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Thrifty Thursday | Famous Names

Sardine salad


It has gone quite warm in England this week with temperatures over 15C. This means I can eat salads and save on fuel bills! I did this sardine salad with chips and peas. The sardines were 38p a tin from Aldi, I bought 5 tins to stock up. My young friend said they would be no good because they weren’t a famous name; he also prefers the more expensive Tesco to Aldi. Just because a product has a famous name or comes from a supermarket that has built an image by spending our money in advertising doesn’t mean the product is any better. This particularly applies to things like eggs and bananas!

I also bought some prawn cocktail crisps in Aldi; they don’t taste quite the same as the famous name crisps, but 2 multipacks cost £1.58 compared to £2.50 for the famous names in Asda or Tesco. I also had 5 bottles of glucose energy drink for £1.59 and these actually tasted better than the famous name pack that usually costs me £2.00 when they are on special offer. The famous name one tastes slightly medicinal for some reason; this one was a little heavy on the sulphur dioxide (preservative).


The difference between brands of clothing can be the cut and quality; but often it’s simpler than that. I bought boxer shorts from Matalan, the famous name was Pierre Cardin (on offer 2 for £10) and the Easy brand (3 for £9). The material was similar, they were both cotton with 5% elastane. The big difference was although they were both size medium, the more expensive ones were slightly smaller and so seemed to fit better. They do the same thing with jeans, they tend to be tighter fitting because they are smaller in places. This can lead to returns on the designer jeans. Someone who actually measures 32 1/2 inch on the waist is less likely to fit into a pair of designer jeans at size 32. The boxer shorts at size medium are different because they don’t allow returns for obvious reasons. If you are over size 32 then the Easy brand are probably better; under 32 and you might like the Pierre Cardin!

5 portions a day

Trying to get your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day can be difficult and even harder if you have children. It is worth growing your own vegetables in summer, but also look at frozen vegetables. A portion of frozen peas for a child can cost as little as 5p and so can reduce costs a lot. A portion is about 80 grams for an adult and 50 grams for a small child. You can get about 20 child portions from a kilo bag of peas. Try to give children fruit that is high in vitamin C too like an orange. Try growing runner beans in the garden; they don’t take up much space and it’s something you and the kids can do together. Are famous name frozen veggies better? I think garden peas are just the same now, regardless of brand. I do like some brands of oven chips more than others; you do seem to get what you pay for. I tend to buy Asda’s own brand.

Bigger items

Branding on bigger items is even more important to many people but the difference in quality and performance is very narrow. The difference between a smart phone like a Iphone, a Blackberry and a Android phone is largely the price. Apple products seem to have the prestige and service seems better, there are more ‘apps’. But are they worth the money? Cars also have prestige and people stress about the make and the registration year. My car is 14 years old, drives fine and gets me about. I think I prefer having a larger car that is comfortable to drive than a small economical car. I spend more in petrol, but save on maintenance and I save lots of depreciation.

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