Save £££’s when shopping (whilst making good environmental decisions)

Take the downshift challenge

Move down one product level e.g. Premium to Branded, Branded to Own Brand, or Own Brand to Value. Just remember when buying animal products, this may come at a cost to animal welfare! If you drop a brand level on everything you buy and you’ll usually cut the bill by about 30%. If a family’s weekly shop is £100 then that’s a saving of £1,560 a year. Even if you only drop half the brands, that’s still a saving of £780 a year.

Take the ‘downshift’ challenge and save £££’s on your weekly shopping bill!

Yellow sticker discounts

If you spot a yellow sticker discount on an item you need – fantastic – buy it and use it quickly as it’s a saving on perfectly good food that is nearly out of date! Reduction times vary by store/opening time, yet some definite patterns emerge. The first yellow stickers appear around 10am, and the silly-price reductions begin at 7pm, when stores cut prices by 75% and upwards.

The chart below shows the rough times five of the top supermarkets schedule their reductions. ​But remember, don’t just buy an item because it’s reduced. It’s only a bargain if you need it!

SupermarketUp to 25% offUp to 50% offUp to 75% off

Yellow stickers show discounts of up to 75% or more on foods that are nearly out of date.

Buy food near or just passed its ‘Best Before’ date

There are local specialists and even an online store, Approved Food, which specialise in food that is either near or just passed its ‘Best Before’ date. Approved Food has a minimum £5.99 delivery charge, so it’s worth bulk-buying. There are no finite rules on how far beyond a ‘best before date’ it’s still safe to eat products, so you need to make the decision yourself.

Discounts from online supermarkets

It’s possible to get big discounts from online supermarkets by simply leaving the (virtual) shop. When you don’t complete an order, they often email you a discount as a way to entice you back to make a purchase. To try it, pop something in your basket, without buying. You may well find a discount code or offer lands in your email inbox within a few days. Make sure to then sign back into your online account or they won’t know who you are.

Buy food near or just passed its ‘Best Before’ date.

Go shopping with a friend and swap lists

This way you buy only what’s on their list and your friend buys only what you need, and nothing more.

What if you find a sale item is sold out?

If you ever go to the supermarket and find that an item on sale is sold out, you can ask for a ‘raincheck’ voucher. Normally this is some kind of rebate or coupon to make up for them not having the stock. Most of the time it is at the store manager’s discretion, but don’t be afraid to ask at the customer service desk.

Buy loose (rather than pre-packed) fruit and veg

If you purchase unwrapped (pre-packaged) produce such as fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, you reduce packaging and can save money (the price per kg is often less for loose produce).

Unwrapped fruit and veg is usually cheaper than pre-packaged produce (but make sure you compare price per kg).

Do I need it?

Think “do I really need it?” before you buy something.

Buy in bulk

​Buying in bulk means less cost, less packaging, and fewer trips to the supermarket or shop, which reduces your CO₂ imprint and lowers your petrol consumption (if you drive). Just make sure you will use what you purchase.

Check cost per kg/lb/gram/ml

Check the cost per kg / lb / gram / ml on each item to make sure you are paying the lowest price. This figure is often shown on the price sticker on the supermarket shelf, not on the product itself.

Check cost per kg/lb/gram/ml.

Ignore sweets and magazines placed by the till

These are deliberately put near the till to give stores one last attempt to grab your cash as impulse buys.

Look high and low for best deals

​The most profitable products for the supermarket are those placed at eye level. These are often the worst deals for shoppers, so look on the high and low shelves for the best deals.

Look high and low on supermarket shelves for the best deals.

Avoid tempting treats

​Avoid the tasty (but often expensive) tempting treats dotted around supermarkets. ​Try not to be seduced by the end of aisle bargains, you probably don’t need them.

Buy fresh rather than processed foods

You can save money and you will improve your health at the same time.

Go shopping without the kids!

If possible, go shopping on your own. Children can be a big distraction and you may find you’ve been persuaded to add a whole heap of extras to your shopping trolley.

Buy foods in season (if possible)

It can save money and reduce your CO₂ imprint due to lower production and transportation costs.

Buy less produce that goes off

Buy smaller portions of produce that goes off to prevent excess waste. For example, if you are continually throwing out mouldy bread then buy smaller loaves.

If you often throw out mouldy bread, buy smaller loaves.

Buy ‘Own Brands’

These may well come from the same factory as ‘Brands’! Take a look at for a whole range of ideas.

Use coupons

Check out Supermarket coupons at they give you a whole range of coupons to help you save money.

Use coupons to help save money.

Don’t be seduced by BOGOF offers

If you are buying food that goes off quickly, don’t be seduced by Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) offers. That extra pack may just end up in the bin.

Look for reduced price options

There is often a section in your supermarket where they sell products that have slightly damaged packaging or are close to the ‘sell by’ date. Only buy if you really need the item!

Beware of enticing offers at entrances

​Attractive treats are often displayed near store entrances, sometimes below cost price to entice us in. Similarly signs and displays are used to promote deals, even when they’re not actually available elsewhere in store.

Make sure ‘discount’ and ‘sale’ items are actually good value

Bright colours (especially red and yellow) and the words ‘Discount’ or ‘Sale’ or ‘Half Price’ make us feel good, yet the reduction may be only pennies and cheaper equivalents are hidden elsewhere (especially on lower shelves).

Do not always be seduced by special offers

In February 2013, Which? investigated the price of 700,000 items on sale at the five big supermarkets and found some special offers were more expensive than products not on offer. Always compare the cost of each item, per kg / lb / gram or litre.

Ask yourself if supermarket discount and sale offers are actually good value?

Nice smells in-store? Don’t fall for it!

​Supermarkets make sure there are yummy smells (such as baking bread) in their stores. This type of aroma is intended to make you feel hungry so you are more likely to buy more food, increasing the supermarket’s profits