A popular buzzword during the recession has been on my mind lately. You’ve probably heard it banded about a lot over the past few years – it’s the phrase ‘downshifting’. Downshifting can refer to people selling their homes and opting to live in a smaller residence and on a smaller budget, just like downsizing. But the phrase is also used to mean saving money by moving down a brand or two in the supermarket. So, for example, instead of buying an expensive branded hair shampoo, you save cash by buying the next brand down in price or a non-branded supermarket version.
Some financial pundits claim that you can save 15 per cent on your shopping bill or more over a year by doing so. Ideally, some argue, if downshifting is carried out particularly cleverly, you should not be able to see a marked difference in the quality or taste of the product but just the price. Supermarkets rely on us using our eyes to do the shopping and tricking us into buying items because of how beautiful and sophisticated the packaging looks, rather than simply the taste or quality of the product. The trick, some say, is to look beyond the packaging to try out cheaper products and find out if they are just as delicious or as effective at washing our clothes, for example, as the more expensive, better-looking brands.
But my challenge, if I choose to accept it (which I do!), is not just to downshift on the weekly grocery shop. I also want to see if it’s possible to apply the same principles and downshift in other areas of life. Can I save myself money by downshifting on the clothes that I buy, the places I choose to eat out and the types of hobbies or activities that I engage in? What’s more, are the cheaper alternatives as satisfying as the pricier versions or will I lose out on quality where I might save on price? It will be interesting to find out. In my first week of the challenge, I will be downshifting on my supermarket shop and I’ll let you know how I get on next week!
Have you ‘downshifted’ on your supermarket shop? How much money did you save and how did the quality of the products compare? Leave a message and let me know.
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