Tuesday, 30 June 2009

I'm investing in dog chews

These days, a savings account with anything better than a 2% return on your investment is headline news. And even then, the outcome often isn't overwhelming. Lloyds TSB has an ad out at the moment for a savings account that gives 5% on regular savings of up to £250 a month over a year. And the most you can earn from this? £65. Not quite enough to fund your retirement.

When savings return so little, it's worth looking at alternatives - and one simple way of investing is supermarket special offers. No, really, it's not as mad as it sounds.

Take the example of dog chews. We buy these bits of rawhide offcuts for our dog to help keep her teeth clean - and eating one is her favourite moment of the day. When I last looked, Sainsbury's had these chews at 25% off. Big deal. It's not exactly buy one, get one free. But think about it. If I buy two boxes, rather than one, I'm investing the cost of the box of chews for a couple of weeks. At the end of that, when I would have to buy at full price, I'm getting a return on my investment of 25%. Now that's what I call interest.

Of course there are some provisos:
  • Only buy stuff you would buy anyway
  • It only works for purchases that don't have a short shelf life
  • You need to make the investment over the period that the items are reduced, so that the purchase you are avoiding would have been full price
  • You are never going to earn a huge amount, because you don't spend that much on these items
But given those provisos, this is an investment that makes the Lloyds TSB interest rate seem a joke. Next time you're at the supermarket, take a few minutes to look for heavily reduced long life items you can stock up on. Most of these things are discounted a few times a year, so you don't need to amass vast quantities - but make sure you have enough to keep you going a few months. And feel smugly satisfied.


  1. Would this work for pigs' ears, Canis croxorum's snack of choice?

  2. It depends a) on the shelf life of pigs' ears, and b) whether pigs' ear vendors have special offers. If they don't, then no.

    But that was more in the way of an example. I could equally well have said dishwasher tablets. But a picture of the dishwasher is less appealing than the likes of Goldie or Cc.

  3. Agreed. Nothing like pet porn to adorn one's blog, eh?