How you can save money on shopping

Unrecognised woman shopping, holding paper bags and paying by credit card.

While a little retail therapy is can be a great way to spend an afternoon, it can also get quite pricey.

Here are some top tips on how to save money when you hit the high street.

Buy online and look for discounts

If you've already set your heart on a few products from a specific online shop, put them all in your virtual basket then leave the site and check back a few days later. Online retailers like to remind shoppers of their abandoned purchases and some of them do this by sending out some discount codes to encourage you to seal the deal.

Compare prices between shops

Download a barcode scanning app before you head out to the shops. There are apps available that will compare prices and let you know what your cheapest offer is. Apps such as MySupermarket let you create shopping lists before you go which means you can find the cheapest option before you leave.

Listen to music

According to research supermarkets play slow music to try and manipulate the moods of their shoppers. Listen to faster music while you're shopping and you're likely to move around the aisles more quickly and avoid any spur of the moment purchases.

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This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.

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