Tonight I got some very odd looks while I was doing my shopping – It may have been because my trolley was filled with this little lot:
It’s for a community project at work where we’re donating toiletries to some local homeless charities. We’ve all been asked to take in a few things and encouraged to buy value products so we get more for our money, which ultimately means that we’re donating more to the charities. I bought 5 cans of shaving foam, 10 tubes of toothpaste, 5 packs of 4 toothbrushes, 8 bottles of deodorant and 8 packs of 10 razors – all things we’ve been told are desperately needed and for a total cost of nine pounds twenty pence (my pound sign isn’t working!).
The point of this post isn’t to make you all go out and buy things for homeless people (that would be nice though if you were that way inclined) but it’s to make you think about your own spending habits. I’m not saying go out and swap everything you buy to the value range but are there products you could swap for a cheaper one and really not notice the difference.
There are some things that I won’t compromise – I like to buy the best quality meat and eggs that I can afford and couldn’t possibly switch from Heinz tomato sauce or Hellmans mayonnaise or I’d have a mutiny on my hands but I’ve managed to save plenty by changing some things that I buy, these are just a small selection as you’d be asleep by the time I got to the end if I listed them all:
Shampoo – I used to buy Head and Shoulders which is 2.44 for a 250ml bottle (98p per 100ml) but now I buy Tescos own brand anti-dandruff shampoo which is just 99p for a 500ml bottle (20p per 100ml) so I pay less than half the price for twice the amount. If I wanted to save even more, I could go for the Value shampoo which costs 31p for a litre bottle (3p per 100ml).
Mustard – I used to buy Colmans English Mustard which is 95p for a 100g tub but now I buy Tesco value mustard which is 33p for 190g – 60p cheaper for almost double the amount. There is a Tesco own brand in between the two which costs 49p for 190g jar but when I tried that, I couldn’t tell the difference really between that and the Colmans so I tried the value one next and I’ve bought that one since.
Cereal – We change every week depending on whose week it is to choose (yes, we have a breakfast cereal choosing rota) and last week we bought Tesco Rice Snaps at 99p for 375g instead of Kellogg’s rice crispies which would have been 1.89 for a 340g box – a pound less for 35g more. Again, we could have saved even more if we’d bought the value rice snaps at 70p for 440g.
Coffee – This is an easy saving for me as I don’t drink coffee so I can’t really compare the taste on this one but Mr Frugal has quite happily changed from Nescafe at 4.79 for a 200g jar to Tesco Classic coffee at 2.15 for a 300g jar. I have plans to buy the value coffee at 47p for a 100g jar and empty it into the coffee jar we currently have to see if he notices the difference but I’m not sure whether I’m that sneaky ;-). We’ve recently been considering a switch to a coffee machine due to the amount of coffee that some people in the house drink but we’re doing some investigating as we want a top-rated machine that’s not going to cost a fortune to buy the coffee for but is going to give us some good coffee – do we want too much do you think?
Wine – I love Mateus rose wine and at 4.48 for a 70cl bottle I didn’t think it was bad value for money but then I tried the Simply Portuguese Rose at 3.38 for 75c l and realised that I could hardly tell the difference and certainly not at all after the first glass so I’ve started buying either that or the Asda version which is even lovelier but I can’t remember the price (3.49 I think).
It’s all about swapping products to suit you and your family and to meet your shopping budget. If money’s really tight and you need to drastically save, try and find the value products for as many of the products you usually buy and buy them instead but if it’s a case that you would like to reduce your shopping bill but don’t have an urgent need to do so, just try one or two products a week. If you currently buy a branded version of something or the shops finest range, try the shops own brand and if you like that, you could try and save further by changing down to the value version or you could stick with the own-brand knowing that you’ve already saved. If you’re already buying the shops own brand then try the value version, just once, and you may find you can’t tell the difference and are happy to stick with it.
Whatever you do – DO NOT try to fool your family by decanting own brand tomato sauce into an empty Heinz tomato sauce bottle. It will not fool them and it will cause them to revolt against trying further value products without the use of bribery and threats. At least that’s what I’ve heard could happen, not that I would know *cough*.
I used Tesco prices as an example as that’s where I did my last weekly shop online but all of the big supermarkets have comparable own brand products so wherever you shop you can save…