How to save money at the supermarket.
Finding the best value at the supermarket is not always easy. We are all familiar with 2 for 1 offers - but these may not be the best way to save money. Before choosing such an offer always consider whether the extra item can be stored, frozen, or perhaps used to form the basis of another dish before its use by date. If you end up throwing it away you are not only being wasteful, but paying full price for the first item. However there are other ways of making our money go further - some of which are set out below.
We are often advised to write out a detailed list and stick to it, but a slightly different method may work out better. Instead of deciding on the exact content of meals before leaving home, write 'lunch' or 'dinner' and look around to see what is good value that day. Be flexible and save.
Where packet goods are concerned, large sizes are often better value - but not always. Suppose you are about to choose the 160 packet of tea bags. Then you notice that the 80 bag size is on offer. Would two small packets work out cheaper? If the mental arithmetic is complicated, just check the 'per 100 bag' price, shown under the packet price on the shelf edge, and compare it with that of the 160 bag size. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Different brands of some products can vary a great deal in content. For example, the wet wipes found in the babies' section (useful for small cleaning jobs as well as for babies, and much cheaper than those designed just for cleaning), can vary greatly in the number of wipes in the packet. It pays to check.
Some offers can be confusing. Yogurt which normally costs £1.50 a pot may be on offer as '2 for £2.50' - a good saving. However, not all flavours may be included, so if you choose a flavour which is not included you will end up paying full price for both.
Sometimes items get accidentally moved along the shelf, so the offer may not apply to the size or brand you want. Once again, it pays to be careful.
The loose cheese on the counter is usually cheaper than the same type and brand sold in packets - but this is not always so. When the packet cheese is on offer, it may well be cheaper. Unfortunately, the price of this is usually shown as 'per kilo', whereas that on the counter is shown as 'per 100g'. A quick way to do the conversion is to add a nought to the the counter price and move the decimal point one place. For example, 93p per 100g becomes £9.30. If the packet variety is £7.50 per kilo, this is obviously a much better buy.
Finally, when you have paid for your goods, try to check the offers on your till receipt before leaving the store. Sometimes the store computer has not been set up correctly and you will have been charged full price. If this happens, go to the customer service desk, where they will make a refund. To make checking simpler, put the offers through the checkout first so they are easy to find on the till roll.
Making these checks may make your visit to the supermarket take a little longer than usual but they are well worth while if you can spare the time. Individual savings may be small, but they soon add up. As our grandmothers used to say, "Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves".