There is a lot to be said for doing your grocery shopping in your slippers over a leisurely cup of tea. Why battle with the masses, striving to keep the trolley under control and load and unload the car if you don’t have to?
Clearly that’s what is driving the increase in the number of households doing their weekly shop online. Home shopping now accounts for £1 of every £4 spent, according to the latest estimates.
All the supermarkets offerings are slightly different and come with strings attached in some cases. So you need to make sure you get value for money where you can.
Seven ways to save money at the supermarket.
Supermarkets require online shoppers to spend a minimum amount before they can place an order. Earlier this year both Asda and Tesco increased their minimum spend from £25 to £40, in line with Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
It now costs between £1 and £6 to have shopping delivered to your home from any of these four supermarkets, depending on the time of delivery.
Some delivery times are free but these tend to be late–night or super early slots when you might even still be in bed. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are when you are likely to pay more as these are peak times.
Booking in advance can secure the time you want. But this isn’t always possible if you suddenly learn the whole family is descending for lunch the next day!
To sidestep delivery costs altogether you can opt for “click and collect”. Depending on where you live, stores offer the opportunity to drive up and collect your pre-ordered shopping.
Beware of criminals targeting shoppers in supermarket car parks.
Households that stay loyal to one supermarket can cut the cost of regular deliveries by paying for a pass which gives you free delivery – although there is still a minimum spend.
Some supermarkets offer annual passes. It is cheaper to buy a pass that only covers midweek deliveries, usually Tuesday through to Thursday steering clear of busier times.
Tesco is so confident its Delivery Saver pass will save you money, it promises to work out if your plan cost more than you'd have spent on delivery charges. If it did you will get a grocery eCoupon for the difference.
Are you making the most of the supermarket loyalty cards? Find out more...
Introductory offers to win your business might be worth doing – even if it’s just a one-off because you are happy with your number one choice. For example, Ocado offers £20 off your first shop.
If you don’t use a service again, they might try and entice you back with more offers.
Shoppers should also check for discount vouchers before ordering. An internet search will help you find discounts and any vouchers.
Don’t forget grocery comparison site, MySupermarket, which compares any product to show which supermarket has the best offers.
Read our guide to paying safely online.
More discounters are getting into the online space. Poundland now delivers, but watch out for the £4 delivery charge.
Aldi plans to launch an online store in Britain starting with selling wine by the case online from early next year, followed by "special buy" non-food items in the spring, offering customers home delivery and collection from third party locations. Watch this space.
For more tips and hints, browse our money saving articles.