15 things I stopped buying to save money at the supermarket

    Do you want to cut your grocery bill down and save money at the supermarket?

    If the answer is yes please! Then it might be time to look at your shopping list and start culling things.

    I know how easy it is to get carried away when you’re shopping for groceries, especially when you’re in a hurry and end up chucking in all sorts of random stuff!

    I can’t tell you the amount of money I’ve wasted on things at the supermarket, and it’s still probably one of the areas of my spending I’ve got a little work to do on.

    To help you get started, here is my list of things I stopped buying to save money at the supermarket…

    #1 Freshly packaged fruit & vegetables

    I hate to admit it but I’ve wasted SO much money buying packs of onions or peppers. I’ve used one or two before the pack expires and the rest end up in the bin!

    As there are only two of us, buying packaged vegetables just doesn’t work. We’ve also realised that buying packaged fruit doesn’t work too well for us either. Bananas, oranges, grapes, etc. all end up in the bin.

    So now we either buy loose if we need one or two pieces for a recipe. Or I go for frozen packs of veg or fruit for smoothies.

    Frozen veg can actually work out a lot cheaper and it’s often pre-sliced and ready to cook.

    Buying loose or frozen is also a really good way for us to reduce our household waste, as well as save money!

    Potential savings: It all depends how much you fruit and veg you buy but for us, it’s saved about £5 per shop

    #2 Meat

    We gave up meat about three years ago now and it’s been the best decision for us health-wise and pocket wise too.

    We used to spend a small fortune on McDonald’s, Burger King, takeaways, etc. but also on buying meat in supermarkets.

    Once we gave it up, everything seemed so much cheaper! When you’re only buying things like pasta, lentils, veg, it really does cut your grocery bill in half.

    We still eat fish occasionally, but we buy that canned or frozen to save on that cost too.

    Potential savings: huge savings if you cut out all meat! Even switching one or two meals to meat-free options can shave £10-20 off your grocery bill

    #3 Naughty snacks

    Do you know what I mean when I say ‘naughty snacks’?

    Of course, you do!

    Krispy Kreme doughnuts, multipacks of Walkers crisps, Doritos and dip.

    Not only did these snacks destroy my food budget, but they didn’t do my waistline any favours, either!

    As soon as I pulled myself together and started to resist temptation, I also started to lose pounds as well as gain them, if you catch my drift…

    Potential savings: again, depends on your cravings but based on my snacking habits, I’ve saved about £10 per week on snacks

    #4 Ready meals

    Ahh the ready meal, an old favourite of mine. George (my other half) usually does most of the cooking so when he used to go out, I’d often just stick a ready meal on.

    Recently though, I’ve been trying to eat healthier and I’ve realised how much cheaper cooking from scratch is! Also, the amount of sugar and salt in these things is CRAZY.

    If you’re on a tight budget, skip the ready meals and buy ingredients from scratch. It may take slightly longer to prep and cook but it’s so worth it.

    Potential savings: I used to have 2 of these a week from Tesco so cutting these out saved me like £5

    #5 Brand name food & condiments

    Yes, Heinz tastes amazing, but I swear, own-brand beans and ketchup are just as good, trust me. Plus, it’s way cheaper!

    This goes for pretty much anything branded, there is always a cheaper version.

    Supermarkets cleverly place the most expensive, popular brands at eye level.

    But…

    If you look up and down, they usually have the own-brand stuff on the top and bottom shelves.

    If you really can’t give up your favourites, look for coupons or check on supermarket cashback apps for deals.

    Potential savings: You can cut a good £10 off your shop by switching to own brand items like beans, tuna, rice, bread, cereal, etc. It all adds up!

    #6 Anything from the counters

    Cheese, fish, meat, all that food looks so fancy on those counter displays.

    Supermarkets will even tempt you in with a free sample, but the product itself is so expensive!

    I guess the appeal is that you can buy in weight so you can choose how much you spend. But it still always used to work out so expensive compared to just buying off the shelf.

    So I stopped picking up items from here in another bid to save money.

    Potential savings: more big savings to be had here, especially if you’re buying fish or meat from the counter, you could end up saving like £20!

    #7 Magazines and newspapers

    I used to be addicted to ELLE magazine, along with the occasional Vogue, Marie Claire and Grazia to name a few.

    These magazines cost like £5 a pop!

    I could never even afford 99% of the stuff in there.

    I just liked looking at the pictures. Once I found Pinterest and Instagram, I didn’t need to buy expensive mags anymore.

    Same goes for newspapers, all the ones I read now have websites where you can read for free.

    Sorry to the world of print publishing, but I have a budget to stick to!

    Potential savings: As I said, these mags don’t come cheap, neither do broadsheet newspapers. I’ve probably saved about £5-10 here depending on how indulgent I used to be buying these

    #8 Flowers

    I do love flowers, they brighten up our humble abode and make me feel good for about a week. They are an expensive luxury when you’re on a tight budget, though.

    Don’t even get me started on the upkeep, either! Cutting the stems, refreshing the water, cleaning out the vase, who has the time??

    Instead, we now have a few plants knocking around that we’ve picked up on our travels from places like Lidl and Aldi.

    If you really love flowers and can’t give them up or you have guests coming over, there are always cheap ones up for grabs in the reduced section.

    These might not last as long as the full-priced ones, but they’ll certainly do for a few days.

    Potential savings: I used to buy flowers from Lidl so we’re talking £3 a bunch, but I’ve seen some in Waitrose for like £20!

    #9 Expensive toiletries

    The amount of money I’ve blown on Batiste dry shampoo is insane. I’ve tried cheaper alternatives and they were just rubbish.

    At £4.99 a big bottle, I decided to just give it up and actually wash my hair, more effort but again, definitely a cheaper option.

    That’s the only thing I really splashed the cash on. The same applies to shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toilet roll, etc. You don’t need to blow your budget on these!

    Stick to absolute essentials and look for dupes in budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl.

    Potential savings: Batiste alone is £4.99 for a big bottle and about £3.50 for a small one. With this and other expensive options, the savings could be anywhere between £10-20

    #10 Fabric conditioner

    As well as pricey toiletries, I also dropped fabric conditioner from my shopping list to help me save money. You should too!

    It’s not 100% essential and I’ve heard it can even damage your clothes in some cases.

    A great (and of course, cheaper) alternative is to try making your own. This post from Wendy at Moral Fibres will help you get started.

    Potential savings: Own brand fabric conditioner is about £2. Expensive, well-known brands can cost like £7 a bottle. So cross that one off your shopping list!

    #11 Meal deals

    Oh those sandwiches are so delicious. I know! They never quite taste the same when you try to recreate them yourself.

    But you know what’s coming…

    Buying bread and even sandwich filler from the fresh section will save you so much in the long run.

    If you fancy mixing it up, try making your own soup or chuck together a salad to keep it less dull.

    Potential savings: just think, £3 a day x 5 is £15 per week, times that by every working week of the year. Oooft, I don’t even want to think about that figure!

    #12 Premade Soup from the fridge section

    I really enjoy soup, especially on nights where I get home from work and I’m not really that hungry.

    So I started making my own with veg and stock and it tastes so good. If I do say so myself! I know exactly what’s gone into it and I can make an extra batch for lunch the next day.

    Potential savings: I used to pick up brands like Cully & Sully, Covent Garden, etc. but even own brand premade soups range anywhere between £1.50-3 a pop

    #13 Plastic water bottles

    In an effort to save money and the environment, I’ve stopped buying plastic bottles. I’ve treated myself to a grown-up reusable leak proof water bottle that sits on my office during the day, and I can take it with me to the gym too.

    Potential savings: a bottle of water in a supermarket can range from £1-3 so small but significant savings

    #14 Fancy booze

    I’m not going to lie, I used to feel well fancy and adult-like showing up to a party with Absolut vodka or Gordon’s Gin.

    Then I found all the cheap dupes in Aldi and Lidl and felt like a bit of an idiot for blowing all my cash, to be honest.

    It turns out, no one really cares what brand of booze you show up with, so now I buy those cheap and cheerful gins in a can and they are amazing!

    Potential savings: another huge saving to be had here! Considering I’ve swapped a bottle of Gordon’s gin for £15 to Lidl’s own gin in a can for like 85p each, I would be saving over £10 each party or pre-drinks session!

    #15 Plastic bags

    Finally, I’ve stopped buying plastic bags. I’ve not quite convinced George yet. Sometimes we forget our big bag for life and he’s not a fan of juggling items back to the car like me, but we’ve massively cut down.

    Potential savings: yes, 10p per bag isn’t going to save you enough to quit your job and run off into the sunset, but again, it’s another saving and pennies make pounds and all that!

    More ways to help you save money at the supermarket:

    How to save money at the supermarket with cashback apps

    Earn free cashback every time you shop with these top sites & apps

    How to track your spending and stay out of your overdraft

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