Archive for shopping

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Downgrade your expenditure

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by stanleyriiks

There are two simple ways downgrade your grocery shopping.

The first is by downgrading your supermarket. If you shop at Waitrose (you rich bastards!), you need to start shopping at Marks and Spencer. If you shop at Marks you need to start shopping at Sainsbury. If Sainsbury then Tesco. If Tesco then Asda. If Asda then move to Morrisons. Morrisons to Iceland, Iceland to Lidl/Aldi/Netto. If you have the misfortunate to shop at Lidl/Aldi/Netto you need to get a big stick and start mugging homeless people!

Ok, Morrisons might be above Asda, and its unlikely you’ll have all of those options in your area, but remember online shopping.

If you haven’t got the choice of which supermarket you can go to then you can always downgrade your label. A store-branded product can replace a brand name product. All the major supermarkets are getting in on the store value-brand now, even Waitrose. Both Tesco and Sainsbury have three levels of products, Tesco Finest and Taste the Difference being the top level, and the nicest, although sometimes only slightly. But also the most expensive.

The thing to remember when purchasing your food if that no matter how nice and yummy and delicious it is when you put it in your mouth, it all comes out the same at the other end. If that doesn’t induce you to purchase a Tesco’s value lasagne for 89p than I doubt anything will.

But seriously, downgrading your shopping should be taken slowly. Dropping down from a regular Tesco’s Finest menu to the value range will leave you feeling hard-down-by. Ease yourself down the range in small easily manageable increments.

Also, look at other things that can be downgraded. Your mobile contract can be downgraded as long as you are far enough into it, normally about 9 months. If you’re not using your current allowance give your mobile company a ring and reduce your contract.

Insurance can be downgraded, although check carefully that you are still covered for the things that you want to be covered for.

Downgrade your car. Sometimes this can work the opposite way too. A friend of mine purchased a newer car that had a slightly smaller diesel engine, the lower cost of insurance, lower tax and lower fuel meant that it cost £14.00 a month less to run than the older car. That’s including the more expensive hire-purchase costs. Obviously I cannot recommend getting into higher levels of debt, but in this case I can see the advantage. But debt is still bad.

Start downgrading now.

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Shopping Intelligently: Part 2

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by stanleyriiks

We’re talking about groceries here, if you’re even thinking about any other kind of shop you need to stop right now. Unless you can’t eat it or drink it, or need it for washing, then don’t buy it.

Never ever go shopping without a list. Big mistake. Also, have something to eat and drink before you go, so you won’t be tempted to buy yourself a snack (this is my biggest problem, I go to buy myself some lunch and eat up with £20.00 worth of crisps, biscuits and chocolate!).

Stick to the list!

You will need to buy essentials, food, drinks, cleaning stuff, washing powders, you know the type of thing. Check out the offers, half price and buy one get one free (BOGOF) are the best. If they have something you will use, shampoo, shower gel, frozen pizza, toothpaste, get double you normally would. If it’s something you use all year-round such as shower gel, then stock up when it’s BOGOF. I recently bought sixteen bottles of Original Source Shower Gel in Tesco when they had a BOGOF offer which will keep me going for several months, at half the cost.

It’s important you don’t get carried away with offers. Never buy anything you might use just because it’s on sale, only things you will definitely use and are on your list.

If you do internet shopping it’s much easier to check all the offers, it’s how I choose half my shopping.

It’s also worth changing your supermarket once in a while. The big supermarkets will often send you a discount voucher to use online to entice you back, if you haven’t been there for a couple of months.

Shopping intelligently is about not buying more than you need, making offers work for you, and adding value to every purchase.

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Shopping Intelligently: False Economy, it’s not cheaper!

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by stanleyriiks

Don’t buy smaller than you can use.

A small tub of butter/spread is more expensive than a large one in terms of weight (per gram the smaller tub is more expensive). If you’re going to use a kilo tub before it goes off, which is fairly likely, then you are better off buying the larger one.  Buying the smaller one because it’s cheaper (although more expensive per gram, and therefore worse value) is false economy.

This works for almost all products, and supermarkets are now being quite helpful by giving the price of items and the grams, rolls, sheets, litres, cost.

Buy sixteen or eighteen rolls of toilet paper rather than four. (Can save £2.00 a month on average)

Buy a five-litre bottle of mineral water, or a six-pack instead of individual bottles. If you need to use smaller bottles for work or ease of use, buy a big one and a funnel and pour it in. Ok, so it’s slightly more work, but it’s less money. The average family can save over £100.00 a year by giving their kids small bottles filled with water from larger bottles. (Of course investing in a water filter jug and several filters will be even cheaper, it costs about 2p a litre. If you live in London and have to drink the hideously cloudy and foul-tasting recycled liquid, it may take a while to get used to it after Evian [trust me!]).

This also uses less packaging, which is good for the environment. Good for the environment can be good for you!

Use this technique for everything that doesn’t have a short shelf life, soft drinks, bottled water, toilet rolls, butter/spread, tinned goods, frozen goods. Doesn’t work so well for short-life products like milk, but work it out. If you can use a six pint bottle then it’s still better value than a four and a two pint, or three two pints.

You can save hundreds of pounds shopping this way.

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Budgeting

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2009 by stanleyriiks

Budgeting is not scary, it’s not difficulty and it doesn’t take a genius to do it. You don’t need a degree in finance, or 25 year experience as an economist, nor to you need a financial advisor or book-keeper do it for you.

Budgeting is about knowing what your incomings are (wages normally), and your outgoings (mortgage/rent, utilities, telephone, cable, shopping, credit cards, etc).

Start out by printing off your monthly bank statement. If you haven’t got internet banking then sign-up now. The easiest way to have control of your money is to know how much you have and how much is coming out. This is budgeting.

Make a list of your income:

To make it simple and give you an example we’ll say you receive £1000 wages a month and you have no other income.

Now make a list of your direct debits, standing-orders, and any other monthly payments that you can’t get out of, this should not include any spending on shopping or food:

Rent:               £300.00

Electricity:             £100.00

Gas:                £100.00

Water:                         £20.00

Taxes:             £50.00

Insurance:             £10.00

Travel:             £20.00

So you start with £1000

When you’ve paid all of the above you’re left with: £400.00

This is your working budget. Spend more than this and you’re going into debt. Debt is the enemy! You should always try to spend within your budget. Food, clothes, going out, holidays, petrol, everything that is not a regular bill will come out of your working budget.

Check your bank regularly, internet banking and telephone banking are very helpful in making sure you are aware of your spending.

Budgeting is the opposite of dieting, but both work in the same (although opposite) way: there are only two ways to improve your situation, get more money in or spend less money. (Dieting is use more calories up or take less in).

Being aware of your financial situation, however bad it may be, is always helpful. Remember that knowledge is power.

Next time: Bills