I’m hooked on Shop Well for Less. I love it! I’m fascinated by the copious spending and the rationale for making purchases – whether it’s a label fanatic clothes addict or a gadget geek. I especially love it when they are given the own brand products in white non-branded packaging. But the icing on the cake for me, the ultimate redemption, when the individuals see the error of their ways, acknowledge their spending is out of hand and agree to change their habits, of course they often prefer the cheaper product which for pure snob factor they’d probably never consider before.
If you haven’t seen the programme, the format essentially looks at reducing the household costs, whether it’s reinventing your wardrobe, or looking at cheaper beauty and cleaning products. Each week they give the family / couple who have clearly some issue with spending, an overhaul of their spending patterns, and as a way of reducing their expenditure, give them a range of products in white unbranded packaging to trial.
I personally find the unbranded plain white packaging of the trial products the most unpleasant aspect.
A product in a plain white container looks, in my opinion, a little unpalatable. No matter how efficient the product might be, I’d be slightly put off. I’m clearly drawn to packaging!
On the whole, the families prefer the own-brand products to their more costly branded products.
As I’ve mentioned before, shopping for me, is about the experience. It’s about selecting and making a purchase which is beautifully wrapped or folded, and handed over in a lovely carrier. It’s about cherishing the experience and I suspect that’s the case for many of us.
Take for example, the beauty counter, where many of us spend over the odds for products which are in essence pretty much all the same. The individual service, of a beauty brand such as Space NK, where the you’re perched on a stool whilst the product is lovingly applied (to persuade you to make the purchase), is a far superior experience to the serve yourself counter at Boots or Superdrug. And I haven’t even mentioned the bag!
However, I recently made a trip overseas. With limited space in my washbag, coupled with high temperatures, I decided to leave the good stuff at home and made a purchase from Boots Natural collection where all items are a value busting £1.99. Ok, so the packaging isn’t great (and it’s white!), but I managed to get five hot weather essentials (lipstick, lip-gloss, mascara, eye-shadow and bronzing pearls) for half the price of my usual brand mascara!
And dear reader, apart from the lipstick committing suicide in the heat (which often happens but at least this time it wasn’t an eye-wateringly expensive one from Tom Ford!), I can report a mini-convert. Packaging aside, I was pretty impressed with the quality, given the price. I’m still using the decapitated lipstick (for longevity whilst away, I put it in the mini-bar) albeit decanted into another container to be used with a brush.
Like the families featured on Shop well for Less, it’s all a question of where you’re prepared to splash the cash and where you want to make savings. Like the families featured on the BBC show, (who usually won’t compromise on something simple like value toilet rolls), we all have personal non-negotiables when it comes to compromise. For me, I’d rather have less, but better quality.
For example, I’ll splash on a bra to get to the best fit, rather than something cheap and uncomfortable (whereas you can get away with cheaper pants unless of course you’re underwear set obsessed, but that’s another blog). Likewise, I’ll splash out on shoes which fit rather than go with something cheaper which might not fit properly and are often a false economy.Whereas when it comes to t-shirts and vests I prefer to get value for money as they’ll all wash up in the end. I use own product toiletries (Waitrose do some fantastic own brands) where I can but will splash the cash on perfume that I like. I believe a good haircut is more important than a manicure, so I’ll get a pro to do my hair and do my own manicure.
Everyone will have their indulgences and each will be personal to them.
Whatever your indulgence, and goodness knows we all need a little treat here and there, please be mindful and shop as well as you can.