Saturday, 22 February 2014

My Favourite Budget-Friendly Shops

I have never been someone who spends particularly extravagantly, tossing money around with wild abandon.  I have always loved a bargain, and I never tire of rummaging through sale rails in shops. 

However, my money was going somewhere. Month after month, without fail... the week before pay day I was struggling. No matter how well I thought I'd budgeted, or how much I had been paid. Fairly recently, I decided to trawl through a month's worth of bank statements to try to get to the bottom of where I had been going wrong. The problem became clear very early into this exercise: daily "top up" trips to the shops were draining my bank balance

You know how it goes: you pop into the local shop after a long day at work to get an onion. Half an hour later, you emerge laden with bags of impulse purchases and junk food, your purse at least £20 lighter. You repeat the following evening. One month, I budgeted £200 for food. Horrified, I calculated that I actually spent almost £500! Part of the problem was that I was even buying things for my home during these visits- candles, trinkets and cleaning products (really expensive in local shops!)

I have changed my ways. I now thrive on shopping for less, so aside from second-hand shops and eBay, my favourite bargain shops are currently:

A friend introduced me to this shop while I was off on maternity leave. "B&M has made my house into a home," she told me one day- those were her exact words! This shop is full of household decorations, signs, cushions, mirrors and candles, and the stock changes really quickly. I always buy my cleaning products, such as cloths, air fresheners, bleach and wipes here now. In my opinion, these items (on their website today) wouldn't look out of place in any interior design boutique, and look at the prices! 
Betsy Luxury Cushion Cover - You Are My Sunshine
Cushion: £4.99
Antique Bathroom Plaque
Bathroom sign: £1.00
Outdoor Hanging Station Clock
Garden Clock: £9.99

OK, not the most glamorous of shops, but definitely worth a visit if you have one nearby. I always pop in here first before I go to a "bigger" shop, as you really can save a lot of money. I buy bread, milk, cold meat, confectionery and jars here for a lot less than I would in a supermarket. 

I make a real effort to do a "big shop" once every 2 weeks. This practice on its own has helped reign in my spending considerably, and switching to Aldi has made a further difference. The first time, it was a leap of faith to change to "own brand" products, but I can honestly say I enjoy them as much as the branded items that cost up to 3 times more.

I have an obsession with Russian Dolls... I find them unbelievably cute and pretty much love anything to do with them. You can imagine my delight when I discovered a range of Russian Doll items in my local Poundland- including tea towels, oven gloves, ceramic banks, ice cube trays! Poundland has had a lot of press recently about so-called "middle class"people shopping there, and the fact that they are now selling shares in the company shows it's doing well. For us shoppers though, I also think their cleaning products and haircare ranges are brilliant. 

Russian Doll gift box

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