Student shares top tips that will save you money on your supermarket shop

We’re not ashamed to say that the big weekly supermarket shop is the most excitement we have all week.

These are dreary times. Let us acknowledge the thrill of going to the big Tesco and loading up a basket.

But one risk of this new lockdown hobby is a tendency to overspend. We get a bit too enthused over the range of biscuits and juices, you see, and suddenly all the money we’re saving on commutes is chucked straight into our food cupboards.

That’s why it’s handy to use this time to sort out your supermarket spending habits.

Look to wise student Jordon Cox, 22, who has made it his mission to save every penny possible when doing his food shop – and to share his lessons with the world.

One of his key methods for cutting costs? Staying wise to what he describes as supermarket ‘tricks’ that subtly encourage us to spend more.

‘Buying groceries is essential for us all – so it’s not like we can cut it out to save money,’ Jordon told money-saving website NHS Offers. ‘However there are ways to drop that sky high food price down a little bit.

‘Because supermarkets have been at it for so many years – they know how to get you to spend the most money.

‘Once you know the tricks of the trade that supermarkets use to jump up the price of your basket, you can try to avoid them, and potentially save hundreds on your shopping.’

Read on for his tips on how to avoid those sneaky techniques.

Try downshifting

Don’t be a brand snob.

Downshifting is when you go down one brand level when shopping. So, you don’t need to go straight to the Basics range – just drop one level and see if you like it.

If you buy ‘finest’ go to regular branded. If you buy a big brand, go to the supermarket’s version.

‘This not only saves you money, but if you like or prefer the cheaper option, you’ll have a new go-to item, which can pile up the savings over time to the tune of £10s or £100s a year,’ says Jordon.

Shop in the world foods aisle

If you’re after canned goods or spices, check the world food aisle.

‘The common misconception is that everything is overpriced, as it’s been imported – and that is correct for some items, but not others,’ Jordon notes.

‘If you’re shopping in that aisle for Twinkies or Marshmallow Fluff – yes you’ll pay a premium. But items such as rice, sauces and spices can actually end up far cheaper.

‘When searching in my local Sainsbury’s, one of the best examples I found was a 100g bag of Natco Paprika Power for 80p.

‘If you wanted a comparable jar from the spice aisle – the cheapest was Sainsbury’s own brand at 85p… but for 44g (less than half). If you bought the name brand of Schwartz – you’d be paying even more.

‘The difference in price and size meant the world food item was 8p per 10g – and the cheapest spice aisle was 19.8p per 10g.’

Don’t be embarrassed about complaining

Don’t be a dick, obviously.

But if things have genuinely gone wrong, it’s okay to complain.

Jordon says:’It’s perfectly reasonable under the consumer rights act to ask for a refund on faulty goods – but more often than not, as a gesture of goodwill, supermarkets and brands send you coupons or gift cards for more than the item is worth.

‘I once complained to Mars chocolates that a tub of Celebrations didn’t have a single Malteasers chocolate in it. Genuinely the most heartbreaking moment of my life.

‘This was obviously a fault however, so I emailed in, gave the batch number, and got sent £10 worth of coupons in the post for more chocolate – so actually made a profit. It pays to complain!’

Take a look in the baby aisle

Okay, this one’s new to us, but worth a try.

Jordon says that sometimes products will be packaged and priced differently, despite being identical, simply because of where they are in the store.

Cotton buds, for example, may be cheaper in the ‘baby’ section than they are in the ‘beauty’ section. Weird.

Some items such as cotton buds are more expensive as they are sold in the ‘Beauty’ section rather than ‘baby’ section.

Look high and low

‘Supermarkets seem to put either the most expensive items, or the ones they most want to sell, at eye level,’ Jordon explains.

‘They want your eyes to naturally gravitate to the shelf you’re eye level with, instead of gazing up and down looking for other items.

‘Quite often you’ll find the best deals tucked away either down low, up high or the the corners of aisles – as these aren’t places shoppers tend to look the most.’

Keep an eye out for yellow sticker discounts

You already know that yellow sticker discounts are a great way to get more for your money.

Supermarkets tend to reduce their products around the same time each day, so stake out your local and schedule your shopping trips to match.

Go for supermarket brands when it comes to medicine

‘When it comes to pills and medicine for pain relief, cold and flu or indigestion – there’s only one type you should be buying – supermarket own brands,’ says Jordon.

‘No matter what medicine it is, both the name brand and the supermarket own brands both have the same active ingredient most of the time. That should mean they do the exact same job at stopping your pain.

‘You can check the ingredients on each pack, and as long as the active ingredient is the same – it’s totally fine and safe to buy the cheaper one.

‘The difference can be huge too. Buying the standard Ibuprofen instead of Nurofen can save you £1.50 per box – and both contain 200mg of ibuprofen with extra ingredients for the coating.

‘A few different medicines also share the same ‘PL number’, which is given to a certain drug made by a certain company. Don’t be surprised if your Gaviscon shares the same PL number as a cheaper brand – and that’ll mean it’s the same medicine instead with ingredients exactly the same.’

Don’t take value packs at face value

Just because something says it’s a good deal, doesn’t mean it is.

Take a look at the actual price per 100ml/g before you buy.

Ditch ‘thins’ or ‘minis’

‘It can cost you twice as much to have the thinner variety’ of crackers and biscuits, says Jordon.

‘One example being Mcvities chocolate digestive biscuits. The ‘thins’ pack costs £1.59 for 180g – but the standard pack you can pick up for £1.35 and 266g in weight.

‘The ‘thins’ pack is prices at 88p per 100g, while the usual pack is 51p per 100g – so there’s quite a big difference.’

Bulk buy when there’s a good deal

If you can afford to, load up on things you always tend to need when they’re on special offer.

;Supermarket offers can be a great deal from time to time – and if you see one, there’s nothing to stop you buying more than one,’ Jordon says.

‘This is especially true for non perishables like toothpaste, toilet paper and shampoo.’

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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