Welcome back to Broke in Bristol – the blog that helps you save money, make money and live life to the full on a budget. I’m Ms Broke in Bristol and I’ve got 10 tips that will save you money this week!
No-one loves a pound shop more than me! Even before I started calling myself Ms Broke in Bristol, I couldn’t resist a bargain and shops like the Pound Shop and Poundland are a bargain hunter’s dream. Lately, however, I have noticed that although some things are worth grabbing off the shelves, others could be bought for less money elsewhere. Here’s my blog of what to buy – and what not to buy – from your local pound shop.
What to buy.
- Phone chargers. These are like socks in our house – always disappearing never to be seen again! It’s a good job they’re only a quid otherwise it’d be time to re-mortgage the house.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Vanish. Costs much more than £1 anywhere else and it’s exactly the same product –no brainer.
- Toys. I’ve never had the guts to buy a birthday present for one of Little Miss Diva’s friends from a pound shop, but when my daughter was younger I often took her to one to spend her pocket money. Sometimes she cried when it broke, other times they lasted for months.
- 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 Mr Spendthrift!). 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
- Boxes of cat food. I hate fussy eaters but I don’t seem to be able to do anything about the fact that my cat will not eat cheap cat food! However, the minute boxes of Go Cat and Whiskas they sell in the pound shops are so tiny that it’s sometimes better to pick up a bigger box from one of the large supermarkets, as they’re often discounted.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bleach. You can pick up 2l of Asda Smartprice bleach for just 28p.
- Shampoo and conditioner. I find Lidl is better value as its Cien range is less than a quid. I also discovered that when it came to Little Miss Diva’s locks, Lidl’s Tea Tree Conditioner seemed to stop nits in their track too. Double result!
- 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.
- Gardening tools. Mr Spendthrift loves to potter in the garden, but he wasn’t a happy man when his trowel fell apart after five minutes.
- Doggy poo bags. The ones at the pound shop are a bit flimsy and no-one wants dog poo on their fingers!
- 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.
- 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.
What are your best pound shop bargains? Let us know by leaving a comment. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page, so that you never miss an update! We’ll be back on Thursday with our top picks of free and cheap things to do with or without the kids. See you then!