Grocery Expenses and Household Budget

Grocery expense consists of spending on food items like bread, pasta, cakes, meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and non-alcoholic drinks such as coffee, tea, cocoa, juices, mineral water, soft drinks, etc. It also includes money spent on alcoholic drinks brought home like spirits, beer, wine and champagne, and on tobacco in the form of cigarettes and cigar. Depending on the number of residents in the household and their preferences, an average household spends anywhere between £250-500 on grocery every month.

Are grocery prices increasing?

Since 2006, grocery prices have seen an increase at a rate higher than the average increase in wages. In 2014, however, there has been some relief to households with food prices increasing only at 0.3 percent over the previous year. This has been the lowest year-on-year increase in prices since 2009. Nevertheless, grocery prices still remain high.

How to save on grocery expenses?

Buying a supermarket's private brand of goods: Goods sold by supermarkets under their private brand are more economical than the ones from other popular brands. For example 1 kg of Tesco Everyday Value Tomato ketchup costs only £0.55. In contrast, 342 gm., or a comparatively lesser quantity, of Heinz ketchup costs almost double at £1.00.

Loyalty cards from supermarkets: You should check the benefits available on loyalty cards offered by supermarkets. Traditionally retailers have been offering reward points, which are redeemable at a later date. For example, for every £1 spent in a Tesco store, a Tesco ClubCard holder gets 1p worth of points, which can be redeemed later. Waitrose offers more than the typical reward points. Under its myWaitrose plan, Waitrose gives one cup of tea or coffee every day, 10% discount on all ice cream and some other products, an opportunity to win vouchers worth £5,000 every month, a free copy of Waitrose magazine, and some other extras.

Online price comparison: A leading comparison website mySupermarket helps you compare prices from all leading retailers such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Ocado, and many more. It provides an option of comparing shopping baskets across nine stores at once. In other words, you can make a basket of all the items in your shopping list, and the website will show which store, among your 9 selected stores, is offering the lowest price for the particular basket.

Buying goods in bulk: This is especially true for goods, which can last long till the time their seal is not open. For example, one packet of Nestle Smarties cookies costs £1.20, but Asda is offering two packets for £1.60. However, you need to be careful as not all multi-buy offers are profitable. At times, a retailer may show an offer of 4 items worth £8 at only £4, but you will find that another retailer is selling the same goods at a list price of £4 without any discount. This means that the first retailer is wrongfully increasing the cost of the original goods to attract customers.

These are some ideas on how to save money on your household grocery expenses. You need to monitor your grocery spend frequently and see if it is in line with your income and overall household budget. Use our household budget calculator to see how grocery budget contributes towards your household's overall finances.