Published: 06/04/2021

Cut your supermarket spend


Usually, the food shop is the most expensive part of the week. There are many tips and tricks to help cut back your supermarket spend whether you’re shopping for a family of 5 or just yourself.

If you shop when hungry and don’t have a list you often end up spending more on impulse purchases. It might sound silly but it really works!

Big brand, own brand?

Do you wonder what the difference is between own-brand baked beans and the big brand? The value ketchup and the premium one? The real answer is probably not a lot. We grow up to believe if something costs more, it’s got to be better, right? Wrong. Often, they’re very similar, if not identical, once taken out of the packaging.

Using branding and language to give you the choice of how 'luxury' or 'basic' you want to be, supermarkets separate their products into four different categories:

  • Premium. Words like 'finest' or ‘taste the difference’ imply that this item is the best option on the shelf. 
  • Branded. The famous brands many people know and love.
  • Supermarket own brand. Their competition to the branded product, with packaging so similar it’s hard to tell them apart.
  • Value. With names like ‘value’ or 'saver', the packaging may look cheap and basic, implying the product inside is too.

Try dropping one category on everything you buy to see if you can tell the difference. Stick to the cheaper one if you can’t! If you usually buy premium pasta, try the branded or supermarket brand version. Much better to taste with your mouth than your eyes. Have some fun. Give family members a blind taste test to see what they like.

Dropping a brand level on everything you buy may save up to 30% and still eat well for less. Spending £100 weekly, could be a saving of £1500 a year!

You can save on toiletries and cleaning products!

Not only food is heavily branded to encourage us to spend more. The supermarket’s own brand Paracetamol is £0.29p (1.8p per tablet); the branded paracetamol is £1.65 (10.31p per tablet), over 6 times the price. And, there’s no scientific evidence to say they are any different. You’re paying packaging and a brand name!

Priced by weight 

Different size packets and special offers can fool us into thinking we’re getting a bargain when we’re not. Look at the price per weight, rather than the pack price. All price labels will have the price per weight in the smaller text under the packet price, so you can really compare the price of each product.

The premium brand butter is on special offer for just £2.50. Is it better value than the supermarket's own-brand butter which is still full price at £3?

But, looking at the price label more closely, the premium butter is £5 per kg, whilst the supermarket branded is only £3 per kg.

The right way to use loyalty cards -

Think Clubcard, Nectar, George Rewards. You may save up to £4 for every £100 you spend with these loyalty schemes. But, these savings could easily be wiped out if the supermarket’s prices are higher than their competitors. Don’t just shop at a supermarket because you have a loyalty card. If you already shop there regularly then it can be a great way to save. 

These schemes do personalised offers so it’s worth keeping an eye on your emails and their website too.

Try the lower-priced supermarkets

More savings, less frills. Supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi often prove much cheaper than other supermarkets. They undercut by a few pence on everything rather than having special offers and deals on random items. Visit Lidl or Aldi for the basics, and then head to another supermarket for the big brands.

Shop at supermarkets with student discount 

Many students don’t realise that both Morrisons and Co-op offer 10% off with a valid student card. Yes, this one is only applicable if you’re a student, but it can also be helpful when you’re at home during the holidays. You could take your parents shopping with their cards and save some money. 


Last updated: 09/04/2021