It’s hard to avoid the rising cost of food, but there are ways to be smart with your spending to ensure you never pay over the odds.
Which? members have plenty of tips and tricks to help you cut the size of your food bills.
We know because every month, we survey thousands of them to see how they save money on everyday bills, services and purchases. You can see the full range of our members’ money-saving tips by subscribing to Which? Money magazine.
In September 2014, we asked 4,711 members how they cut the costs of their weekly grocery shop. Here’s a selection of their best ideas.
Find out more: 50 ways to save money – our all-inclusive money-saving guide
Keep a close eye on special offers
Lots of Which? members are savvy when it comes to special offers.
Many buy non-perishable items in bulk while they’re on offer. Others split ‘buy one, get one free’ deals with a friend, with each paying half.
Our survey’s respondents saved an average of £247 a year by taking advantage of a supermarket’s special offers, but always take a closer look when you find them, and don’t buy more than you need.
Which? research has found that some offer poor value, and we recently launched a super-complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to put an end to these misleading pricing tactics.
Find out more: Misleading pricing campaign – sign our petition to end misleading pricing
Make the most of loyalty cards
The points you build up using loyalty schemes, such as the Sainsbury’s Nectar card and Tesco Clubcard, can be used for more than knocking money off your regular shop.
Some Which? members told us they turn their points into airmiles or travel vouchers to cut the cost of their summer holidays.
Our survey’s respondents saved an average of £202 a year by building up loyalty points.
Find out more: Loyalty cards: 10 ways to boost your rewards – make the most of your loyalty points
Don’t be too loyal
While building up loyalty points with a certain supermarket can be beneficial, sticking to one retailer can also tie you down as the best deals are often found by shopping around.
Plenty of Which? members told us they shop wherever the best deals are at the time, saving an average of £453 a year by doing so.
Find out more: Supermarket prices compared – our guide reveals the cheapest UK supermarket each month
Use online bargain-hunting tools
Doing your grocery shopping online can help you stick to your list and avoid impulse buys, but plenty of Which? members consult other websites about savings rather than relying on the supermarkets.
Mysupermarket.co.uk allows you to compare deals and fill a virtual basket to see which supermarkets offer you the best prices.
The Utility Warehouse website’s ‘Find Me the Cheapest’ tool searches online retailers for the best deals.
Which? members saved £165 a year by using these types of websites.
Find out more: How to save money on online shopping – Which? members share more money-saving tips
Resist supermarket spending tactics
Which? research has revealed the tactics supermarkets use to encourage spending.
Members told us they resist these by writing a list before they head to the supermarket and sticking to it.
Others shared advice about buying exact weights from butchers and greengrocers, and only buying perishable items that are in season.
These strategies saved our survey’s respondents £410 a year.