It’s the new age of frugality and saving is the new splurging. As the nation collectively tightens its belt everyone is looking for ways to cut costs and boost their bank balance. However, while the big costs are easy to spot, it’s the small spends that we miss that all add up. And one place in particular where we’re practically throwing money away is the supermarket. Here are the five most common ways we waste money at the checkout.
Buying in bulk when you don’t need to
Buying in bulk and three for two offers are a great way of cutting costs. For items you buy repeatedly such as toilet rolls or cleaning products you can’t go wrong by buying several to get a discount. But the first rule of sensible shopping is only buy in bulk the things that you need plenty of. So it’s three for two of Chinese Shaoxing rice wine but you only need a teaspoon for an experimental recipe, is this deal really any good for you?
Buying brand names
One of the most common ways we throw money away is by only buying brand name products. We seem to believe that by having a brand name a product is infinitely better than the supermarket’s own version. More fool us.
An Asda’s own wholemeal loaf is £1 whilst Hovis wholemeal is £1.40 – despite being the same size. Opt for brands when it makes a difference but recognise that a lot of the time, it doesn’t.
When you’re busy anything that saves a bit of time is greatly welcomed. And it’s here that ready-prepared fruit and vegetables find their niche. Chopped and bagged and ready to go, prepared foods can indeed be handy. But do you really want to pay over the odds for the sake of a few minutes?
Take mushrooms for example.
400g of closed cut mushrooms in Tesco costs 97p. Take 250g of them, chop them up and then bag them however and you’ll pay £1.00. That’s 3p more for 150g less.
Meanwhile a whole watermelon in Sainsbury’s will set you back just £1. Take less than a third of it (450g) and cut it into slices and you’ll pay £2.
Yes, we’re all aware of the wonders of H20 – and none more so than the clever folk at bottled water companies who found that putting something we all have access to into plastic bottles and charging a couple of pound for it ACTUALLY works. Yes, bottled water is handy when you’re on the go but why line the pockets of some multi-million pound company when you could save yourself the bother – and the cash – and simply fill a bottle up at home.