Shop around online to save on grocery bills

Gill Oliver

Gill Oliver

First published in Columns Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Business and Property Reporter

As a bit of a statistic geek, I enjoyed reading my colleague Alex Wynick’s report in Saturday’s Oxford Mail. Alex compared the cost of a shopping basket with one bought seven years ago and found roughly half the 43 items had gone up in price.

Some, like bread, margarine, pasta and cheese have shot up by as much as 89 per cent but others have gone down, including a pint of milk which has fallen by two-thirds.

Prices have stayed fairly low, thanks to lower rates of inflation but unfortunately, wages have also been limping along – according to the Office of National Statistics, average earnings went up by just 1.3 per cent this year compared to last.

Few of us have time to trudge around supermarkets checking which is cheapest but luckily, there’s someone else doing the job for us in the shape of which compares prices and allows you to buy online from several shops in one place.

It covers groceries as well as health and beauty and it’s possible to book a delivery slot via the site, or download/ print out your basket as a list and take it to your local supermarket.

It finds the best online deals and using a switch & save option, offers the chance to switch and buy from wherever it’s cheapest.

When you click on an item, it gives an instant price comparison between Asda, Aldi, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Morrison’s, Superdrug and Boots.

When I wrote this on Monday, the website told me the cheapest place to buy Kingsmill thick sliced white soft bread 800g would be Asda or Aldi, both selling that loaf for 79p.

That was compared to £1.35 for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose (although Sainsbury’s and Waitrose were offering two for £2).

The real surprise was the poshest supermarket, Waitrose, emerged as cheapest when it came to one of the UK’s most popular brands of butter, Anchor, with a price of £1.70 for a 250g Anchor block.

That was matched by rivals Asda, Tesco and Morrison’s but whereas Tesco was offering two blocks for £3, Waitrose marketed two blocks for £2.70, bringing the price down to £1.35 each. The key words above are ‘on the day’ of course, because as we all know, prices in British supermarkets change more often than Lady Gaga on tour.

But if you can find a few minutes to have a look at price comparison sites like, you’ll be in with a much better chance of saving some cash at the tills.

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