STUCK in a retailing rut? Over the past year I’ve shopped in as few stores as possible.

This consumer loyalty is new to me, but I’m afraid it’s going to have to change and not because of our increased freedoms. My local supermarket has hiked prices, some by 40 per cent.

So, armed with my hand sanitiser, mask and shopping list, I’m going back to my retailing roots – shopping around.

Bulk buying at bargain supermarkets is a must. Anything with a long shelf life, especially cleaning products, are cheaper at these stores.

Next comes timing. Knowing the daily schedule for price reductions is useful. Lidl, Aldi and Asda do this at the beginning of the day. Waitrose discounts after lunchtime and again a couple of hours before stores close and Asda makes a second round of reductions around 7pm.

Co-op makes price cuts throughout the day and Morrisons, Sainsbury and Tesco start around teatime, making reductions from 5pm, 7pm and 8pm respectively. And don’t forget to check out the small stores of big name retailers as reduced footfall often makes for big discounts.

Of course, snaffling a brilliant bargain is just the start of things. I recommend bargain buying freezable foods and only buy if there is space in the freezer as no matter how cheap something is there’s no point in buying then having to throw it away!

Know the difference:

‘Use by’ applies to dairy and other products which can make us ill if eaten after this date.

‘Best before’ is about quality. Produce eaten after the BB date may not taste as nice.

‘Sell by’ is more about stock control than food safety.

Hellmann’s, the mayonnaise guys, are offering a free book to help us cut food waste, downloadable at