If like me you have a strict weekly food shopping budget, you may benefit from the following tips to help keep your costs down. 

1) Be prepared to shop around.

While it may be easier to do all of your shopping under one roof, you may benefit from shopping around for the essential items you and your family regularly use or consume. I recently made a desperate purchase of some star anise in a local supermarket at £1.47 for 15g, big mistake. The following month I bought a 50g bag of star anise from an ethnic food store, so it pays to go to different stores for different items. I find 99p stores and poundland shops excellent for buying cleaning products and accessories. Local butchers often have eggs and cheese cheaper than the supermarket, and greengrocers tend to stock fresher items meaning they will last longer at home.

2) Buy in bulk.

If an item you and your family use regularly is on offer, it is worth stocking up. Some weeks I will come home with 3 packs of nappies, other weeks I will come home with 3 boxes of detergent. If you always use these items it is a good idea to fill your cupboards whilst they are at a cheaper price. Toilet rolls are often better value when purchased in larger amounts, and this is definitely a product we all need.

3) Double check.

It is worth stopping and calculating whether an in store offer is as good as they make out. At my local supermarket there was a promotion for a 500g bag of demerera sugar for £1! Then I noticed beside it was a 1kg bag for £1.88. You should do the math to see if an offer actually works out cheaper than buying more or less of the same product, some stores are cheeky and misleading.

4) Look out for and use vouchers.

Sometimes these may not seem worth it, especially if they are for small amounts like 25 pence. But remember every little counts. It is easy to dismiss leaflets put through the door as junk mail, but it is worth scanning them to see if there are any coupons or vouchers for local stores. Sometimes these leaflets show information about special offers, so you can plan which store to visit for certain products.

5) Make use of online price comparison functions.

If a supermarket promises to match the prices of another supermarket, take them up on the offer. Keep your receipts and when you get home you can usually visit the supermarket website, enter the receipt details and they will run a price comparison for you. If another store is found to be cheaper you could be given a money off voucher. 

6) Make more than one meal at a time

You could have a roast chicken one day and use the leftover meat in a curry the following day, or boil up the carcass to make a large batch of chicken soup. Or if you bulk buy a large portion of minced beef you might like to cook up a large batch of bolognese and freeze half for another time. 

Shopping on a Budget
Pampers Sensitive Wipes 7x Box 448 Count
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(price as of Apr 26, 2014)