Okay, I know we bang on and on about how to save money on food in the supermarket; the importance of checking what you already have in your fridge and cupboards and making a list so you don’t get smoozed by all that supermarket marketing.
But it really does make a difference to the cost of your shop.
Whether you shop at Aldi, Lidl, Asda, Sainsbury’s or the Harrods food hall, shed loads of your dosh goes on baked beans and aubergines (sometime mouldy aubergines, found rank and disgusting at the bottom of the veg chiller two weeks later ‘cos you didn’t write that list we go on and on about). But I digress…
Take a different ‘route’
If you only do one thing this weekend, shop backwards. Go to your regular supermarket but don’t follow the route you’re meant to follow. Take directions from the Money Fight Club sat nav and YOU WILL SAVE MONEY. Give it a go…
1. Locate the booze and ice cubes first
We don’t care if you want or need either of the above, but they tend to be at the opposite end of the supemarket to the convential start point. Supermarkets want us to enter by the flower, fruit and veg – all very colourful and lovely and designed to put us in the shopping mood. Start in the fruit and veg and the next thing you know you’re loading up on the buy-two-get-one-free fresh coconuts with no idea what you’re going to do with them.
Ooh and pick up a bag of fresh spinach and then load the trolley with all the cans and heavy stuff. Stuffing the trolley with fresh veg makes us feel like good parents, even if we actually pick up more than we can sensibly use. Plus the 50% extra free on fresh strawberries seems like less of an indulgence when your trolley’s virtually empty and the reality of how much you going to spend this week has yet to kick in.
2. Close your eyes and…
Do two things before you move away from the Rioja (we’re assuming you haven’t done a shopping list, never mind a menu plan based on how many meals and packed lunches you need to prepare this week).
- Firstly, think about where in the supermarket your main source of protein is – meat, fish, tofu… Then figure out your most direct route to that part of the store. Most of us don’t write lists but if we shop at the same store most of the time we build up a pretty good mental map of what’s where. Get your protein sorted first – roast on Sunday, cold on Tuesday, couple of fish fillets on Wednesday etc. Some cheese and ham for the sandwiches. Get that stuff nailed first and then build the required veg etc round that (but not yet).
- Secondly, try and focus your eyes on the bottom shelf of every aisle before you let your gaze drift to the beguiling offers on the higher shelves. And avoid the aisle ends. They’ll be covered in promotions and lovely red stickers but the better value sizes and prices are often below our natural eye level and away from the aisle ends where we’ve been conditioned (wrongly) to hunt for offers.
3. Make a determine dash for the bread
Often at the back of the store (forcing us to navigate past all sort sof the unecessary purchses, so again, keep your eyes focussed downwards and don’t get distracted to the right or left). Only buy the squidgy, soft, baked in store stuff if you plan to use it quite quickly. It doesn’t tend to stay soft and delicious that long and most of it gets gorged on the first night home.
4. Finally, finish in the fruit and veg
Armed with a rough idea of what you plan to prepare (as you’ve already bought the protein) buy only enough veg to cater for those meals. We can absolutely guarantee you have a few cans and some dried pasta or rice in the back of the cupboard back home that can cater for most emergencies not covered for by what you’ve already got in your trolley.
5. Check out and check your receipt
There’s bound to be an error on there somewhere. And DO NOT throw a bar of chocolate on the conveyor while you standing in the queue!
If you haven’t saved money by shopping this way – we’ll eat a hat (well anything’s got to taste better than two week old mouldy aubergenes).