Welcome to the first in our new blog series. This will be a collection of blogs that explore the features of the MySupermarket site and find out how you, the savvy shopper, can save more. Each week I will look at a nifty feature of the site and explain how to make the most of MySupermarket!
As some of you may have noticed, I (Terri) am the newest member of staff with MySupermarket. I’m not a brilliant shopper (grocery shopper that is, I’m a fiend for shoes!) and there are few things worse in my mind that traipsing around a cold, fluorescent supermarket. I want to know I’m getting the best deals but with offers being thrown at you constantly, trolley wheels ramming into your ankles and queues the reach half way down the aisles; it becomes impossible to work out whether you’re saving a fortune or just saving somebody’s sales targets.
So we can safely say that I am a dedicated convert to MySupermarket and its ability to let me scour not one, but seven stores at once. Seeing the running total on the screen keeps my purse strings where they need to be and being able to book delivery, and check the charges, on site has left me promising to never visit a supermarket ever again. A promise I’m quite happy to keep.
But MySupermarket isn’t just a price comparison site; price comparison is only the tip of the money saving iceberg. The site itself is jam packed with other features designed to help you get the most out of your shop, and your time, in a quick, easy manner.
I’m just discovering these features myself and would like to share my money saving explorations one feature at a time with you. It may be preaching to the choir in some examples but even the thriftiest of shoppers may be able to save both time and money using our genius toolkit.
Next week I’ll start delving into each feature one by one, starting with a review of my first shop with the site. I’ll then take a look at our Savvy Buys tool, the Swap and Save feature and the amazing ability to earn Cashback whilst I shop. I’ll take you through my experiences of the site and show you how you can save every time you shop!
So without further ado…let the shopping commence!
We have told you about our mini-stores before. They are a great way to keep up to date with your favourite brands; find out about new product launches, special promotions and earn cash back, all before anyone else and all just because you clicked the subscribe button.
On that note, our Walkers mini-store has reached a bit of a milestone – over 50,000 subscribers this week. Congrats Walkers, and here is to the next 50,000.
If you want to be part of the action, all you have to do is ‘Subscribe’ to our mini-stores, if you subscribe to all of them, you will get 5% cash back on a wide range of branded products every time you shop with us. Not to mention all the promotions, competitions and product launches you will be first to know about.
They are all around us, in every shop, everywhere you look. “Save 50%”, “Save £10”, “25% off”, “HALF PRICE”, “3% Cashback”, “Buy one get one free”. Blah blah blah. And then there’s the price guarantees, promises, locks, matches, drops (insert adjective here…)
This is no bad thing, if you have the time and the energy to find the genuine good deals amongst all the noise. Hopefully we help you to do this – keep looking at those price graphs we have whenever you click on a product and select a price alert so you know the right moment to bag a good price.
But there is another way to save money. In fact if you really need to you can save a LOT of money.
I’m talking about trading down. Now, this is nothing new and there have been many features on this over the years but I want to share with you a simple experiment I did when filling a trolley.
The great thing about our supermarkets is that they almost always have their own alternative product to each leading brand – sometimes several alternatives. I know for some of you this will conjure up images of washing up liquid where you need to use the whole bottle to get any suds, or those bin liners that always split so you need to use 3 and breakfast cereal that looks like you should give it to the pet rabbit. But the fact is that many of the supermarket alternatives are much better than they were years ago – in fact customers often tell us that certain own label alternatives are as good as the brand.
Anyway, back to my experiment:
I chose 50 common, top selling brands that could easily make up a typical weekly trolley. Using Tesco as my store (I could have chosen any store, as all the other retailers have big ranges of good own label products too) I then filled another trolley with all the own label equivalent products to the brands in my first trolley. I then went one stage further and filled a 3rd trolley with the own label ’basics’ equivalent products to all the brands. The results were staggering.
Yes, you are reading this right. My basket of 50 brands is £106.38. If I swap them all for the equivalent ‘basics’ product (or in this case ‘Everyday Value’), your trolley costs just £28.51. That is a saving of an eye watering £77.87, or 73%! Even if ‘Everyday Value’ is a trade down too far for you, just by switching to their standard own label is a huge £45.80 saving, or 43%.
Let me be clear here. I am not suggesting anyone would switch EVERY brand to an own label or basics equivalent – but just by switching a few you could easily save £5, £10, £20…
If you are like me, there are some brands I just couldn’t do without and would never switch (old habits die hard), but if I’m making a spaghetti Bolognese I’m not bothered where my tinned tomatoes come from so rather than pay £1.25 a tin for the leading brand I’ll buy the basics at a paltry 31p. Or if that’s not your cup of tea think about other products where brand does not matter depending on what you are using them for or with. Talking of tea, the Sainsbury’s Red Label tea bags are one of the bestselling tea ‘brands’ in the UK, and that’s up against all those household names, so they can’t be bad can they?
Anyway, if you want to see what was in my different baskets click here. I’m now off to buy some budget vodka – my wife will never know once I’ve added the tonic!
Methodology for Brands vs Budget study – 9th May 2013
What I did
- Randomly chose 50 mainstream, commonly bought popular BRANDED items
- Chose Tesco to compare these items to the own label and basics equivalent to come up with 3 ultimate baskets – identical in product type:
Basket 1 – 50 brands
Basket 2 - 50 closest own label equivalents
Basket 3 – 50 closest ‘basics’ equivalents
- Although I chose Tesco, each of the other retailers have similar tiers of products plus there is a lot of price matching across brands and own label so I would expect these results to be broadly indicative of what we would see in the other retailers too.
- Where sizes are not comparable I have shown brand sizes that give you less for more, or we have added additional own label or basics units to make up the difference
- This basket is intended to represent a mainstream, popular group of commonly bought items by UK households
- Brands chosen based on the fact they are top sellers on our site. Other brands exist as do tertiary label versions
- Product performance, reputation, quality etc is not taken into account – that is down to the judgement of the customer
You guys are truly ‘MySupermarket’. This is a great site, and I use it literally everyday. This has saved me hundreds of pounds.
The site has fantastic features, such as Savvy Buys, Top Offers etc…and the best thing is with one click I can see the prices of a product at each of the major supermarkets.
We’re always thankful for a few days off and we’re even more grateful when the weather is on our side!
Still, keeping everybody happy on during long weekends can be a struggle. Cries of “I’m bored!” echo across the house and even the best plans to “sit and chill” result in cabin fever. The temptation to whittle away the hours in the shops grows ever stronger and if you’re not careful you will be spending your long weekends doing just that: spending!
Here in the MySupermarket office we put our heads together and came up with our favourite ways to spend a long weekend without blowing our budget. We also had some great responses on our Facebook (check it out and like us here).
Here is our prudent plan for our ideal long weekend that focuses on time, not money, well spent.
Saturday: Get outside!
Parks and picnics, beaches and bays, walks and cycles…all of these things are great, healthy ways to spend a day. When on a walk you can keep kids attention with stories and games. Try making your own I spy or orienteering list before you go and ask the kids what they think they’ll find in a park, on the beach, or anywhere your wanders take you!
Great things to look out for can be anything from bumblebees, different breeds of dogs, wild flowers, different species of trees and even different coloured picnic blankets!
Sunday: Stay in and Catch Up
Cleaning the car is a traditional Sunday activity but you’d be surprised how much children (and certain adults) will enjoy scrubbing up the family’s trusty run around. It’s still a little too cold for water fights but stick on a playlist made by everyone in the family and really get stuck in. The result is a clean car and some time for the family to chat and catch up. Can’t guarantee no sticky finger prints on windows though!
Another way to be crafty with your cleaning is to set challenges and make a game of it. Depending on age you could get the kids to clean the kitchen floor by declaring that you’re now on a pirate ship and they’ve got to swab the deck or walk the plank! Appeal to older children with small achievement awards to get them helping out around the house or set challenges which lead to bribes. Sorry did I say bribes? I meant prizes of course!
Monday: Bake and create
Spend Monday as a family baking treats for the kids (and the grownups!) to take to school or work with them throughout the week. Get some inspiration from favourite TV shows and stories to decorate your goodies and enjoy making a mess. After all you can all pitch in to clear it up by making a game of it (see Sunday’s cleaning tips)!
If the weather goes against you, you can still keep imaginations fired up indoors. Why not organise a family play night and put on performances of your favourite stories, using the treats you baked earlier as ‘cinema’ snacks. Decorate your own sock puppets with spare buttons and other lose things you find around the house (feathers, beads, spare earrings) before building a sock puppet theatre with old cardboard boxes ready for show time! Fairy tales are great stories to start with for a plot but it’s more fun when you truly let your imagination run wild!
There you have it. With our ideal long weekend plans, you’ll be glad it’s time to go back to work! Well, maybe that’s a bit optimistic but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your long weekend kept everyone, including your bank manager, happy.
Spring is finally starting to peep out from behind the grey skies which means it’s time to get outside!
The long winter may have left your garden shed and supplies looking more like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie but don’t let that stop you. With just a few seeds and some simple equipment it’s easy, and economical, to get green fingers. What are you waiting for? Get growing!
Here at MySupermarket.com, we’re experts in saving you time and money, not gardening. However, growing herbs can save you money, get you outside and involve the whole family. What’s not to love?
Herbs are great growers. Plant now and your herbs will be ready in time for your summer sauces and salads. Having fresh herbs on hand can save you money in the long term too as having a steady supply means you’ll never have to dash to the shops and pay more for that convenience!
Space isn’t an issue when it comes to planting herbs. They’re equally as happy in a window box or in a designated flower bed! Most herbs are also hardy, making them perfect for the occasional gardener. Some great varieties to start out with include: basil, mint, dill and parsley are great choices to start with, but let your imagination and taste buds run wild!
Get the whole family involved! Kids love getting dirt under their finger nails and growing is a great family project. Decorate old yoghurt pots with pictures and paint to create personalised pots and funky homes for individual plants. Then you can get together to see whose plants are doing what every few days. Hey, you can even name them if you want, we don’t judge!
Some Ideas to Get Your Herb Garden Going
To get your mouths watering, here are or favourite easy and tasty herbs to grow:
Basil is sweet and peppery and used often in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Why not try making some homemade pesto for your pasta salads? Or add it to tomato sauces for your spaghetti for a true taste of warm summer evenings.
Wonderful is Asian cooking , salads and as a garnish. Coriander is perfect for kitchen windowsill growing as it loves sunlight and can thrive in a small pot. Carrot and coriander soup anyone? Mmmm.
Dill is mostly associated with fish dishes but you can also add it to your salad dressings, make tzatziki for your pitabreads or mix it with some mustard to create your own dill mustard. You can also dry or freeze your herbs for later use!
Herbs can be useful as well as tasty. Here are our top three, easy to grow herbs which have surprising benefits:
Thyme is not only for soups, stews and sauces: it’s great for your skin too! Thyme’s antifungal properties means it can help calm irritated skin. Try infusing with witch hazel or adding to homemade face masks for a natural remedy for troublesome skin.
Chives are great in salads and with scrambled eggs, but did you know that as well as being tasty they encourage bees and butterflies into your garden too? A wonderful, tasty way to help out pollinating insects.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can grow mint to ward of invading insects. Plant it in pots (it can take over if you’re not careful!) and keep them at the entrance of your home. Ants hate the smell of mint and will stay outside! Also great as a digestive tea for upset tummies (the mint that is, not the ants), just add some hot water and let it brew. Refreshing!
This recipe is in honour of James, our Head of Marketing, over here in the London mySupermarket office. He has had Broccoli and Stilton soup for lunch everyday this week. Here is a picture of him being filmed for a TV show (not eating Broccoli and Stilton Soup).
He goes to the shop round the corner everyday to pick up a carton of it and whilst we are sure it is very tasty, we think making it yourself must be cheaper and healthier than buying it. To prove the point, we have found a cracking recipe from our friends at BBC Good Food. (Did you know that you can buy your ingredients for this recipe and 1000s more via mySupermarket on BBC Good Food? Look out for the Buy Ingredients button).
Here is what you need:
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, sliced
- 1 leek , sliced
- 1 medium potato, diced
- 1 knob butter
- 1l chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 head broccoli, roughly chopped
- 140g Stilton , or other blue cheese, crumbled
It just so happens that there are some great deals on some of these ingredients in mySupermarket this week.
Using mySupermarket to find the best and cheapest ingredients, the recipe will cost £1.06, which is around £0.25 per portion.
In comparison, Asda’s Chosen by You Broccoli and Stilton Soup will cost you £1.60 for 2 portions, so £0.80p per portion. That is over 3 x the portion price of this recipe. You can also make a big batch and freeze what you don’t need for a quick and healthy meal or snack when you are in a hurry.
For the full recipe, click here.
Remember, we look at the average price of each product across the previous year and find those are least 30% below the average. We think this is the ‘real’ price rather than short term offers or deals.
To celebrate the launch of the Flora mini-store, we are running a competition where you could win one of three Flora buttery hampers. All you have to do is subscribe to the mini-store. That’s it. Other benefits of subscribing mean that you will be the first to know of any tips and ideas, competitions and new product launches. No downside really.
Best of luck!