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How to save pounds on your grocery shopping

By River Reporter Oct 11, 2012

The River gives you some student-savvy shopping tips.

Kiran Dhiman

Keeping to a budget is always difficult and we are always looking for ways to save those pennies. The most problematic is often the grocery bill – after all, we all need to eat.

Martin Lewis, journalist and founder of the successful website Money Saving Expert, urges shoppers to be smarter claiming that supermarkets are “cathedrals of consumerism”.

In an article published on his website, Mr Lewis said: “[Supermarkets] are perfectly honed marketing environments, benefiting from millions of pounds of research on how to encourage and seduce us into buying and spending more than we need.”

As shoppers, we need to take the time to be more conscious when we are in the aisles. It may be time consuming, but an extra 10 or 15 minutes choosing your items carefully can earn you a few extra nights out without being skint.

So if you are cash-strapped after having woken up from a night out with an empty bank account it may be the right time to put on a pair of your comfy shoes and trek out a little further than your local supermarket to get the most out of your weekly spend.

Here are some tips:

• One of the simplest ways to curb your spending is downgrading your mainstream and supermarket’s luxury brands to the supermarket’s own basic value brand. If you don’t want to give up your beloved Mcvitie’s Hobnobs then try with other items that you’re not too fussed about. If you usually pick up the new apple-scented Fairy Liquid 500ml for £1.60, try Tesco Everyday Value Wash Up Liquid at 33p. It will get the job done at a fifth of the price.

• Look out for bargains and good deals, particularly BOGOF deals, but don’t always take them at face value. What may seem like a bargain at the time may not always be the best choice. A good tip to remember is to try and grab BOGOF offers with products that don’t have a short expiry span. Things like toothpastes, toilet roll and even tinned goods will end up costing you much less in the long term.

• Always try to buy in multipacks! The usual items like packets of crisps and toilet rolls are an obvious, but what about things like baked beans and sponge scourers? Multipack items will mean ultimately you will be spending much less for the item than buying it individually. Even buying bigger special offer sizes will most likely keep those moths out of your bank account for the next few weeks.

Grocery shopping at university is a constant learning curve and by practising these simple steps you can easily cut the cost of your weekly spend.

It is all about making conscious decisions and asking yourself whether you really need to buy Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream at £4.45 when Asda’s Loaded Cookie Dough ice cream will do at £2.00.  And if you have to walk an extra ten minutes to satisfy your carb cravings then be grateful that it is not only the pounds in your pocket that you will be saving, but pounds of podge as well! 

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