Spending Experiment

Consumers on strike for 2012.

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Winning the Battle?

Well, I’d like to think it’s all down to me and my little one-family protest, but it seems that a whole swathe of the UK population is saying ‘no’ to consumerism and driving down the power of the supermarkets. Tesco has announced massive losses over Christmas, and surely a part of that must be down to people wising up to their marketing methods. I was starting to feel like I was under attack every time I entered the store. Certain things that I bought every week were a different price each time. Last year, the price of a pack of nappies went up nearly £2, then a bit later they dropped it by about 8p and promoted them as part of the Big Price Drop. Is anyone really taken in by this? I used to find the little price per weight cards underneath the items really useful, but now each product has a different criteria. Eg. Jaffa Cakes – xp per biscuit; Tesco’s own Jaffa Cakes – xp per 100g. Unless you take a calculator and a maths graduate with you, how are you supposed to know which is the best deal? And those little yellow cards, which draw your eyes to the fantastic offers of 89p each or “2 FOR £2!” I could go on, but enough has been said by too many lately about how consumers are being poleaxed by the retail giants.

There’s obviously a large movement of people away from what we are increasingly finding distasteful and corrupt. This week I did the big shop in Aldi. Usually I only go in there for parmesan, mussels and welding masks, but we’ve decided that we’d rather our money went to them than to Tesco, so I gave it a go. Well, Aldi – you’ve changed! Actually, it’s not Aldi that have changed, but their shoppers. When I went in on Monday morning it was full of well, women (just a little bit) like me I suppose. Mid-life, mid-income types, with Olivias and Oscars in their trolley, buying smoked salmon and fennel and stuffed olives. The women you’d normally see in Waitrose. In fact, if Aldi started stocking organic baby food Waitrose would be stuffed. And I like Aldi, for the reasons I like Waitrose – nice quality food (especially the chocolate), wide clean aisles, and a calm atmosphere. So, we’re going to stick with it for a while and we’re currently testing their own brand loo roll (big hit), cat food (not so popular, but half the price of branded stuff, so Tiddles will have to lump it), washing powder,nappies and pasta sauce. My bill for a week’s ‘stuff’ came to £26.24, although I have to go and buy Quorn and Kenco decaff from an evil overlord. C’mon, Aldi, start stocking those and I’ll never shop anywhere else again!

On your marks

Well, it’s been a while hasn’t it.  I’ve been a naughty blog slacker, caught up in Christmas and my other writing work.  But today is the first day of our new regime so it seems only right that I get my butt into gear and put down some words.

So, what’s been happening since the last post?  Well, Geekboy and I have had many a discussion about “the rules”, what constitutes essential spending, etc.  And basically, he concludes that anything he takes a fancy to and wants to buy is essential (new colour laser printer, old bits of wood from dead men’s sheds at the woodwork auction [baffled]), whereas anything I want is mere frippery and definitely out of bounds.  Well, that’s me told then.

Being reluctantly in charge of most of the household finances though, it falls to me to make the spending decisions and so I have my own plan of action…

  • Firstly, I’m going to shop at Aldi every other week.  I actually love Aldi so that will be fun.  The hard part will be avoiding the random stuff in the middle of the aisles.  I often get tempted by welding gloves or snow chains.
  • And I’m going to start leaving my purse at home (but not when I’m going out specifically to shop – that would be most annoying.)  I am the world champion in going out to buy a pint of milk and spending £25.
  • Start using the little local shops more.  I can then buy just what I want, while helping our lovely local high street.  Going into Sainsbury’s, while being definitely closer, and probably cheaper, is not economical when I end up buying toys, comics, clothes etc for The Boy.
  • And, I know this sounds a little geeky and sad, but I shall try and record everything I spend.  In the end, this exercise/experiment is to look at my own spending patterns and identify my danger zones.

I think we’re making a good start anyway.  Yesterday I went into town to have my hair cut and I had a quick browse around the shops, thinking I may have a final blowout.  But dy’know, there was absolutely nothing I wanted.  There was a pretty little purse in one of my favourite shops that I would have bought without a second thought last year, but I’m already putting my rules to work.  Yes, it was pretty, but I have a purse that I love already.  Yes, it was cheap, but is the fact that I can afford something really a good reason to buy something?  We went out and bought a new bookcase after lunch, but it was something we needed, had discussed and planned for a long time, and anyway, the rules hadn’t started yet.  And it looks lovely.

Total spend today    £1.49 – bottle of milk.

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