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Shoppers overspend by £30 on every supermarket visit

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The supermarkets are duping us into spending more, but we're partly to blame by not budgeting.


Every time we go shopping for food at the supermarket we’re overspending by an average of almost £30.

Men are the number one culprits, overspending by £29.64 every time they head to the shops, while women are going over budget by £25.72, according to new research from YouGov.

The supermarkets are also laden with tricks to make us spend more, but we’re not making things any easier as one in three of us also never stick to a shopping list.

Supermarket overspending

Lack of preparation before we enter the shop is one of the main reasons behind us going over budget, and those aged over 55 are the least likely to stick to a budget.

Those aged 35–44 overspend the most, by around £35 on each shop, while those aged 18-24 overspend the least, going over by average of £21.32.

Although the study isn't the most scientific, it produces some interesting results, especially when it comes to our reluctance to use and stick to a shopping list. 

Married middle-aged men living in the Midlands with two children are likely to be the most frivolous at the supermarket. On the other end of the scale the savviest group are married women from Wales aged between 18-24.

Supermarket tricks

To make things worse, when we do head to the supermarket some of the discounts and deals on offer aren’t actually saving us money, according to separate research from Which?

It looked at the price of 115 different products at Asda, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose and found that around 10% actually increased in price when they were offered as part of a multibuy.  

One example was a pack of four tins of Heinz soup for £2.99 or on a multibuy offer for 80p each.

Another product, a Goodfella’s Deep Pan Baked Pepperoni Pizza more than doubled in price when it was on a multibuy offer at Asda. Its price was around £1 normally, then when on offer it went to £4.50 for two, so £2.25 each.

How to avoid overspending

Our guide on how to save money on your food shopping is stacked full of ways to save money on food shopping, but the number one method to stop overspending is to make a budget and stick to it. Shopping online can help with this one as you won’t be tempted by offers you might spot.

Products placed on offer are generally placed at eye level on the ends of the aisles, or by the tills, to grab your attention. Most of the time, as the Which? study shows, these are not cheaper and it’s worth finding the individual item rather than going for one of these.

Never go to the supermarket hungry as the smells of fresh bread and rotisserie chicken will prove far too tempting, and always compare prices based on weight.

More on shopping:

How to slash your supermarket delivery costs!

The best Secret Santa gifts

Aldi vs Tesco vs Waitrose: which supermarket wins on price and taste?

Which?: The four ways supermarkets con shoppers

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