A staple of the student shopping spree has always been pound shops – Poundland, Poundworld… they appear to offer bargains compared to the supermarkets. With everything priced at just £1, nothing seems desperately overpriced.
Of course though, these shops are businesses and they make money. How? By having just one price point. That means, while some prices are rounded down, a lot of the products are rounded up to make 100 pennies – in essence they overcharge you for a lot of items.
Also, what’s happened without you noticing is that, as inflation has gone up, items have been re-engineered so they’re smaller – so while in 2007 you got 10 bags of Quavers for £1, you now get 5. Sneaky.
Of course, unless you’re an encyclopaedia of valuations, it’s hard to make a snap judgement as to what is and what isn’t a good deal.
The best things to buy value-wise are cleaning products (as much as you hate wiping down your house!). No matter which brand you buy, the essential ingredients are the same.
Bathroom items are also a good buy – Consumer Reports have identified that luxury brands are no better than the bargain brands.
Tupperware is another great shout and will come in handy to store your left-overs from all the cooking in bulk (I hope) you’re doing. It’s also handy as a mini lunch box.
However, beware of electrical items – they’re often shoddily made and you’re better paying a bit more elsewhere for something that will last. It isn’t a saving if you have to keep replacing it.
Clothing-wise, socks are always a good buy, unless you’re finicky and want Calvin Klein’s logo on them. Primark can’t even beat a pack of 5 for a £1.
Generally, the best advice is to look for brands you’re familiar with – that way you’ll know the quality is there and will be able to tell how good value is for a £1.
So, hopefully you can now avoid falling into the trap of buying everything at pound stores – happy bargain hunting!
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