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How to cut the cost of your food shop for the Easter weekend

Enjoy the Easter festivities without putting pressure on your finances.

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Shopping trolley full of Easter eggs
It’s always important to plan ahead to avoid overspending.

The Easter weekend is the perfect time for family and friends to spend some quality time together. 

But, it can also become quite an expensive weekend as it comes with expectations of gifts, travel and lots of food. This can put pressure on our budgets, so it’s always important to plan ahead to avoid overspending. 

For example, if you’re hosting your family for an Easter meal, then start thinking about your shopping list now. Try not to leave it until the last minute, as you might miss out on important deals that’ll help to cut the cost of your groceries. 

Here, we’ve compiled some tips on how to avoid overspending on your Easter food shop and keep your budget and savings account on track. 

Planning is key 

As we’ve already mentioned, planning is essential when you need to stick to a budget. Instead of writing a list of ingredients that you think you’ll need to buy, write down the meals you’ll cook on each day instead. Then, break down the meals into the ingredients as this will avoid purchasing unnecessary items. 

Think about the best time to shop 

Once you have the list, try and shop when your local supermarket has just had a delivery to get the best produce. You want to buy food that has a long shelf life as this will minimise food waste, and help you to plan ahead for Easter. If you aren’t sure when is the best time to shop, ask a worker at your favourite local supermarket and they’ll have some tips to share.

Always check the expiry date 

It’s easy to rush around the supermarket picking up what you need without checking the dates. But, try and take the time to review this, as your future self will thank you. There is nothing more frustrating than unpacking the shopping to find the joint of lamb you bought won’t make it to Easter Sunday. 

Shop in bulk 

Buying non-perishable items like rice, pasta and canned goods in bulk can lead to significant savings, but always check the unit price to make sure you are getting the best deal. This is also where your shopping list comes in handy as your meal planning will flag which items you might need in bulk. 

Compare prices 

If you are serious about reducing the cost of your food shop, then some research can really help. Download supermarket apps and browse the items on your shopping list for price comparisons. Make a note of the price for each item and then see which supermarket comes out as the cheapest. This will take a bit of time, but it will pay off as you’ll become familiar with which supermarket is offering the most competitive deals. 

Sweeten the deal 

Speaking of price comparison, try this with Easter eggs. If comparing your entire food shop feels daunting, then experiment with this sweet treat. The supermarkets compete to get the best deal on Easter eggs, so always keep an eye on the changing prices. It normally pays to buy your eggs as early as possible - supermarkets don’t normally drop the price just before the weekend, as last-minute shoppers scrabble to buy the last ones. 

Scan while you shop 

Have you tried scanning your items while you shop? Some of the popular supermarket chains have introduced a scan and shop system and it can work well for reducing the cost of your food shop. This is because you get a live view of how much you’re spending, and you have the power to stop shopping when you hit your budget. This also avoids any nasty shocks at the till. 

Test own-brand products 

Most supermarkets have their own-brand products which offer the same quality at a lower price. This is an easy way to reduce the cost of your food shop, and you’ll be surprised at how little it’ll impact your tastebuds. 

Try the offers challenge 

On the one hand, it’s important not to be sidetracked by the offers on display, but there is a way to put them to your advantage. Challenge yourself to only purchase the items on your shopping list if there’s an offer attached. Special offers for supermarket cardholders, like Tesco Clubcard, can really help with this challenge as more and more items are included. 

Take out cash to stick to the budget

If you’ve tried the tips above but still find you’re overspending, then leave your debit or credit card at home and opt for cash instead. This means you’ll have to be strict with your spending, as you’ll only have a specific amount of cash to spend.

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About Lucinda O'Brien

As a trained journalist, Lucinda has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles, including The Mirror, WalesOnline and Manchester Evening News. She is now a personal finance editor and specialises in savings, helping people to make confident financial decisions so they can save for what matters most.

View Lucinda O'Brien's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.