One of the easiest ways to save money in stores is to stick to supermarket own brands. It’s something I’m particularly used to as a new grad, young regional reporter, and generally someone who doesn’t like to splash out on a regular basis.
They are much cheaper and often taste the same. Sure, it’s fine to indulge in McVitie biscuits or Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire Puddings, but if I need to save some money, supermarket brands are the way to go.
However, I am a religious Tesco and Lidl shopper – I rarely end up at Asda. And on top of that, while I mostly stick to own brands, I rarely buy from the “economy” ranges. I find it a bit difficult to get exactly what I want, but with the cost of living causing us all our own problems, I decided to try my hand at shopping at Asda’s Smart Price range.
READ MORE: ‘Tried the £19.50 Harrods full English breakfast and preferred Gino D’Acampo’s’
Before I get to the success of my mission, it should be noted that Asda recently announced that it will be replacing its Smart Price range. A selection of simple products that many people across the UK rely on, the supermarket will introduce its new ‘Just Essentials by Asda’ products in May 2022.
This new range will include 300 products, an increase of 50% compared to the current Smart Price offer. But with some time left in Asda’s current low price range, I was impressed with the price I bought for so little.
I originally went with a goal of getting as much as I could for £20 but was defeated by Smart Price. With a bulging basket, I couldn’t even manage to carry anything else around the store and I knew I was way below the price mark. Lo and behold, when I arrived at checkout with my extremely heavy load, I only spent £16.62.
I managed to fill my shopping bag with all sorts of meals, snacks and treats and ended up skipping my gym session due to the heaviness of carrying everything home. But my only disappointment is that Asda in Clapham Junction ran out of Smart Price options and in some areas the range is rather limited.
For breakfast I love a good bowl of cereal or porridge and at the store the only option was a box of 24 Wheat Bisks or a bag of oats. As they were cheaper I went with the first one for only 74p and obviously nobody eats the dry ones so I got a carton of shelf stable soya milk for 55p. That’s multiple bowls of brekky for just £1.29.
Pulling out the most essentials I picked up a loaf of wholemeal bread for 39p, a block of butter for £1.45 and a large bag of grated cheddar for £2.49. It’s a few nice rounds of cheese on sorted toast. And to make things more exciting I got a tin of baked beans for 22p and a tomato soup for 24p for dipping and garnish.
To be able to make a nice pasta sauce or blends for protein, flavor and overall health, I headed to the boxes. I grabbed a can of sweet corn (35p), chopped tomatoes (28p) and kidney beans (30p). As there was no Smart Price pasta in stock I decided to buy a bag of long grain rice for only 45p and a four serving pot of curry sauce for 28p. I could mix vegetables and beans with this to make some cheap dinners.
In the frozen food aisle, I was hoping for a nice little Smart Price pizza, but was disappointed to find none. Instead I picked up a box of 10 fish sticks for 70p – these could go in bread for a nice piece of fish or with veggies and carbs for a cheap tea. Feeling like a kid, I also grabbed a bag of 20 chicken nuggets for just 85p. That’s more than a week of dinners sorted for me.
No meal is complete for me without something sweet, I just have to finish with a little treat. So I was delighted to find a pack of three strawberry cheesecakes in the fridges for a modest £1. I also treated myself to a five pack of caramel wafer bars for 50p and a tube of chocolate chip cookies for 39p – that’s snacks and desserts out of the way.
My last Smart Price purchase was a bottle of apple and blackcurrant squash for 41p – a fruity drink with easily sorted dinner for at least a week.
London has it all – the best nightlife, food, drink, events, markets, everything!
But how do you stay on top? Our weekly What’s On, Going Out Out newsletter explains how.
You’ll receive a fully curated newsletter with the most exciting stories, reviews, previews and more – including original content – every week.
And the best piece? It’s completely FREE.
All you have to do is sign up for Going Out Out here.
Although I managed to buy all of these Smart Price products for just £11.59, I was not satisfied. I felt like things were missing. And they were important.
I lacked fruits and vegetables, the important fresh produce to fill out my meals. Since I couldn’t find any of these products in the Smart Price range, I stuck with the basics of the Asda brand. I grabbed a bag of apples for 72p, frozen peas for 70p and frozen broccoli for 80p.
Then I picked up four all-purpose baking potatoes for 42p. These guys can be a hearty jacket potato topped with beans and cheese or as a side for dinner. I also picked up a bag of lettuce for a bit of freshness at 45p.
Craving some meat for breakfasts, I bought a pack of bacon from the Farm Stores range for just £1.25. And then because I love it too much I gave in and got a bag of Asda pasta for 70p – 50p more than the missing Smart Price pasta.
So even with the diversion to Asda’s own regular brand, this big shop only cost £16.62 and I only gave up because I could feel my hand clinging trying to carry the basket. In fact, I was pretty sure the basket handles were going to buckle.
I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty impressed. I picked up enough items to make an assortment of meals for over a week for myself and didn’t even come close to the £20 mark. An absolute godsend and now I can skip the weight training day at the gym.
Do you have a story you think we should cover? If so, please email [email protected]