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Conor Pope - Money Man

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

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.


Have a range of Indian foods on special offer next week including a range of excellent Pataks curry sauces for €1.49.

They also have bottles of Prosecco for €5.99 which is very cheap
Netbook computers for €299

And women's dressing gowns for €10.99 - and they are only beautiful!

The store has a specially selected range of comparatively upmarket products that is worth mentioning as it is very high quality for low (ish) prices. They have two excellent striploin steaks (Irish meat) for €11.99. Very good yoghurts from West Cork for 69 cent and good pestos and parmesan for €1.45 and €3.99 respectively.

From tomorrow (March 4th) Lidl is selling a range of gardening equipment including a petrol lawnmower for €199 and a whole host of plants and seeds.

They also have Golfing Equipment for very cheap.

And have just launched a new range of Irish beef. Striploin Steaks (€7.99 for 450g), Beef Sirloin Steaks (€4.39 for 400g), Beef Mince (€2.99 for 800g), Beef Lean Steak Mince (€3.19 for 500g), Organic Beef Steak Mince (€3.59 for 380g) or Irish Beef 12 Meatballs (€2.49 for 340g).

Love Irish Food:

Worth talking about this seeing as how they are launching their second wave of price discounts this week.

It was set up last autumn to promote Irish-manufactured food and protect jobs and in the last six months has brought more than 70 brands including Avonmore, Club Orange, Flahavan's, Cadbury Barry's Tea, and Tayto - of course - under the same marketing umbrella.

A cornerstone of the campaign are the two-for-one deals and discounts so shrewd shoppers should be able to salve their conscience and save money at the same time. This week there's 50 per cent extra free with Bewley's coffees, Ballygown, is one a buy one get one free deal, Miwadi juices are heavily discounted while Glenisk is offering 50 per cent extra on its organic yoghurts.

Own Brand:

Own brand products - people are a bit reluctant to buy own brand foods - hardly surprising sometimes. But when it comes to pet foods and cleaning products, the differences in quality are much harder to discern. The difference in price between the premium and the value ranges is clear - and an attractive proposition, given that you won't actually be eating the product!

If, for instance, you have a cat that likes Whiskas, you can expect to spend around €450 this year on its food - and well over €5,000 over the course of its life. Quietly swap the Whiskas for Aldi's Vitacat Supreme Chunks, and you'll spend only a third of the price. Your cat won't notice - well, probably not. And even if it does, stick with it and they're bound to get a taste for the new stuff eventually.

And it's not just the cat that should be expected to economise. If you routinely buy sparkling water and swap the four-pack of 1.5 litre bottles of Ballygowan - price €5.16 - for a four-pack from Aldi - price €1.99 then over the course of a year, you could save yourself another €150 without reducing the quality of your life one iota.

A two-litre bottle of Domestos in Tesco costs over ?3, while a similar-size bottle of non-brand bleach in Aldi costs just over €1. While the makers of Domestos might argue that their product is intrinsically better than the Aldi equivalent, it is hard to imagine that it could possibly be nearly three times better. Bleach is bleach, after all.

It's the same for bin bags, sponges, rubber gloves and numerous other items. A basket of just ten kitchen-cleaning products sourced in Aldi costs more than €20 less than similar products from brands which have big marketing budgets behind them - marketing budgets that you are paying for.

In the last ten years, there has been a push on the part of the retailers to drive us to so-called 'value added' products. Sprouts come pre-peeled, and onions can be found pre-chopped. All this convenience comes at a cost, however, and in these leaner times, it is a cost that is almost always best avoided.

Chicken pieces with the skin on are about half the price of preskinned chicken pieces. Removing the skin takes seconds, and you'll have saved yourself a euro handily enough.

Bagged salad costs ten times as much as making the salad up from scratch, and it doesn't taste half as nice. And one of the reasons it doesn't taste so good is because the bagged stuff has been washed in all manner of chemicals, which take away not only all the dirt but also most of the nutrients. Nice.

Oh, and if you do buy salad leaves, either bagged or otherwise, please remember to eat them. According to a survey carried out by a British insurance company a couple of years ago, 61 percent of people polled confessed to binning a soggy lettuce every week because they'd bought it because they thought they'd eat more greens than they actually did.

Pre-grated cheese What's that about? A kilogram of grated Cheddar costs €14.45, while a block of the same cheese from the same company costs around €4 less. Presuming that you are already in possession of a cheese grater, you've saved yourself €2 on a single block of the stuff.

Prices / Stockists / Relevant Information

Lidl: -

. A range of gardening equipment including a petrol lawnmower for €199 and a whole host of plants and seeds

. Golfing equipment

. The new range of Irish beef. Striploin Steaks (€7.99 for 450g), Beef Sirloin Steaks (€4.39 for 400g), Beef Mince (€2.99 for 800g), Beef Lean Steak Mince (€3.19 for 500g), Organic Beef Steak Mince (€3.59 for 380g) or Irish Beef 12 Meatballs (€2.49 for 340g)

. Grapes 1.19 - 60 per cent off.

. Cheese 1.69 save 37 per cent

. Mushrooms 49 cent for 500g 50 per cent off

. Plenty Kitchen roll €5.09 save €2

. Pears 79 cent more than 50 per cent off


. Aldi currently has a special offer on its Specially Selected Irish Angus range.

. Specially Selected Irish Angus Striploin Steak are now €9.99 / 450g, a saving of €2

. Specially Selected Irish Angus Rib Eye Steak are now €9.99 / 450g, a saving of €2

. Aldi is also offering a Carlin Premier Cru Champagne for €14.99 per bottle, reduced from €21.99.

. 10" Medion Netbook (€299.99 each) - A powerful netbook with a bundle of big multimedia features including a 250GB hard drive, 1 GB RAM memory, integrated Bluetooth, integrated sound system with two speakers, comprehensive software package with Windows 7 Starter Edition. It is available in black and silver.

. Ladies' Super Soft Dressing Gown (€10.99 each) - super soft dressing gown features a shawl style collar and deep front pockets and comes in a choice of cream, lilac or soft pink in sizes S-L.

. Ladies' Pyjamas Set (€5.99 each) - available in sizes: 10/12, 12/14, 14/16 and 16/18, for the perfect gift for Mum.

Dunnes Stores:-

. Snack Pack Orange Net 1kg

. 2 packs for €3

. Snack Pack Apples 1kg

. 2 packs for €3


Any two for a fiver (getting one of each)

. Dunnes Fresh Irish Beef Burgers 4s/400g /
. Lamb Grill Steaks 3s/420g
. / Mince Beef 450g /
. Beef Meatballs 6s/360g


Better than Half Price

. McGuigan Signature Sauvignon Blanc 75cl, Chardonnay or Shiraz 75cl Was 13.99, Now €5.99, Save €8

. Any 3 for €10 on the Following Meats:

. Tesco Lean Steak Mince Beef 580g

. Tesco Fresh Irish Beef Meatballs 560g

. Tesco Basted Pork Chops 400g

. Tesco Pale Rashers 3x130g

. Tesco Smoked Rashers 3x130g

. Tesco Whole Chicken 1200g

. Tesco Chicken Fillets 350g

. Tesco Chicken Mini Fillets 385g

. Tesco Thin Sliced Steak 300g

. O'Kane's Breaded Fillets 4's 500g

. O'Kane's Breaded Thigh & Drumstick Pack 770g

. Manor Farm Sage & Onion Mini Fillet Roulade 360g

Half Price Offers:

. Philadelphia Original 300g Was €2.59 NOW €1.29

. Yoplait Mixed Seeds Original, Strawberry, Peach 4x125g Was €2.29 NOW €1.14

. Chicago Town Edge to Edge California Cheese 305g or New York Deli 345g Was €3.29 NOW €1.64 each

. Knorr Special Recipe Soup 570ml Range Was €2.45 NOW €1.22

. Selected Pringles Range 165g, Was €2.49 NOW €1.24

. Pampers Baby-Dry Mega Packs Range Was €32.99 NOW €16.49

Easter Offers:

Buy One Get One Free on medium easter eggs!
Half Price Giant Easter Egg and Cup Easter Eggs!