As I write this, €1 will buy you 85p in sterling (GBP) and from next Monday the British government will reduce VAT to 15%, that’s a 2.5% reduction. You can make fantastic savings if you decide to shop in the UK.
The big boys in the UK grocery market are Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Make sure that you check out mysupermarket, It is a fantastic resource for research on how to get the best value out of your shopping basket. According to their latest report, Asda are the cheapest by a long way.
A good way to get an idea for the savings that you can make is to compare argos.ie and argos.co.uk. For Electronic goods Currys are very competitive. If you don’t fancy the drive across the border then Amazon.co.uk offer great value and will deliver to your door (Note: Amazon.co.uk will not deliver electronics outside of the UK).
Traveling to the UK
Crossing the border by car is relatively painless, Irish citizens don’t need a passport but you should carry identification with you. You could also go to Wales — Irish Ferries have a special offer at the moment which ends at midnight tonight (Tuesday, 25th November). You can take yourself and your car to Wales from either Rosslare or Dublin for €49.
The vast majority of products are cheaper in the UK at the moment, one exception is petrol prices which are marginally cheaper in Ireland than the UK. Generally there are no restrictions when bringing back items from the UK but watch out for cigarettes (no more than 800) and alcohol, have a quick look through the customs regulations.
But buying from abroad hurts the Irish economy!
On my Soapbox: Especially during these tough economic times there is a big push to encourage consumers to buy Irish. The fact is that Irish retailers are not competitive enough (I’m not suggesting that all the blame lies with retailers). Subsidising Ireland’s lack of competitiveness isn’t going to solve the problem, it will exacerbate it. If the Government wants to ‘Stem flow of shoppers across border’ then prices will have to become more competitive.
Check out the latest EUR » GBP exchange rate at xe.com.