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Revealed: the real cost of your mid-afternoon chocolate bar habit, and why seasonal chocs are a rip-off.

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Ah Easter, the time everyone stuffs their face with chocolate eggs. Lovely. But I’ve taken a look at how much your chocolate fix – at Easter and over a whole year – is costing you. Plus I’ve got a few tips to help you save money when you do buy a box or bar.

The cost of your chocolate habit

I know we all say a bar of choc is just a little treat, but if we’re honest there’s always a mid-afternoon trip to the canteen/local shop. We’ve all done it. A bit of a lull after lunch but it’s ages until clocking off – time to grab a small bar of chocolate. There’s no harm is there?

Well no (except maybe to your teeth and waistline), but it can really add up.

Based on the price of a small Dairy Milk at 65p, if you had one every working day (around 230 once you take out annual leave and bank holidays), you’ll spend £149.50 each year.

If chocolate is your thing, and you have to have a bar every day, then go with it. But if it’s just a habit, and you know you could do without (or cut down), have a think about what else you could do with that money.

For £150, two people can fly to Rome return with Ryanair and have some cash left over for wine and pasta. Yes, there’ll be hotel and other costs once you’re there, but hopefully, it shows you that cutting back (or cutting out) on some small everyday items could make you big savings to spend on luxury items you might not think you can afford.

Spendonomics chocolate chart

Easter eggs vs chocolate bars

Everyone knows that an egg will cost more, but it wouldn’t be Easter without one. For just a couple of quid once a year, it’s no biggie. But how much more do they actually cost?

You’ll pay £6 in most supermarkets for a large Cadbury’s Dairy Milk egg. If you were to buy the equivalent amount of Dairy Milk in bars you’d pay £4.78. That’s £1.22 less or 20%. If you offered most people a 20% off discount, they’d snap your hand off. But for some reason being in the shape of an egg makes people want to spend more.

Yes, most supermarkets will be selling these eggs as part of a deal, often multibuy offers which bring the price down. But one – do you need more than one egg? And two – you can get normal chocolate bars on offer too, making them cheaper again.

It’s worse for premium choc like Hotel Chocolat. A £15 egg weighs in at 220g (£6.82 per 100g). Much more than Cadbury’s, but hey it’s a treat yeah? However, for £16 you can get a 500g chocolate slab (£3.20 per 100g), meaning you get more than double the chocolate! Or it’s 53% cheaper per 100g. Huge!

Of course, Easter isn’t about the price, so go for an egg if you want. But if you’re really just interested in the chocolate, you can get a lot more in bar form for the same price as an egg!

spendonomics easter

How to spend less and still get a chocolate fix

Of course, I still buy chocolate. Here are the ways I spend less and get the best value for money.

1. Buy chocolate in the sales

I’ve featured a few offers with freebies or big reductions and they can save you a decent amount of money.

The best deals are just after Christmas, valentines, Mother’s Day, Easter and Halloween. All have special chocs produced that are quickly reduced once the celebration is over. If stock lasts you can get them for a fraction of the original cost. Just think, all those Lindt bunnies will soon cost less than a Twix! Better quality for less.

Plus, at these prices, you can often pay far less for a far better quality of choc.

> See the latest food and drink deals

2. Buy bigger bars

Self-control is key, but a 200g bar will usually be cheaper per gram than a 50g bar. Likewise, a multipack will often come out as less per bar. Pound shops and Asda sell four Double Deckers for £1, saving 60%.

The main problem here is you need discipline. I’ve still got some chocs that I was given at Christmas, but anything my wife gets rarely survives a few days. There’s no point buying more if you end up eating more.

But if you can ration, you’ll be getting a cheaper bar of choc.

3. Change to supermarket own-brand chocolate

I love Green & Blacks Burnt Toffee. It’s just so tasty. But at £2 a bar, it’s something I only buy on special offer. Instead, I get 100g bars of supermarket own brand dark chocolate for around £1. It’s almost as good and costs less.

We also often make some delicious chocolate brownies. The recipe calls for Green & Blacks, but when we tried it with standard supermarket own label the taste difference was negligible, but the cost saving was obvious.

4. Avoid impulse shopping

How often do you grab something at the station? You’ll usually pay a lot more. Likewise vending machines. Yes, it’s only an extra 30p, but twice a week and that’s £30 over a year.

If you know you’re going to buy a bar, buy it at a fair price.

5. Make your own seasonal treats

I really hate how much extra retailers charge for poor chocolate just because it’s shaped like an egg or put in an advent calendar. So I refuse to buy them. Instead, each year I make my own Easter egg for my wife using a mould I picked up at Lakeland. I also build an advent at Christmas and fill it with a variety of chocs. She’ll get a ton more chocolate for the same price, and I quite enjoy the creative part of it too.

6. Buy out-of-date choc

I only properly “got” the difference between best before and use by dates a few years ago. Out of date chocolate is safe to eat, the only issue is the quality could deteriorate. But when I tried some from expired food retailer Approved Food it tasted absolutely fine!

> More on out-of-date food retailer Approved Food

Let me know whether you think you could cut back on chocolate – or what you’d spend £150 on – in the comments section below.

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