By far, the thing that has saved me the most money is switching the products I use to their cheaper counterparts. I used to turn my nose up at using own brand or even value range products but once I gave them a try I realised there is usually very little discernible difference. Even when there is a slight difference it is not a big enough difference to justify the price discrepancy. Switching your products is a great way to save money without giving up on anything. Here are a few of my biggest savings/best products: -
1. Lidl Crumpets - 49p for 8
(Warbutons – 80p for 6)*
These are such a cheap and tasty option for breakfasts. There are other own brand options out there for a similar price, but I have a couple of crumpet-addicted close friends and they both say that, of all the own-brand crumpets they've tried, Lidl’s are the only ones that are as tasty as Warbutons. I had them for breakfast this morning and I don't think they're quite as good as the real thing, but they're delicious all the same!
2. Colgate Toothpaste (many varieties) - £1 100ml
(Colgate Total Advanced - £1.99 75ml)
Pound shops offer branded toothpastes, which can give you savings of up to £2 compared to what you'd pay in the supermarket. You may have to get a toothpaste with a few less thrills (e.g. it might only offer 3 actions, such as whitening, tartar protection and gum protection, as opposed to offering 5 different actions), but you’re still using a branded toothpaste so it’s still going to taste okay and do the main jobs you’d expect from a toothpaste.
3. Asda Chopped Tomatoes – 31p 400g
(Napolina Chopped Tomatoes – £1.25 400g)
I’ve looked around and most supermarkets do own-brand versions for 31p. If you’re cooking from scratch to try and save money, this is a great way to cut down your costs (without cutting down on taste). I used to insist on using the fancy branded version (I have no idea why!) but lots of recipes I do contain two whole tins of tomatoes; by switching, I’m saving myself £1.88 every time I make a batch of pasta sauce or chilli, or 47p a portion!
4. Cussons Pure Antibacterial Handwash - £1 500ml
(Carex Bacteria Protect - 90p 250ml HALF PRICE)
I discovered this lovely Cussons Handwash at my local pound shop. You get twice as much for more or less the same price (and that's only when the Carex one is on offer), which can save a lot of money if you normally get through a lot of the stuff! I personally think it looks a bit nicer and less clinical as well. Also, Carex is actually by Cussons so you don't have to substitute a branded product for a non-branded one. However, if you can't find this exact handwash, there are lots of nice own-brand versions available for around the same price.
5. Lidl Cien Provitamin Shampoo – 75p 300ml
(Aussie Frizz Miracle Shampoo - £4.49 300ml)
Before discovering this shampoo, I was buying all sorts of expensive shampoos in a desperate attempt to tame my dry/frizzy hair. Not only is the Lidl version the best shampoo I've found, it’s also by far one of the cheapest I've tried. I can’t believe that I wasted so much money on products that didn’t work, when there is a product that does work for a tiny fraction of the cost! Full review coming soon.
6. Pound Shop Loo Roll - £1 for 4
(Tesco Luxury Soft - £3.50 for 9)
Not a very glamorous product, I know, but it really can save you a fortune. The £1 version works out at £2.25 for 9 rolls, giving a saving of £1.25 on Tesco's version. You may have to use a bit of trial an error to get the best one available at your local £1 shop but I've found that the couple of pound shop 'brands' I've tried have been far superior to the supermarket own brands (i.e. they're softer and don't fall apart). Give it a try!
7. Lidl Multivitamins & Iron – 75p for 60 tablets
(Boots Multivitamins with Iron - £4.89 for 90 tablets)
Why pay nearly a fiver for 90 tablets when you could get the same amount for £1.50!? I was sceptical myself, I thought 'I'm sure the Lidl vitamins won't offer 100% of my RDA' but I've checked and the two versions are pretty much identical! The only major difference is the Lidl one doesn't contain Calcium, but I take separate calcium tablets so this doesn't bother me (and if you get plenty of calcium in your diet this won't be an issue for you either). This is just an example, but you can find all sorts of vitamins at Lidl and £1 shops for a fraction of the cost (and they don't taste horrible or anything, in my experience). For more choice, try Asda; they do a wide range of vitamins, though they are more expensive (but still cheaper than Boots).
8. £1 Shop - Flash Guard Multi Surface Lemon Spray - £1 500ml
(Tesco - same product - £2 500ml)
You can get loads of branded household cleaning products in £1 shops, at around half the price for exactly the same product and quantity! I'm kicking myself that I didn't realise this years ago! Obviously it can vary a bit from shop to shop, but just go in one (or two) £1 shops and see which household items you can save money on (without even switching brands/products). I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
9. Lidl Casaburo Olive Spread £1 500g
(Bertolli - £1.90 500g)
I love Lidl's cheeky rip-off of Bertolli, it tastes exactly the same to me (and I'm quite fussy about my marg'). Also, I looked at the ingredients and nutritional values and couldn't really see a difference!
10. Card Factory Birthday Cards - 5 cards for £1
Card Factory is amazing. Fact. The saving I'm making on what I used to spend (around £2 per card) amounts to nearly £50 a year! Card Factory do lots of lovely cards for 79p, £1 and £1.49 (you'd pay at least £3 for the £1.49 ones in other shops, they're pretty fancy). Plus, I've recently discovered that they actually do lots of pretty (and not tacky-looking) cards on an 'any 5 for £1' offer (so I bought 10, which will last me a while)! I will write a full blog-post on Card Factory soon because I used to turn my nose up at it, but now I'm completely converted!
This list is very heavy on Lidl products, that’s because there are 2 stores near me and I've found Lidl to be a bit cheaper (and better value) than Asda, Tesco, etc. However, if you don’t have a Lidl near you, try Aldi (the only reason I don’t go to Aldi is because it’s not on my way home) or Asda’s (or other supermarkets') value ranges.
I hope this list has been helpful to you, and hopefully it will have given you a bit of inspiration to switch a few products to better value versions, even if you don't go for these exact products :-)
What is your favourite own-brand bargain? I'd love to hear your suggestions! Please comment below :-)
*For my comparison prices (for the expensive versions of the products) I looked at Tesco's prices online