I have lived on a student budget and let me tell you, some of the lessons I learnt then will always stay with me.
As someone who looks after their spending, I really like to save money, specially on things such as groceries.
Let's face it, grocery shopping is like rent - you have to spend money on it. The trick here is: shop with your head and not your stomach. Your wallet will thank you for it, and so will your body!
You see, the most common mistake people make in regards to grocery shopping, is to go shopping when you hungry. Sometimes, it is unavoidable, and for those times my next advice helps!
Make a list. It does not have to be elaborate or even complete, buying items that you NEED and are not on the list is OK. Buying that 10% off sale product that you are not even going to use is NOT OK.
Try downgrading a brand? Sometimes, items are even manufactured in the same place, by the same people, and yet you are paying 30% more due to a brand or label - try it, if you don't like it you can always switch back, but chances are that you won't even notice the difference. That's where I found a lot of savings.
Another useful tip is of course, to buy 'reduced' items. Here is a quick table which may help with that:
Supermarket rough reductions schedule
|UP TO 25% OFF||UP TO 50% OFF||UP TO 75% AND UP|
Don't however, compromise on what you eat - that ready meal with 25% sugar content is probably too unhealthy to be worth considering.
Another thing to be weary of, is ready packaged vegetables and fruits. £1 for tomatoes can usually be bought for £0.60 (for example) if you just grab the loose tomatoes and buy them that way. Supermarkets will pack vegetables and fruit in neat packaging for you to just grab and go - but they charge an insanely high price per kg. Don't believe me? Next time you buy a bag of apples just check what is the price per kg. Then compare that to the price per kg of the loose apples next to it.
Now.. none of this will work without some restraint. It is not realistic to go from buying whatever you feel like, to just a bare list. Start slowly, plan ahead a bit, consider prices. You will soon start realising what works for you. I still get that warm fuzzy feeling when I get to the till and spend less than what I thought I would - and sometimes buy more?!
I hope this is of some use to you ! Feel free to leave a comment if you agree or disagree!