voucher for your supermarket shop. But it can get you €15 off a Tesco mobile bill or a Milano bill. Click here for more on Clubcard.
7. Timing is everything
Fresh food has a limited shelf-life, many supermarkets offer discounts on food when you shop in the evening time. Many stores have a discounts/bargains section.
8. Spot the ‘Spend and Save’ offers
Dunnes Stores give customers €10 off your next shop for each €50 you spend. SuperValu’s app usually give customers one Money Off voucher (e.g. spend €40, get €8 off). But remember that they must be redeemed within a specific timeframe.
9. Digitally store your loyalty cards
Over the past few years, our smartphones have increasingly started to replace our wallets. If you don't already use them, there are some handy apps which allow you to store all your loyalty cards on them like StoCard. If you’re using Google or Apple Pay you can now digitally link your supermarket loyalty card too.
Having your loyalty cards on your phone means that you will always have your card on hand and collect points every time you shop.
We hope you found these tips helpful.
Click here if you want to see the latest supermarket deals.