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Planning is key to shopping savings

Joy Brodier wins the Connexion letter of the month and a copy of the Connexion Puzzle Book.

If the economic crisis is biting, where better to shop than at the cut price supermarkets that are to be found out of town?

It’s easy to save money in France, for two reasons. One is the proliferation of advertising brochures that clog up your mail box every few days. Norma, Aldi and Lidl’s tactics are simple: sell a few items of non-food goods that are of unbeatable value, to lure in the customer and they will buy something else as well, and may get hooked. Telescopes, horse riding gear, fishing equipment...

But the catch is that each shop only stocks 4-5 of each item and the promotion is for a limited period of just a few days. We just bought a replacement bread maker for one-third of the usual price by shopping on the first day of the offer.

The second reason is that in France everything must be marked as price per kilo or litre. It’s easy to compare the value of items from one shop to another. A favourite of mine was onions at 25c per kilo – it’s worth making French onion soup and pissaladière when the basic ingredient is so cheap.

Organisation is the key. Look through each advertising brochure and circle anything that is of interest. Write on the cover the name and page number of the items. Armed with the brochure, go shopping and find the exact item.

Sometimes the special offers are near the shop entrance and the same item on the shelves is not included. When paying, watch the prices appearing at the till and query any that do not tally. French shops are very bad at having the correct shelf tickets.

Joy BRODIER, Marne

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