Friday, 23 March 2018

It Depends

Jonathan Bradshaw asked about my online shopping experience with Tesco.  I thought I'd share some experiences.  After all, the card I got yesterday was for 350 deliveries and it included a code for 250 clubcard points.  It was handwritten and everything, and addressed to me personally, not just 'Dear Customer' which was quite flattering.  I'm not sure whether I'm a good or bad example.

I save money by shopping for groceries online because I have no impulse control in a supermarket.  I always find myself cooing over something completely inessential and it ends up in the trolley and I find myself spending a lot more than I meant to.  I miss out on the yellow sticker bargains, but I rarely seem to fall lucky for them anyway.  If I shop online then at least I can look at the total at the end and take off things I don't need.

Jonathan asked about buying in bulk.  Sometimes it is worth it, but you have to do the sums and be realistic.  It depends, but if you get into the habit of thinking in the right way, you can save a fortune.  I can't eat gluten.  Gluten free stuff practically never goes on sale.  It is expensive, it is often hard to find and it isn't always very nice.  Sometimes you may as well eat the packaging.  However, once a year there is a coeliac week, or gluten awareness or something.  It's coming up soon.  And when it comes up I will once again buy a year's worth of gluten free pasta.  Instead of being £1.20 for 500g at time of typing (current equivalent of normal past is £1.00 for a kilo - less money for twice the amount, grumble), if it goes by the same pattern it will be three for the price of two or 80p for 500g (and still more expensive than the equivalent of normal pasta, grumble grumble).  Last year I saved a fortune.  You have to allow for delivery charges, but I have a delivery saver with Tesco, Sainsburys and Morrisons which have all paid for themselves.

Pasta lasts literally for years.  The stuff remaining from last year won't go out of date for another year.  It's something we all eat, we all like and it's a useful staple.  The other stuff on sale is easier to resist.  There's no point getting treats that I will just scarf down too quickly so I don't actually save money, I just use up what I've bought quicker.  There's no point in buying stuff that will go out of date quickly, either.  You find yourself wading through slice after slice of something regrettable and you either become thoroughly sickened of it or it goes off and has to be thrown out. 

The other thing to consider is - do you have space to store it and will you remember where you put it.  A few years ago I managed to get a series of good deals on tinned soups.  The offer lasted for a few weeks and as it was something that we would all eat, we all liked, kept for a long time and it was coming up to winter, I got a few on each order and stashed them around the kitchen and the walk in cupboard.  When I totalled them up, I had 72 tins.  We did get through them, but it took a while.  This is why when I saw a decent offer on Tesco tinned tomatoes a month or so ago I bought ten tins, not thirty or forty. 

And this is why I am sometimes a bad example because I actually considered getting thirty or forty.  If I remember correctly, this offer was in January and we've long since got through them.  It was only saving a few pennies, but I'll take that. 

You also have to be sure you're getting a deal.  I currently will not pay more than 60p a tin for DH's favourite brand of beans.  They have a recommended retail price of @ 75p (a lot higher in the corner shop!), but I can usually get a pack of four for £2 in one of the supermarkets.  I get a couple of packs in when it's the right price.  However supermarkets cheat.  They push the price up for a week or two and then drop it suddenly and show it as a great deal.  Some offers, like the one on DH's favourite flavoured water at Tesco, seem permanent.  In my experience, the shorter the length of the deal, the more genuine the reductions. 

I used to be able to see a graph on mysupermarket.co.uk which tracked the price over the last 12 months and which showed when it was the least and when the most expensive.  They don't seem to do that any more but they have a shed load of new features like cashback and I'm off to investigate. 

Also, I failed to get out yesterday and was determined to get out today.  I spent the morning having panic attacks but I did manage to get into the town centre, impulse bought rhubarb and a ridiculous amount of mushrooms from the market and bought drink.  All bets are now off. 

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