Friday, 10 February 2012

Another shopping post...Ilona style

I'm jumping for joy, the little job I had to do turned into a great money saving excercise. First I had to dig the car out of the snow, that took an hour. Then I gave my friends a lift to the station, they are on a train to London, probably arrived by now.

On the return journey I made a split second decision. Although I don't need to buy any more food, I remembered my mantra, 'pop in if you are passing, you never know what you might find'. I'm glad I did that left turn at the traffic lights and popped in the little Asda store which used to be a Netto.

Heading straight for the reduced, looking for the yellow stickers, I found 2 pints of milk for 40p so I bought two. I'm going to have a go at making yogurt in a slow cooker, I've seen the instructions on a web site somewhere. Then I was a bit naughty, and picked up an apple pie baked instore, at half price 50p. I don't do any baking myself so this will be a nice treat.

Next door is Poundstretcher, had to have a look in there didn't I, as I was passing. Lucky I did because I remembered I had to get my seed potatoes, need to start them chitting. Got two bags, ten in each for £3. That will give me all my spuds for the summer. Also picked up a packet of courgette seeds, and cucumber as well, 50p each.

When I got to the the till to pay, the young lady asked if I wanted any coffee, it was a special price as it is about to go out of date. Normally if I hear the words, 'would you like', my immediate response is no thank you. But then I thought, hang on a minute, it is Nescafe which I drink anyway, and they are selling it for £1.29 instead of £2.59. A good saving so I took two. I know I didn't go in for that, but I see it as an investment, £2.60 saved, and enough coffee to last six months

So far so good. There's more........Next place on the way back, no going off route, is Barnes Cash and Carry. Worth a look, they know me there now. As I went in I said to the manager I have come to look, to see if there is anything that I absolutely must have. I might walk out empty handed if there is nothing.

After carefully studying the prices and not finding anything, I noticed they had reduced the cheese (345 grms) in the chiller cabinet. Last week it was £2, this week it is £1. Blooming good buy, it's mature which is what I like. I think mild cheese is awful no taste, yuk. Had to have three packs. It is just about to come out of date but it will be fine in my nice lovely clean fridge :o)

Just as I was about to leave, the manager came to me carrying a pack of juice drinks. He said with a grin on his face, 'I've found something that you absolutely must have, all these for £1'. I said, 'what all of them' Yep, a whole carton, 30 drinks, for £1. These are selling at £1.98 for 6 at Asda. He was right, I had to have them, ha ha.

I am loving this bargain hunting lark, it gives me a buzz when I drop lucky on something. I think what helps me is that I am not afraid to tell people what I want, and also let them know I want it cheap. If I go in an unfamiliar supermarket I will ask where the reduced counter is, I don't care if they look down their nose at me. The lady on the veg department in Tesco tells me when she is going to do some marking down, then I hang around and wait for her to bring the trolley out. Now the cash and carry man is looking for bargains for me.

I see them as my support network, they probably see me as that dotty woman who's always on the scrounge. I don't care as long as I get what I want. Toodle pip.


  1. Well done MQ - see you don't even have to look now - the bargains are finding you !! ha ha

  2. I'm giggling at the thought of you being hunted down by store managers so that they can give you their bargains!

  3. MQ - you mention your cash and carry quite often, how did you manage to 'get in' there, ? all the ones I know of are restricted to shopkeepers, wholesalers, businesses, charities etc. etc.,
    I don't know of any that allow members of the public in - any advice please ?

  4. I love the Davidstow cheese, what a bargain.

  5. Hi Wean. You are right, generally a cash and carry is open for trade only, this one has a big sign outside saying Public Welcome. It's in a cold warehouse, it has shelves but a lot of the stock is piled up on pallets. They also have two market stalls, and another shop in Gainsborough. It's been going a few years but there are no frills about it, very basic. They buy in short date or out of date stock from almost anyone that will sell it to them. A lot is well known brands.

    I also have a trade card for JTF Warehouse, (I used to have a business), several branches round the country. I see they have relaxed the rules a bit now, anyone can join. There are a few bargains to be had there, mainly household stuff, not much food, but their nearest to me is Sheffield or Leeds. I pop in sometimes if I am passing.

    I would suggest you keep a look out for any small warehouses which might have something you want. Ask if you can join. I used to go to Manchester, around the prison area, to buy my stock (fancy goods) and the warehouses were keen to sell to anyone. I explained I was a new business, looked the part, and appeared confident, they welcomed me with open arms.

    You could try this tactic, print yourself a business header/card, send yourself a business letter with your address on it. Sometimes they will accept that as proof. You might not get away with it with a bigger company as they might do checks on you, but a smaller back street place might not be so fussy who they let in if they are keen to sell.

    I'm not sure where you are, have a look round a few back street areas, industrial areas, ask a few people, say you are looking for suppliers for your new business, say you are getting a mobile tea bar or something. I did that in Manchester, a bit nerve wracking but I found some very cheap stuff to sell on and make a profit. Hope that has given you some ideas.

  6. If your cheese is near to 'use by date' you can grate it and freeze it. Will last longer and will save time when you need to throw some grated cheese onto something.
    Jane x
    PS If you already do that...just ignore me (LOL)!

  7. Thnks for that MQ, I like the idea of saying I'm opening a mobile tea bar - might give that a go !

  8. Excellent cheese tip Jane, didn't know you could do that!

    Ilona, some excellent finds once again! Can coffee really go out of date? I know the beans can once ground, but instant? Really?

    Sounds like you've got everyone working for you! As it should be!

  9. blimin heck im coming to live where you live he! he!

    keep up the good work

    midlands annie

  10. Lovely shopping post well done on the cheese.

  11. Great when you are in the right place at the right time :)
    Wish there was a cash and carry place around here.

  12. Cheese tip was excellent. I always buy lots of it when it is on special offer and try not to pay any more than £2 for a pack. Grating will also make you more likely to use less as it goes further ... in theory anyway! and mixed with carrot and onion and a dash of mayo even furtherer!!!

  13. Ilona i just love reading your blog

  14. Brilliant bargains! The Davidstow cheese is amazing value for £1.

  15. well done, I agree with Jane, grate it and freeze it!!!

    Great, great deals.....

    Gill in Canada

  16. dont grate it and freeze it - it will dry out and lose its flavour. Wrap it tightly and freeze it in a block

  17. Oh to have food long enough to need to freeze it.... I have to hide things so the kids (well, young adults) cannot find and eat them instantly (the veg drawer is a good place!). Middle son and his g/f made themselves a pizza each last night and used a whole block of cheese up 8-O
    You are certainly a master of the art of frugality Ilona.
    PS like the way the replies are back to how they used to be, seems more user friendly :0)

  18. And the HOME button is back - yippee

  19. Kealoha Australia11 February 2012 at 09:35

    I love your initials - MQ. Sounds a bit like you are head of MI5 and your mission is to find really cheap food and take no prisoners. Do you take your coffee stirred or shaken !!
    Love the thrill of your hunt. Cheers, Kealoha

  20. Kate G - it must be so hard for you when your family just 'help themselves' to your stocks !
    I'm on my own and I know I couldn't live frugally if I still had my family with me.
    The worst offender though was ex-other half,he had a 3 course meal every evening, a cooked breakfast and a huge packed lunch, and STILL he would go and help himself to anything that wasn't nailed down !! this hurt me tremendously, I took it personally, as if I wasn't feeding him properly, but now I know he was just a pig !!

    Now I know there are those who are going to say you CAN live frugally with a family and yes, I will agree, providing you have a lock and key on the fridge and freezer, and employ a security company to watch over your precious stocks of food whilst you are out ! ha ha
    how otherwise do you stop the family helping themselves ? I know the little darlings have to eat, but lets face it, sometimes they eat for the sake of it eh ?
    MQ - glad the replies are back to the way they were.

  21. My youngest son (19) comes in from work and makes a huge cheese sandwich to keep him going, an hour later he can eat a full roast dinner! I also have a 21 year old son and often his g/f to feed, and for the next 2 weeks my eldest son and fiancee will be here most nights for dinner as they move into their new house on Monday and until they fit one it has no kitchen! Need to plan lots of hearty meals for the best price - feeding anywhere between 3 to 7 people!!!
    It is very hard to plan ahead when there are so many people who need to eat and help themselves to your fridge and cupboards.....
    Have to agree with your verdict of the ex-OH what a greedy guts. At least I am only cooking for all of us once a day, the rest of the time they sort themselves out (using the contents of the fridge though.....)

  22. I have a few managers who cooperate with my desire to save money. Sometimes, I ask to buy all of one sale item at a lower price. They are glad to clear out a shopping cart. If there are only a dozen items in one huge cart, moving it out of the store benefits both of us.

  23. sounds like you do a great job KG - and well done you for helping your son and g/f.


Comments are welcome from anyone with a Google account. I have had to change the settings due to the amount of troll comments coming through. My apologies to genuine readers who have been with me for a long time.