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False Economies

 |  Budgeting

One of the things I see other people fall into the trap of too often with this budgeting lark (no, not me, far too smart.. cough cough) is buying into false economies. In other words, investing in something that appears to be a bargain but doesn’t really benefit or save money in the long run.

One thing that springs to mind is this Approved Foods website (short-dated / clearance food), which I’ve actually seen popping up on my Facebook timeline quite a lot recently. With my new financial goals in mind I had a flick through, popped about £7 worth of stuff in my basket (RRP roughly £55) and went to checkout. However, they have a minimum spend of £15, which in itself is fair enough but meant I’d have had to waste £8 to go through with it. Seems counter-productive to me.

Perhaps it’s just the timing of my visit, too, but I found a lot of the stuff listed on the site to be junk food and non-essentials. Stuff like jarred sauces may seem a bargain listed at 80p or whatever, but I can make a better tasting, healthier sauce at home for much less and have it go further too.

I found the same thing applies to a ‘Baby Budgeting’ blog I flicked through recently. I don’t want to link because the author might think I’m singling her out/picking on her (I’m really not) but her posts were on things like Boden clothes, Seraphine maternity wear, frugal valentines gifts; surely all of this stuff is frivolous over-spending on brands and unnecessaries and the truly frugal thing would be to avoid them altogether?

I know, I sound like Scrooge already.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

8 comments so far

  1. Melissa said:

    This is precisely the reason I don’t coupon. I buy everything fresh, not boxed or pre-made. I don’t see the point in saving $.50 on some boxed junk food item that I never would have purchased anyway. But being a SAHM, I have the time to prepare and cook all of our meals. If I worked, the story might be different!

    • Andrea said:

      Same reason we don’t really cut coupons, minus being a SAHM. We do buy some prepackaged/boxed foods for time’s sake (not much), but we usually buy the generic anyway. The store brand of something is still usually cheaper than a name brand with a coupon.

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen coupons for fruits or vegetables (aside from canned), although one of our local grocery stores occasionally puts out coupons for fresh meat.

  2. Emma said:

    I absolutely agree. I find so many ‘save money’ type articles and blogs are just telling me stuff I already do (cut out the frivolities mainly).

    Have you noticed supermarket deals are generally for things you don’t need (fizzy drinks, crisps, biscuits etc) rather than things you actually need?

    • Jem said:

      You’re so right about the supermarket deals. The sad thing is I’ll regularly be suckered in which is why I’m trying desperately to reduce my overall visits: get rid of the temptation altogether!

  3. said:

    Totally agree with you – its only a saving if you actually need it.

    I save up money for building a storecupboard and buy from places like AF only when they have the things in that we actually use….. and that’s not the junky stuff but risotto rice, dried beans and pulses, plain couscous and bulghar wheat, bread flour and tins like tomatoes and tuna.

    Money saved is being spent on organic meat for the freezer come the season.

    We don’t need endless supplies of brand name soups, biscuits and cook-in-sauces …………… cos you are right, we can all make those so much better at home.

    And fed up with “Hairshirt frugality” – engage your creativity and you have the great lifestyle just at pennies cost rather than pounds.

    • Jem said:

      I’ll have to keep an eye on Approved Foods then – sounds like it COULD be useful but only if they’ve got the right stock in!

      Thanks for your comment (and the inspiration to start paying off the mortgage faster!)

  4. Stephanie said:

    That type of saving is for people who are either afraid of being frugal, or just don’t really want to try it. I’m personally a fan of being a minimalist, which is fine as a young woman in my early twenties, but hard to do as a kid.

    I’m also a bit skeptical of blogs like the ones you mention; there are a lot of bullshit blogs out there, and it’s difficult for me to discern bullshit from not bullshit information when my expertise (engineering) isn’t involved.

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