Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A bit of leg work in search of cheap food

Anyone want to come on a shopping trip with me? Today I went to town to pay a couple of bills at the bank, and withdraw some cash. I needed some cat litter as well as a couple of other things, and did my usual rounds of looking for any special offers in the food line. It's not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket when food shopping. To get the best bargains you need to know your prices, so try and remember what your regular foods cost so you can compare. I know some people do this research on the computer, but to be honest I can't be bothered. I would rather go to the shops and see for myself.

First stop Aldi, where I parked and walked the couple of minutes to the High street. I went in to have a look and found a Farmhouse seeded batch loaf at half price, 49p, and I also bought a tin of Corale baked beans to try, at 28p, as other people have recommended them. My main complaint about Aldi is they only ever have one person on the till. So even if you have two items you have to wait in line behind families with a trolley full. It's a pain in the bottom :o(

I didn't go in Poundland today but I've put this pic in here, because sometimes you can find a bargain or two. I have bought currant and raspberry bushes in here, and they have turned out ok. You have to be carefull though, because with some items you think you are getting a good buy at £1, but could probably get it cheaper somewhere else. Some of the cheaper items which are two or three for £1 are the best buys, look out for those.

B & M is where I get my eggs, currently 95p for six, only buy free range. I sometimes get cat and dog food here, if they have any offers. Their food department seems to be expanding, I always check prices, sometimes you can pick up some pasta quite cheap.

Home Bargains is another discount store I visit. If B & M don't have eggs I can get them here. I also get wash up liquid, bleach, Nescafe, sugar, Coffee Mate, and sometimes cat food here. These items can also be found at B & M for a similar price.

I find Pets At Home quite expensive, but I do get Felix cat food here when it is on special offer and no one else has it.

Good old Morrisons. Clumping cat litter is £1.44 a bag, that's Morrisons own the cheapest, I get five bags at a time. I wish my cats would go outside to piddle, I am getting through a lot of this at the moment. I always look for whoopsies here, that's yellow stickered price reductions. Today I bought some Brie and Danish Blue cheeses at 29p a portion, and a melon reduced to 49p. The bread wasn't cheap enough and it was white, I like wholemeal or seeded.

Next stop the pet stall in the Market. I used to get all my Felix pouches here because it was the cheapest place around. Not any more, they put them up to £2.75 a box, and you can always get them on offer somewhere at £2.50. However, they have cheap Whiskas dry at the moment. They were selling 2kg bags for £3.99 which is very good, but now they have 360grm small boxes for 50p, which is even better, I bought eight of those today. I also get my dog treats here, as the prices are better than the supermarkets. Might seem daft being as I don't own a dog, but you can't take a dog a walk without having a fews treats in the pocket.

This is the new Poundland in the shopping precinct. I need to explore this a bit more. I bought three tins of tuna for £1 a few weeks ago, but it was only fit for cat food.

I have mentioned this Cash and Carry a few times, I pass it when I go to and from town, always worth a look in. A bit of a basic warehouse type place, no frills here, but you can pick up a few bargains. It's a bit open to the elements, and it doesn't have fancy lighting, but who cares.

The owner and his assistant are very friendly, always polite, always helpfull.

They now have a licence to sell booze, and are starting to stock fresh foods in the chiller cabinet.

You have got to sift through this lot though, there is a lot of stuff which I don't buy anymore, like crisps, biscuits, fizzy pop, and sweets. The pet food is not all that cheap either.

But this is a good buy, a bag of spuds for 20p, I'll have one of those.

Stock cubes 20p a packet, I already have some of them in my cupboard.

Fantastic price for Ocean Spray juice. I don't need any at the moment because I stocked up on John West apple juice at the same price a few weeks ago.

But today I stocked up on Tuna Chunks. The price of tuna has shot up dramatically in the last few weeks, even Tesco Value jumped from 45p to 75p, I would not pay that price for it. So today I bought a case of 48 tins of John West. The price was £24, but the man knocked £2 off that, so these have cost me 45p a tin. What's the catch? They are out of date by six months. They're going to last a while, that's if the cats let me have any, ha ha.

I've just had half a tin tonight with a plate full of steamed vegetables, a healthy cheap dinner. I'll have the other half tomorrow, with a spud in the microwave, and salad. Cheap lunch.

These are just a few of the shops I visit. I didn't go past Tesco today so no pic, but you know what it looks like. I also didn't go past Sainsburys or Asda. I think Sainsburys is too expensive, and Asda is the other side of town, not a place I go past very often. Cherry picking the best prices gets you best value. I realise that not everyone has time to do this if they are working full time, but for those who do have time it is a good way to save some money, by shopping around. Toodle pip.


  1. I come to your town market now and again, its much better than ours. Havent come across the cash and carry though. As a family we pick up bargains for each other, a cost effective way for us all to get what we need.

  2. I shop around too. I have been busy today making a list of what I need to buy, and the shops I need to visit to get the best price. I'll visit those which are near each other in one visit so that I save on petrol too. My hubby gets paid on the 26th Jan, and from then on I am reducing my spending further and setting a shopping budget of £100 per month for 3 adults, so I really need to get the most for my money. I don't ' go out to work' due to health problems, so see it as part of my 'job' to spend his earnings wisely.

  3. Ha ha, I thought you were looking for whoopsies in the cat litter!

  4. This is my first comment here although I have been reading your blog for a while. I have always been a careful shopper - had to be - six children! You have more shops to cruise for bargains than I do in my small town. Love the chocolate Labrador photos - I have one of these dogs - beautiful.

  5. Wean of the Woods19 January 2012 at 07:16

    Another informative post MQ !
    I'm a supermarket forager too but some of the basic stuff doesn't get reduced so I have to bite the bullet sometimes and just pay the least I can !
    I get Sainsbury's cat litter - it's £1.28 at the moment, the bags are just a little lighter than Asda or Tesco but it actually works out cheaper, I have 7 indoor cats and use a lot as you can imagine.
    Once again, thanks for this post - I'm always learning something from you.

  6. Some good bargains, especially that Tuna. Tinned food does not go off unless the cans are dented so the date is pretty irrelevant, wise purchase.

    Yo do have a good selection of cheapo shops where you are.

    Sue xx

  7. I have never even heard of some of your shops, we just have Morrisons and Tesco down here but I do live out in the sticks. You are very lucky to have such a range of discounted shops and you obviously use them very sensibly. Good luck with the shopping, quite envious.

  8. woah I'm exhausted just reading about your shopping trip. You truly are a great bargain hunter Ilona . Jules

  9. Hello Ilona,
    Really jealous of that Cash and Carry. Looks like you got some brilliant buys. I wonder is he's thinking of expanding in to Pembrokeshire...? Unlikely methinks.

  10. Glad you took our advice and got some of the Aldi Baked Beans yummy. I know you don't drink the stuff but the Aldi Cola is also a good recommendation. At 39p its a third cheaper than Tesco and Asda's own brand (non-value) and tastes twice as nice (not too sweet more American style). I do agree though about the queues in there. If Aldi really wanna challenge the big 4 supermarkets they need to employ more checkout staff.

    Good deals on the cash and carry too!, would have got some of those potatoes and stock cubes myself, will have to check out my local one this weekend!

  11. My husband won't eat the beans from Aldi or Lidl. He prefers the value ones from Sainsburys or Tesco. He does like the Branston ones which are on offer fairly frequently at 4 for £1 so I tend to stock up on those. We don't have as many bargain shops as you so you do very well.

  12. I've never bothered too much about the queues at Aldi, the staff put things through the till at breakneck speeds and I'm always through in minutes. I think I might go today to see what fruit they have, thanks for the nudge.

  13. I enjoyed my shooping trip with you Ilona! We have Morrisons in walking distance and Lydl a short drive away, also a street market every Tuesday.
    I'm taking a leaf out of your book more and more, eating food outof date and we're still here LOL

  14. I spend sooo much time in my local Home Bargains! Sometimes you can get some really good stuff in there for even less than half the price you can get it at Tesco. I worked in Poundland for a bit so I got to know all the products they sold there and whether you could get a good deal. Sometimes I used to walk to Home Bargains just to get something they sold in Poundland but for 99p! Is that sad?

  15. Hi Ilona, thank you so much for your kind email, I really appreciate you getting it touch thank you. I have changed my comment box thingy back to what it was orginally before I saw your new one LOL. Not sure if it will make any difference to you but I thought I'd mention it. I couldn't help noticing how similar the big name shops are! Your poundland could be our in Hastings and Aldi!! I'm off to catch up on my blog reading now...byeee xx

  16. next time you go into sainsburys just check the code on their value eggs i always manage to find free range ones in them they should say 2uk for barn eggs but sometimes pack free range into them as well you have to check through all the boxes but if you look there is usually some hiding

  17. I'm fortunate in that I have quite a few shops within walking distance so whenever I'm passing I nip in and see what's on offer. Some good bargains can be had by shopping around but of course you need time to do this. What other cat food do you get apart from Felix?
    Love from Mum

  18. Tesco have an offer on Maris Piper potatoes at the moment, a bag double the size of normal (5kg?), for £1.99. Even if you live on your own, check the Love Food Hate Waste site for things to do with potatoes feeling a bit sorry for themselves. I will be getting one this weekend

  19. We're happy with Sainsburys, and their own value range is good. They also sell felix cat food! (as did our local Lidl last time I looked)

    You're lucky(?) to have so many within walking distance.
    Our big shops are three to four miles away, which is not a bad walk- but they are in different directions in different valleys!

  20. Those eggs and spuds were especially cheap - not for me those stores are nowhere near me. Pleased for you though x

  21. You are very lucky to have stores that have such low pricings. Here in the South it`s a harder job to find any bargain buys. I already make a trip to 3 different stores to get the most of my money when I do my weekly shop. But I find it get`s harder and harder each week.

  22. Hi Ilona, lurker here from Australia and I loved coming with you on your shopping trip and to see the different shops you have access to. All I can say is wow and how interesting to see so many different shops. I love all your photos and you make things so interesting to look at. You have a real knack with a camera. Cheers,Lee

  23. What wonderful bargains. This inspires me so much to shop around more and always get the specials!

  24. We used to have the Fresh and Easy store here which is the US version of Tesco. Like you I used to rummage through their markdowns and make out like a bandit especially if I had a store coupon. Sadly these stores in our area closed last year :(
    Bev M. Northern Calif. USA