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How To Do Your Weekly Grocery Shop On A Budget.

Updated on September 30, 2012

Grocery Shopping Weekly.

This is something that every household has to do. If we don't shop we don't eat. Simple. So it makes sense in these tough economic times that we get the best value whendoing the weekly grocery shopping.

In our household gone are the days when we would buy all branded items at the supermarket. In recent years there has been a shift in the UK to the bargain supermarket chains who are now having a good time and taking market share away from what was once called The Big 4.

It is hoped that by reading this article you will realise that doing your weekly grocery shopping on a budget will help you balance the household finances and you may even save some money by doing it.

Learn the strategies involved here, simple strategies I might add, and you will not only plan your week ahead in terms of meals but you will also make a little time back by not just aimlessly wandering around the supermarkets only to get home and realise that you had forgotten something. This results in wasted time and energy but can also waste fuel by having to retrace your route you had already driven. You see there is a method in the madness.

Well good luck with your shopping endeavours and I hope you make the most of the information and pass it on to anyone you think will benefit from it. E|njoy the read and don't forget to comment at the end.

The Big 4

Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda were the Big 4
Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda were the Big 4 | Source

Lidl and Aldi in the UK

Lidl and Aldi in the UK are gaining pace on the Big 4
Lidl and Aldi in the UK are gaining pace on the Big 4 | Source

Bargain retailers.

The bargain retailers now in the UK are flourishing in the hard times financially as people struggle to put food on the table for their families. With high unemployment, stagnent wages and always the threat of more job losses frugal living is once more becoming a way of life. This means saving money and trying to get more for your money when grocery shopping.

This is certainly possible if you are prepared to look for the bargains and know before you go shopping what your budget is and what your menu for the next week will consist of.

I speak with authority on this because I was forced last year into taking over the household grocery shopping when my wife unfortunately broke her ankle in a freak accident whilst at work. With 7 months of shopping, cooking, cleaning and ironing I got to appreciate the work that goes into not just running the house but shopping for it also.

As this section is to be about bargain grocery retailers I had better talk a little about them.

The main competitors for this accolade are Lidl, Aldi along with Iceland. There are no doubt others but these I believe are the main players. Like the big supermarkets they all have their own strengths and weeknesses but the main consideration when deciding to shop there is one thing and one thing only.....and that is PRICE.

In store promotions and offers.

BOGOF being the big one in the UK. For those of you reading outside the UK this means 'buy one get one free'

Many retailers go one better with offers that give you more than one free. There are many different types of offers the supermarkets use to get your custom. People in the UK now are very much aware of this and shop according to the offers of that week sometimes only going to a particular store just for the offers. Yep you guessed it, here I am speaking from experience....painful experience. But, it has to be done, right.

In fact a couple of supermarkets now tell you how much you have saved on branded products compared to rival supermarkets. How good are they?

In future you must must must try to shop by offer. It really does work.

Own brand v branded items.

To the savvy grocery shopper this should be a no brainer really. Own branded products are so much more cheaper than branded items and are therefore better value. In my experience of buying these products more often than not they are actually better than the branded products. They usually taste better. In a very many cases they are exactly the same products as the branded ones because they are made by the same companies only to be put in own brand packaging. I know this to be true as my day job often takes me to food producing sites of branded goods and own branded and I see for myself that this happens. The same products come out of the same production lines.

So the advice is, when you have a branded product up against an own branded product, for price alone try the own branded item and see the difference it has on your wallett.

Our supermarkets are taking this on board and have thousands of these products in their stores and are developing more and more each year.

Not as nice to look at, the own brand packaging is much less colourful and not as pleasing to the eye. It doesn't bother me in the slightest so long as I am getting the best possible value. In fact it is quite gratifying to know that the stores are trying to keep production costs down to ensure that everybody gets a good deal. We get cheap prices whilst they make more profit. Win Win some may say.

The message therefore is BUY OWN BRAND ITEMS!

It's all in the list.

If you are internet savvy you will have heard that quote before. Only this time it is true. It really is all in the list.

Before you set off on your shopping trip I would suggest that you set a budget for your weekly shop and keep to it. Write your shopping list before you go and base it on what food you already have in stock then buy items to go with what you have to make up meals for next week. That way you will not have to duplicate what you buy and will use up things already in your cupboards and freezer.

I never could understand why we used to buy food and not take into account what we already had in. It makes perfect sense not to buy too far in advance and tie your ready cash up in stock piles of stuff you are not likely to use for weeks.

By doing this your food stocks are also rotated and is never kept for too long only to be thrown out because it has gone out of date.

Save and use coupons.

There are times when you are flicking through a newspaper or magazine and you notice a money off coupon for an item which you may or may not use. Always clip the coupon and use it to save yourself hard cash. Many of the supermarkets have loyalty systems in place which all help you to save money. Take advantage of this. You are a loyal customer and deserve the spoils for this loyalty.

Just make sure that you watch for promotion end dates and expiry dates on the coupons so you don't miss out.

Top tips for weekly shopping.

  • Make a list
  • Set a budget
  • Save coupons
  • Rotate your stocks
  • Buy own brand items
  • Shop to the offers
  • Shop around for deals
  • Plan the week ahead for meals

Other handy tips.

  • Never shop when you are hungry as you may spend more than you need to buying comfort food.
  • Take a pen with you to cross off the items on the list.
  • Don't be tempted to buy items not on the list.
  • Stick to the budget.

Tell me your experiences of shopping to a budget.

I would love to hear about your experiences you have with shopping on a budget. Especially if you don't have a system. Let me know if you try it for the first time and what the results are. Have you saved any money. Have you gained any time back by planning your shop and week ahead meals.


Submit a Comment

  • poshcoffeeco profile imageAUTHOR

    Steve Mitchell 

    5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

    thanks always exploring. Glad you share the view of not shopping on an empty stomach. I am always hubgry when I get back from shopping!

    Nice to hear from you. Take care.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    5 years ago from Southern Illinois

    I learned not to shop when hungry. I do make a list and pretty well stick with it. My places to shop are limited due to celiac disease. I must have a gluten free diet. Walmart has a few items, Kroger has a good line. Thank you for a well informed article..

  • poshcoffeeco profile imageAUTHOR

    Steve Mitchell 

    5 years ago from Cambridgeshire


    Sally's Trove,

    thanks for reading and commenting and also sharing.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    Very helpful information no matter where you are, especially for young people starting out on their own. Up, useful, helpful. :)

  • Alecia Murphy profile image

    Alecia Murphy 

    5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    The same thing is pretty much going on in the States. We don't have major nationwide chains but the supercenters like Wal Mart have taken over since they offer the best prices overall. Your tips are very handy and useful for all of us. Nice hub!


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