Shop smarter to save money – Top Tips!

How to save money on post-lockdown shopping….


Did your shopping habits change during lockdown?

There was a lot of debate in the early days and weeks, when essential shopping was one of the few reasons that we were allowed to leave our homes. After all, what counts as “essential”? 

At the time, there were many stories circulating on news websites and social media about people not being allowed to buy certain items in shops that were open. At one stage there was even the threat of police checking shopping trolleys in stores to ensure that items being purchased were necessary and legitimate. Thankfully common sense prevailed, and the government confirmed that people could actually buy whatever they wanted from the shops remaining open during this period. 

But the whole experience of lockdown still caused many of us to change the way we shopped in various ways. Let’s take a look at four of these, and then see how they might still be able to help you save money even now lockdown is over.


The big weekly shop is back

Before lockdown, many of us had gradually moved away from the concept of doing a big weekly shop. Instead we tended to shop several times a week, just doing smaller top up shops.

But when lockdown started, many people were nervous about going out to the supermarket, and decided to do this as infrequently as possible. So, many of us started doing just one big weekly shop again. Tesco reported that the number of trips made by shoppers fell by nearly a third from the beginning of March to the end of May.

However, despite people shopping less often, the amount of food being bought actually increased. This was also the case in local convenience stores as people began to rely on local shops to fill any gaps in their daily needs.

The return of the big weekly shop also meant that most people once again began making shopping lists. According to a survey by Shopmium – a supermarket offer app – around 88% of shoppers now use a shopping list when visiting a supermarket. 


Online supermarket shopping

Another area of huge growth during lockdown was in online supermarket shopping. Online sales grew by 48.5% between March and May, particularly amongst those over 65. 

This led all the major supermarkets to drastically increase their online delivery slots; for example Tesco now fulfils more than 1.3 million online orders per week.


Different supermarket

According to the Shopmium survey we mentioned earlier, around 31% of UK consumers changed their primary supermarket during lockdown. There may be several reasons for this – for example the convenience of getting there/parking/queuing, overall better value or a more comprehensive range of goods available. 

The biggest change was 18% of shoppers switching to Tesco, followed by 12% to Sainsbury’s and 11% to Morrisons.


Home dining and baking

Many shoppers say that they have spent more money on groceries during lockdown. This is most likely due to the fact that they are not able to eat out, and perhaps may also be reluctant to order takeaways.

So as well as spending more money on groceries, the actual nature of what people bought during lockdown also changed, with a lot more proper home cooking going on. People started to experiment with different recipes, very much along the lines of Come Dine With Me. 

Lockdown also triggered a keen interest in baking for many families, which led to a huge demand for baking ingredients such as flour, yeast, suet and sugar. Banana bread proved to be particularly popular, becoming the top recipe searched for on BBC’s Good Food website.


How to save money on food shopping

Shopmium estimates that around 49% of shoppers now plan to stick to their new shopping habits post-lockdown. Only 14% say they will completely return to how they shopped before lockdown. 

So how can this help you to save money?

Well, many of the key trends we’ve just looked at are really important in helping you save money on food. Here are five key points to take away:

  1. Plan your shopping carefully. Make a list and only buy what you really need. Doing just one big weekly shop can also get you into good habits of using up everything you already have rather than going to the shop for new items and wasting what is already there.
  2. Online shopping can be really helpful in keeping you disciplined about your food shopping. There is no opportunity to buy extra things that you like the look of but don’t really need: once your final order is in you can’t throw anything else in the trolley.
  3. Check that you are using the right supermarket for the needs of you and your family. Every supermarket has its own particular strengths, so you need to make sure you are buying from the one that offers the best products and best value for you. Regular shopping at one supermarket can also bring you various benefits from any loyalty card or scheme that they may operate.
  4. Be a clever cook. Making meals from scratch is a great way of using up a variety of ingredients that you already have in your fridge or cupboard. It is also easy when you are cooking or baking to make double the quantity for very little additional cost, and freeze the extra dishes to eat later. 
  5. Eat out less. It’s great to eat out for special occasions but lockdown may have made you realise that you were actually spending far too much money on meals out and takeaways. So as well as finding ways to save money when food shopping, you can save even more money by having more home cooked meals in future and continuing the Come Dine With Me trend that you started during lockdown.

For more ideas on how to save money on food shopping, check out our earlier article How to Eat Well for Less.


We hope that the above tips help you to shop smarter and save money post-lockdown.

Remember to check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.