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Savvy Shoppers Share Shopping Bill Hacks - From 10p Potatoes To 3p Cucumbers

November 18, 2021, 1:00 PM
  • The Bank of England predicted on November 5 that inflation would rise to 5% next April
  • Interest rates are being held at the record low of 0.1 percent
  • Bargain hunters from the Latest Deals community reveal how to keep shopping costs low
  • Tricks include meal planning, buying yellow stickers and finding coupons online

The cost of living is becoming higher and higher for consumers, as the Bank of England predicted this month that inflation would rise to 5% next April. Furthermore, interest rates are remaining at 0.1%, a record low. This means that those on a budget will be struggling more than ever with the cost of their shopping bills.

Tom Church, Co-Founder of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, said: ‘So many of us have gone into supermarkets intending to buy a few things, only to leave with an entire trolley full of groceries. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to handle the rise in living costs and keep your food bills down. Budget-savvy shoppers from our community have come up with some fantastic tips to make savings - here are some of the best ones.’

Create A Weekly Meal Plan - Spend Just £50 A Week

Meal planning reduces the likelihood of going to the shops multiple times each week to buy dinner, or deciding on a last-minute takeaway. What’s more, everyone can get involved by choosing a dinner idea for the week. This means you will look forward to meals while also spending less.

To get started, scan your cupboards and create a meal plan. Then you can do a grocery shop which only involves getting the ingredients you’re missing. Once you’re in the supermarket, stick to your list and you won’t risk wasting money on products you don’t need.

Gemma Brooks, 32 from Hertfordshire, said: ‘I don’t spend more than £50 a week for all of our shopping needs. It’s easy if you plan your meals in advance - I write mine up on a whiteboard in the kitchen. If you plan ahead and get creative you can make food stretch. I always know what meals I am buying ingredients for ahead of time so I can find the cheapest options.’

Buy Frozen Instead Of Fresh - Pick Up Salmon For Just £3.30

Heading to the frozen aisles in the supermarket for a larger percentage of your weekly shop will help with reducing costs. Fruits and vegetables, plus some meats and fish, are much cheaper to buy frozen. Furthermore, you won’t risk wasting anything you don’t use as you can simply freeze it for a later date.

Gemma continued: ‘You don’t need to avoid items typically seen as pricier, such as fish. I recently prepared baked salmon with lemon, new potatoes, peas and green beans. Frozen salmon fillets are a great way to be able to get salmon into your diet while sticking to your budget. A pack of frozen fillets costs me £3.30 in Tesco but buying similar amounts in the chilled section easily costs a couple of pounds more.’

Lauren Roddick, a 33 year old Elderly Care Assessment Nurse from Glasgow, shared how she uses her freezer to make food last for longer: I've got two fridge freezers so I freeze the majority of my items. In a Too Good To Go bag I recently got passion fruits, so I scooped out the pulp and put it in ice cube trays, then added them to cocktails which was lovely. I always freeze my bread so I will make sure it's sliced before it goes in the freezer.’

Buy Produce Which Is In Season - Grab 3p Cucumbers

Have you noticed that fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they’re in season? Not only will you be saving money, they will also taste better and it’s better for the planet. Fruit and veg to eat in the spring and summer includes strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, cherries, cucumber, leeks, beetroot and asparagus. In the autumn and winter months, go for pepper, pumpkin, apples, rocket, tomatoes, squash, cranberries and mushrooms.

Laura Bailey, an NHS PA from Leeds and mum of one, said: ‘It is important to have good knowledge of food so you know what you can make with it. One summer I picked up several cucumbers at 3p each and lots of tomatoes. I made gazpacho and froze it in containers which I then took to work, and had the perfect chilled soup (as it defrosts during the day). Sometimes I just cook any vegetable I have to hand, chuck in some herbs with homemade stock and blend for a quick cheap hot soup in winter.’

Start Batch Cooking - Spend £137 For Three Months Of Meals

One easy way to reduce your weekly or monthly grocery spend is to select your meals wisely and batch cook them. For example, chilli and lasagna are both made with mince, so you can buy plenty if you see it on offer in store or in the yellow sticker section. Then you only need to adjust the herbs and spices, resulting in easy meals to microwave and saving the hassle of nightly meal prep.

Liane Greenly, 38, from Lincoln spent £137 at Aldi for a mega batch cook which lasted her and her partner for three months. She said: ‘I made meals which were all similar in their base ingredients and altered by the herbs. For example, spaghetti, lasagna and cottage pie are all similar until the last few ingredients. Batch cooking is easier than cooking each night.’

Laura added: ‘Batch cooking is really important for 2 reasons. One, it saves money by making a large amount and freezing the rest, two, if you are having a lazy day you can have a home cooked meal straight from the freezer and into the microwave – much cheaper than a takeaway and healthier too.’

Grow Your Own Vegetables - Use 5p Packs To Start A Garden

It’s easier than you may think to begin growing vegetables and herbs in your garden, which will be sure to save you money over time as you won’t have to pick up the products from the supermarkets. Plus, if you have kids, you can teach them where food comes from.

Kat Phoenix, 28 from Blaenau Gwent, shared how she started her vegetable crop on a budget. ‘Every 3 months or so, I get reduced potatoes, usually for 5-10p a pack. I put them in the back of the cupboard for a few weeks until they sprout and then plant them. I started growing vegetables like this a few years ago, planting garlic bulbs that didn't get used in time that had started to sprout. I then moved on to experiment with sprouting potatoes and onions, which I started putting into plastic trugs in the garden.

‘The tips of leeks, spring onions, carrots and parsnips can be placed in soil of varying depths and go on to grow new produce. Spring onions are particularly useful as they can be placed on the windowsill in just a small amount of water.’

Use Coupons, Vouchers And Cashback - Get £28.30 Groceries For £5.67

Most of us will have been handed coupons along with our receipts as we pay for our shopping, so why not make the most of them and combine them to make huge savings each week? Plus, there are loads of voucher codes online which will help with saving money. For example, you can receive discounts for a first-time shop or money off when you spend over a particular amount.

Jo Bohm, aged 36 from Isle of Wight and mum of two children aged 9 and 12, said: ‘I find discounts by going to money-saving websites for discount codes. It’s always worth checking if you can get cash back on a purchase from Quidco. By combining all of these tricks I have saved loads of money over time.’ Adam Attew, a 32 year old retail sales assistant from Stratford, London, uses a similar method: ‘I am a regular bargain hunter and have saved thousands with cashback apps such as CheckoutSmart and ClickSnap on Quidco. I have picked up free food, drinks and supplies, and I also regularly get discounted clothes and homeware items.

Leia Winch, a 37 year old Careers Adviser from Telford, shared an example of the savings which can be made: ‘‘When I’m planning to shop I make use of the Shopmium and CheckoutSmart apps whenever I can. For example, I got a haul for £5.67 instead of £28.30 by using both of these and a cashback offer. I managed to pick up a box of Cheerios, a box of Shreddies, two boxes of Shredded Wheat, six boxes of Off The Eaten Path sticks, two Chocolate Hazelnut Graze bars, two Salted Caramel Graze bars and two cans of San Pellegrino for just over a fiver!’

Browse Yellow Stickers - Grab 94p Beef And 35p Pork

A rising trend for budget-savvy shoppers is browsing the yellow sticker sections in supermarkets. These items have been heavily reduced as they are going out of date, but haven’t yet sold. While most supermarkets use yellow stickers, Aldi has red ones and Morrisons uses orange. Bargain hunters have turned finding the best yellow sticker bargains into a game, finding the best time of day to visit their local supermarket so they can get the biggest percentage reductions.

Karen Kirton, 59 from Newbury and a grandmother of four, shared her tips: ‘I'll usually shop in Sainsbury's around 2pm on Wednesday or Thursday. Yellow stickers are being applied for the first time that day, so not the best bargain but still cheaper than if I'd shopped an hour earlier. Going later in the evening can be much cheaper. I'll buy yellow sticker vegetables, meat and fish that I can put straight in the freezer once I get home.’

Abi Hallam, 29 from Gedling, Nottingham, revealed her secret to saving so much on the weekly shop is the time she goes to supermarkets. ‘We usually go at around 6pm on a weekday and check all the reduced sections before doing our weekly shop. We then check back at the reduced sections before we go to the checkout. I would say we have saved hundreds of pounds by buying reduced foods. At Morrisons I often manage to rake in the deals. I got curried thigh fillets reduced from £3 to 75p, topside beef reduced from £4.68 to 94p, roast pork leg reduced from £3.49 to 35p and roast turkey breast reduced from £2.79 to 70p.’

Compare Supermarkets - Get £12 Salmon For £3.99

By doing your research and finding out which supermarket has the best prices for certain items, you can save money by going to multiple places. Using a supermarket comparison tool before going to the shops means you can find out where the best prices for the items on your shopping list are.

Emma Wild, 33 from Greater Manchester, said: ‘I generally rotate between ASDA, Tesco, Aldi, Food Warehouse and occasionally Lidl and Sainsbury’s. I shop at Tesco a couple of times a month as I get my pet food from there - and the Clubcard discounts are great, especially around Christmas.For my big shop each week, I go to Aldi as I find it tends to work out cheaper. I like their own brand products - they’re just as good as the bigger ones in my opinion.

Greta Smith, a 27 year old nutritionist and health coach from Birmingham, also likes to compare supermarket prices. ‘I started looking for bargains from childhood! I like comparing several shops until I find the best deal. Some of my best bargains were frozen wild salmon from Aldi, where you get 550g Wild Salmon Fillets for only £3.99. While you would pay around £12 for the same amount of fresh salmon fillets elsewhere.’

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