If you're looking to save money on your food shop there are some pretty basic tips that most people have heard of.

But they're worth pointing out as they're easy to put into practice with little effort.

  • Swap your branded tin of baked beans for one brand down and you save money. Do the same for everything in your trolley and you will save a fortune.
  • Use basic ingredients to cook all your meals from scratch instead of buying ready meals and jars of sauces.
  • Bulk buy items and the overall price per unit comes down, making substantial savings over the course of a month. 
  • Visit supermarkets either early in the morning or just before they close to pick up discounted items. Sort them in the freezer until needed. 

Each of these things are simple to do, take very little forward planning and you can see an immediate impact to your overall shopping bill. 

However, there are other things you can do to save money on your food shop but they take a little more elbow grease. 

Meal planning

A big money saver for us is planning our meals before heading to the supermarket. We work out what we fancy for the next week or so and then draw up a list of ingredients, checking what we have in cupboards so we don't buy more than we need.

Although we do like to eat a variety of meals, when it comes to the meal plan we try and pick dishes that use similar things. 

Everything needed goes onto a list so we can keep on track when in store and because of this we find we don't buy impulse purchases and extra things we don't need. 

Thinking about meal planning in advance allows us to save money on items that we don’t really need and because we know exactly what we will be eating, we have less waste which again saves money! 

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Avoid the temptation of 'deals'

For most people heading to the supermarket for the weekly shop is a real chore. Let’s face it, you’ve been working hard all week and the last thing you want to do is spend ages in the aisles when you could be at home with the family. 

Problem is supermarkets know this and use it to make you spend more money. They want to make it easy for you to spot a bargain quickly so pop them on the ends where you can pick them up quickly. 

Instead of grabbing them and heading to the checkout, take a little more time and hunt around. Although three-for-two and similar offers seem like good value, if you don't need them they'll just be an impulse buy and a waste of money. 

The deals on the ends of the aisles are usually more expensive than the store's own branded products. Take a little more time and go up the aisle where you'll find a bigger selection at even better prices. 

Coupons

A lot of people disregard coupons but there offer the chance to save loads of money. You can collect them in national newspapers, in store magazines and on the products themselves. 

Whether you use one supermarket or multiple stores, make sure you sign up to their loyalty card scheme (if they have one) as they will send you coupons through the post as well. 

Another trick is to contact your favourite brands and tell them how much you enjoy their products. Ask them what promotions they have coming up and if they would be able to send you any current money off coupons.

This might sound cheeky but it really does work. 

With some forward planning on current store offers and using coupons too, you can easily knock cash off your supermarket shop each week. 

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Smartphone apps

If you have a smartphone you can take advantage of some awesome apps that will help you save money on your food bill. 

Use cashback apps like CheckoutSmart, Shopitize and Quidco's ClickSnap. They are easy to use: before you head to the store check out their current offers, purchase the product (but only if you would have bought it anyway), then upload the receipt to claim your cashback.

You will have the make the purchase up front but will get some money back. 

Next up is the MySupermarket app. The grocery comparison tool checks the price of thousands of products from all the major supermarkets.

I use this app to track where the best deals are to be had and make sure I don't waste my time heading to the wrong store. 

Although these tips are straightforward, I find a lot of people don't feel they have the time, or even think twice, about doing them before going shopping. However, if you do take some time and put the ideas into practice, the savings will be substantial. 

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