Today’s TV observation is shopping, and are multi pack purchases truly money savers?
The shopper was a busy mum of 5, who admitted that she opted for multi packs for convenience, not just being in one pack instead of individuals, but time.
I can identify with this especially now that the kids have broken up for the holidays, but even I could see from my armchair that she could have saved a little bit of money by looking at some single items and special offers.
I am a mean shopper.
I’m tight, frugal, and won’t spend a penny more than I have to, which is why I was mad at myself the other day for getting caught by familiarity and assumption.
To assume is to make an ass out of U and Me.
Items of interest today were a 24 pack of crisps, a saving of a whopping £7 compared to buying individually; a four pack of chopped tomatoes which she would have saved £1.50 by buying singles of the same brand; 3 chocolate bars, loose they were bigger and on special offer, so she would have saved 50p; and bottle flavoured water which worked out more expensive with the multi pack.
In the long run though, multi packs will probably save you money, and for harassed Mums with screaming kids or the working Mum in a hurry to get home, shopping speed is of the essence. Not everyone is lucky like me in that I have the time and means to shop around.
IMO, key points to look out for are weights/sizes and in the case of kitchen/toilet rolls, number of sheets.
Multi packs of chocolate bars are notorious for being smaller, and thus more pence per gram. In many supermarkets, single full size bars are 60p, but two for a pound. Four bar packs have been replaced by three, and I confess to scrunching up the exterior packaging to see just how much is Content rather than Presentation.
Tinned tomatoes vary in price, but I can buy either whole or chopped at 29p for a 400g tin. Take into account a three or four multi pack can cost over £2.
Stock cubes are interesting too (though not mentioned on the programme today).
I buy a shopbrand pack of 12 for 39p. The crumbly ones start at £1.17 for 12, perhaps £1.50 for 18. But, when on special offer, you can get two packs of 12 for £1.50 by looking down a shelf.
I’ve done toilet rolls before, so I’ll pass this time! (Puppies cost more!)
I take advantage of special offers where I can, especially the 3 trays of meat for £10, which I view as the number of dinners I can get out of each one.
From 500g of minced beef, that’s 4, a pack of 4 chops is another 4 sweet and sours or 2 ‘roast’ dinners, 4 chicken breasts will give me 4 curries/sweet and sours and if they are quite big, 4 main meals instead.
A twin pack of gammon steaks is just over £1, but that is two dinners as we have one between us. Of course this only works when I have a freezer and can store the surplus accordingly. (Owning one again is one of the things I’m looking forward to when we finally get a new home)
And we all know how I’ve been with biscuits lately!
We have been buying a twin pack of custard creams for the barrel for 34p. A two pack in our other supermarket of choice is 45p.
The first weighs 200g, ie. each pack is 100g and so 17p per 100g.
The second weighs 300g, ie. each pack is 150g and so 15p per 100g.
Prices are going up in the shops, but not only are you paying more again, you are getting less.
I remember this comparison from February 2015 when I was trying to get to grips with our boat shopping budget.
If you have the time, don’t be tempted by flashy wrapping or fall for familiarity like I did.
You don’t have to get paranoid and carry a calculator or have an app on your phone to check prices……….. in most instances, the shops do a cost per 100g for you on the shelf label. Just make sure the thing you are reading about relates to the thing you are holding! This goes for the freezer departments too.