Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A game I want to win

Hello. The talk last night was a bit strange, it was in a pub, and the group were due to eat after I had finished. They were short on numbers, only five turned up, others had sent their apologies that they couldn't attend for different reasons. Not to worry, I just got on with it. A small audience is a lot more difficult than a large one, especially as they were in such close proximity to me. Give me a hundred or so any day. It ended up like a chat, I had examples of my arts and crafts to show, and some of my newspaper cuttings. They seemed to like it. The food arrived before I had finished, so they started scoffing while I was winding it up. I didn't want any food, I had eaten before I left home. 
The end of the night was very enjoyable however. After I left I decided to go home via the big Asda store. I don't usually shop there, because it's at the other end of town. It was gone 9pm when I arrived and not many shoppers about. I soon had to change my basket for a trolley when I saw the mound of food that was being reduced to literally pennies. I well and truly struck gold. Everything on this photo was 2p per item. It reminded me of the time I went there with the Rip off Britain crew, we found a lot then, this time I get to keep everything. 
A brief rundown. Three large bags of potatoes, asparagus, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, baby salad leaves, grated carrot, rice noodles, watercress, snacking fruit, parsnips, turnips, casserole veg, diced carrots and swedes, butternut squash, courgettes, 6 bread rolls. My neighbour next door, and the one across the road, each had a bag of spuds this morning, and I shared a bag with my friend up the road.

There were a few other items which cost a bit more. Total shop was 94p. Didn't I do well!

 Who would buy 21 raspberries for £2? Bonkers.

 Who would buy 37 blackberries for £2? Crazy.

I will have them for 2p thank you very much. The banana is from my yellow sticker shop a week ago at Tesco. They might have black skins but they are fine on the inside.

The prepared veg needs cooking, so here are the main ingredients for a pan of stew. Three bags, at a cost of 6p
Here's whats in it.

And ten minutes later on the hob, no prepping, I have four portions of stew for the freezer. My ready meals. The second pan is cooling down now, another four portions. By the way, if you freeze them in margarine tubs like this, they are difficult to get out. Never microwave in the tub, I use a pyrex dish to heat them up. To loosen them, because they are like a solid brick, waft a hairdryer over the bottom and sides for a minute, then they will come out.

My lunch today was mushrooms, (needed to use them up), grated carrot, and rice noodles, on a bed of watercress. Very nice.

Someone asked me in an email, a week or so ago, (I am a bit slow at replying to emails), what would I do if I couldn't buy yellow stickers. Well, my attitude to shopping would still be the same.

Know the prices of the items I buy on a regular basis.
When anything goes up and it becomes too expensive, look for a similar product which is just as good and cheaper.
Be flexible with my eating and spending. I don't have to eat the same things week in week out.
I am prepared to eat the same meals three days running, if I find food that is very cheap and must be eaten before it goes off.
If there are any not to be missed offers I will stock up.
I will shop in lots of different places, often looking for reductions in the most unlikely of places. Poundland sometimes sell six eggs for 50p. The discount stores have chiller cabinets and sometimes reduce items.
I check shelf labels. I shop with price in mind. I don't make a list, I buy what's cheap.
I don't meal plan, because to work out what you are going to eat in advance means that you need to make sure you have the ingredients for a particular dish. I open the fridge door and eat what will go off the soonest. I make up meals, I don't have a recipe book.
I treat shopping as a challenge, to get the very best for my money at the cheapest price. It's a game I want to win. I make an effort to pop in shops on the way back, or when I am passing.
If there were no yellow stickers I would survive.

When you think about it, supermarkets will never get their stock orders exactly right. There will always be items that are overstocked and some that will run out. It's best to sell off the overstock cheaply rather than bin it. There are attempts to give any spare food to charities, which is a great idea. This in theory would work best with tins and packets, it would be very difficult to give away food that has to be eaten on that same day or the day after. It would need to be collected by the charity pretty quickly, or delivered by the supermarket. The logistics would need to be worked out. A lot of people wouldn't touch food that has gone past the date, so the difficulty there would be who would want it. I can't see the yellow stickers ending just yet.

That's all for now. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

45 comments:

  1. That's an absolute bargain - 94p! Well done. All good stuff. 2p for raspberries is amazing. (Ruth, Wales)

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  2. it is a really great deal. I checked the reduced price shelf at the local shop. Things were starting to rotten. Some fruits had fungus on them. Your shop is reducing the price of not that bad stuff. Good for you. Me also don't have meal plan. Buy cheap and plan with what is available is the motto.

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  3. Amazing well done you, I usually go on Sundays but it has been very sparce , I don't like going out of an evening, but am making an effort, I got lucky tonight with some 10p bargains, I shall post next week about what I managed to find this week.

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    1. Good for you. Sundays at Tesco here is usually quite good for bargains.

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  4. Yummy,yum yum That all looks very nutricious.Rainbow food.You certainly did find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow last night.Rock on Ilona x

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  5. I have never seen potatoes with a use by date here in the Midwest USA and when I buy a 5 lb week they keep for quite a long time in a dark cool cupboard.

    Your entire shop looks good, especially those raspberries and blackberries.

    Sandy

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  6. 2p an item! That's absolutely bonkers! No wonder you bought loads of things.
    Enjoy them.

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  7. An amazing collection, great tips Ilona. Indicentally, Tesco's are selling off their brilliant 25p toothpaste for 8p a tube, so pick them up before they run out. Along with many of their bargain offers, this product is being phased out and replaced by more expensive lines. I found their new toothpaste today was 70p, although I have to say this is still v cheap compared to the likes of Oral B...I have seen tubes of oral B costing £4.50! Who on earth pays £4.50 for toothpaste, people are mad to pay this.

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    1. Well, I don't buy toothpaste for £4.50 but I do pay a lot more than 70p. The problem with cheap toothpaste is the level of chemicals it contains. I prefer something that has safer levels.

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    2. Thank you for that Kate, I hope my Tesco has some left when I next go there. I tried Oral B once, someone gave me some. It was horrible, like disinfectant, I chucked it. I like a mild minty flavour.

      Karena, the ingredients in Tesco Value are almost identical to other white toothpaste. It is recommended by dentists.

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  8. I would love to be in your audience when you're giving a "talk". Be wonderful to hear/see you in person. I can believe a small group might be tougher, as I think they might be braver/more willing to quiz you on various things.

    re your shop..

    all I can say, is WOW. I am truly astonished. Also, I am very glad these shops do reduce foods like this. Where I am, I get some great deals, but nothing like you. I know that most shops round here chuck stuff. Very sad.

    Have you ever considered a dehydrator for occasions you get this large quantity? It might give you more options.

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    1. Hi. No, I haven't considered a dehydrator. I don't believe in stockpiling a load of food, I prefer to eat fresh as I buy it, or frozen. My freezer has four drawers, that is adequate space for me.

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  9. meant to add

    those raspberries and blackberries

    what a hoot. I don't buy them, but never gave a thought to the actual number of berries in the container for the cost (HIGH). When you list the (very few) number of berries, it seems totally absurd .

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  10. That is what I call value for money. They'll be paying you to take it off of their hands soon! I can't believe that some people pay the ridiculously high initial prices.

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  11. Wow...You did strike it lucky with that shop. Enjoy!

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  12. We don't get yellow stickers here in New Zealand nor such great reductions but with a little adapting your wonderful ideas work well for me. Thanks

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  13. I have yellow sticker envy! Here in Hawaii I have never seen fruit and veges go on sale like this. I have no idea what they do with it...maybe send as donation to the homeless shelters or something. Doughnuts and meat may go down to half price but never anything like your yellow sticker jackpots. I am so envious!

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  14. Only once have been able to find more than a couple of yellow sticker foods at one time. In the evenings there is rarely anything left. My local Asda, Tesco, Morrison reduce mid morning/midday by 20-25% . It soon disappears.

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  15. The best reduction we ever get here (W. Canada) is 30%. Most stores send their excess food to the homeless shelters where they provide a hot evening meal every night. I have no problem with that, but I would love some of your great reductions occasionally!

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  16. Here in Canada I have never seen bargains like that - I occasionally see fruit (sometimes a bit of veg) that is on the verge of going really bad on a reduced table but even then the reductions would be nothing like this.

    I occasionally hope with something specific in mind for a meal(s) but more often now I shop based on the deals for that week. I can easily hit a few different stores - all while using my transit pass - so tend to shop that way now and then make up meals from what I've bought. I have a Points Card from one chain - that covers a few stores at different price levels so I also shop based on where I can earn points - but still only purchase things that I would normally use anyway. Congrats on such a great haul - and it was very thoughtful of you to think of the neighbours as well.

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    1. Margie from Toronto...

      check out

      "No Frills" and "The Box" (both actually arms of Loblaws, but ...)

      sometimes they have Manager's Specials which are not advertised...I guess the stores got too much in or something. If you can match up one of those with their PC Plus Points, it gets to be a good deal. Also, sometimes these stores will have a discount rack somewhere in the store (not always in same location), which has discontinued goods, reduced (be careful though, sometimes the price is not reduced, or it has not be reduced in the till).

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    2. I do all of that - got my PCPlus card and you're right it really does add up. However, even at No Frills I've never, ever seen discounts like the Brits get with their yellow sticker items. Ass those items at 2P each - just incredible! As Janice from Western Canada said about a 25% to 30% discount is the best I've ever seen.

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  17. You find fantastic food bargains; I don't think they exist like that in the USA. I get bargains but not as good as that.

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  18. What great bargains, I do like a yellow sticker myself. Do you ever look to nature for free food though? I make chutney and jam using not just with the things we grow like onions and green tomatoes, but our trees give us plenty of damsons, pears and apples. There is also a community orchard in the village providing plenty of apples. You may not have that but perhaps you have friends with trees. That aside, the countryside provides blackberries, elderberries, wild damsons and more. So Ilona, have you ventured into free food, homemade chutney, pies and jams? Jean.

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    1. Hello Jean. In the past I have picked blackberries and elderberries.

      I don't pick blackberries any more because I don't like the endless rinsing to get rid of the creepy crawlies lurking in there. I don't buy or make jam because of the sugar content. I don't bake pies or crumbles, too much sugar, and I don't use my oven, it costs too much in gas.

      I made elderberry juice a few years ago, it was nice but the process of washing, cooking, and squeezing the berries through a cloth is too time consuming, and makes a mess in the kitchen.

      I don't eat chutney at all, don't like it.

      My friend gives me apples off her tree which I peel and stew for a few minutes. They are sweet enough not to need sugar.

      I don't like to spend more time in the kitchen than I need to.

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  19. My son is the meat manager at a chain grocery store. He told me to look for reductions on Monday and Thursday. Those are the days the whole chain reduce. Sometimes I get lucky here. But, we have nothing like you! Nothing is ever for pennies. I've only seen brown bananas half price; otherwise no cheap fruit at all.

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    1. Hi. People often ask what is the best time to go. Supermarkets have their own agenda, you need to look at different times, talk to the staff, make a note of when might be the best time.

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    2. You're right about they have their own agenda...
      and
      I have noticed that sometimes a New Location Opening of the same chain... the Manager will slip in surprise manager's specials...(not advertised), I think it is to entice new local customers.

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  20. Yummm your meals look delish
    Now i got craving for that lunch
    Of yours , i know what ill be having in couple
    Days i still have my vegie bake i goto reheat
    For lunch tomorrow :) xx

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  21. Just a question, don't you ever feel guilty about taking so many items. I always feel i should leave some for other people in need.

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    1. Hi. I only take what I know I will eat. I never take it all, there is always some left for others. If there are several people milling around I take my share, letting others have some as well.

      In this instance, I went through the checkout at 9.50pm, there were hardly any other shoppers about, with still a lot of food left. With only two hours of trading left until midnight, what hadn't sold would be binned.

      I wouldn't take food off anyone who is in greater need than me. How do I work out, of the few people in the supermarket at that time, who is in need? All kinds of people buy yellow stickers, whether they need it or not.

      In answer to your question, if you read regularly you will know that I do give things away, I do share, and no, I don't feel guilty about buying the food I know I will eat.

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    2. I'm sure there are not that many people willing to make the effort to go out late evening and go to the supermarket instead of watching t v . I've seen wilted reduced food in the morning ,clearly from previous evening that no one has wanted.It would only be thrown away adding to landfill.As for feeling guilty -No Never.Ilona is a most generous lady-Always making bags ,quilts for charity.and other work involving it.Caring for animals.Her kindness and generosity of spirit shine through.I wish there were more people like her.Also there are many people like us who love her blogs and think she's great x

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    3. I agree with just how you put your "taking" the reduced foods. And more...

      I generally follow the same sort of method/rules. However, if something is marked down, and no one is taking it, and it is close to closing, etc... It seems only sensible to take as much as I can use/store. There does not seem any good sense at all in leaving half of what is on the shelf, only so it can be binned.

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    4. Hello Ilona, I think the above question is a real trolling question, just that you buy all these goodies and not other deserving people as tough you are not a deserving persoon. Very decent of you to answer this question politely. Very good buy, unfortunately we don't have those reductions in the Netherlands. Although you can still live relatively cheap when you are prepared to shop at different supermarkets. Greetings from the Netherlands.

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    5. Hi reader from the Netherlands. Yes, I think it is a trolling question, someone wants to discredit me, wants to make me look mean and greedy. The same question has appeared before. I don't know why people read my blog and then then question my motives, especially when they haven't got the guts to put their name to it.

      I didn't have to reply, I am polite, the person asking is not.

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    6. Yes,I thought it was a very odd thing for anyone to write.I had an unpleasant feeling in my gut about it -I almost put ??? under their blog ,but didn't.Good for you Netherlands friend.It's as though they are just looking to find fault isn't it.Perhaps the person is just sour about something x(Ilona your Great!!!)

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    7. She sounds like your troll. We all hope she'd packed her bags and cleared off.

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    8. I think she's gone again for a while-what a weirdo.! x

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  22. Good for you!
    Everything looks wonderful.
    No prices here like those.
    Even marked downs are still very high.
    Berry prices like those are ridiculous.

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  23. I have often wondered, looking at your yellow sticker so is that how all fresh supermarket food is sold in the uk? All bundled up in lots of cellophane or plastic.

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    1. No-some is,some isn't.It varies.The supermarkets don't want it messy all over their shelves and I think it keeps the food fresher and less spoiled in some cases

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  24. Fantastic shopping Ilona. I also think that question was from a troll, or someone who doesn't understand how shops work. Keep on doing things your way, Karen.

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  25. Wow! What an amazing haul!! The supermarkets here rarely discount that much. Much better to buy and use it than for it to up in the skips behind the supermarkets :)

    Jane

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  26. In the past I used coupons and sale items to help cut down my grocery costs. But there are many items that don't have coupons any more or I can't find them. I like buying what I need/want when they are on sale, which helps quite a bit. Freezable? I buy a bit more that way I save again! Good ideas and thanks for sharing!

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