EVERY week, we go the supermarket with the intention of sticking to our list – and every week, we fail miserably.
And because we've proven that we can't be trusted to ignore special offers, we're always interested in finding out ways to cut back on our food bill… while obviously continuing to impulse buy 10 packs of crisps at a time.
Luckily for us, savvy shoppers on TikTok and Facebook have been sharing the easy ways they halve their food bill with some simple supermarket swaps. (Try saying that three times in a row).
Spot the 'secret' codes
Earlier this month, Maneet Kaur, 28, from Leicester, explained how the "secret" batch codes helped her halve her weekly food shopping bill.
The process technologist had watched a video on how medication is marketed and decided to look into the food industry – starting with packets of pasta, tins of beans and loaves of bread.
In the viral TikTok clip, Maneet compared a 53p 500g packet of penne pasta from Tesco with a packet by Hearty Food Co that was on sale for 29p.
Maneet said: "I work in the food industry so know that whatever product we make will have a supplier code on it for traceability.
"I went into a supermarket and looked at staple foods like beans, pasta and bread and looked at the codes.
"It didn’t surprise me but essentially it’s all about how these brands market it to the consumer.
"The only thing I can do is make people more aware that buying branded is not always the best option and we need to be more conscious about the tricks supermarkets use!"
Double check the price in another aisle
We all know that shopping around in different supermarkets is a surefire way to save money – but did you know that very similar products are often scattered around the shop for slightly different prices?
Sharing his top tip with his 112,000 followers, TikTok star Dominic Bargains used Sainsbury's as an example.
He said: "Coconut milk by Sainsbury's in the regular aisle is £1.50.
"But then get yourself down the international aisle and the [branded] stuff is only £1. Always check the international aisle!!"
Meanwhile, another user revealed why he never buys the salsa in the crisp aisle.
Filming himself in Tesco, the bloke explained how a jar of £2.50 Dorito's dip had been placed next to the crisps.
"Well if you go down to a different aisle where they have the fajita stuff, they have tons of salsa from 80p," he said.
Shop smart with toiletries
Earlier this month, the government scrapped the "tampon tax" on sanitary products – but women still continue to pay more for everyday items such as razors and deodorant.
To find a way around it, money-saving mum Holly Smith – who created the Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK Facebook page – revealed how she always buys products aimed at men instead.
In a TikTok video, she said: "Brands always hike up the price if you want pink products."
Using a five-pack of Bic razors as an example, Holly continued: "This pack is £1.30."
However, a pack of razors aimed at men – which contains DOUBLE the amount – is just £1.
Vote for your Fabulous Mum of the Year and WIN
Do you know a mum who deserves some extra recognition? We want to pay homage to the best mums in Britain.
During the pandemic they’ve been busy juggling childcare, homeschooling and work, with the added stress of worrying about the health of elderly relatives and vulnerable friends.
It’s never been a harder time to be a mum, so this year it’s even more important to honour the amazing women in our lives.
Nominate her for our Fabulous Mum Of The Year Award and she could win an overnight stay for two at a Champneys spa of her choice complete with a Gold package, which includes four relaxing treatments for the ultimate pampering experience.
Two runners-up will Champneys goodie bag worth £50 plus a £100 M&S voucher and £200 Nutmeg at Morrisons voucher, and all three mums will enjoy a makeover with our glam squad before taking part in a photo shoot for the magazine.
And you could win a £100 Tu at Sainsbury’s voucher, £200 Florence & Fred at Tesco voucher or £250 to spend at Primark just for entering.
If you want to nominate a mum then fill in the form here.
To enter, upload a photograph of the mum you are nominating and explain why they deserve to win.
The deadline for entries is Sunday February 14 and one winner and two runners-up will be announced on Sunday March 14. Good luck – we can’t wait to hear from you!
Buy longer-lasting options
It might sound obvious – but you can make your money go a lot further when you buy longer-lasting products.
Using a box of eight poppadoms as an example, Dominic – who runs the account Dominic Bargains – urged followers to go for the microwavable option.
Comparing the £1 microwavable box to the £1 fresh pack, he said: "Yes you are getting the same amount but the microwavable pack will keep so you don't need to use them all.
"You can make the box last two curries. 50 per cent saved."
Bag yellow sticker bargains with app
In order to get the best yellow sticker bargains, you really have to put in the time at your local supermarket… at least, that's what we always thought.
However, the app Too Good to Go allows customers to buy a reduced box of food for a fraction of its retail price.
Last August, mum Alice Griffiths, 25, from Southport, was down to her last £5 when she ordered a £3.09 "Magic Box" from Morrisons through the Too Good To Go app.
In an interview with Latest Deals, the thrifty mum explained how she was able to feed her family for a week using the service – which offers shoppers discounted food which is past the "best before" date but is still fine to eat.
Alice said: "I knew that at the least I would get enough vegetables for soup and so on for us to last a couple of days.
How does the TooGood to Go app work?
You can find the app on iOs or Android app store
1. Find a store and place your order through the app
2. Collect your meal at the store at the specified time
3. Enjoy your meal that little bit more knowing you have just helped reduce food waste
"This was my fourth box, and I would say this one was definitely worth it! It had enough meals to feed me and my husband for the next seven days."
Praising the "game-changing" service, Alice explained how she received a chicken pie, two microwave carbonaras, mushrooms, cheesy chicken breasts, bacon, cook in the bag chicken, lettuce, a microwave mash, vegetable medley, sausages and a microwave fish and chips in one box.
She added: "If I paid full price for all of that I reckon it would have cost around £25 to £30."
However, the mum revealed that you never know exactly what you'll get in the boxes – and has previously received ones full of fruit and veg and one with donuts.
Offering up her top tips, Alice said: "The new boxes get released each evening around 18:15 on the Too Good To Go app and you have to keep refreshing the page until it says available. They sell out so fast!"
For more food tips, this mum feeds her family-of-four for £1.50 each a day and shares her monthly meal plan so you can too.
And this mum shared how she creates 15 different meals for just £14.70 using Aldi chicken.
Plus this woman NEVER spends more than £1 on a meal – cut your food budget too with her organisation tips.
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