Friday, 14 October 2011

Supermarket Wars, Deals and Dilemmas

What Happened to the Basics?

Since beginning my quest in search of the perfect frugal housekeeping budget, I have seen stores come and go, takeovers, buy-outs, price fluctuations and all manner of marketing techniques employed to encourage us (the general public) to give them (the big supermarkets) our hard-earned cash.

Loyalty is not something often seen in frugalers, there's simply no space in the budget. Nowadays, however, there seems to be little space in anyones' budgets for store, let alone brand loyalty. All manner of means has been tried in order to bend us into thinking one way or the other - Airmiles, Nectar Points, Tesco Clubcard Points, Co-operative Dividends (or whatever tag they carry now), cashback, multi-deals... an endless chain of reactions to our lack of true loyalty.

Regularly, we see words and phrases like 'downsize', 'drop a brand' or 'ditch and switch', but do any of them really save us money? Is one company honestly cheaper than any other? I doubt it very much. We are simply conned into a false belief that we can benefit slightly more by choosing to use X, Y or Z, depending on whose advertising campaign catches our eye and succeeds in captivating our heart. It's OK to change your mind, in fact, it seems to be actively encouraged!

Now we are being presented with the illusion that prices are, once again, falling. Tesco is slicing and dicing, cutting and chopping, promoting it's 'big price drop', while Asda is still 'rolling back the prices' and guaranteeing that it's 'saving you money every day'. Meanwhile, Sainsbury's 'Live Well for Less' campaign includes their new 'brand match', which cross references their prices with those of Tesco and Asda and so the merry-go-round goes. I can't see one iota of difference in what one spends when living in a rural location with no big brand supermarkets nearby and no home delivery services, so why do I even bother reading about their offers?

In conclusion, this whole dilemma began when I went to stock up on some basic jars of curry sauce - 4p per reuseable jar with accompaying screw-top lid was always a bargain, even if you don't like curry sauce! Now, however, after it leaping to 9p per jar, I've discovered that it has, once again, more than doubled in price and is currently costing 19p per jar!

Inflation for frugalers is far, far more than the Government's screwed up figure of 5.2% What's worse, my current ISA rate is less than half of that, so why the hell is anyone saving money in any bank or building society when it is costing us more to bail out said financial institutions with our taxes?

Saying NO to saving, now spending to invest in my own future!

You can discuss this and other simiar topics in the Frugaldom Forums

PS: Anyone know what the odds are for Morrisons or Asda in the Iceland 'stakes'?
NYK Media


  1. It is true even with all these offers my weekly bill is higher than ever.

    The only way you can win is to go around all the stores buying loss leaders but i always find that these are processed foods rather than basics and whilst we do have all the stores nearby it costs petrol to do the tour.

    I am always amazed how well you do with so little choice, perhaps thats part of the problem .................too much choice do we really need 2 aisles of cereals or such a huge range of tea and coffee???

  2. I don't like supermarkets. One could write many articles about them. Would much prefer if they were designed like Argos or a builders merchant. Just give them a list and call back for the shopping later. Better still. Why not sell everything loose like the old co-operative moment:

    "Can I have half a fresh egg please?"

    Why can't we start a barter system in the supermarket? Or even haggle and wrangle over the shop products? I am a poor smallholder and cattle dealers haggle with me when I am selling my animals.

    We live 50 miles from the nearest Tesco. Can they move nearer please? I want some cheap compact disks!

  3. I don't think I've ever been in a supermarket that's had two aisles of anything! LOL I grew up in a village and went to school in the nearest town. I'm sure to this day that it still has nothing more than the Co-op, albeit a newer, bigger version, but they did build an Asda within 10 miles of it. I'm led to believe that Asda is nothing like the size of the stores you have 'down south', though.

    Dave, I reckon we need to accept the fact that, unless money starts growing on trees, rural living will never compare to city dwelling, just as rural trading will never match city trading. We, of the pittance-incomes, are the minority. It's the price we pay for not being stressed-out wrecks bound by the 9 -5. Next time you get some cattle dealer haggling, warn him beforehand that you're open to negotiation, but to come prepared with a big box of groceries to grease your palm. :)

  4. I often subscribe to blogs with a similar theme and this topic happens to be one of my favourites-I too have noticed a so called price drop, yet the accompanying amount of goods for that price has also shrunk! Thereby creating the illusion that we are buying more for less. I do my own comparisons and i will shop around, preferring markets and making my own. I religiously save jars to and i have noticed an increasing amount of folk ask on free cycle for empty jars- so could be related. If you are not already subscribed to Shirley Goode's blog- 'The Goode life,' then i suggest you have a read. She often mentions the trade magazine and the tricks supermarkets use to part us with our hard earned dosh! Here's to getting out of the rat race!


  5. Hi Gillian, I was writing about the packaging and sizing changes not so long ago, when certain products stocked by Aldi had reduced (completely unannounced) weight from 400g to 340g - that was 15% reduction with NO price change. It is disgraceful!

  6. Hi NYK, thanks for that i will be looking out for that one as well!


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