Be a savvy shopper in the supermarket and avoid impulse buying

Do you come home from the supermarket laden with random offers you wish you'd left on the shelf? And are you taken aback at the size of your bill?

A list, on paper or stored on your mobile phone, could help you to stick to what you need. Photograph: PA
A list, on paper or stored on your mobile phone, could help you to stick to what you need. Photograph: PA

With rising living costs placing a squeeze on the nation’s wallets, sticking to a budget can be tough.

But the supermarket could be a good place to start trying harder.

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Here’s how you can avoid pitfalls at the supermarket and cut the cost of your bill:

Be organised

It’s easy when you’re whizzing around aisles to shove the nearest goods into your trolley, pushing up your bill and forgetting items you really need. A list, on paper or stored on your mobile phone, could help you to stick to what you need.

Don’t be seduced

Supermarket layouts lure us past tempting items en route to the ones we intend to buy.

Items placed on shelves in our eye-line, bright, eye-catching special offer signs and tempting treats near the tills may all encourage us to spend more.

And while buy one get one free offers may look like a good deal, do you actually need more than one item, and will you use it?

Try online shopping

Although you may have to factor in delivery charges, doing your supermarket shop online may encourage you to stick to a budget rather than make snap purchasing decisions when you’re out.

Shopping this way could help ensure you get everything you need and enable you to take items you’ve changed your mind about out of your virtual basket with a simple click.

For those trying to stick to a specific spend, being able to easily pop items in and out of their virtual basket could be particularly helpful.

You may also be able to shave money off your online supermarket bill through cashback websites.

Don’t be a brand snob

The most expensive item doesn’t necessarily make it the best. Try swapping some of your regular brands for cheaper supermarket alternatives and see if you can taste the difference. has a tool shoppers can use to estimate how much they could save by ‘downshifting’ items. Visit

And don’t be a supermarket snob

Even if you have a favourite supermarket, try shopping elsewhere to see if you can make savings.

Comparison websites may also help; mySupermarket, for example, collects prices from the main UK supermarkets, helping consumers to spot who’s offering a good deal.

And make the most of any coupons and loyalty points.

Don’t shop on an empty stomach

Shopping when you’re hungry could encourage you to fill your basket with items you don’t really need.

Don’t throw away your money

If you often end up throwing food in the bin, you might as well be chucking your hard-earned cash in there.

According to research from Sainsbury’s, £36.47 worth of food is wasted typically after a barbecue, with salad, burger rolls, hot dog buns, coleslaw and potato salad the most likely items to be thrown out.

More than a quarter of people admit throwing away uneaten salad if it’s been left uncovered outside, even for a short time, while 22 per cent say fussy eaters account for some of their leftovers.

Sainsbury’s has tips for using leftovers at