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As I have already done opinions on saving money in the house, in the garden, on holiday and on your finances in general I thought that I would complete my efforts with my advice on saving money whilst shopping.
Yes folks you don’t have to spend a fortune every time you go shopping!
Most of my ideas focus on supermarket shopping so that’s where I’ll begin.
If you’re out at work all day it is a good idea to go supermarket shopping in the evening. There are usually bargains to be had on fresh produce such as bread, as they have to destroy it if they can’t sell it so they might as well sell it cheaply.
Cut out ‘money off’ vouchers from magazines even if you don’t buy the product specified. Some supermarkets will take any vouchers providing that they stock the goods in question whether you actually buy them or not. Some will only reduce your total bill by 50% so it’s worth checking the rules at individual places. The supermarket has the right to refuse to accept the vouchers if you haven’t purchased the goods, but don’t throw them away try using them somewhere else.
Don’t tell me that it’s not worth it either, I have saved about £1,000 a year by doing this – and I don’t buy many magazines either. If a supermarket has a display of coupons I pick a handful up rather than just one. If I do spot a coupon in a magazine that is worth much more than the face value of the magazine, I buy a few copies. For example not long ago there was a coupon worth £2.50 inside a magazine that cost me 55p so it was worth my while buying a few. Get the idea?
If you find that something is wrong with what you have bought – complain! You can return the item to the store and get a refund of the amount that you paid or you can write to the manufacturers or to the head office of the store and often receive vouchers in excess of the amount originally paid for the faulty item.
In some supermarkets they have a policy whereby if you spot a mistake on your till receipt they will give you the item free of charge so remember to check. If you spot a mistake take the till receipt to customer services and point it out to them. The least they will do is correct the mistake and, as I say, some will refund the price of the goods in full whilst letting you keep them.
Keep your eyes open for mistakes in all sorts of shopping. I went into our local Asda the other day and saw that they had reduced the prices on their fresh fish cakes. They were £1.50 or so per pack or 3 packs for £3 and they had reduced the individual packs to £1.12 each. I bought 3 assuming that the special offer reduction would take effect at the till in addition to the price reduction. I noticed on my till receipt that I had been charged £3.36 with no further reduction.
I queried this at customer services only to be told that the 3 for £3 offer had been removed from the items that were reduced in price. Think about it – this means I could buy three fresh packs for £3 or three packs at their sell by date for £3.36! I had my money back of course. I also wrote to head office so I may get some vouchers for my trouble as well!
Look out for special offers like 3 for the price of 2 and stock up when the goods are cheaper. Be wary of buying things you won’t actually use just because they’re cheap – if you don’t use them it’s still a waste of money even if the price is reduced!
Plan ahead for meals. This will mean that you buy the things you need rather than the things that catch your eye as you walk round the supermarket. It also means you’ll be less likely to feel you can’t be bothered cooking and order a takeaway.
Buy the large economy bags of things that can be frozen. For example a large bag of carrots is better value and you can prepare them all and freeze them in meal sized packs, thus saving time and money.
If you’re buying spirits which will have mixers added buy the shops own brand. You won’t taste the difference, but you will notice the difference in your purse!
Buy fruit and vegetables when they are plentiful and thus cheaper, to freeze for later use. Pick blackberries from the hedgerows, wash and freeze for making pies.
Have a look in your local charity shops. There are often bargains to be found on all sorts of things and you’d be helping the charity at the same time.
Have a go at a car boot sale. Get rid of your own ‘junk’ and earn some cash or go round and find some bargains for yourself.
Plan ahead for Christmas and Birthdays. Buy the presents, cards, wrapping paper etc. when there are special offers available. Keep freebies and competition wins if you think that they would be a useful present for someone.
Take some time to look around – even if it’s only occasionally. Find out where the best bargains are – don’t just do all your shopping in the same supermarket. Investigate the prices in the ‘cheaper’ supermarkets, the goods are often just as good as the higher priced equivalents, even if the brand names aren’t as well known.
If you’re going to buy a larger item, shop around first both on the high street and the Internet. The price differences can be substantial, and remember to take into account the cost of delivery and installation if it is applicable.
When planning a day out check out ticket prices in advance. Cut out 2 for the price of 1 offers from the newspaper and keep them just in case. Look at offers from the various supermarket reward schemes. It is a standing joke in our family when we’re out and someone suggests going somewhere – I often say ‘Hang on I have a voucher for that in my bag!’
Trade skills with friends. For example offer to do a basket of ironing in exchange for a night of babysitting.
Set up a babysitting circle with other parents. Each start with the same number of tokens and use them to pay one another for babysitting. The more times you sit the more nights out you can have.
One final note do remember to use your store loyalty cards every time you visit – it might not be much but it all helps as they say.