If you find yourself spending more at the supermarket than you’d like, there are plenty of ways to cut back.
It might mean trying a new supermarket or taking the time to do a bit of research, but these small changes could make all the difference.
We know because every month we survey thousands of Which? members about how they save money on everyday bills, services or purchases. You can see the full range of our members’ money-saving tips by trialling Which? Money for two months for £1.
In February 2016, we asked 1,292 members to tell us the various ways they’d managed to save money on their grocery shopping. Those who responded saved an average of £176 a year.
Bag a budget supermarket bargain
More than 200 members told us they’d made savings by moving to a cheaper supermarket such as Aldi, Lidl or Iceland. Nigel Watling, from Oxfordshire, saved £50 on his £400 monthly shop by doing most of it at Aldi, citing particularly good savings on cheese, red wine, washing powder and fabric conditioner.
Trying own-label or ‘basic’ products was a successful experiment in saving for many members. The majority of them told us they remained impressed with the quality and taste.
Find out more: Best Buy food and drink – see which supermarket brand products made the cut
Get paid to shop
Using a reward credit card to pay for food shopping helped many members make extra savings. These cards typically award points, which can then be redeemed for vouchers, each time you use them.
Paul Ferguson, from St Albans, told he us earns £7 a month in Waitrose vouchers because he pays for his shopping with his John Lewis Partnership credit card.
Some non-retailer branded credit cards allow you to convert the points you’ve earned into supermarket vouchers. One member told us he swaps the points accrued on his HSBC Premier card for M&S vouchers. When using reward cards, it’s key to pay off your balance in full every month, otherwise the interest charged is likely to outweigh the bonuses.
Unlike a credit card, the Utility Warehouse card works on a pay-as-you-go basis. You top it up and then pay with it to earn cashback at more than 40 retailers including M&S (5% cashback) and Sainsburys (3% cashback).
Top Cashback and Quidco both offer cashback for online shops at all major supermarkets. You can earn cashback for specific items like flowers or wine, as well as groceries. It’s worth checking both sites as the rates can vary.
Which? Money Compare table: reward credit cards – find a great deal
Compare prices easily
If you have time, comparing prices on weekly essentials, pricier items or even your whole shop can help you take advantage of any promotions or discounts. Ann, from Cornwall, told she saves £30 a month by using Mysupermarket.com, which compares prices across 14 different retailers.
The site allows you to compile and save a shopping list, telling you which supermarket is cheapest that week. You can also set up alerts so you’ll get an email when the price drops on a certain item.
Find out more: best deals on cleaning products – our round-up of the best supermarket deals
Be clever with coupons
More than 300 members told us they cut the cost of their shop using vouchers and coupons given out by retailers. Nick Chaple told us he splits his shop into two halves when using the self-service checkouts, allowing him to use the voucher he receives with the first transaction for the second.
Charlie, from Liverpool, saves £15 a month using Farm Foods vouchers which are sent out to anyone who joins its online mailing list.
Others saved money via the Asda Price Guarantee, with one member saving as much as £16 a month. If your shop isn’t 10% cheaper than at Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco or Waitrose, you’ll get a voucher for the difference to spend in store.
Did our members miss a brilliant money-saving tip? Share your ideas with us on Twitter.
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Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.