Richard Oliff - Cut shopping bill by going back to basics

Richard Oliff
Richard Oliff
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As the cost of living rises at an alarming rate and wages and pensions are constantly devalued, it has never been so important for most of us to shop around.

This isn’t’ speculation or some random forecast of economic doom and gloom, this is fact. We’ve arrived in a place where money has never been in such short supply. Some of our cash has to be allotted to the unavoidable like domestic fuel, council tax: even the charge for the telephone is a necessity, often linked to our need to be connected to the internet.

Yet there is still one area of spending where we have total control should we choose so to do. Most of us have to do our weekly or bi-weekly domestic shop in a supermarket.

Until three months ago I would happily visit a particular major supermarket for various reasons, not least of which were familiarity and apparent perception of quality linked to value, or peripheral services like car washes, fuel or even opticians. Equally today there is a blind, almost robotic ‘addiction’ to brand loyalty.

In some towns, like Market Harborough, one may still have to pay as much as 50p to simply park a car for the privilege of shopping. Similarly if one chooses to shop in Corby town centre there is a parking charge: an additional cost easily overlooked, yet one that equates to five items in the average shop of 10p reduction in price.

There had to be a better way forward than consistently paying up to £80 to fill a trolley with household essentials. Some supermarkets exist that have, for many years, stripped back on the frills. Their packaging is bland. Their atmosphere is not polluted by an outpouring of ‘muzak’ interspersed by self sponsored advertising. They stock tins of beans with unrecognisable labels and their chocolate has a name unfamiliar to the keeper of the household purse.

Their costs are a great deal lower purely because their goods and services have been ‘stripped-back’ to the basics. I find it incredible that there are still people who would not enter one of these stores purely because of pride.

I managed to swallow that a few months ago and I’ve found myself saving more money than the average annual rise in the cost of living.

Amazingly, if one visits one of the major supermarkets today, they are still packed with high spending consumers. Yet, there is an altogether less stressful and cost effective way forward.

As they say, one needs to shop around to shop around. Start saving cash!