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Five ways to save at the supermarket

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Being a savvy food shopper is a great way to cut back on costs. 

Here are our five top tips to saving at the supermarket:

1. Take a shopping list

MoneyHelper research found 60% of people who take a shopping list with them to the supermarket say it saves them money.

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In part this is because your shop is more direct.  You don’t get tempted by promotions and deals (more on those in a bit), and you tend to stick to the aisles you need, rather than randomly picking up stuff as you roam around - sweets and cakes, anyone?

But it’s also because you’ve thought about what you actually need for the week, avoiding last minute emergency takeaways or trips to more expensive smaller stores to get the extras you forgot.

2. Be careful of deals

Often supermarket deals tempt you to buy more than you need – or even things you wouldn’t get in the first place.

That’s not to say you can’t save money with special offers, but first think about if you actually need the items, then consider if you can use them before they go out of date or if it’s actually possible to get cheaper alternatives elsewhere.

If you do get a little confused by the different types of offers, you aren’t alone, as our research found. Only 40 out of 2,000 people – that’s just 2% - could correctly identify all of the best deals in our quiz.

3. Shop around

Comparison site MySupermarket says you can reduce your bill by 30% simply by shopping around.

This doesn’t just mean comparing the price for the brand you buy – though you can make big savings through buying own brand. It’s also about changing where you shop to a cheaper supermarket. But be sensible. If you’re spending on more petrol to go to more than one supermarket, the savings might not be worth it.

4. Avoid distractions

If you’re a parent you’re probably familiar with pester power. Our research found pressure from kids in a supermarket adds an average of £15.50 of goods into the basket. It might not be possible to leave them at home when you shop, but try to limit the chances for them to influence your shopping.

Going food shopping when you’ve an empty stomach is worth avoiding too. Three in five people in our survey told us they spend more when they’re hungry or tired – and it’s rarely on healthy stuff!

5. Use or freeze any leftovers

Replacing regular items which didn’t get used up before they went off can add a hefty chunk to a shopping bill, and plenty of us are guilty of throwing food away.

But keeping an eye on expiration dates and using or freezing leftovers can save the average family £720 a year, according to Love Food Hate Waste.

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