IF you’re trying to save money on your food shop, checking out supermarkets’ own brands is a good place to start.
When it comes to the weekly shop, families are looking for ways to save at the checkout as prices continue to soar.
Keeping the food bill to a minimum is a priority for millions as the cost of living continues to bite.
Big-brand goodies can be expensive, but supermarket own-brands can often look and taste just like the same thing – and for a fraction of the cost.
The Sun asked supermarket expert Charlotte Jessop her top ten supermarket own-brand items you need to buy to save cash.
She runs the finance blog lookingafteryourpennies.com, and saves herself hundreds of pounds a month using clever shopping tricks.
Just remember, it’s always a good idea to double check prices by using comparison sites such as Trolley.co.uk.
These sites will be able to tell you if you can buy goods cheaper elsewhere.
If you’re ordering online, you’ll need to factor in delivery charges too.
All laundry detergents claim to remove stains, whiten your whites and brighten colours.
And with so many on the shelves, it can be difficult to choose which one really works best.
Most of us pick a familiar brand and stick with it – but that could be a mistake.
Charlotte said: “I started using own-brand detergent a few years ago after I discovered that it was the product that most people are likely to stick with the brands for.
“But I see no difference in the cleanliness of my clothes and I save a fortune.”
But a 1.6kg box of Tesco’s own washing powder is just £2.75, or £1.72 per kg.
If you bought one box every two weeks for a year, this could save you £123.50.
As a nation, we love cheese and you could make great savings by shopping around.
Charlotte said: “As a cheese fan, I do understand that some brands of cheese are better than others.
“But when it comes to making a standard cheese sandwich, especially for the kids, the supermarkets’ own-brand stuff does the job for less.”
A 350g block of Cathedral City can cost anywhere between £3 and £4 at the supermarket.
But a 825g block of Asda’s Just Essentials mild white cheddar is just £3.75 – and you get more than double the amount of cheese.
Of course, it may not taste exactly the same, but it’s a good alternative for saving cash.
We all like to pamper ourselves, but at what cost?
Charlotte said: “My hairdresser told me that unless I was going to pay for salon-quality shampoo (I’m not), then I’d do just as well with an own-brand coconut shampoo and conditioner. That’s what I use now.”
A 500ml bottle of Tesco extract coconut shampoo is just 75p.
This is compared with £4 for a 400ml bottle of Palmer’s coconut Shampoo.
If you bought one bottle a month, this would save you £39 over the course of a year.
Crisps are a cupboard staple for households across the nation, and we all have our preferred brands.
Whether it’s Walkers, Pringles, or McCoys, it’s hard to part from your favourites.
But there are big savings to be made if you’re willing to try something new.
Charlotte said: “Some brands are irreplaceable but others can easily be found for much less if you ditch the familiar name.
“Plus, some of the own-brand products are actually nicer.”
A six-pack of cheese and onion Walkers is £1.95 at Iceland.
But a multi-pack of Sainsbury’s own-brand cheese and onion crisps is just £1.05.
Washing up liquid
But swapping washing-up liquid, such as UK bestseller Fairy Liquid, for a cheaper version, could save you cash.
Charlotte said: “Like laundry detergent, we seem to hold on to the brand-named stuff dearly with washing up liquid, but own-brand stuff does the exact same job.”
A 780ml bottle of Fairy washing up liquid is £2 at Tesco and Asda – £2.57 per litre.
But a bottle of Tesco’s washing up liquid is 55p for 500ml, or £1.10 per litre.
Over the course of a year, could save you £17.40 over a year, if you bought one bottle a month.
For decades, Heinz has been the UK’s most popular ketchup, with sauce purists claiming there’s no substitute for the real thing.
But Charlotte disagrees.
She said: “This one might be controversial, but I find own-brand ketchup just as good as the Heinz stuff.
“At a fraction of the price, I don’t feel guilty when the kids down their chips in it.”
A 360g bottle of Heinz ketchup costs around £2.79 on average – or 60.7p per 100g.
But Morrisons own 450g own-brand bottle is just 80p, which works out at 17.4p per 100g.
This could be a pretty decent saving over the course of a year.
Herbs and spices
This may not be one that springs to mind straight away, but swapping your herbs and spices can save you cash.
Charlotte said: “Crushed-up leaves are crushed-up leaves in my opinion. By choosing the own-brand option I can save a lot of money.
“Sometimes I can go one better and find big bags of herbs and spices in the international food aisle for even less.”
World food aisles typically have great value options on herbs and spices, as well as essentials like tinned tomatoes and chickpeas at lower costs.
A household staple for most of us, dishwasher tablets will often do the heavy lifting when it comes to cleaning crockery and glassware.
Charlotte said: “These are so expensive. Especially if you are buying branded versions that seem to promise to clean in ways you’ve never heard of.
“Supermarkets’ own-brands do a great job, so save yourself the pennies.”
Aldi’s all in one original dishwasher tablets are £3.29 for a pack of 40, or 8.20p a tablet.
This is compared with £6 for a bag of 46 Finish Poweball all in one max tablets – or 13p per tablet.
We all need to look after our gnashers, but can you do it on a budget?
Charlotte says it is possible.
She told The Sun: “The key ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride, so as long as it contains that then it will clean and protect your teeth.
“You might want to pay the extra for teeth whitening or sensitivity, but for most people own-brand toothpaste will do just fine.”
A 125ml tube of Colgate total active fresh toothpaste can cost up to £3.50 at the supermarket.
But a 100ml tube of Tesco’s own cavity protect toothpaste is 50p.
This could save you a whopping £72 over the course of a year, if you bought a tube twice a month.
You can save some serious cash by swapping your medication for a cheaper version, as long as it contains the same active ingredients.
Charlotte said: “I haven’t bought branded medication in years.
“Instead I top up my medicine cabinet with supermarket own-brand items.
“This included paracetamol, ibuprofen, and hayfever tablets.”
Make sure to double-check the tablets before you make the swap though, and ask a pharmacist if you’re not sure.
The Sun previously broke down how hay fever sufferers can save almost £5 by ditching branded medicines and swapping to budget or own-brand versions.
Meanwhile, we found out from a supermarket expert how you can get your weekly shop cheaper in every aisle.
We also revealed the cheapest supermarket in the country – and it’s not what you expect.