Hello. Thanks for all your comments on yesterdays post. It's nice to see we are singing from the same song sheet when it comes to spending at Christmas, and we don't get sucked into the mayhem all around us. Have your families around for Christmas, visit the relatives, but don't throw any food away. Use it up the day after, or the day after that, or freeze it for future use, but don't chuck it. I'm sure you are all clued up to using up leftovers.
Pam has said in a comment that she will be looking to save a bit of money on her food shopping in the New Year. She is planning a year of buying as little as possible, and her spending will be roughly based on the way I shop. I hope you do well with that Pam, so here is a reminder of how I shop.
I go once every 2 to 3 weeks to the big Tesco, timed to arrive about 7.30pm for the yellow stickers. I also like to time it if possible to use the money off coupons I get in the post. £3 off a £20 shop. The value of coupons you get will depend on how much you normally spend.
About once a week, sometimes I stretch it to 8 or 9 days, I go to town. I visit several shops, the discount stores where I know I will get the best prices for what I need. I look out for the special offers, but only buy if I need it, not just because it has a bit knocked off the price. If I find something that has been reduced by quite a lot I will stock up on it because I know I will use it.
In town I will park my car in the free for 2 hours car park and walk to the places I want to visit. There are some shops I go to every time, Home bargains, B & M, Poundland, and there are some I pop into to check for any offers. I mainly buy pet food, coffee, sugar, Coffee Mate, bleach, wash up liquid, because it's cheaper than the supermarkets.
Here is a run down of my dry cupboards. I keep everything tidy so I can see at a glance what I have. Imperative to know this before you go shopping. I price things up as I put them away so I know how much I should be paying next time I buy it. Tins, jars, bottles, packets of dried fruit and nuts. Rice, pasta, couscous, spices.
I shop in Aldi but only get a few things there if it's a week when I am not going to Tesco. I buy bran flakes, nuts and dried fruit, yogurt, veg, cheese, pet food, cider 4 pack. I don't use Lidl as it's up the other end of town. Sometimes I visit the Asian shop when I want spices.
I don't take a shopping list with me, it's all in my head. If I find I have forgotten something I manage without it, I don't make another trip to get it. I keep an open mind when shopping, price is the first thing I think of when choosing what to buy, not what I fancy eating. If it is cheap, I fancy it. I will buy supermarket own Value labels and ignore the more expensive branded labels. I can walk by a shelf full of delicious looking puddings, cakes, and other fancies, and go for the real food which is going to fill me up rather than just put pounds on my hips.
Not everyone will have time to shop as I do, but you can still save a bit of money by being more selective in what you buy. Ditch the junk, the sweets, crisps, cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks. I call these treats, and to be purchased only now and again. Stock up when something is on special offer, buy enough to last you until it comes on offer again. If you are on your way home and passing a supermarket, try and time it to about 7pm. Have a look if there are any yellow sticker bargains. Orange stickers in the Co op. Don't go shopping when you are hungry, or you will buy crap just to satisfy the hunger. Take a list with you if you can't be trusted not to impulse buy. If you only want a few items, pick up a wire basket, don't use a trolley. As the basket gets heavier the more you will be inclined to give up and go to the checkouts.
Make shopping a contest between you and the shops. They want you to spend willy nilly, and you need to beat them and only buy what is a good price and what you really need. Get yourself a good dose of willpower, drag yourself away from the ready meals and fattening junk rubbish and concentrate on what is good for your body and your purse. A few pennies saved here and there is much more satisfying than being ripped off.
Tonight's dinner is a bowl of veg stew, or should I say, was, I've eaten it. Yellow sticker veg from Saturday night. I also bought a pot of guacamole for 16p, not realizing that it is quite spicy. Too hot for me, so it went in this stew. Ages ago I bought a packet of ground rice thinking it would be a nice change to make a pudding. I used it once but got fed up with stirring it and it went lumpy, so instead of throwing it out, I now put it in my stews to thicken them. Works a treat. This was lovely. So, if you have anything in your cupboards, packets or tins, and you no longer like it, try adding it to something else to make it more palatable. I made a big pan of this stew, I will freeze the rest in margarine tubs, because I need to eat more of the fresh veg tomorrow.