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Shopping essentials

Supermarkets

The biggest supermarkets in the UK are:

  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury's
  • Asda
  • Morrisons

The German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl are also getting more popular. These are often cheaper – although a survey in 2014 found that Morrisons was the cheapest supermaket overall.

Prices change often as the supermarkets try to compete with each other, so it's difficult to work out where you will get the best deal. The cheapest supermarket also depends on what you buy, so the best choice will be different for different people. mySupermarket can help you to work out where your shopping will be cheapest.

The biggest difference will come from what you buy, not where you shop. To avoid overspending, follow these tips:

  • Try own-brands and 'value' or 'basics' ranges instead of more expensive branded products
  • Don't buy things just because there is a special offer: think about whether you really need it
  • Bigger sizes aren't always cheaper, so compare the prices between different sizes to make sure. Most supermarkets give the price per item or per 100g in small print on the price label: compare these to make sure you are getting the cheapest option.

Convenience stores

Smaller convenience stores tend to be more expensive than big supermarkets, even if they are run by the same company. This can be because the price is higher for the same product, or because cheaper versions aren't available in the smaller store.

Markets

You might be able to save on fruit and vegetables by shopping at a local market. Most towns have markets during the week and on Saturdays, which you can find out about on your local council's website.

Some areas might also have famers' or artisans' markets, offering high-quality and organic food, but often at a high price.

£1 shops

These shops, where everything costs £1, are very popular and offer some good deals. They also make it easy to work out how much you are spending as you shop. However, not everything is a bargain: some products might be available cheaper in other shops. Pound-shop products often come in specially-produced sizes, which can make comparison more difficult.