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Saving money on your online food shop

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Published: 1 February 2021

Shopping trolleys

According to research by Waitrose, the number of people who do a weekly online food shop has doubled since the start of the pandemic.

It’s easy to see why, with increased convenience, the ability to avoid crowded public spaces and greater availability of produce.

But, like most students, you’re probably wondering how you can take advantage of this new trend to save a little extra money.

Check out our top tips for becoming an online food shop expert.

1) Meal plan

Just like a physical shop, online supermarkets are experts at convincing you to go for impulse purchases of things you really don’t need.

You’ll find adverts on every supermarket site pushing you to pick up a bag of sweets or some crisps.

To combat this, work out what you’re going to eat for the week ahead, then write down all the ingredients you’ll need.

2) Shop off-peak

Right now, we’re all spending a lot more time at home than ever before. That gives you an opportunity to save some money.

To encourage people to keep buying online shops have cheaper delivery times during the less popular hours.

Each supermarket has their own peak and off-peak times, so make sure you shop around, but generally speaking avoid weekday evenings and weekends which are normally more expensive.

Top tip: Make sure you avoid any lecture times – it’s awkward getting up from your class to answer the door and you might miss something important!

3) Delivery pass

If you’re thinking of making the online shop a regular thing, it’s working considering investing in a delivery pass.

For a one-off fee, lots of supermarkets will give you unlimited free delivery.

Obviously, the initial amount is more than the standard delivery cost. But over the course of a year, you’ll make some big savings.

To find out if your supermarket has a delivery pass scheme, have a quick Google and see what’s on offer.

4) First-order discounts

Big shops are competing for your business. That means they’ll usually offer you a discount of some kind for choosing them the first time.

Take full advantage of this by moving between shops each week. Eventually, you’ll use all the ones you want to, but for the first few months, you’ll find you save a lot of money.

5) Go bagless

There are plenty of good reasons to order your food shop without plastic bags. For one thing, you really don’t need them as the delivery person will bring the food to your door in crates.

Obviously, choosing to avoid something that can’t be recycled is the better choice for the environment too.

But if you need another reason, it’ll actually save you money. Government guidelines now require shops to charge customers for each bag.

So, going green is good for the planet and your purse.

There are plenty of tips and tricks for getting the most out of your food shop. But start with these and there’ll be one less thing to think about while you’re studying away.

Have you got any money-saving tips your fellow students should know? Share them with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon.