Bargain Hunting

Here’s something you need to know about me.  I’m a sucker for a bargain.  I’m not sure I’ve ever bough an item of clothing that wasn’t at least half price in the sales.  The bigger the discount, the happier I feel. 

I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day picking this apart. They would try to find out why. Why don’t I place more value on myself? Why don’t I feel that I deserve to pay full price for that jacket I have had my eye on for the last two months? 

But the truth is, I just like a good bargain. There’s nothing more to it than that. Surely there’s nothing wrong with liking a bargain is there? 

Photo by Markus Spiske

Who can say no to half price?

When it comes to the weekly food shop, what’s wrong with “buy one get one half price”?  In some cases, the answer is nothing.  If you have got a large family to feed on a tight budget, then supermarket deals can be a lifeline for the thrifty shopper. 

But if you only went into the supermarket intending to buy one item, how come you ended up buying two? It was the offer that temped you, right? If you think about it, buy-one-get-one-half-price means you only save 25%.

Some might say that 25% is still a quarter, and that’s not to be sniffed at. Every penny counts after all. Then again, you’ve also spent 25% more than you intended to.  So who is really winning here – you or the supermarket?

Photo by Pixabay

Supermarket Sweep

You could still argue that we’re the ones coming out on top. After all, we ended up with twice as much as we intended to buy, and we still didn’t pay full price.  Then again, if we only intended to buy one item in the first place…

The problem is that if you’ve bought twice the amount, then you are more likely to eat twice the amount. Either that or you end up throwing it away, and that is all kinds of wrong.

The reality is that a lot of us are eating more food than we should be eating.  And the problem with buying more food is that it encourages you to eat more food. Especially if it’s something perishable that will not last very long.

Take satsumas. Two small satsumas contain approximately 40 calories and just under 10% of your recommended sugar intake for the day.  If you limit yourself to two a day and there are twelve in a bag, then they will last for about a week. 

If you buy two bags, however, you’re forced to eat 4 satsumas a day over that same week. That’s twice the recommended portion size.  Now you’ve eaten 80 calories and 20% of your recommended daily sugar intake in one sitting. And you wonder why you’re ‘eating healthy’ and still not losing weight.

Photo by Kaitlyn Chow

Sometimes less really is more

So I ask again – who is really winning here?  As I have started to cut my portion sizes down and I’m eating a lot less, my food bill is actually going down.  In some instances, I am choosing to buy the fancy expensive brand over the supermarket basic brand. And guess what?  It tastes better! 

Since I am eating less of it, I can afford to buy it because it lasts longer.  And here’s the best part. I’ve also noticed that I am much more careful when I eat the expensive stuff because it is worth more. And the more I value the food I am eating, the more I begin to value myself.

This might sound really obvious to to some people, but eating smaller amounts of high quality food is much better than eating larger amounts of lower quality food.  You still end up paying the same amount, but 9 times out of 10 it tastes better. Because we all know that you get what you pay for. 

Don’t let the supermarkets win

Supermarkets use several tactics to get you spending more money than you need to whenever you visit them.  Often you will see a sign saying “buy two for…”, so you go ahead and buy two because you think you are getting a bargain.  In actual fact, when you look closely, you will find that you are only saving a few pennies. 

But see what they did there?  They said “buy two” and you did!  Don’t get me started on the word “free”.  Most of us are so blinded by the word that we rarely stop to think about what we are putting into our shopping trolleys.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a thrifty shopper.  But don’t do it at the expense of your own health.  The experts say never go in to a supermarket hungry, but I say never go into a supermarket without a list. Make sure you know exactly what you are going to get and how much of each item you need to feed yourself and your family until you plan to return. 

If you’re trying to cut down your food bill and want to make the most of supermarket offers, why not do what I do? Whenever I see a deal on something that I know a close friend or family member likes, I send them a text and ask if they want to go halves with me. 

That way ‘Buy One Get One Free’ really does translate into a bargain.

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