Saturday, July 18, 2009

S is for friend S and shopping savings (a lesson in how not to shop)

My dear friend S is probably waiting for this post and will be filled with dread when she sees it! S has lived a rather charmed financial life for a few years now, but all that could soon be about to change and she really needs to get things in order now to help secure a brighter financial future for her and her daughter.

Yesterday on our way home from school, she needed to pop into the co-op because she was starving, so me being me, I said make yourself a sandwich when you get in. She said she fancied a croissant or something.
When we got in there, my little one decided he wanted a Duck wrap and a Dr Who magazine and there was no way I was going to pay for that as I had chicken, ham, cheese, bread and bagels in the house. I told him that if he wanted those things he could give me the money back out of his pocket money when we got home and his little Booty came to £4.80.
Meanwhile S is walking around filling up a basket with far more than a couple of croissants! She pointed out that she had bought some snacks, a couple of bags of chipsticks, a couple of bags of quavers and some other stuff. She had already told me that she rarely buys crisps but when she does she likes an assortment. I told her it would be far cheaper to buy multi-packs but still she bought them all loose at probably 40 something pence per bag! As we got to the checkout I saw a pack of 12 Nik Naks for £1.00 and pointed these out to her, so she bought those aswell but still kept the others in the basket. From what I could see, she had also bought a pre-packed sandwich, about 3 different items from the Bakery section, I saw a carton of fresh juice and a physcologies magazine. As she approached the checkout, she asked for my loyalty card, as she doesn't have one, so I picked a leaflet up for her, but she said she has loads of them at home. Her little basket of shopping came to £36 which to me was astonishing! This week I had spent £56 on my weekly shop with Sainsburys online and she had only spent £20 less and had about 10 items if she was lucky!

So the lessons to be learned here are:-

Magazines - If you do have a magazine that you like to buy on a regular basis, then please look at the different subscription deals available, just type the name of the magazine into Google and they will all come up. With S's favourite Pschologies magazine you pay for 6 issues for 6 months by direct debit with you make a massive 69% saving on the cover price of £3.30, so each isssue works out at only £1.00! Plus you recieve a free designer make-up and wash bag set by Allegra Hicks, which would be great for Holiday. Magazine subscriptions also make fantastic gifts and at these crazy prices you won't be going far wrong for a birthday or Christmas pressie. Always tell friends and relatives what you would like to recieve as a gift, as often people are stuck for ideas and would welcome a suggestion from you. My birthday is right near Christmas, but I add things to my list all year and then give the list to my husband about a month beforehand so he can sort out who is buying what. This year I have already written down a jewellery box and some body cream that is £22 which you can only get from Harrods and came highly recommended via another blog, along with some Lime, Basil and Mandarin Cologne by Jo Malone which is £29. Don't forget that with the Sales on, this is a great time to start buying in advance for Xmas to ease the strain nearer the time. Look out for Handbags, purses, cashmere, Nightwear etc

Bakery - If you love the fresh bakery goods available at Supermarkets (and who doesn't?), try to pop in of an evening when items are reduced, buy in bulk and freeze them.

Pre-packed Sandwiches - Avoid them like the Plague! If S had bread indoors and ham or cheese it would have been cheaper to buy one tomato and a lettuce, add some seasoning and mayonnaise and there you have it, a sandwich no different to the one you have bought, but at lots less than the £2.50+ you probably paid in the shop. Even pots of sandwich fillers (although I prefer to make my own) and packets of chicken tikka, work out cheaper than buying a pre-packed sarni and you have enough for the next day awell. The co-op also had a deal on Tuna, 3 tins of John West for only £1.99, mix that with mayo, add some leaves and some cucumber for a tasty lunch. Use the other tins for a pasta dish using ingredients from your storecupboard and you have lunch and dinner sorted for less than £2!

Crisps - Avoid buying loose packets at all costs - this is a completely crazy area to waste money! A loose pack of crisps somewhere in the region of 40p! but at co-op 12 nik naks for £1 - or Walkers crisps in any big supermarket, 24 bags for approx £3.50 - I'll leave you to do the Maths! and if you like Quavers and Chipsticks it will still work out cheaper in the long run to buy two multipacks, even if you don't eat them on a regular basis, products like these do have a long shelf life.

Loyalty Cards - You must have one for every shop you may possibly go in. I don't use Boots very often as Savers is cheaper, but I still have a card which has £11 on it! I will use some of this up when Boots are giving away a make-up voucher which is usually £5 off certain brands.

Local Shops - Do support them, but in the right way. Chains like Co-op and Costcutter do have great deals so keep an eye out for what you need. I mentioned the Tuna and the Nik-Naks above so will be buying them locally and won't then need to order those items on my Sainsburys shop as they are both something I use on a regualar basis.

So if you popped into your local co-op and spent £36 per week, just think what that adds up to over a month and then over a year. Its no good being the kind of person who won't withdraw cash from the ATM at the Post Office because it charges you £1.75 if you are then gonna waste cash in other crazy ways. So if you are popping into the co-op or any other local store for a croissant or two, then just pick up the two croissants and head straight for the checkout. We all deserve a treat sometime!

My friend M, is another culprit. I am always seeing her coming out of the co-op clutching a bottle of squash and a loaf of bread.... what can you do? Doing one large weekly shop and buying enough bread and milk for the week will save loads. As I have mentioned many times before, freeze your bread, it defrosts so quickly, it eliminates waste, especially in the summer months when bread can go mildew quickly. Most supermarkets do 2 loaves for £2 and that would probably be enough for her family of 3 for the week. Semi and Skimmed milk can also be frozen, buy the 6 pint carton, decant half and freeze (allow 24 hours to defrost, less on hot days). Buy squash in 2 litre bottles, works out much cheaper and buy supermarkets own brands, they are no different. Saving money does take time and effort but once you get in the swing of it, it gives you a real thrill to have saved a couple of quid! Turn it into a hobby, keep that spending diary, check those bills to see what you have saved by taking showers instead of baths or by switching lights off when they shouldn't be on anyway! Do you know that a phone charger uses the same amount of electricity if the phone isn't attached? How many of you take the phone off and leave the charger sitting there, switched on at the wall? You will find loads of ways of saving money by looking through the archives of this blog, so come on - start saving!

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