Once you have tried a few different brands you will find that in most cases this isn’t true, and that it is very hard to differentiate between a brand item and a home brand item. It definitely pays to give home brand products a go at least once, because at times they can be half the price of premium brands.
Not only do you want to be able to hunt down a good bargain and save yourself some cash, but you also want to stop yourself from being ripped off at the same time. All you have to do is be a smart shopper. When you are shopping keep your eyes open for advertising that is wrong or misleading, and keep in mind that if an offer appears too good to be true, it probably is.
• A shop can charge you any price they like for goods, which means that you are totally free to negotiate a lesser price. It’s their choice as to whether or not they accept your offer. If you plan to do this in a supermarket, it is best to find a manager, because junior shop assistants won’t have the authority to make a decision.
There are very few other expenses that you face as a household. But if you decide that you are going to hire a cleaner or a gardener, you need to make sure you budget for these expenses or maybe create a kitty solely for that purpose. Other than that, the only items you have to budget for are those that you purchase on an individual basis—like clothes, shoes, CDs, presents and holidays.
• You take turns doing the weekly shop: Every time it’s your turn to do the weekly shopping, you pay for the whole lot. This is based on the principle that weekly shops usually add up to roughly the same amount, and it works itself out in the long run. This also works best when everyone eats the same amount of food.
This way everyone gets to treat the bills as a regular expense, and has to budget for them on a weekly basis. This also means that if one of your housemates does a runner, or leaves without giving you much notice, you aren’t going to be short for the next bill. It is kind of like a pay-as-you-go scheme.