False Economies and How to Avoid them

Published / Written by Anna Scott / No Comments Yet

You may remember a certain item on the news a few weeks back – supermarket giant Tesco revealed the astonishing amount of food waste is had generated in the first half of the year, either through unsold products, or excess produce being thrown away by consumers. Regardless of whether I thought that this was a brave admission or clever PR stunt (the jury’s still out on that one), this got me thinking about my own shopping habits. When is ‘great value’ not great value? When do items bought on offer turn out to be additional fodder for our bins? Here’s why you need to be a bit more careful about what your hard-earned cash gets spent on if you really want to get the best value…

Multi Buys

Grrrrr….even the very mention of them brings out the rage in me. This was one of the things highlighted by Tesco in their admission, especially in relation to pre-prepared packets of salads, a lot of which ends up getting chucked out by the customer. The other thing that springs to mind is bread. Every day I go into my local branch of a certain supermarket and there’s branded loaves on multi buy deals. Now, the one thing I know about sliced bread is that it doesn’t stay fresh for long, and if you don’t have to freezer space to store that second loaf, then what’s the point in getting it for the sake of saving 50p? Especially if it’s going to end up gathering mould… unless you scoff at least four sandwiches a day, which is unlikely. And even if you do, you’ll end up buying the stuff more frequently and therefore spending more money…

I’m ashamed to say that I have ended up throwing away meat in the past for the very same reason – bought 2+ packs of chicken breasts because I thought I was saving money, no room in the freezer for the second pack, end up being too tired to cook them both within the use by date… I’m just going to sit in a corner and hang my head in shame now…

So when it comes to multi buys, I stay well away from the perishables. And even with the tinned stuff, I tend to walk a cautious path. If you’re anything like me, you will have minimal space in your kitchen cupboard because you have minimal space in your kitchen full-stop. So buying 8 tins of tomato soup might not be the wisest use of the little space I do have…

Fresh Fruit and Veg

I’ve covered this a bit in the whole ‘packets of salad’ drama above, but it can be expanded on. Do you remember those comments by Jamie Oliver, about how we should all be buying fresh fruit and vegetables from markets? Well, like I said at the time, this isn’t always practical. In the past, when I’ve gone and bought a couple of kilos worth from my nearest stall, I’ve come home with an initial sense of satisfaction, quickly followed by dread, because if I’m honest with myself, this isn’t always going to be eaten in time. The same goes for stocking up in bulk from the supermarket because you think you’re saving money in the long run – remember a lot of these items have a VERY limited shelf life. Unfortunately there’s any easy solution to this. If you live close to a great value market and you have to the time to stop in their most days, well, I’m very jealous. I think the best thing is to just buy what you need when you need it to avoid minimal waste and if this sometimes means spending a bit more money in your local branches of smaller supermarkets, then think about how much you’ll be saving when none of it ends up in the bin.

There are so many other things I could cover in this post, so I think I’ll save them for a ‘False Economies Part Deux’ rant in the future. Look forward to that one…