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Shopping is an important part of living independently, and there is lots to consider when you are shopping.  Below you will find more information on different types of shopping and tips for when you are shopping.

Shopping online

When you shop online, you have to be careful that the website you are buying from is trustworthy.

It is good to take care if:

  • You are not familiar with the website you are buying from.   Have your friends or family used this website before?
  • Offers and promotions look too good to be true. This might be a sign that items for sale are illegal or fake

If you are worried, you could do a Google search for the website and see what other people have said about it.

Before you check out or add any of your personal details to the site:

Check that the website is using a secure connection.  You can find this by looking at the address bar in your browser. A web address using “HTTPS” (The extra “S”) means it’s a secure connection. To check a site's security, to the left of the web address, look at the security status:

  • Lock Secure
  • Information Info or Not secure
  • Dangerous Not secure or Dangerous

If there is a padlock sign there and https://, the site is secure. 


A website will only ask you for the information it needs to process your order and payment.

This includes:

  • Your full name,
  • Your email address  (to send you a receipt or order confirmation, and tell you when they will post your order)
  • Your postal or delivery address (where you want the order sent to)
  • Your billing address (this is the address your payment card is registered to.   It is usually the same as your delivery address, unless you are buying a gift online for a friend, for example.  You might want it sent straight to them).
  • The name on your payment card (you need to add this exactly as it is written on the card)
  • The long number on your payment card
  • The expiry date of your card (this will be a month and year. Some websites will also ask for the start date)
  • The CVV code (This is a three digit code on the back of your card)

Some websites ask for other information, like your date of birth and whether you are male or female.  They might ask how you found out about its products.  This is usually to send you promotional emails.  You don’t have to provide this information.

Some websites allow you to pay by PayPal.  This is a secure website that passes money from you, onto the website electronically, without them being able to see any of your bank details.  

Shopping online on auction websites

If you are buying something from an auction website like Ebay, or an Amazon Marketplace seller, it is good to:

  • Check to see the feedback score of the person you are buying from.  On Ebay, the most trusted sellers have 100% positive feedback. 
  • Read the reviews left by other customers on the item you want to buy, to see that previous customers have received the item they wanted and they received it “as described” (this means it arrived exactly like the listing said).

Sometimes it is also good to read the reviews of products on “proper” shopping sites too, like John Lewis, Sainsburys and Tescos.

Grocery shopping: the weekly shop

When people talk about a weekly shop, they usually mean shopping for groceries, such as fruit, vegetables, bread, milk and other foods.

Before going on a weekly shop, it is a good idea to make a list of the things you need, as this will help you stick to your budget. You can try this free budget planner, which  might help put you in control of your money.

Usually, people buy items that are perishable (which means they can go off in a short time) in a weekly shop.

These include things like

  • Vegetables (like peppers, cucumber and salad leaves),
  • Fruit (like apples, pears and bananas)
  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt.
  • Eggs.

Grocery shopping: the monthly shop

Some people also do a monthly shop, and combine this with a weekly shop, as it is a good way to keep to a budget.

In a monthly shop, people are more likely to buy items that last longer.

This includes:

Household items (these are things for cleaning), like

  • washing up liquid
  • bleach
  • disinfectant

Store cupboard items (these are things that go in the cupboard and can be kept for a long time), like

  • tins of tomatoes
  • baked beans
  • rice
  • pasta
  • flour
  • sugar
  • tea
  • coffee
  • squash

Getting your shopping delivered to your home

Many supermarkets will deliver your shopping to your home.  This is very useful if you have heavy items that you might find difficult to take home.  Usually it is not expensive to have your shopping delivered and can even be as little as £1.  There is what is a called a “minimum spend” for home delivery, though.  That means you have to spend a certain amount before you can choose to have your shopping delivered. This can be around £40.

Store/loyalty cards

What is a loyalty card?

Some supermarkets offer loyalty cards to their customers.  The more money you spend, the more points you get. Then, you can save up your points and exchange them for vouchers, or use them to spend on something special when you have saved enough.  Some examples of loyalty cards include Tesco Clubcard and Boots Advantage Card

Where can I use a loyalty card?

Usually, you can only use a loyalty card in stores with the same name, like Tescos or Boots.  However, some loyalty cards can be used in more than one store.  A Nectar Card is an example. Nectar cards can be used at Sainsburys, Homebase and online, on websites like Currys, Debenhams and Argos. 

How do I get a loyalty card?

When you are shopping in a store, sometimes the cashier will ask if you have a loyalty card or if you would like one.  You usually have to fill out a form in store, or go online to get a loyalty card.

Credit cards

A video about credit cards can be viewed using this link on You Tube



Door to Door Salesmen

Faulty Goods

Additional resources

Making Money Matter provides vital information to people with a learning disability about consumer rights and includes useful tips on managing a budget and avoiding the pitfalls of debt. 

A resource pack is available which includes:
A DVD, which features topics such as shopping, doorstep sales and credit cards. Presented by Georgie Palmer, it is a light hearted guide on subjects that can catch all consumers out! Guidance notes are provided so it can be used as an educational tool.

A booklet covering a wide range of subjects in more detail to assist anybody who supports a person with learning difficulties. Topics are covered in brief with helpful links to places to go for more information. Also included are a number of summaries providing information in an easier to read format.

Get a copy of the pack from:

Julie Gallagher 
Trading Standards 
Montgomery House, Monarch Way 
Winchester SO22 5PW 
tel 01962 833640 

The pack has been produced in partnership between Trading Standards, Adult Services and other agencies. It is free to anyone in Hampshire. 

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