From being a rejecter of junk mail to a desperado for its delivery, I have made it a fundamental part of my role as stay at home dad to save the family money.
I don’t claim to be an expert. But I am. I have some rules for shopping that are not negotiable for the successful family shopper.
Rule 1: Tame the toddler in you
Toddlers have zero patience. When they want something, they need it now. Waiting, patience, and time itself: these concepts have no meaning. So don’t be a toddler when you shop: you’ll pay whatever they’re asking. Shop before the tank is empty. Be able to wait for a better price. Your patience will reward you.
Rule 2: Don’t be a brand snob
Is the bread Helgas? Does it really matter? Buy the special, not the name. If you need to be a brand snob, or if you buy a more expensive product for other reasons (no cage eggs in our house), refer to Rules 1 and 3.
Rule 3: Buy in bulk
If you have the storage space*, you have no choice but to take full advantage of a crackerjack special. Breakfast cereal 30% off? Buy four cartons. Half price toilet paper? Buy 40 rolls. With a kid toilet training and a wife that uses a roll a day, we’ll get through it. Note: toilet paper is the exception to Rule 2. Avoid the really cheap stuff. Rectal scratching is unsightly and uncomfortable.
Rule 4: Play dirty pool
If you use the self-checkout, only scan every second item** and save a fortune. If you get caught, just blame the kid.***
Rule 5: Don’t fear the use by date
If you are after steak to eat that night and it is marked to clear but looks fine, buy it! You can save a fortune. The occasional bout of gastro is a small price to pay.
Rule 6: Safety in numbers
If you can shop somewhere that has more than one supermarket or fresh food outlet in close proximity you will be saving money immediately. Competition brings savings. And variety. And more chance of available trolleys to put the kids in so you don’t need to use the pram. It’s the small things that get you through the day…
Rule 7: Embrace junk mail
Even if you object to the paper stuff, catalogues are all online now – there is no excuse. Don’t pretend you don’t have time: you’ll get more rewards from price comparison websites than you ever will from Facebook. Maybe with the exception of that video of the dog being attacked by its own leg.
Rule 8: Don’t pretend your rewards points are valuable
Your points are worth a fraction of what you think they are so don’t be sucked into the bonus points offers. In other words, don’t buy twelve packets of puff pastry unless you need to make a shitload of pies.
*Use your head. Lack of storage space means the response you really deserve (“Well done on a great shop, sweetheart, what can I cook you for dinner?”) is replaced with a very disrespectful “Where the f&#@ are we going to put all that, tightarse?”.
**I don’t ever do this and don’t actually recommend it. Just testing to see you are paying attention.
***Good Parenting 101