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Conor Pope -Money Man

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is a consumer journalist and broadcaster. He writes the Pricewatch page in The Irish Times (and has a weekly consumer slot on the Ray Darcy Show on Today FM). He was the co-presenter of the consumer lifestyle programme, Living Lightly on RTE last autumn and is the author of the best selling book Stop Wasting Your Money.

Saving Money in the Supermarket

Supermarkets spend their money coming up with ways to get us to part with ours. The more you know about their tricks, the less likely you are to fall for them. We all know about the smells of fresh baking bread that waft through the air-conditioning and the positioning of sweets beside the tills, but there are other less well known things they do.

Five points to be aware of when you next go shopping:

1. The more you see the more you spend. That's why supermarket aisles are so long.

2. It's also why they have destination goods - the things you have to buy, like bread, milk and breakfast cereal - are at the back of the shop, so you'll walk past as many other aisles as possible.

3. Look up and down when you shop. Supermarkets put the priciest items in the middle shelves, at eye level to encourage more people to buy them.

4. They market to your children too - brightly coloured cereals and child friendly but wallet unfriendly treats are almost always on the lower shelves - at kiddie eye level.

5. Ever wonder why they put the fruit and veg at the front of the shop? Because they know that you're more likely to spend more on expensive junk food if you have already put some more wholesome products into to your trolley.

Some tips worth highlighting:

1. Never shop hungry! Stores know sales increase when shoppers are hungry - which is another reason they waft warm bakery smells through the air-conditioning system.

2. Be suspicious of supermarket's Two-Fer offers - especially on perishable items. When we see two-for one deals or we buy 30 to 100 per cent more than we otherwise would. Then the stuff rots in our fridge - if someone has to throw out unused food make sure it's the supermarket. But do buy great value nappies in bulk.

3. Don't shop impulsively, buy only what you need - it doesn't matter how cheap something is, if you're not going to use it you're wasting your money.

4. Experiment with own-brand products - they are often indistinguishable from more recognizable branded goods and much, much cheaper - often less than half the price.

5. Learn how much stuff costs otherwise how can you spot a bargain or a rip off?

6. Buy fruit and vegetables in season and loose rather than pre-packed and steer clear of bagged salads and pre-grated cheese they taste worse and cost a lot more.

7. Avoid jarred tomato sauces - a tin of tomatoes, an onion, dried herbs cost a fraction of the price and taste nicer too.

Current Deals and offers:

While it is worth wanting people about the dangers of two-for details, right not the supermarkets are pushing them hard and is people shop cleverly they can make big savings.

Worth talking about is the M&S Dine In Offer and another good offer that's on is they have three joints of meat (eg. Lamb Shoulder, whole chicken, joint of pork) for €14.00 which is amazing value. All grapes are half price and you can get two punnets of strawberries for €7 and 2 bags of Clementine's for €5. Quality is very good. Eat or freeze but don't over-shop. And buy fresh salad not pre-packed.

The best value fruit and veg this week, however has to be in Aldi their Super Six vegetables are selling at ridiculously low prices. 69ct - 7 oranges, 10apples, 3 mixed peppers, 2 avocadoes 500g vine tomatoes, individual pineapples.

While these offers will change frequently, Aldi is always very good value for vegetables.

Superquinn also has 24 'Buy One Get one Free' offers, which combined deliver a total saving of €175. Superquinn Premium Mince 454g Superquinn Rooster Potatoes 2.5kg Kellogg's Cornflakes 500g Robinsons fruit squash Superquinn Medium Free range Eggs. Here's the thing - while it makes sense to buy the mince (it can be frozen) and the potatoes, cornflakes and Fruit squash, - they have a long shelf life, there is little point in stocking up on cheap eggs unless you have a plan to use them.

More importantly for many viewers Pampers nappies are also on buy-one-get-one free and this is something to stock up on.
Next week (Feb 10th) Superquinn's key offers it will contain: half price Sirloin Steak - saving €7.50 per kg and good Breakfast deal - Superquinn rashers 150g, Superquinn sausages 6 pack, and Superquinn Smooth Pudding 200g, all 3 for €4.

Lidl's rugby gear hits the shelves before the first 6 Nations match tomorrow week and they have fleeces, polos, hoodies and jackets. There are also cameras, printers, external hard drives also on offer to name a few others.

Thursday then is a cleaning theme and some pampering products.
There are "double deals" all next week too on both Lidl branded items (Manor Vale cheddar, 2 for €4, Mini choc éclairs and profiteroles 2 for €4) and branded items (Goodfellas Pizzas 2 for €4.50, Simple products 2 for €5) to name but a few - all are in the leaflet and the wrap that surrounds it.

Good wwws to check out:

. will help your spend better
. - supermarket forum
. - new mother forums - awash with bargain hunters for all things
. - new mother forums - awash with bargain hunters for all things.

The Evening Herald and KCR Taxis in Dublin are running a promotion from today (Wednesday 3 Feb.).

There will be vouchers in the paper from Wednesday and each voucher entitles you to a half price journey across the city once a day, Monday to Friday for half price. Order your cab by phone on 014922233, letting them know you have the voucher and then give the voucher to the driver at the start of your journey.

Coupons aren't yet a big thing in Ireland. They are in the US and increasingly in Britain.