Friday, 27 June 2014

Shop like a pauper, eat like a Queen

Thursday night was shopping night. I don't go every Thursday, it's two weeks since I last went to the supermarket. I only go when I am really low on food, when the fridge is bare and there is not much left in the cupboards and freezer. I don't have a designated shopping day, it could be any day, though I do avoid supermarkets at the weekends, can't stand playing dodgems with my trolley around the aisles. I don't stockpile food in case a war might break out, or we have the freakiest storms ever recorded in history, because the chances of that happening are minute. I keep enough in to feed me and the cats for 3 - 4 weeks, and even then with portion control, it could be stretched to 6. 
So, what did I get last night? Lots of yellow stickers. I timed it right, 7.30pm on the dot, everything that was about to go out of date had a 90% reduction. I was in heaven, ha ha. There was plenty for everyone, a few of us gathered around the trolley, people were sharing in a civilized manner. Here are a few of the items. 
Salad leaves x 2
Mushrooms whole, also sliced, also stuffed.

Butternut squash and sweet potato x 2

Brussel sprouts x 2

Broccoli.
Potatoes.

Swede.
Melon x 2
I had to laugh, I got two bags of spinach for 10p each, and had two vouchers for 25p off a bag. So they paid me 30p to take the two bags away. I even found some reduced items in the freezer cabinet, which is most unusual, they must have over ordered the party food, I picked out two boxes of onion bhajis for 50p. I see Tesco are buying in Brussel sprouts from Morocco, why I do not know. Not that we need to eat them at this time of the year, but they were there so I had them. I exercised huge amounts of self control, the only sweet treat I picked up was a packet of five donuts for 30p. Other bargains were, cauliflower 10p, half a cucumber 3p, houmous 10p, stuffed mushrooms 25p.

Mind you, not everything is rosy at Tesco. They have put up the price of Value soya milk from 59p to 75p. A massive hike. I will have to be looking for an alternative for my breakfast cereal when I have finished the two cartons I have in the cupboard. Will probably start eating more porridge for breakfast. Also, they have changed the recipe of Value peanut butter, and now put it in a plastic jar instead of glass. The new version has palm oil in it, and a cheap one I tried once before from another store had this in, it was horrible. We shouldn't be buying food with palm oil in anyway, though I suspect that they try and sneak it in a lot of things hoping we won't notice. I'm going to look into the cost of making my own peanut butter.

While I am at it, another annoying trick is the way that pack sizes are getting smaller but the price is staying the same. I noticed it with cheese. It used to be 400grm, then it went to 380grm, then 350grm, and now it's 310grm, for the same price. I could not bring myself to buy it, even though I love cheese. I must try and cut down anyway. I opted for a pack of sliced Edam cheese for £1.30 and will use it sparingly. I'm afraid cheese is becoming a treat nowadays.

Pictured below is my lunch today. Two stuffed mushrooms 25p, and 5p for salad leaves and houmous. A meal fit for a Queen I would say, ha ha.

I gave away four cloth bags last night, to happy smiley ladies. My total shop was £21.71, after three vouchers for 25p each were taken off. I paid £3.10 for the yellow stickers, total real price of these items is £31, so a good saving there. My fridge is filled with green loveliness. It's salad and veg all the way now, oh and a few nuts, I splashed out on some nuts.

While I am here, I'll tell you about my new washing up system. As you know I am not a fan of housework, and my usual way of dealing with the dirty pots issue is to pile them up and do them all in one go, in a bowl of water, every three days or so. Well I am at the stage now of being utterly sick of seeing them, and sick of having to stand at the sink for an hour clearing them all away. So, what I do now is, every time I have used a pot, or a pan, or a plate, or a piece of cutlery, I scrub it under a dripping tap with a brush, and put it on the draining board rack to dry. Cutlery will be dried immediately with a tea towel and put back in the drawer.

My tap has a spray attachment on the end so I can reduce the flow to stop splashing, very useful. I use hardly any oil in my cooking, and now I have run out of toasted sesame seed oil it will be even less, so my plates do not get greasy. From time to time I will have to boil some water on the gas stove, (cheaper than boiling a kettle), and give the pans a good scrub. Now that it's summer I will be eating a lot of salads, so these leave very little residue on the plates, and no cooking required so no dirty pans. And I will have a kitchen that is free of clutter  :o)) This will be good for the planet also. Using less water, less washing up liquid, and less energy to heat the water. I can catch the water in a bowl and put it on the veg beds so it gets used again, and everyone wins.

My bill from Anglia Water arrived this week, £35 for the period 12th December to 17th June. A big chunk of it is for standing charges, and some of it is for sewerage services. There will be another bill arriving shortly, for about the same amount, from Severn Trent, they make a charge for removal of surface water through the drains. For single people a water meter is the way to go.

The weekend starts here, as they used to say on Ready Steady Go on a Friday night, remember that? If you are not a teenager of the sixties you won't know what I am talking about. Have a good weekend.
Toodle pip.

32 comments:

  1. You clever, clever woman! What fantastic bargains, and I am dead jealous of those stuffed mushrooms which look utterly delicious. JanF

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  2. Hi Ilona glad to see I'm not the only one who is mad about yellow sticker reductions. I try to go twice a week as I have the times down to a tee now. Just recently my blog seems to be full of yellow sticker reductions lol. I have had the stuffed mushrooms at yellow sticker price before and they were lovely but I would never pay the full price for them instead I buy a large flat mushroom from the green grocers and stuff it myself. Enjoy your bargains xxx

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  3. Looks like you got some great bargains! Enjoying your blog!

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  4. lovely bargains...well done I would be careful with the organic stuff and either eat it up of freeze it because i have found organic stuff doesnt keep anywhere near as long as ordinary if that makes sense
    tess

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    1. Wow Tess, organic produce I've bought here in the USA has a much better 'shelf life' that the other produce and tastes better too.

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  5. Gosh Ilona. I never ever find things reduced to that extend in any of the shops here in the South. If I lived where you are I could feed myself dead easily on those bargains and live like a queen, too.

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    1. I feel exactly the same! Have never seen the like, here in USA.

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  6. I'm afraid you'll find that palm oil is in your doughnuts too :-(

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    1. Oh heck, you've made me look at the bag. No ingredients listed, baked in store's own bakery.

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  7. If you recycle your water you can get a discount on your waste water bill, I have the letters on my blog under saving money on your water bill. If any of your waste water does not go into the sewerage system you get a % off. I hope this helps someone we managed to get a reduction on ours a couple of years ago.

    What bargains on the yellow labels.......I'm green with envy lol x

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  8. What is Swede?

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    1. A root vegetable. Can be steamed, boiled, or roasted.

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    2. Similar to a turnip (or neep or tumshie if you're in Scotland)

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    3. Called a rutabaga in the US.

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  9. You are amazing! Super savings. well done. Tricia.x

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  10. I'm shocked at how quickly prices are rising and I too have noticed that multipacks now contain one less item than before and pack sizes are getting smaller. We survive on looking for half price offers and yellow/orange sticker items.

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  11. I challenge you to come to Suffolk and search for bargains like those! - NOTHING like that here.

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  12. I'm dead jealous as well. NEVER got yellow stickers like yours
    Sylvia

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  13. Have you thought about making your own milks? I use cashew and almond milks. I soak a cup of nuts overnight, drain-n-rinse. Put the nuts in a blender with a cup of water and whiz until a smooth paste then add three more cups of water and give it a quick mix. The almond milk needs strained-n-squeezed through tea towel/juice bag. Cashews will blend smooth enough for me not to need straining. They both need to be shook before each use. The left-over almond meal I use in various recipes so as to not waste anything.

    Of course, you can make soy milk from scratch, too. I haven't tried that because I can't get past the taste or smell. Something to do with having to drink it as a child! ; >)

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    1. Thanks for this comment! I'm considering making almond/cashew milk myself, but I only have a small mini blender. if you say you just mix it in afterwards with more water, I feel pretty confident about testing the tecnique :)

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    2. Do you use raw nuts that haven't been roasted yet?
      I was diagnosed with gout several years ago, so no lovely mushrooms for me anymore. :( And I'm also allergic to soy (makes me wheeze), so I have to look on labels to make sure there isn't soy in anything I buy. So I have to eat real butter instead of soy margarine, etc. We have stores here called Salvage stores which will buy damaged goods off the truck (one item in a crate may be all that's damaged and so a retail store will not accept it. Many shippers have no recourse but to try to sell it, because they may not be able to ship it back to the warehouse where it came from--cost prohibitive or they do not have a contract for returned goods.) All kinds of items are sold at the salvage stores from food to furniture. We have several near us that we venture out to periodically and they often sell stuff way below retail price. We visited one called "Dirty Don's" and they had just purchased a truckload of lettuce that was getting close to expiration date. We found enough to share with my mother, a couple of girlfriends and for us to have several salads that week. I've purchased craft items and many other things at those stores.

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  14. Sainsbury's value peanut butter also has palm oil - and tastes horrible. Okay in a stir-fry but inedible on toast. Thank you for the warning about Tesco's.

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  15. What brilliant bargains! Sainsbury's are also hiking the price of their Basic items...for instance, their Basics fairtrade teabags were 27p for 80, then 30p for 80, then they put them into bags of 40, at 15p and reduced the amount of tea in each bag by at least 30% calling them 'one cup bags', within a month, they have increased the price to 20p. They think we do not notice and yes, they are still good value. If the price increse went directly to the fairtrade producers, I wouldn't mind, but I bet it doesn't. More of these increases Sainsbury's, and I will be off to Tesco, even if it is further away! In fact, looking at Ilona's bargains, I think I'll go there anyway!

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  16. I have allways bought Tescos t bags 27p for 80, suddernly they are 20p for 40,they must think we are thick,I wash up once a day, then mop with the water, then use it for the plants.I am not on a water meter, but we have a septic tank, so have to be very careful what goes down

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  17. Being in the US, a lot of the references are a bit unusual, but so enjoy your postings on finding bargains. Being a true resale shopper, I'm with you on that bargain pricing!

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  18. Hiya is it a tesco extra or metro you get your reduced bargains from? ASDS near me reduces things but not by this much its usually only 30% off original price. X

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    1. Hello Dawn. It is Tesco Extra, a very big store. Open 24 hours except for Saturday and Sunday night.

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  19. Great bargains there! I got mad at Tesco for increasing the price of their sunflower spread by 33%, however your post made me go and have a look at the ingredients of their sunflower spread and sure enough there it was - Palm Oil! Won't be buying that again even if they sold it at 1p a carton.

    Linda xxx

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  20. I used to buy olive oil spread from supermarkets instead of the branded version. Now they have changed it and put palm oil in it. I don't want to eat that so I buy the brand instead which is expensive but still ok (didn't margarine used to be cheap?) It's often got special offers on it like 2 for 1. Very annoying though as healthier oils used to be used and palm oil is sneaking in everywhere. Biscuits used to have rape seed oil in them which replaced the hydrogenated fat and now they put palm oil in many of those too. It's ok, I just don't buy them and if I want biscuits (rarely because if you don't have you don't want), then I make my own. If I don't want dodgy fat in cooking then I use oil which works for quite a lot of things.
    Sara

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  21. Hi Ilona,
    Here in the states, it's very seldom we find good reductions in the grocery stores, unless it's very overripe bananas, produce or damaged goods. Most of the Out of Date food is donated to the local food pantries or shelters which is a good thing for them. I know when I was out of work for sometime I used to visit a thrift store and each week they would receive a box from one of the supermarkets with breads and non-perishable items that were free for the taking.

    Like you I have reduced my inventory of food on hand and try to only shop when the cupboard is bare. Water use/cost is not a concern where I live since we have wells and private septic systems but electricity and heating oil are.
    I really like reading your blog and have picked up a lot of useful info about cutting costs. I'm presently working (contract position) and hope to retire in a year or two so maximizing my savings now is of utmost importance.

    Gail :)

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  22. Wow , Its been a long time since i had bargains like that , although i did buy 5 chickens from aldi the other week for £1.99 each and the date wasn't up until the next day , I took one on holiday and created two meals out of it , I really need to get out there in the evenings and see if i can get some reduced items , Love your blog x

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  23. Hi love your blog have you tried making rice milk? It is very frugal boil rice in maybe 1 cup in large pot of water let rice and water cool you can mash or blend the rice in blender or with potatoe masher then and sugar or vanila or cinnamon or allspice keep in pitcher or jug in frig pour on friut or cereal in the morning .Sometimes I add sugar and vanilla and spice to make it extra special.
    It is also good as a cold drink . Sorry I do not have an exact way to make it maybe even a better recipe online for rice milk.
    Kind regards,
    Patti

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