Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What's it Worth?

As my mind is already planning the frugal food for next year (although it won't be costly, there are some cracking recipes for you - you will never have eaten so well), yesterday I decided to count out how many rounded teaspoons there were in a 200g jar of instant (quality) coffee granules. I double checked and it came to the same - 125. My husband pointed out that he uses a level teaspoon when making me coffee, but then I don't like it as strong as most people. But whatever, those rounded counted spoonfuls worked out at only 3p per cup/mug excluding milk and sugar. Therefore mine must have been even cheaper.

Using a limited budget, to be able to buy the most food, I would need to buy the cheapest (usually the store's own brand). With a lot of foods, this is not a problem as long as the nutrition is roughly the same as the higher priced brands. Branded products usually taste better but then any home-made meal will taste better than a ready-meal, so spend the money where it matters most, like meat from a butcher, fruit and vegetables from a town or farmer's market or the local greengrocers when you can.

An early start for me today as I came up at 6.30am to do a trial pricing of seven products from my store's grocery lists. The results are well worth sharing, so here is my 'shopping basket' with the cheapest price (normally store's own) given first followed by the dearest (branded):

Plain flour - 27p/81p; baked beans - 17p/59p; coffee - £1.38p/£3.78p; bread - 28p/96p; chopped tomatoes - 15p/57p; pasta-37p/94p; and canned fruit cocktail - 22p/72p.
As the total for the cheapest came to £2.84p - and the quality brands came to £8.37p this shows a whopping difference of £5.52p. Makes you think twice, doesn't it?

We usually get 'flyers' through our post-box from one or another of our local supermarkets, these usually give half-price reductions and bogofs (same thing really), on branded products when purchased over a short period of time. Then a couple of weeks later comes the next flyer with other price cuts. These are the best times to stock up, maybe doubling up a purchase or two so that the quality of our stores slowly improves without having to pay top prices. This is helping me a lot as this week I can get get my husband to bring me in some soft margarine (something I normally don't buy) which will be used later for baking purposes. Ditto coffee, reducing the price per cup down to 2p or less. As it says on my money-box lid "A PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED". Remember that!