It is perplexing how even in times of economic hardship, people still call me nasty names like Scrooge or penny-pincher. But I don’t mind, because no matter who says this, I am always financially better off than they are.

A low-income is not necessarily a bad thing, it simply means you will learn to become an astute saver. But these tips are not for the lazy or impatient.

Not only will you save at least £300 per year via my particular examples alone, through close analysis of how food items are priced and how best to pay for them, rather than merely saving the little money you already have, you will develop the creative skills necessary to increase your revenue.

It is noble that you no longer want yourself, your friends and family left wanting, so the next time you are out shopping, be sure to follow these three simple steps.

1. Don’t buy into so-called meal deal offers.

Buying meal deals means potentially paying through the nose for individual items.

Bearing in mind supermarkets will charge you what they like for food anyhow, a meal deal is only a ‘bargain’ if the sum total of the items bought on separate occasions e.g. a sandwich, snack and drink exceeds the set price.

Before paying for your three items together, check whether they cost less than the set price.

Having little or no desire to buy at least one of the items prior to learning of the meal deal, for argument’s sake a can of pop, if they are less than the set price the supermarket will succeed in hoodwinking you into paying X amount of pence too much for your sandwich and snack. Buy only what you want to buy.

2. Don’t buy ‘one-off’ food items regularly.

Buying one-off food items regularly over the course of the year will cost you as much as the price of a fridge freezer.

For example, as opposed to the price of a single can of pop at 71 pence in one supermarket chain, the average cost of one in a £3.68 pack of 8 in the same store is of course 46 pence.

So here you will have paid more for your sandwich and snack in your meal deal than you had initially realized or got no bargain at all.

Though this 25 pence may not seem like too big a difference initially, buy your year’s supply of a soft drink in bulk instead of making multiple purchases of single cans, as this will save you roughly between 90-260 pounds per year.

3. Pay for your food items with a debit card only.

Buying food items with cash leads to some of your money being unaccounted for.

Paying for the 8 pack costing £3.68 with £4 in coins or a £5 note means that your change being so small runs the risk of you spending it willy-nilly, losing it or even having it stolen.

And coins have a limited use. For example, by attempting to make a payment consisting entirely of 1 pence pieces over the total of 20 pence, you will contravene the Coinage Act 1971. And you will be charged a fee for crediting your account with pennies which defeats the object of having saved them in your piggy bank in the first place.

Paying for food items with your debit card means only the exact amount of money will be withdrawn from your bank account, and that would-be change will contribute to any interest made from your savings.

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