Smart Spending and Smart Saving Tips
Selling your home
The cheapest food can be bought at open air markets, followed in my experience by Aldi, Lidl and Iceland. I am a fan of the latter and often shop there, as everything tends to cost £1 a packet, so bills are easily calculated as you go round.
Avoid the big weekly shop. Buy smaller amounts when you need them. That way you won't be tempted to buy DVDs you didn't really want or load up with 'three for the price of two' offers. You'll also have much less wastage.
Never buy a big American fridge (not only are they very expensive to run I hear, but you'll spend a fortune trying to keep it well-stocked, never mind the added temptation of over-eating all that stuff!
In the supermarket, always check the top or bottom shelf before the middle one. The manufacturers of the big premium priced brands pay the supermarkets to place their things at eye-level. Cheaper or own-label brands - sometimes produced by the same manufacturer are perfectly acceptable.
Never shop when hungry
Put fruit and veg into a bag yourself rather than buying pre-packed bags. You" ll be amazed at the savings.
Shop at the end of the day when prices of luxury items like steak and cream have been reduced to clear them.
Don't assume that items on the 'end of line' shelves are cheaper. They may be put there to offload them quickly.
Don't assume that larger boxes of soap powder are best value. I once heard a soap powder executive boasting that this isn't the case. (check the small print on the edge-of-shelf labels to see the price per item/weight and compare this price with a different size box to check it really is good value for money).
My local greengrocer’s prices are 50p lower per lb of produce, on the average. That’s because he buys B-grade produce, which may not be a uniform size but tastes the same. Your children will delight in finding the bird-shaped potatoes and right-angled carrots at the bottom of the bag. Also try to buy direct from farms and local suppliers, best buys are eggs, vegetables and jams.
Smaller supermarkets often try harder. In Budgen, I bought some food that had just been marked down AND had previously been 'three for the price of two’. Although the convention is generally, that if it’s marked down, you can’t have the other offer, I just asked at the counter and got both.
Keep fruit and veg fresher for longer by storing in StayfreshBags from Lakeland. www.lakeland.co.uk
Pick-your-own fruit and veg often works out cheaper, with farmers offering added attractions like tractor rides to keep the kids happy.
If you have never ventured into one of the cheap European supermarkets - Lidl, Aldi or Netto - you'll be amazed. These are pile'em high, sell'em cheap stores with no frills and often no free carrier bags. Try to use cash to keep the queue moving swiftly. You'll find at least one of these stores in most high streets but it's always worth investigating neighbouring shopping areas.
Nationwide chains - M& S, Sainsburys, Asda etc - do not necessarily charge the same price for the same product across their stores. They use pricing models based on local market forces so it can be worthwhile shopping in a run-down area. The products are exactly the same so it's a win-win deal for the smart shopper.
Even if you are not planning to be loyal to one supermarket, do take out their loyalty card and remember to use it every time you shop there. Apparently the average family (!) saves £26 a year on these cards.
Site user Jenny Barnes suggests buying spices in mega-amounts and uncooked poppadums from Asian food shops rather than ready-puffed ones from supermarkets. 'Theyre so easy to cook - 30 seconds over the gas hob or in the microwave,' she adds. No more opening the box to discover smashed poppadoms! Thanks Jenny.
I love nothing better first thing in the morning than a refreshing cup of mint tea. But never buy it, simply pop a sprig of mint from your garden into a mug and pour boiling water over it. Delicious and totally free! For more ideas for using nature's 'free finds' see my Food page.
© Copyright Jane Furnival 2007, 2008