Recently, I’ve noticed a slow increase in the cost of groceries. For some items it’s as little as 10%, others 50%. Cumulatively, it’s a bit depressing.
As a fan of saving money, we’ve switched to Lidl for some of the store-cupboard staples. But as it’s quite a trek, we only venture to the Land of the Wonder Aisle once a month.
Another tactic I use to save money is to stock up on certain products when they’re on offer. It’s really simple, but there is a bit of a strategy behind it. In case you haven’t already twigged, this is a bit of a boring blog post about the food we buy, how we buy it and where we save money.
But I’m a bit weird and like reading/writing about this kind of stuff. Bail now if you don’t, it only goes downhill from here.
We do the majority of our food shopping online. Of our monthly total, around 70% is bought online (yes, I did just calculate that). In case anyone wonders, we use Sainsbury’s. We have one of their Delivery Passes and have our weekly shopping delivered pre-9am on a Saturday. This system works beautifully. Normally this slot would cost £7 a week; with the Delivery Pass it averages out to around £2. I’m more than happy to pay this, even if it seems a bit extravagant. It saves us on petrol, and – more importantly – it means I don’t spend an hour or so every week herding two small children round a supermarket. It’s so painful it should be used by the intelligence agencies as a form of information extraction.
There has always been a selection of products which I refuse to buy full price. The list include laundry tabs, olive oil and spreadable butter (yes, it’s quite random – scroll down for the full list).
Note: the following method works really well for online grocery shopping; it’s super quick just to type them in. If I was shopping in store and wanted to do the same I’d have a separate list and check the prices of these items as I passed them. Not quite so efficient, but still has money-saving potential.
First off, I have a list of these items in my meal planning spreadsheet. My spreadsheet is spread into three tabs: my fortnightly meal plan (with ingredients), my Lidl shopping items and my list of offer-only purchases.
When we’re running low on these I’ll highlight the particular item, so I know to look out for it when doing the weekly shop. My definition of “low” varies per product and roughly offer cycling. Things like laundry tabs seem to be on offer every six weeks or so. Spreadable butter is around ten weeks. Crucially, products aren’t on offer in every supermarket at the same time. Offers rotate through supermarkets. There might be a pattern to it; I’m not quite boring enough to find out, sorry. However, I have been known to check out the shelves of our nearest Tesco in search of on-offer butter when our top-up shop coincides with our stock running low. It might ‘only’ save me 90p, but that 90p is 90% towards Small Human’s rugby club.
Anyway. Here’s the full list of grocery and household products which I never buy at full price:
- Oil (Olive, Sunflower and Vegetable)
- Chicken Stock Cubes
- Gravy Granules
- Baked Beans
- Rice Milk
- Baking Spread
- Spreadable Butter
- Toilet Rolls
- Shower Spray
- Bathroom Cleaner
- Kitchen Spray
- Laundry Tabs
- Stain Remover
- Washing Liquid
- Body Wash
I stock up on various (freezable) products when they’re on offer too, but often have to buy at regular price; including garlic bread, pork mince, pancetta and chorizo. I also buy chicken at M&S; it’s free-range and I’ve found it to be better quality than Sainsbury’s (and still 3 for £10. Bargain!)
Do you do this too? What products do you only buy when they’re on offer?