Do you need to blow your nose on thicker tissue? Cost not to be sneezed at
Those of us who have credit agreement payments to honour every month may have got a tiny bit of good news last week with the interest rate drop, but for many the money will remain too little and the wait for payday way too long.
If there's no way to earn more, the only solution is to spend less - downsize the home and the car if possible and then get serious about separating your wants from your needs; consciously choose to buy for function rather than style.
Standing in the tissue section of my local supermarket the other day, a perfect example of what I'm talking about was staring me in the face. I wanted to reach for the square box of Kleenex tissues for my desk because, well, the packaging appeals to me far more than the pragmatic plastic pack of Pick n Pay's No-Name brand tissues.
The Kleenex box contains 56 tissues and sells for R26.45; the No Name pack has 90 tissues and sells for R11.99.
Thanks to the fact that Pick n Pay displays unit prices on its shelf labels, with the retail price, I didn't need my calculator to see what that worked out to - the Kleenex tissues cost 47c each and the No Names just 13c.
The Kleenex tissues are 20cm x 20cm and the No Names are 20.5cm x 19cm, so size-wise, there's not much to separate them. But the Kleenex tissues are three-ply and the No Names are 2-ply.
So, do you need to blow your nose on an ever-so-slightly thicker tissue, having pulled it out of a visually appealing box, or would the ones in the functional plastic dispenser do the job at almost a quarter of the price?
If your buying decisions, big and small, are based on function rather than marketing hype and style, and you mindfully start applying the tissue test to everything you buy, every month, the savings you'll make will be massive.
Not to be sneezed at.
A Facebook post drew my attention to the fact that the Enrista 3-in-1 coffee product is described as "100% pure coffee" on the front of the pack, when its ingredients list on the back reveals it to comprise mainly creamer (main ingredient of that is a form of sugar) followed by additives and then sugar and lastly coffee.
So I asked the company how it justified the "100% pure coffee" claim when in fact coffee makes up the smallest proportion of the product and, in terms of labelling regulation, the word "pure" should ideally be used only on a single-ingredient food to which nothing has been added.
Initially André van der Westhuizen, managing business head of Enrista manufacturer Naturefoods, insisted "our labelling is correct".
"We are not implying that the sachets contain only 100% coffee but that the coffee contained is 100% coffee and not a blended product," he said.
"It is important to clarify this point to consumers as most are being deceived by products, thinking that it is coffee when in fact it contains only a very small fraction of coffee and mostly chicory."
Asked if he was willing to divulge what percentage that "100% pure coffee" makes up of the Enrista 3-in-1 product, Van der Westhuizen said: "We have no problem revealing the percentage or grams of coffee and other ingredients per sachet if legislation requires.
"This would mean that all manufacturers in this category of 'all-in-one' products, including cappuccino, would need to comply."
In the end he undertook to put the amended claim "made with 100% pure coffee" on the product's new packaging, a process which is already under way.
Van der Westhuizen's comment about "pure coffee" versus a coffee/chicory blend had me checking out the labels of instant coffees Frisco and Ricoffy.
Frisco contains "glucose, quality roasted coffee beans and chicory".
Ricoffy, a Nestlé product, contains "chicory, dextrins, coffee, maltose, dextrose".
Asked why the main ingredient of Frisco is glucose, a form of sugar, Tric Stone, consumer liaison manager for Frisco maker AVI Limited, said it served two purposes - sweetening and bulking.
"You will appreciate that this product is sold at a price point that reflects the lower coffee and chicory content compared with a true 'pure' coffee product," she said.
Asked to reveal the percentages of the ingredients of Frisco Original, she obliged: glucose 55%; coffee 24% and chicory 21%.
The dextrins, maltose and dextrose are also sugars which are part of glucose syrup, Stone said.
"If labelled as glucose, the ingredient lists on our competing products would also be obliged to list glucose first."
Right, so instant coffees contain more sugar than coffee.
And that's before the consumer adds their own sugar to the mug.