It’s true, money is too tight to mention. And wages in the UK do tend to be dwarfed by those getting dished out Down Under. On the flipside, it’s also a fact that you can get more bang for your buck here, if you know how to play it, especially when it comes to everyday staples. But where to go to get what?
The supermarket choices available are many, overwhelming if you ask us, and a far cry from picking between the local Coles or Woollies. So we asked an expert.
Be a commitment-phobe
Thrift whiz Sarah Willingham, founder of letssavesomemoney.com, says the key to saving pennies is to avoid commitment. Not in love, although you’ll save on slap-up dinners, but with the many supermarket chains found in the city.
She explains: “80% of people never change their supermarket, but shopping around is the only way to get the best deal.”
Also buy what you can in bulk, choose fresh produce that’s in season and only buying what you need are other keys to refraining from blowing your wad.
Money stretches online
If Willingham had one piece of advice, it would be this: “Shop online.” She believes supermarket websites make it easier to find the bargain and when you buy in bulk, it’s easier to have it delivered.
“To make your money go further, I am a big fan of mysupermarket.com, where you can save an average of £20 a week online,” she says of the site which pits Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose against each other.
“They help you to find the cheapest store for your basket and flag any special offers. You can then order your shopping online through their site, and you’ll save on transport costs.”
Own brand is A-OKGeneric brands in Australia get labelled as a bit povvo (if you speak like that) and certainly not considered quality, but many stores here take pride in the price-cutting products that bear their name.
In addition, Willingham thinks it’s no longer taboo to go for the cheaper option. “I think there is no longer a stigma attached to buying non-branded goods,” she says.
“I love places like Lidl and Aldi as they are always great for basics, as well as some specialty cheeses and meats.
“I think people are more savvy and want to make their money go further in whatever way they can. Filling an entire trolley for under £100 is something to brag about.”
Look for the deals
As Willingham says, supermarkets want you to shop there, and are always doing deals to get your dough. Keep an eye out for price matching deals and special offers.
“Asda offers a ‘price guarantee’ and Tesco has a Price Promise, where you can enter your receipt number online and they’ll refund all or part of the difference if you could have got your basket cheaper elsewhere.”
Ocado (an online-only store linked to Waitrose) and Sainsbury’s will give you a discount next time if you could have saved money elsewhere, while others offer significant savings on your first spend with them.
Morrisons is the only major supermarket which doesn’t offer online shopping, but its best deals are all advertised online. “All the stores have various get out clauses but it is worth doing,” Willingham adds.
Go to your local supermarket at closing time to get reduced prices on meat, fish, dairy and baked goods. This is particularly good on a Sunday afternoon.
End of aisle offers are often not the best in store – look around.
Supermarkets often locate their most profitable items at eye level.
Similar items can be placed in different aisles with different prices in some stores – think packs of cotton wool buds found for a significantly higher price in the Health and Beauty section than the Baby section.
Watch the kgs
Always compare the price per kilo to make sure you are getting the cheapest fruit, veg and meat.
Also have a look at your local greengrocer or market for fresh food – they can actually be cheaper on some things. A whole chicken is far cheaper and more versatile than buying a packet of chicken breasts.
Look for the cheaper cuts of meat. Pork cheek, beef brisket and lamb shoulder are all cheaper options and can be even tastier when cooked the right way. Google recipes for FREE inspiration.