When it comes to groceries, sometimes less is more MoneySaving

Would you buy an elephant for a fiver?

Would you buy an elephant for a fiver?

The idea of getting less of anything for more money is the opposite of what we stand for here at MSE, and definitely seems counter-intuitive when it comes to grocery shopping.

So I, like lots of MoneySavers, always compare the price per unit, rather than total cost when buying groceries to ensure I get the best value for money.

Often 560g boxes of Alpen are on offer for £2 for example, but this still makes them more expensive than the 1.3kg bags at full price. However, while it’s a saving, it’s easy to forget that this theory only works if you want more.

I was reminded of this recently when talking to my boyfriend on the phone and he started to crunch Minstrels.

Knowing the sharing bags were on offer for £1 in several supermarkets, I said I hoped he was munching his way through one of those, but alas, he’d paid 59p for a bag a quarter of the size.

When I told him he should have bought a bigger bag because it would have been more cost-effective, he laughed and said "no it wouldn’t, because I didn’t want a bigger bag".

My Dad has a saying for situations like this – "elephants for a fiver" – meaning unless a deal is for something you really want, it’s not a deal worth having. How could I have forgotten this simple rule?

The dangers of bulk-buying

But that conversation with my boyfriend got me thinking about items on special offer I’ve bulk-bought in the past, and while I concluded those purchases weren’t a false economy like the Minstrels, as I did want and use them, I realised another threat to my purse is sometimes at play: frivolity.

I wouldn’t call myself a frivolous person, yet I’ve realised the more I have of something, the quicker I tend to use it, and therefore the sooner I have to buy it again (a mentality I’m sure supermarkets are well aware of when devising multi-buy offers).

And I doubt I’m the only one.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below or in the forum discussion.