Why supermarket price wars aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

Tesco has joined Morrrisons in tantalising supermarket shoppers with offers of price cuts. According to The Telegraph: Tesco has cut the cost of a cooked breakfast, with lower prices on eggs, bacon and tomatoes, saving families ‘£96 a year’. Hmmm…

The Tesco salvo was in response to a similar promise to cut prices from Morrisons. Of course, it would be cynical to point out that both these generous offers were made on the back on dwindling profits.

We’re all for basics such as bread and eggs costing less but we trust supermarkets about as far as you can throw a trolley loaded with their own brand baked beans. Supermarkets are very good at self promotion. Often their price promises are as valuable as the hot air they’re written on.

They get us in store with much hyped savings but we then dutifully complete our entire weekly shop, picking up the items that cost more as well as the heavily promoted items that cost less. Add to that the multi buys that work out more expensive that single items and discounts not deducted at the till and their savings don’t amount to much.
Even the (relatively) new kids on the block, Lidl and Aldi, need to be treated with the same caution. A Money Fight Club shopper targetted Lidl for cleaning products, having read goods things about their price and quality, but then had to stop her husband putting other items in the trolley, as she noticed they were costing more than elsewhere (watch out for the big jars of Marmite).

Mounting your own supermaket price wars

Goodness knows we don’t want you to spending your entire weeknd trailing from supermarket to supermarket picking up only those items which are cheapest or on offer.
But it does pay to know what the cost of regularly purchased items should be.
You can also get a feel for when certain discounts tend to appear in certain shops (time of the month or week) and when your loyalty vouchers are liable to arrive in the post. Shopping is all about timing.
One option might be to shop at a different supermarket every week but to group the purchasing of long shelf life staples so you only buy them once a month, taking advtange of the supermaket with the best deal.
Use supermarket price comparison websites and for goodness sake always write a list and stick to it. And check your bill before you leave the store. And check out local shops an d markets, particularly for fruit and veg.

Supermarket price cuts may not be all they’re cracked up to be on eggs on anything else, but Money Fight Club members are tough cookies and don’t fall for marketing mumbo jumbo.