30+ tips to cut supermarket costs - guide discussion

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  • I like the idea, as so many 'offers' are not such great deals. However, it sounds like the tracker is missing the subtleties of offer rotation.

    Taking the crisps in the guide as an example, 2 for £3.50 is clearly no bargain. However, it is also misleading to suggest that the average price of £1.50 is a relevant comparison.

    For most of us, I guess that the 'product' we're interested in is 'big bag of premium thick-cut salted crisps', rather than specifically 'Kettle Chips'. (That's not to deny that there may be some brand-loyal diehards out there).

    It's also relevant that the product is not perishable, therefore there is a strong incentive for customers to buy the full quantity of a multibuy (i.e. 2 packs) rather than just one when there's an 'offer' on.

    Once we understand this to be the product, then the comparison net has to be cast much wider. Then we see that virtually every supermarket has an 'offer' on this 'product' all the time. Sometimes the offer is '2 for £2', sometimes it's BOGOF (around £1.90 to £2 for 2), sometimes (although rarely) its 'half price', and sometimes it's just a round pound. And sometimes the offer is on Kettle Chips, sometimes on Tyrrells, sometimes on Red Sky, sometimes on the supermarket's own premium brand, or sometimes on something else. All told, that means that the 'normal' price is actually very close to £1, and therefore that the 'offers' are not so special after all.
  • Ken68
    Ken68 Posts: 6,825 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Energy Saving Champion Home Insurance Hacker!
    In my spreadsheet I have marked 'value for money in terms of nutrition' .So minimum price for maximum protein and similar with calories, though I do grow my own fruit and veg.
    Not forgetting essential vitamins.
    Dried skimmed milk (at 25pence for 1 litre and liver at £1 kg) come out tops.
    And cheese (currently £2.53 kg at Tesco 3 for 2) Gouda/Edam sliced, and sometimes this price at Lidl half price weekends.
  • richardw
    richardw Posts: 19,458 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    stork wrote: »
    ..All told, that means that the 'normal' price is actually very close to £1, and therefore that the 'offers' are not so special after all.

    This is key to all this, price knowledge of the 'normal' price and ignoring all that 'special' misleading fog.
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • kerri_gt
    kerri_gt Posts: 11,202 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Xmas Saver!
    Regarding the rain check vouchers, I asked for one of these in Tesco when their latest B1G2F cheese offer was on - was told by the Duty Mananger they don't do these any more.
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  • I do a big shop monthly on pay day, plan meals, batch cook and do a top up for a few fresh bits weekly, it definitely has made a huge difference and we have cut our food bill by 35% since doing this. We throw nothing away and grow our own veg and soft fruit. I am not loyal to any particular shop, will take a list but am very flexible if I see offers too good to pass on and substitute them with those on my list

    Next year my plan is to stretch the month by 2 or 3 days so that a months shopping lasts one month and 2 or 3 days, hopefully meaning that by the end of the year I will have done 11 big shops instead of 12. I am confident that this is achievable
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  • Guesthouse
    Guesthouse Posts: 105 Forumite
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    Some good hints here.

    I often use the "price per gram/ounce/litre" as my comparison in a lot of shopping - more bang for my buck - if it's stuff that we'll use and won't go to waste. Am I wrong ??

    If a litre of branded juice costs £1 but an own label version costs 50p for 750 ml then that's 1 1/2 litre for the same price. If it tastes good and we're drinking it anyway then it's a no brainer. Many shoppers only see the smaller bottle and think "I need more than that and it's only 25p more for a litre".

    Similarly getting washed/trimmed/prepared fruit & veg is a false economy. i.e. 100g of trimmed green beans costs £1 and the unwashed & untrimmed ones cost £1.15. Difference is, you can get 150g for that 15p difference and as they're not cut, the stay fresher longer.

    The only snag is that even amongst similar items, shops will vary the measurements. i.e 3 onions in a convenience pack cost £2/kg but loose ones are £1.80/kg meaning you've got to find scales and do the maths to find out what's cheaper if you need those 3 onions.

    Even for similar items, I see items marked as price/kg and cheaper items marked as price/gram, so it looks less appealing to buy something for £1.99 at £2.50/kg than £1.69 at 33p/gram.

    I also often use Lidl (closest, walking distance) and occasionally Aldi (not as convenient) for fresh fruit & veg. Quality and prices are good.

    A level playing field would be good.
  • eagle_eye
    eagle_eye Posts: 54 Forumite
    Guesthouse wrote: »

    I often use the "price per gram/ounce/litre" as my comparison in a lot of shopping - more bang for my buck - if it's stuff that we'll use and won't go to waste. Am I wrong ??
    This is really important and I use it on fish, cheese, meat, most veg and even things like cereal bars (although it's price per 100 grams there). If I'm not sure of the cost per kilo then I also use the scales, particularly important for packaged stuff that's priced per item - Tesco and Waitrose both have them.

    I make a note of my favourite goods in my blackberry memo pad and the cheapest price I've seen them and where I saw it and when I see a price lower than that then I bulk buy as many as I can store and use.

    Also if I see a good bargain but I'm not sure whether it's that good then I look at the date the bargain expires. If it's more than a week away I will check "My Supermarket" back at home (I don't have Apps on my phone unfortunately) and get it next time if it proves to be a good buy. I do the same if I have Tesco Coupons i.e. Spend £20 and save £3 and make a note of items that I will use but don't need at the moment and buy them to make sure I can hit the £20 without buying something that's not a bargain.

    Although I don't do meal planning as such I think it's vital you know how much room you have in the fridge and freezer and how many perishables you have. I usually have a good idea what we are having to eat that evening and usually a fair idea what we are having the next day. After that it all depends! Needless to say I go shopping at least twice a week and often 3-4 times.
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    Read ingredients and stick to at least one of the key healthy eating guidelines: maximum 10% daily calories as fat and sugar added products. This actually includes *most* breakfast cereals and flavoured yoghurts and savoury bakery items, not just the obvious crisps, chocolate and cakes.

    Most people will eat less processed stuff and far more nutrient dense wholefoods many of which are reasonably priced. For example switch flavoured yoghurts to a large carton of plain plus some frozen, fresh or dried fruit, processed wheat cereals for whole plain oats (can make granola, muesli and flapjacks not just porridge).

    Downshifting from one processed branded product with a lengthy ingredients list to an own brand processed product with a lengthy ingredients list doesn't make your family's diet healthier. Generally speaking if a product has an ingredients list or doesn't look anything like when it came off the plant or animal it's processed, even if there is 'wholegrain' or health claims on the label.
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  • Steve059
    Steve059 Posts: 2,686 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    edited 13 March 2013 at 10:16AM
    Larger packs are usually better value, but not always.

    The latest example I've found is ASDA eggs. 30 value cooks eggs (I didn't know they laid eggs) are £3.10. However, 15 ASDA SmartPrice eggs are £1.34.
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  • Willowpop
    Willowpop Posts: 856 Forumite
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    Steve059 wrote: »
    Larger packs are usually better value, but not always.

    The latest example I've found is ASDA eggs. 30 value cooks eggs (I didn't know they laid eggs) are £3.10. However, 15 ASDA SmartPrice eggs are £1.34.

    Thanks for this, I normally get the box of 18 basics eggs from Sainsburys and have done the comparison thing on mysupermarket which has always suggested the are the cheapest..however in Sainsburys the eggs are 11.7p an egg - £2.10 for 18...the asda ones are currently 8.9p an egg- £1.34 for 15. I will be heading to asda for my eggs when I go o the post office there from now on. :)
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