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Before we begin this post, I’d like to thank the individual (if you’re reading this) who signed up to Freetrade through my referral link and earned themselves – and myself as a result – a free share. This has yet to come through but it’s great to see someone else taking an active interest in investing through this blog. That’s the whole reason I set this up so happy investing and remember to always do your own research.
Food and drink can cost a pretty penny. It’s always worth shopping around for the best deals, but this can take a lot of time and some trial and era.
Branded items tend to come at a premium and can often offer little more value than the cheaper, non-branded alternatives.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many times when you pay more for a genuinely greater quality product, but it does take quite a bit of research to sift through the wheat from the chaff.
That’s why I’ve come up with 6 of my favourite items that taste just as good as the branded versions and are, more importantly, a lot cheaper…
- Lidl cold coffee
These little pots of cold coffee are an absolute steal at just 59p a time, and considering they taste just as good as the sort you may find in Starbucks, you’re saving a decent amount especially if you frequent these chain coffee shops regularly.
These coffees come with a range of different strengths and flavours. I like the ‘Intenso’ version with the black label as I quite like my coffee strong, but there’s a nice selection here to try for a number of different coffee preferences.
For 59p you can get a working weeks’ worth of coffee for the office for around the price of just one big name branded iced alternative.
- Supermarket pizza
I’m going to say it: I. HATE. DOMINOS. To be honest I’m not a huge fan of takeaway pizza in general, but Dominos I have a deep-rooted resentment for (probably all that money lost on it at Uni at 3am).
It tastes ok I suppose, but the dough is incredibly heavy and stodgy and I continue to feel it, even a few days after, nestled in the pit of my stomach. Furthermore, a medium pepperoni will set you back £16.99; that’s nearly £17 for cheese, bread and an incredible amount of grease.
My preferred alternative is supermarket pizza. It really is just as tasty, if you can find the right one, being way less greasy and all for a snippet of the price. These can range anywhere from pennies for Asda’s basic frozen pizza (which honestly isn’t as bad as it sounds considering the price), to about £4.50 for a more premium offering; even this is a considerably cheaper option at over £12 a pizza less.
Another benefit is the ability to customise it as you see fit. This might bump the price up a tad, but you’ll more than likely be left with ingredients to use again the next time. I’m partial to loading my pizza up with extra cheese and jalapeños; usually I already have these in the fridge anyway so no extra money spent.
Next time you’re hankering after a takeaway pizza, give the oven supermarket versions a try and save yourself a little money, I’m confident your craving will be just as satisfied.
- Red label tea?
Probably a controversial one for the, primarily, British audience of this blog, but for someone who isn’t too picky with their teas I highly recommend Sainsbury’s Red Label tea; it’s got a good flavour for a generic tea and does the job of the branded versions for less, as well as offering more bags per pack.
Here’s a comparison list* for reference:
£2.90 for 240 bags – Red Label
£4.50 for 240 bags – PG Tips
£4 for 240 bags – Tetley
£4 for 100 bags – Twinings
£3.00 80 bags – Yorkshire
- Lidl dark rum
This one was somewhat of a surprise for me when I first tried it as I’m guilty of favouring the more expensive, ‘arty-farty’ alcohol brands whenever I go out (IPAs, premium lagers, local gins etc.).
For £9.99 for a 70cl bottle, it’s really not too bad if you’re looking to make a little saving on your night-out choice of tipple compared to the likes of Captain Morgan or Kraken.
TOP TIP – If you pair this with Sainsbury’s 50p/litre bottle of flavoured (lemon and lime is my favourite) sparkling water (ice cold of course), you have yourself a nice, cheap mixer alternative to brand name lemonade or coke AND you don’t wake up in the morning with that horrible film of sugar coating your teeth.
- Lidl pastries
This post is in danger of becoming something of a Lidl ‘love-in’, but I think that stands as a testament to the quality of the produce you can find there at a fraction of the cost of big name branded items.
Anyone who’s tried one of the pastries, cakes, cookies or breads will surely agree, their selection is brilliant and the quality is decent. Baked fresh and continuously restocked throughout the, for just 49p you can get a croissant for a fraction of the extortionate £1.50+ you might find in Costa, Nero’s or Starbucks where they’ll be an ‘nth’ of the size.
- Breakfast cereals: porridge oats and cornflakes
I have to admit, sometimes the unbranded cereals are trash…I’m looking at you Tesco’s own Coco Pops.
But let’s be honest, with most of these products you’re really paying more just for the name on the packet.
Corn Flakes will always be, and taste like, Corn Flakes…flashy marketing or not. Likewise, with porridge oats. They’re just oats no matter who packaging them; how much more ‘quality’ can you get out of an oat?
While these savings alone aren’t going to allow you to retire earlier, it’s small and constant expenditure like these that can add up, so it’s worth looking around for alternatives to your favourite branded grocery items.
What are you favourite alternative food and drink items to the popular branded versions? Let me know in the comments below.
*Prices taken from Sainsbury’s so prices may vary in other supermarkets.