It's easy to buy essentials such as tea bags and toilet paper for less than the recommended retail price. Which everyday items do you refuse to pay full price for?
These austere times have seen a growth in pound shops and other value retailers.
Yes, there are downsides – such shops can make our high-streets and town centres look downmarket and shabby.
But there is a plus-side: these retailers offer us, the savvy shopper, great money-saving potential.
You see, when it comes to certain, what I like to call, everyday essentials, these shops come into their own – especially when it comes to brand name items.
Buy brand name goods for less
Fancy 76 Tetley "One Cup" tea bags for 99p instead of the recommended retail price (RRP) of £1.99?
Or perhaps Typhoo is your brew? Then why not pick up a pack of 300 of its "One Cup" tea bags for £2.49 – a £3 saving on the £5.49 RRP.
Where? Well I spotted both of these deals in my local branch of value retailer Home Bargains (slogan: top brand, bottom prices) just this weekend.
It beats me why anyone would buy these basics in a supermarket where they'll be shelling out a lot more cash for the same thing.
Don't get me wrong, you can't do your whole household shop in one of these bargain outlets.
And I'm certainly not advocating driving miles from shop to shop to save a few pence and pounds on various items – the cost of fuel would soon outweigh any saving.
But with a little bit of planning for your weekly or monthly household shop, you could be quids in.
In fact, I don't even have a car at the moment and the nearest big supermarket is a couple of miles away from me, so I am a bit limited when it comes to doing a big regular shop.
But I'm lucky enough to live in an area where there's a prospering high-street and which includes a few bargain shops.
So I eek out my monthly big shop at Sainsbury's with a wander down my local high-street, spending my money in bargain shops and independent retailers.
Supermarkets versus value retailers
At Home Bargains I can pick up (and lug a couple of streets not a couple of miles home) a 2.125kg pack of Persil soap powder for just £4.99, compared with £6 at Sainsbury's and £7 at Tesco and Waitrose.
Then there's my favourite - and highly underrated - bargain shop Savers (slogan: where the smart shopper shops).
A packet of two Plenty "The Original One" kitchen rolls for £1.19 instead of £1.86 RRP - that'll do nicely, thank you.
My friend and fellow bargain-hunter Kirsty, 34, works in marketing and lives in London.
'Why I love a pound shop'
She says: "The trick to shopping in pound shops and value shops like Savers is to know the retail prices elsewhere. Some things are a bargain and some are not.
"I rarely pay full price for toilet roll and kitchen roll.
"My biggest shocker of late is how much supermarkets charge for Wrigley's chewing gum.
"You can get a packet of five 10-piece packs at the pound shop for £1, whereas the supermarket would charge almost double for the same quantity.
"Christmas decorations are such good value as well as you can get the same glitter ornaments at the pound shop that you'd pay £12 for elsewhere."
What do you think?
Which everyday essentials do you refuse to pay full price for? Do you have a favourite bargain retailer?
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