No one loves a pound shop bargain more than me.
No-one loves a pound shop bargain more than me! My best pound shop bargain is a pizza tray – it’s helped me cook plenty of perfect pizzas over the years.
That said, I was chatting to local entrepreneur and coach Maria Newman on her podcast yesterday about how cheap isn’t always the best value for money. So here’s my review of 10 things to buy and 10 things to avoid next time you go to your local pound shop.
What to buy
1. Phone chargers. At the moment we’re sharing one between me and my daughter, Little Miss Diva, and it’s less than ideal. LMD says the ones from Poundland are crap and break every five minutes, I say I have had official Apple ones that cost a lot more and do the same.
2. Kids’ art stuff. They make a mess with it, so you may as well stock up on art books and paints knowing it didn’t cost you a fortune. Plus, what else can kids do at the moment?
3. Make up? Yes really. Don’t just take my word for it, Cosmopolitan tested Poundland’s Make Up Gallery range and found that most of it stood up against the competition and was an absolute bargain to boot.
4. Bin bags. Cheaper supermarket versions break easier and there’s nowt worse than emptying the bin only to find bin juice (and much worse!) all over the floor. Some pound shop versions are much thicker and more durable, even if you get less in a packet.
5. Vanish. Costs much more than £1 anywhere else and it’s exactly the same product – no brainer.
6. Perfume. The Poundland versions of the more expensive perfumes aren’t bad and they are a fraction of the price. I bought Lily, which smells like Marc Jacobs Daisy at £59 for a 50ml bottle, that’s a huge saving!
7. Candles. I love having candles around the house because they make me feel relaxed (not because I’m too tight to turn on the lights). You can’t go wrong with picking up a few from your nearest pound shop and mixing them up with a few more slightly expensive options.
8. Plant pots. These are usually at least a couple of quid more expensive if you go anywhere else and the pound shop versions look quite pretty too.
9. Plastic food boxes. If your cupboards are anything like mine, the lids are only going to get lost anyway. So, you may as well spend less on them!
10. A pizza tray. My best ever pound shop bargain has been my oven pizza tray, which I’ve had for years and I’ve used more times than I can remember!
What not to buy
1. Boxes of pet food. The tiny boxes of pet food they sell in the pound shops are so small that it’s sometimes better to pick up a bigger box from one of the large supermarkets, as they’re often discounted.
2. Washing powder. In fact, you should check the weight of any boxes in the pound shops to see if it’s a comparable product to one you would buy in a supermarket, or just a smaller box.
3. Wet wipes. You can pick them up for less than a quid if you go for the supermarket own brands. In Asda they’re 50p and you get more in a pack.
4. Bleach. You can pick up 2l of Asda Smartprice bleach for just 28p.
5. Shampoo and conditioner. I find Lidl and Aldi are better value because their ranges are less than a quid. I also discovered that when it came to Little Miss Diva’s locks when she was younger, Lidl’s Tea Tree Conditioner seemed to stop nits in their track too. Double result!
6. Paracetamol. My local pound shop sells three packets for £1 but you can pick up a packet of supermarket own branded paracetamol for less than 20p.
7. Paint brushes. When I last used a pound shop paint brush, I had more bristles on the wall than the brush! Try Wilko instead.
8. Doggy poo bags. The ones at the pound shop are a bit flimsy and no-one wants dog poo on their fingers!
9. Batteries. Unfortunately, they just don’t last as long as their pricier competitors. However, they will probably be OK to put in remote controls and items that don’t need much power.
10. Anything you don’t actually need. It’s easy to go into a store for a tube of toothpaste only to come out £20 lighter. Be strict with yourself and only buy the things you need.
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