Cheap thrills at the supermarket

So in January I decided that I needed to reconsider the way we shop for food.  Our weekly and monthly food tally was creeping up and it was getting to the stage that the £450 per month budget was only just covering it.  This is ridiculous for the 3 of us (one with a small appetite!) so something needed to be done.

A good look at my shopping pattern, a glance in the pantry (ha ha….check me, thinking I am Nigella with a pantry…in fact its an ikea unit in the utility room!) and a good old rummage in the freezer showed that I simply buy too much! And mainly too much in stocking up items and not enough to eat on a day to day basis, which meant that on top of the weekly online stock up and basics shop I was needing to top up through the week.

So I decided to set a target of reducing the monthly shop by £150 (it was easier to look at it as a monthly target than set a weekly amount as some weeks you simply have to spend more if lots of things run out at same time, but one week may need to spend very little) and only buy what we needed for that week and that week alone.  Also I based the weeks menus around what was already in store in the cupboards and freezers.  And finally I changed from an online Tesco shop with a top up at asda (tricky as that is Plums favourite place to go!!) and sometimes M & S, to the bulk of the shop being at Aldi and if a top up was required it was value brands wherever possible at whatever shop we were in.

And it worked!  In February I saved £143 on the months shop! And we ate really well!  Tasty home cooked dinners which were more interesting for being more creative, packed lunches for Bruce and more variety at lunctime for Plum and I which was both tastier, cheaper and more healthy than our usual cheese sandwich and crisps combo that is all too easy to slip into!

So what does a weeks shop look like now?  This is my shop from yesterday when I visited Aldi and Sainsburys…the shops were side by side and I took a basket round each.  It is both a curse and a blessing that Plum is unable to sit in a trolley…it is hard when you need to buy heavy items and are trying to steer a buggy one handed and balance a heavy basket, but it is a blessing as makes you more mindful of what you are buying as if you pop in extras you can’t carry the essentials!  Makes for a more focused and therefore thrifty shop! This cost £28 in total.  I will probably need to spend another £15 later in the week.

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I do make one exception to the “only buy what you are going to eat” rule however, and that’s on meat. I look every week for one or 2 items that are reduced but could be frozen…that makes the basis for the following weeks meals for a fraction of the cost.  Yesterday I got turkey breast fillets for just over a pound which will be a fab stir fry (combined with the carrots, cabbage, celery and spring onions which were 49p each as part of aldis super 6…the rest of which will be turned into a huge coleslaw!) and a huge turkey drumstick for £1 which will be delicious roasted with veggies in the oven and with yorkies made from the 15p batter mix will be a very cheap but very tasty roast dinner.

So how do you shop?  What are your supermarket cheap thrills? What are your shopping downfalls and do you think you could save.  I have worked out that if I save £150 a month over last years food bill that adds up to a whopping £1800 per year, and it is in effect found money!  I find that thought quite intoxicating!

And what was my biggest cheap thrill this week?  It has to be this washing up liquid from sainsburys…ok, I could have got one for 20p cheaper if I had gone to the basics but this was 49p and the cool retro bottle that matches the tiles round my sink will make me smile every time I need to pull on the old rubber gloves and get busy with the dishes!

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Happy shopping xx

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