Easy ways to reduce your home bills

Make weekly menus
If you plan your meals for the week, then write out a shopping list to fit your menus so that you’ll be less susceptible to impulse buys when you enter the supermarket. Most shops are deliberately laid out to take you past lots of tempting extras while you browse for staples. So decide in advance what you’ll buy and stick to the list. And if you do need to drop into your super market for the odd item you’ve forgotten during the week, always use a basket. It’s far too easy to start adding extras to a trolley.

Get the best deal
Before you set out, you could check which supermarket in your area offers the best overall deal for your weekly shopping list.
Remember also to go for own-brand goods whenever suitable products are available; they’re usually cheaper than branded items of the same quality.

Go online or to a discount shop
Another way to cut the cost might be to shop online. Prices are often cheaper and it’s easier to stick to your list. But remember to factor in delivery charges. Discount supermarkets may also be good places to get your basics – milk, eggs, pasta, rice and flour – for less.

Buy in bulk
Buying in quantity is usually cheaper. It’s particularly great for things that store well, such as pasta and rice, but you do need the space to keep them. If you don’t or you’re attracted by the savings on a bulk-buy of a perishable item, such as meat or cheese, why not shop with your parents or a friend and divide your purchases up between you.

Study sales patterns
They might not admit to this, but many supermarket chains discount foods at regular intervals – for example, a certain ice-cream might be half price once every four weeks. Other foods that are discounted on a regular basis include breads, orange juice, pasta sauce, coffee, biscuits, chicken breasts, yogurt and cereals. Once you’re aware of the pattern, you need never buy these products at the full price. You could also make a habit of doing your supermarket shopping in the last hour or two before the store closes – that’s when you’ll find big discounts on perishable products, such as bread, meat, fish and many chilled items on the deli counter.

Consider larger sizes
Often savings can be made by buying larger sizes – a 2-litre bottle of milk may cost less than two 1-litre bottles. But don’t assume; check the prices. Also, some – times a special price is available if two or more items are bought together.

Be discerning
Never buy anything, no matter how tempting the offer on it, unless you’re really going to use it. BOGOFs (buy-one, get-one-free) deals are great, but only for goods that you use a lot and store well. They may be less of a bargain for perishable goods.