Tuesday 29 January 2013

Poundland Challenge - Brand Names for Less

It's well known that I'm a tight-wad like to be frugal and thrifty, and I love nothing more than a mooch around Poundland to see what they have on offer - see, I'm a really cheap date.

Their ranges are ever changing, but it has to be said I tend to favour their craft and stationery aisles, as well as habitually buying packs and packs of paper doilies.  Apart from the one time (for which the Old Man still refers to me as a Poundland Princess) where I came out with armfuls of Duchy Organic Earl Grey tea bags, and boxes and boxes of Dorset Cereal, I don't tend to pay the grocery aisles too much attention.

But my interest was piqued when Poundland got in touch and challenged me to see how much I could save on branded grocery items.  I was given a £15 voucher, and off I went on my stealth mission.

With so many of us tightening our belts in the economic climate, one of the most suggested ways to cut back on your food bill is to 'down-grade' from branded items to own label, and then to value ranges.  Well, Poundland is here to tell you that you don't have to.  You can still stick with the labels you know and trust AND save money.

Now, if you're really serious about saving money, then you actually need to have your wits about you in discount stores.  It can be very easy to pop in for a packet of envelopes or some rolls of sellotape, and come out £20 lighter because you keep going "oooh it's only a pound" and popping things in your basket.

It's also worth noting that you are not always comparing like for like.  Often pack sizes and weights will be less than those you buy in the supermarket, and it is perfectly possible to actually spend MORE in Poundland on some items than you would in the supermarket.

Those pesky supermarket chains are forever changing their prices and putting on special offers, so you really need to keep on top of prices in your normal store.  I guess that's one very good thing about Poundland - you know where you are with them!

I had a cunning plan though.  I downloaded a free grocery shopping app onto my phone, which meant I could instantly compare prices with what they'd cost me in my regular supermarket.

So, here's what my £15 got me.

I stocked up on lots of bits for Ruby's school lunchbox.  Shock horror, not exactly healthy I know, but she does always have at least one of these items in her lunch every day, so they are things that I would normally buy.

Course, if you're really serious about saving money, you won't go for these conveniently sized portions where you're effectively paying for the packaging, but would, for example buy a pack of jelly and make your own, or a large bag of raisins from the baking aisle and put in tupperware containers.  But hey, it's what all her little mates have in their lunchboxes, and I'm all for saving energy (mine that is).

I got some health and beauty items.  The children's Haliborange multi-vitamins actually turned out to be the best value purchase of the lot, normally retailing at Tesco at £4.  I cautiously bought one pot to see if she liked them -  which she does - and have since gone back and stocked up on loads more.  With her dairy allergy and pathological hatred of citrus fruit, her vitamin intake is something I do worry about, so these are a godsend, and she loves popping a 'healthy sweet' into her mouth each morning!

The Hello Kitty toothbrush went down a storm too.  It's got a little cap on the end so it's perfect for sleepovers and holidays.  This was actually the one item I couldn't find in Tescos to get a comparison price, but they are for sale on eBay and Amazon for anywhere from £1.95 - £4.  So smart kids, if you wanna turn a quick profit.....

I also got some general groceries, and the one I want to talk about is the Esscents laundry liquid.  This is now actually the only washing liquid I ever buy.  The range by Katie Elizabeth, comes in different fragrances, has a plastic in-drum cap, and does 28 washes.  For a pound!!  Up until about 6 months ago I used to buy the big named brands of laundry liquid, which cost anything up to £7+.  I can't believe I used to waste so much money.  The Poundland range works just as well, smells just as nice, hasn't affected our skin or clothing in any way, and it's a fraction of the cost.  One bottle lasts our family a month, saving us around £6 a month, or £72 per year.  Just for that one simple switch.  I recommend this to everyone now, and have converted several friends and family members.

So, just for the purposes of this challenge, I've listed below the equivalent cost as best I can from Tesco, which is our usual supermarket.  You can see at the bottom line, just how much I saved.

McVities Lyles Golden Syrup cake, twin pack   £2.60
1 litre Del Monte Orange Juice  £1.59
Typhoo 100 teabags  £2.29
Dorset cereal simply delicious muesli 410g  £1.40
Katie Elizabeth Laundry Gel  £3.58 (based on supermarket own label)
Skips multipack crisps 8 + 2 free £2.99 (based on equiv 25p per packet)
Hartleys strawberry jellies x 3 £1.44
Hartleys orange jellies x 3 £1.44
Raspberry School Bars pack of 5 £1.59
Sun Maid Raisins 9 mini boxes £1.60 (based on equiv weight)
Pizza Express Pomodoro tomato & basil £1.99 (not currently stocked but based on RRP)
Arm and Hammer Advance White sensitive toothpaste £2.79
Haliborange multivitimins 30 £4.00
Pantene smooth & sleek shampoo 250ml £2.87
Hello Kitty toothbrush £1.95 (Amazon price)

Grand total: £34.12

...plays £15 in Poundland.  So effectively, that shop cost me less than half what it would have done in my supermarket.

Thanks Poundland!  What's your best Poundland bargain?  What do you always stock up on when you're there?

Disclaimer: We were sent the vouchers for the purposes of this challenge.  All opinions are my own and prices were correct at time of shop/comparison.


  1. Oooh! This post excites me but also makes me jealous because I want a free voucher :(

    I always buy the Typhoo teabags because you really cannot go wrong for a box of 100!! I also keep my eye out for cereals too. They used to do the Wheatabix Mini raisin ones but since they've rebranded they've stopped that one, much to my distaste!! I did however buy a 500g box of Shreddies recently which is a pure bargain!! Even cheaper that the supermarkets own brand versions. I also buy the Pantene volume shampoo and conditioner whenever I see it, since they've rebranded also. & the craft stuff is pretty damn amazing really :)


  2. Ah well, you never know who may be watching Jenny Wren! Ha!

    Thanks for your comment. Cereal is usually a great buy, but as I tend to be on the bus or walking, I can never stock up on too much :0(

  3. Oh we love £land for stocking up! Will have to check out that washing liquid!

    1. Oh please do Vi and let me know what you think. I reckon it's brilliant and it's the only one I use now. It's saved me so much money.

  4. Wow, that is quite a saving! I wish we had a Poundland nearby.

    1. Oh no, don't you have one Emma? You would LOVE it. Especially all the crafty stuff.

  5. Thats is a huge saving Liz blimey what a difference that woul make to people on a low income. Great post and what a good idea. Poundland should showcase this experiment on their telly ads! Its really made me think

    1. Thank you Becky! I really enjoyed doing it and I'll be using the supermarket app to compare prices again. It was really handy.

  6. Love this post! I always get my Radox Bath Salts from Poundland. Although, they are currently the same price in Tesco (I checked), but they are more than that in Superdrug. I remember pointing it out to the Superdrug employee, but he didn't seem that bothered and just looked at me like I was mad. Will definitely check out the washing liquid too. I usually schlep mine back from France, as unlike everthing else, it's cheaper there. Odd. x

    1. Hi lovely! How funny. I too looked at the Radox salts and popped them back when I checked the price. I have a load of old apocathary jars I picked up second hand and decanters to store bubble bath etc in and I thought bath salts would look lovely. Plus help with OH's aching muscles after his swims!

      My parents also bring back giant laundry powder boxes and liquid bottles from France! I'll have to talk them into this instead. x

  7. I usually stock up on packed lunch bits and bobs. The fruit bowl yoghurt covered raisins are £1 for 5 bags and 45p each in tesco. I also buy the 4 pots of custard that are currently £1.60 in Tesco.
    I do find it a bit hit and miss though so tend to pop past before I do my main shopping to see what they have in stock.

    1. I agree, their ever changing stock range makes planning a bit tricky. But on the plus side, it does turn up some unexpected surprises! x

  8. Thanks for taking part in the thrifty families blog carnival with your great post

  9. just goes to show how great poundland is!