Research released today shows that half of British shoppers admit that they are bound to a tight, pre-written Shopping list each week as groceries become a weekly challenge to the nation’s budgets and impulse buying in aisles becomes a thing of the past.
The Morrisons ‘M Savers’ survey of over 2000 UK adults nationwide shows that, as the general rise in cost of living outstrips wage increases, shoppers have started to use ‘back to basic’ budgeting techniques to try to balance the bank.
It appears that men were most guilty of going off course with the supermarket trolley as over one in ten men who were previously entrusted with the weekly shop are now banned from trolley duties all together, leaving 67 per cent of the women to take complete control of the household food budget and the trolley.
Preparation has become key as 47 per cent of shoppers now go to the supermarket armed with a pre-written Shopping list and 37 per cent now plan their meals in advance.
32 per cent tot up the shopping totals as they fill their basket, while there is an increase in buying in bulk and 13 per cent of people go to the supermarket later in the day to pick up end-of-day discounts.
While these basic budget measures, abandoned in recent years, are now once more becoming the norm for many, the household member responsible for the weekly food shop has also changed. Of those questioned, 25 per cent have swapped shopping duties with their partner as they are better at managing a budget and 15 per cent have started shopping with their partner to help avoid off-list shopping.
However, best laid plans don’t always work; of the 66 per cent of households that set a shopping budget, 35 per cent admit they fail to stick to it and 32 per cent of all respondents leave the supermarket with at least 20 per cent more items then they planned to buy.
The Morrisons report details that the average household in the UK spends 11 per cent of its weekly expenditure on food. However, those on lower incomes and defined as living in poverty are actually forced to spend a 30 per cent greater proportion of their income on their current weekly food-spend than the national average. Interestingly, 34 per cent of the UK’s lowest income homes admit that they don’t set a weekly food shop budget.
Sarah Willingham, Money saving expert, commented: “While the average household spend of 11 per cent of outgoings a week on food may not be totally achievable for everyone, being aware of it, at least as a key figure in your expenditure, can help in planning and budgeting. A one-parent family with an income of less than £237 per week spends 15.6 per cent of their total expenditure on food weekly. If that expenditure was at the national average level of 11 per cent, they would save £11.18 per week. Setting a weekly budget and spending time writing a shopping list can really help achieve this figure.”
Richard Hodgson, Morrisons Group Commercial Director, added: “We have seen a definite resurgence in the number of customers on our shop-floor referring to shopping lists when doing their weekly shop.
“We know that shoppers are finding it tough to make their budgets stretch far enough at the moment and the research also reveals that those on low incomes who do set a budget especially struggle to stick to it, with 35 per cent unable to.
“We believe that the weekly shop should be as affordable as possible for everyone and shouldn’t mean compromise. With this in mind we have developed our new M Savers range of everyday grocery essentials to help people make simple saving steps.”
Finance expert Sarah Willingham has some top tips for people shopping with their food spend in mind:
Sarah's Supermarket Saving Tips
Make sure you always go armed with a shopping list. Don’t be tempted to buy things 'on offer' that you simply won't use or don't need.
Don't forget to look up and down when browsing the aisles so you can get a clear picture of all product options – don’t just go for the nearest product at eye level.
Never go shopping on an empty stomach! Sounds obvious but many of us do and you end up buying more, or purchasing things that you don’t need.
Be aware of the supermarket layout: offers are often to be had at the end of the aisles, but sometimes you can seek out bargains elsewhere. And don’t be tempted by impulse buys at the checkout!