Which supermarket loyalty scheme is the best?

UK supermarkets are competing to provide the best cost-of-living options. We’re here to find budget-friendly deals, in time for a Christmas feast.

While inflation is slowing, costs are not necessarily reversing. When we’re walking the aisle, we’re looking for ways to stretch our budgets without compromising on quality. And with so many options available, UK supermarkets have been competing to provide the best cost-of-living options.

And we’re right to be more discerning about how much we spend, and where we spend it. The price of household staples like porridge oats have gone up by 35.5% and cheddar cheese has gone up by 28.3%!

At Christmas, you’re trying to fill your trolley with festive treats and all the trimmings, while keeping to your budget. So we’re here to show you where you can pick up some budget-friendly deals and make your money go further – without compromising on your Christmas feast.

A recent comparison of the UK’s biggest supermarkets: Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose assessed which basket of 44 grocery items came in at the cheapest price, as well as which one had the lowest priced trolley full of household 135 items.

And the winner is…

You may be surprised to learn that Lidl, as opposed to previous winners Aldi, had the cheapest basket of groceries. However, Aldi had held that crown every other month this year, so their rivalry continues!

What’s more, Asda was the cheapest trolley of groceries, continuing its reign as the cheapest big supermarket after being pipped to the post by Morrisons in July – the first time another supermarket had earned the title since January 2020. The October trolley cost £328.42 at Asda, beating second-placed Morrisons by £10.98. 

So, with individual shops all discounting and applying offers to different items, is it worth the cost of your fuel, your time, and your convenience to shop in several shops to make sure you’re picking up the best deals? Probably not is the answer. If you’re a busy working parent, don’t have a car or you simply don’t have the time then it is not necessarily possible for you to travel from shop to shop in a bid to save money on your week’s shop. And let’s face it, it’s Christmas. You’d rather be relaxing over a mulled wine knowing that your shopping is done and dusted!

In that case, what else can you do to save money on your household groceries? If you live close to a range of supermarkets, what is the best way to choose between them? Well, one way to save £££s on your supermarket shop is to look at what you get with a store’s loyalty card to decide which one should become your regular store.

Which supermarket has the best loyalty scheme?

The debate over which supermarket offers best value for money is longstanding. You can find out which supermarket is cheapest over all here, but there are other ways of getting the most out of your weekly shop.

Most of the major supermarkets now have their own form of loyalty scheme, but in recent months these have been adjusted to reflect consumer habits and supply chain pressures. These rewards can help save you money, but you should also be aware of how items are being marketed to you. You could end up spending when you wouldn’t have previously!

Here are some of the schemes available:

  • Tesco Clubcard – Every 150 points turns into £1.50 to spend instore via vouchers, or since June, up to double their value at Rewards Partners.
  • Sainsburys Nectar Points – Earn 1 Nectar point per £1 spent and spend instore when you have built up £2.50 or more, or with partner shops.
  • Asda Rewards – Lets you earn money back into a cash-pot that can be exchanged for vouchers.
  • Morrisons More Card – Though the points scheme ended in 2021, you can still use a More Card to get personalised offers based on your purchases.
  • Lidl Plus App – Provides new coupons each week, tailored to your shopping habits and gives discounts for monthly spend milestones.
  • myWaitrose – Rather than earning points, you get offers, rewards and freebies, such as a free hot drink.
  • M&S Sparks Rewards – Every £1 spent earns 10 Sparks, and the more Sparks you collect through shopping, the more offers, events and exclusives you can get.
  • Iceland Bonus Card – A savings card used in Iceland or The Food Warehouse stores that gives you £1 for every £20 you save on it.

It used to be that consumers saved up their reward points to redeem for treats or days out. However, with rising costs meaning that every penny counts, many are now using their points towards their regular food shop. In response, supermarkets have created special discount buys, such as Clubcard Price or Star Buy items, both to help out their customers but also gain deep insight into their spending preferences and find ways to boost their profits.

While you may find these special prices and rewards schemes useful, they can also make it more difficult to compare prices and work out value for money.

Ultimately value is in the eye of the beholder; if your favourite festive biscuits are on offer that’s great, but discounts can also encourage us to spend on items we don’t really want or need. Make sure to compare the discount price with the original to work out how much you’re saving and look at the cost per 100g of product to get the best price.

Remember, loyalty schemes don’t give you something for nothing. The best supermarket for you will vary, but choose where you want to shop on price, not points, and then get your points when you’re spending there anyway!

Improve your grocery shopping game

Being strategic about your food shopping can also help your money go further:

  • The most important thing that you should do before you head to the shops should be to look at what you already have in your cupboards, freezer, and fridge before heading to the supermarket to see what meals you might be able to make with what you already have in your home. Get creative, you may find a new ‘bits and bobs’ dish you really like!
  • Being prepared to think on your feet is also important when you go into the supermarket. You never know what you might find in the reduced to clear aisle or on offer. But don’t be tempted to buy items you’re not sure about – simply replace those full price items on your list with reduced items.
  • Buy non-branded and value brands wherever possible!
  • Additionally, if you have fresh items like onions, potatoes, peppers, etc. that you know you won’t get around to using before they go off, then spending a few minutes washing and chopping them before popping them into the freezer in air tight containers will not only save you a lot of time later on when you do want to use them, but it also saves food waste and money too.

Finally, Trolley is a great site to check before hitting the shops, however this will require more forethought and time. Trolley is a price comparison site that shows you where you can pick up the best deals that day by doing live price comparisons of household grocery items across a range of UK stores.

With everyone’s purses being squeezed, UK supermarkets have risen to the occasion by providing diverse options to suit every budget. From Tesco’s loyalty program to Aldi’s Specialbuys, and from Lidl’s weekly surprises to Asda’s “Rollback” promotions, each supermarket has its unique approach to offering value to its customers. Wherever you end up shopping, remember that the best way to make cost-saving decisions about your household budget is to buy only what you need, which does require extra organisation.

Win your Christmas – on us!

With all the financial challenges at the minute, we’re acutely aware of how stressful the cost-of-living crisis is for many people – particularly when you factor in the rising cost of car insurance premiums.

Our friendly branch teams are always here to support, whether that’s managing the cost of your premiums, joining in our community schemes or even just to lend an ear if you need to chat!

Our branches are also hosting hamper giveaways, Christmas canapes, and family portraits or pet pawtraits, plus a range of charity donation points this December, to celebrate the festive season with your community.

PLUS, take part in our Christmas On Us campaign, where you could win a 50” TV, Salter air fryer, Nintendo Switch OLED and Mario game, a board game plus supermarket vouchers – just pop along to your local branch and scan the poster to win!

We’ll also be giving away daily prizes ​on our social media, including heated throws, a hamper, children’s bike, board games, a Kindle, Lego, Prosecco and so much more!

Sources: BBC, Which?, Trolley

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