Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The great 'reduced' experiment

I'm a canny shopper, I love my deals. I think I partly learnt this from my mum, and partly I just love maths and working out price per 100g or whether the bigger or smaller packet works out better value. I remember a time when petrol was 49.9p per litre, and watching with my mum to look out for which petrol station sold it cheapest, and what if you took into account store points and things like that. Well now petrol is reaching record highs of around 120p per litre, and I now have my own family and household to run.

I was in Morrisons* yesterday picking up some bits and pieces and ended up with a basket that was made up either of reduced items or 'value' product. And I idly wondered to myself whether it would be possible to only buy reduced or value products. Later in the day this lead to an idea, and now the idea is in practice. I want to try for the next couple of weeks to live off my store cupboard and things I buy from the reduced section, or the value brand, or a few exceptions, buy fresh.

For example, yesterday I bought two packets of mixed berries which were originally £3 a packet, reduced to 49p each. The fruit inside was still good, they'd merely reached the day of their 'sell by' date and needed to either be shifted from the shelves, or thrown away. Since we now have a freezer in our new flat I can purchase things like bread or meat products on their 'sell by' date at a reduced price, and safely use them a few days or weeks later. (I like the sound of that!)

Morrisons also has a reduced section for non-perishable goods such as tins. Yesterday I found a tin of tomatoes well within date (by more than a year) that was reduced to 19p because it was dented. I was quite happy to buy it as dents don't bother me.

So, my experiment is as follows - for the next couple of weeks or so (depending on how it goes and whether my husband gets sick of it!) I plan to only buy things which are reduced, or from the value range. The exceptions to this rule are milk, things for the baby (like formula, and potentially fresher veg) and possibly yoghurts for my husband! I know that currently we are stocked with toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste and also things like cleaning products and washing detergent, so I am not including those in the experiment.

There are several things I like about this personal challenge. Firstly the excitement of not knowing exactly what I'll be buying. I am entirely at the hands of the supermarket! I'll make sure that we get fruit and vegetables in our diet, so if I have to buy unreduced, I will. Secondly I think it will be good for me to stop and think about exactly what I'm spending. I'm putting it all in a spreadsheet (yeah, I'm a geek) and categorising what I buy (fruit, veg, bread, meat...) including a section for 'splash' - something that was reduced, but wasn't necessarily an essential.
Thirdly, I'm hoping it will be good for my diet - I'm less likely to just grab a chocolate bar to add to basket if I'm looking for bargains and trying to be canny in how I shop. Finally, I'm hoping it will save a bit of money, because after all, who couldn't do with saving a bit in the current climate!

(*Morrisons is one of the cheaper supermarkets, and their store own branded products are called 'value', whereas in somewhere like Asda they're 'smartprice'. Just a bit of clarification for any of my readers across the pond!)

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

What a good idea! I would caution you to remember that if you don't need it, it's not a bargain. When we cleaned out my Aunt's pantry we found fifteen boxes of Mac 'n Cheese. She never ate it, but kept buying it because it was on sale.
Glad you're posting!