FILLING the fridge is getting more expensive – but avoiding four common shopping could save you £180 a month on your food bill.
The average grocery bill set to rocket by £271 this year according to data from Kantar, and getting into bad habits could mean you're spending more than you need to.
It's estimated that half of all households are cutting back on food so they can afford to pay for spiralling bills.
With energy bills estimated to hit an eye-watering £5,300, families are facing the stark choice of either heating or eating this winter.
Shopping expert Charlotte Jessop said you can make sure there’s food on the table by finding ways to cut your food bill this winter.
She’s the founder of finance blog lookingafteryourpennies.com, and manages to save £180 a month by avoiding common supermarket mistakes – she explains how you can too.
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Not going with a list – £100
If you’re going to the shops without a list, you’re more likely to pick up food you don’t need – which can soon add up.
Planning your meals and writing down only what you need to buy is the “easiest and most impactful way” of reducing your grocery spend, Charlotte said.
It means you can raid your fridge, freezer and cupboard to see what you’re short of and pick it up at the store – instead of guessing what you need and wasting cash on unnecessary items.
“Making a food plan can help prevent food waste – which is bad for the environment and your bank balance,” she said.
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It’s estimated that households waste £800 every year on wasted food.
Getting tempted by promotions – £40
You might have noticed eye-catching stickers advertising promotions at the ends of the supermarket aisles.
There is usually a mix of food on offer at the end of the aisles – and because they’re in a prime position, it looks like a bargain.
But don’t be tricked into splashing your cash – instead of saving money, you’ll usually be spending more on these items, Charlotte said
“These might look like good deals but often they are not the cheapest products,” Charlotte said.
“Sometimes they are items that you didn't need at all, but their prominent position lures you and makes you buy them.”
If you’re wanting the cheapest items, look at the top of the bottom shelves in the aisles.
Items which are at eye-level are usually the higher priced goods supermarkets want you to buy to boost their margins – instead of the cheaper ranges.
Forgetting own-brand ranges – over £20 a month
We all have our go-to household brands, but with rising food prices, these already pricey brands are getting even more expensive.
Heinz has hiked prices by 3.8 percentage points.
While the bosses of companies which make Marmite, Magnums and KitKats have all warned of price increases.
But you could be paying over £20 a month buying pricey grub over cheaper own-brand ranges from supermarkets, Charlotte said.
“If you are automatically buying the top brands because you haven't stopped to try out the cheaper supermarket own alternatives then you could be overspending.
“Most of us are used to switching down with foods, but what about your laundry detergent or cleaning products? Try down-shifting your brands to save more.”
Going to the shops too often – £20 a month
If you don’t fully plan your weekly shop, then you might find you’re more likely to make mid-week trips to the shops to stock up.
You might only be popping in to get some milk, but chances are you’ll come out with a lot more than what you actually need.
“It might feel more convenient to do smaller daily shops but it could cost you more,” Charlotte said.
“Not only do those regular shops leave you open to temptations and marketing, but also you could be missing out on the opportunity to buy items in bulk or to take advantage of multi-buy deals.”
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