11 supermarket shopping mistakes that are costing you money

11 supermarket shopping mistakes that are costing you money

You've been supermarket shopping for years, but are you doing it right?

There are so many costly mistakes to be made in the supermarket which will soon hike up your bill. Worst of all, the supermarkets know exactly how to get you to buy and spend more, and will do almost anything to make it happen.

No more! We're sharing 11 common shopping mistakes to help you get clued up with the supermarket's sneaky strategies and start saving money today!

1. You're a brand snob

branded products
More expensive doesn't always mean better!

Heinz, Persil, Kellogs - are the big brands really the best?

Most people don't know, but many products from different brands are actually made in the same factory with the same produce, it's just the recipes and labels that differ.

It's always worth trying out the stores-own products. In the case of toiletries, sweet treats and tinned foods, you could save a fortune by making the switch.

2. You're not buying frozen

Don't turn your nose up at frozen food.

Studies have shown that frozen food is just as healthy as fresh, and not only that but it lasts longer so its nutrition is preserved!

Most people don't know, but most meat and fish is actually frozen before it arrives on our shelves. This means buying frozen could actually be better - as it's not already been defrosted before you purchase it.

Best of all, frozen food costs considerably less than fresh! Just be sure to check the ingredients when buying meat and veg as it can contain added water.

3. You don't look at the price per kilo

When you are buying fresh produce, a good indicator of value for money is the price per kilo on the shelf label.

Don't always presume loose produce is the best option - sometimes packaged fruit and veg will be cheaper. Get into the habit of comparing loose versus packaged and also different packaging sizes to ensure you get the best deal every time you shop.

 4. You're buying out of season

We've grown used to getting whatever produce we want, whenever we want, but the truth of the matter is that fruits and vegetables are seasonal, and shouldn't be available all year round.

Different vegetables, fruits and even varieties are less-available during certain times of the year. The shortage of supply pitted against the high demand hikes up the price, and means you'll be paying more in the shop.

Keep track of what's in season and what isn't and try to stick to it. Not only will produce be tastier, but cheaper too!

5. You're listless

shopping list bag

One word: lists.

Making a list before you set out will mean you only buy what you need. Be sure to look in the cupboards and fridge to see what you already have before you start planning what you're going to bring home.

Making a rough meal plan for the week will help you make your list and reduce waste too.

We have a whole Meal Prep Guide that will help you get organised and start saving money on your shopping every week.

6. Not buying a variety of protein

Chicken breasts are often hailed to be the 'healthiest' choice of protein, but there are many other options out there worth considering. Other cuts of chicken, such as the thighs, are much cheaper and often tastier too!

If you have a big family or are particularly into white meat, why not buy a whole chicken to cook on a Sunday and eat it throughout the week with salads and thrown into other meals - it's a quick solution and will really save you a lot of money.

Additionally, consider tinned fish such as sardines - which are usually less than 50p per tin - and cheaper cuts of red meat than your usual choice.

If you really want to cut down, why not try going meat-free a few days a week? Beans and pulses contain loads of protein, and will work out much cheaper than your normal meaty meals.

Check out our favourite Meat Free Monday recipes for some inspiration!

7. Falling for offers

I'm on offer look at me!

Just because something's on offer, it doesn't automatically make it a good deal. If you weren't going to buy that half-priced pack of cookies or 2-for-1 ice cream originally, buying it at its reduced price is still an extra expenditure.

When buying things on your list, by all means, look for offers and deals. However, be aware of the offers at the end of aisles that are ideally placed to attract you.

If it's not on your list, give it a miss!

8. You don't have a rewards card

supermarket rewards cards
Collect them all!

Rewards cards might seem like a bit of a scam, but we've saved loads using them over the years and would definitely recommend trying them.

Supermarket loyalty cards will usually allow you to collect points which equate to money off your shops, give you access to exclusive offers, or even get you free perks such as magazines or tea and coffee.

Get cards for wherever you shop regularly and start getting rewarded every time you shop.

9. Your trolley is too big

It's always better to have an overflowing small trolley than a half-empty big one.

Why? All that space will cry out to be filled. What you've already put in will look like less, and you'll be more tempted to impulse buy and fall for those brightly-coloured offers.

Always opt for a trolley that's in line with your budget or list - if you're only doing a 'quick shop', a basket is fine!

 

10. You shop when you're hungry

Rumbling stomach? Step. Away. From. The. Shops.

Just as it's never a good idea to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet when you're hungry, supermarkets should be off limits too.

When you're running on empty, eating pretty much anything seems like a good idea. You'll be much less likely to stick to the task at hand - getting everything on your list - and instead focus on feeding your stomach.

Before you know it, you'll end up with a range of sweet and savoury treats in your trolley as a result of your uncontrollable cravings.

From now on, time your shop so that it's on a full stomach - after breakfast, lunch or dinner is best.

11. You don't self-checkout

self checkout sainsburys
You'll learn so much!©WikiCommons

Self-checkouts may not be practical for the big, weekly shop, but they're seriously useful for smaller ones.

Checking out all your items individually and watching the total slowly rise will make you much more aware of what you're spending, and why. It will help you to really reevaluate the cost of things, whether you need them, and how you could spend less next time.

Avoid these common shopping mistakes and you'll be able to save more money than ever on your supermarket shop!
Author

Stephanie C

Editor

Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author christine on August 18, 2018 at 8:30 am

    I hate self checkouts. Elderly people find them difficult and they take jobs away from people who need them. I always refuse to use them and if in the evening there are no manned checkouts available I abandon my shopping at the[probably empty] customer service desk.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 20, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Hi Christine. Thanks for sharing your opinion! Sorry to hear that.

    Reply
  2. Author Sara Bellisio on August 18, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Awesome advice for rookie money-savers! :) The article (and the email I received with the link to the article) did have a few spelling mistakes in it,though.This made good advice look less professional.Maybe you could use a spell-checker or Grammarly? :) Thanks, Sara x

    1. Author Joanne A on August 21, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Sara! Thanks for the great feedback. We've now reviewed the article for spelling. We do check thoroughly, but sometimes small mistakes can slip through. We apologise for this.

    Reply
  3. Author Jood Evans on August 18, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Smaller packets of such things as flavoured rice or couscous are horribly expensive. Much cheaper to buy a bag of plain rice and add the flavours or veggies you want. Some brand names are better than own brands, but I wait until they're on offer; also it depends what I'm using it for. For instance own brand mayo is fine for home-made coleslaw, but branded is better for dressing a salad. Which brings me to things such as buying ready made food. It's so much cheaper to make your own coleslaw, soups, and various other things - and, more importantly, you know exactly what has gone into food you have prepared.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      That's very true, Jood! We love cooking from scratch for so many reasons.

    Reply
  4. Author Josie Rowell on August 18, 2018 at 10:33 am

    There's some really useful tips here. Thank you :-)

    1. Author Joanne A on August 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      You're welcome, Josie!

    Reply
  5. Author Annie G on August 18, 2018 at 10:38 am

    I agree with most of the points you raise, but if the offers are for products you normally use, why wouldn’t you buy them when they’re on offer and not have to buy them full price when you need them? Also, I have loyalty cards for all the major supermarkets, in case it happens to be more convenient to shop at a different store and will happily shop at Lidl and Aldi, neither of which offer loyalty cards, because they are so much cheaper. That way I don’t feel obliged to shop at only one store and I get a nice surprises more often!!

    1. Author Joanne A on August 20, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      Hello Annie! Thanks for reaching out to us. We definitely think you should make use of offers, just watch out for promotions on items that are unnecessary. If you don't need ice cream, snacks etc then don't buy them just because they are on offer. You'll end up spending way more than any savings could make up for! That said, if you see a bargain pack of your favourite laundry detergent, but you don't necessarily need it that week, you should still buy it. No harm in stocking up! It's a fab idea to have loyalty cards for all the supermarkets, and we're a big fan of Lidl and Aldi too!

    Reply
  6. Author Lesley Bound on August 18, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Check the multi pack offers, sometimes it's cheaper to buy single items than a multi pack! We get drawn in by assuming it's a better deal.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 20, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      We agree, Lesley! Always check the price per X on the shelf ticket.

    Reply
  7. Author heather on August 18, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Why not pop your basket into a shallow trolley if you are doing a small shop so easier if it gets heavy, then unload at a basket or small items aisle?! Also useful if your basket overflows so the shallow trolley will give some extra space.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      That's a wonderful tip, Heather.

    Reply
  8. Author Bet on August 18, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    What a load of old nonsense. Most intelligent people have known this for years. Be original. Or to put it another way. Does your grandmother know how to suck eggs?

    1. Author Joanne A on August 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      Hi Bet! It's great to hear that you know all of this already, you must be a master shopper! We'd love to hear your tips on how to save money on your supermarket shop!

    Reply
  9. Author Helen Blackburn on August 18, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I don't like self-checkouts. They are making profits for the supermarkets because they can employ less staff.

    Reply
  10. Author Trevor G Jones on August 18, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    I always buy lidl's shortcake biscuits as there is more butter in them than the original maker's.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 20, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Trevor, what a great tip!

    Reply
  11. Author Helena Buchanan on August 20, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    I think it is wrong to use self checkout because you would be saving the company money by doing someone out of a job.

    Reply
  12. Author Brian Goodspeed on August 21, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    I am a great believer in stocking up on items I will use anyway but only things that will keep and never perishables because as a D.O.A.P. I never know when I may end up in the N.H.S. People garage. Beware also of buying multi-packs that contain smaller items than the normal size. Always check the size/weight of the multi-pack against the originals. The "D"? Oh that stands for decrepit.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 22, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Bless you, Brian! Your sense of humour has brightened our day. Checking multi-packs is a great tip. I'm always getting caught out by that one, especially with beer bottles!

    Reply

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