Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Investing time in shopping pays dividends

I might upset some people with this post. Money saving is a big part of my life, second nature if you like. I also have a scavenger instinct, and will do what it takes to get the most for my money. This blog is a record of how I juggle, how I prioritise my spending, so I have enough money for what is important to me. I invest time in searching out the best food buys, saving my pennies for my car, internet, cats, and days out.

Last night I went to Tesco at 7pm, it took me two hours to do my shopping. I took a notebook and pen, and calculator with me, to work out the best deal, and I recorded every item I put in my trolley to make sure the total spent was within my budget. It was a round trip of 11 miles, but as you read on, you will see that with the massive savings I made, I was well justified to use a bit of petrol, I couldn't have done it without a car.

Just a few pics here of the sort of reductions you can get, if you shop late, and are flexible in what you eat. My only criteria is that I won't eat meat, and I severely limit my junk intake, and I'm talking about one naughty item a month here.

Fruit, I got plenty of fruit this time, I was lucky. It was grab grab as others were after the same things. Melons reduced from £2 to 20p. I can't afford to buy this normally.

Two big bags of brussel sprouts. I can't get enough of sprouts, yum.

Potato salad. Someone suggested making it. I would if I could make it cheaper than this. It's price first for me I'm afraid. Yes this might have a few addatives, but it's not as if I am living on the stuff. A bit won't hurt me.

Carrots, I love carrots. If potatoes are more expensive than carrots, get carrots instead.

Eight yogurts for 82p. Yes I will get round to making my own eventually, but these were too good to pass by. I would definately not pay full price for these, the packaging is a con, think you are getting a lot, but it's all plastic and cardboard, but for this price it's a one off, probably never again.

Salad, can't get enough of this, I'm like a rabbit, ha ha.

My fridge is full. I have too much here, but I will make up some stews in plastic pots and freeze it. The bread is already in the freezer below.

How much did I spend and how much did I save is the crucial point. I had a £4 voucher to cash in as well. Total cost of my shop at normal prices was £75.13, I paid £31.59. Saving £43.54. Whoopeeeee. The full list is on my food diary, link at the top of the page. My shopping is a little bit costly this time because I bought four bottles of booze for Christmas, this is to share with my friend.

So why should this post upset some people? There is a lot of Tesco bashing going on at the moment, especially after the Panorama documentary about supermarket price increases. But as far as I can see they are all at it. It is up to us all to wise up. Yes I know, busy life style, haven't got time, but investing in time in shopping saves money. Tesco won't beat me. If they stopped reducing I would go elsewhere, I have no loyalty to them.

Don't forget Super Scrimpers tonight on Channel 4. It's a Christmas edition, I doubt I will be on it, they rang me up and asked if I had any money saving tips for Christmas. I said, yes, just one, 'don't do Christmas, cancel it.' Ha ha. They still have some unseen footage of me, don't know if they will slot a clip in there, we shall see. I will watch it after it has gone out on 4oD. Toodle pip.


  1. Don't be worried about upsetting people. It's your blog , your views and if it upsets people, then they don't have to read it do they!!
    Jane x

  2. Well, if I can't watch it, I'll OD it. I can't see why anyone should be upset about what YOU decide to do, after all they will do what they want whoever they are!

    Good on you getting all that stuff. I have started using spinach instead of lettuce as I find lettuce apart from rocket, tasteless.

    Sadly Tesco is at the other end of town for me and it's a nightmare getting in and out of it too especially with all the roadworks and road junction malarky on the A49 which has been taking twice as long as forecast. So, I just don't go there, nor Morrisons for a similar reason of distance.

    Look forward to seeing you on TV or computer!

  3. I usually do a weekly on-line shop at Tesco, as I work long hours, have a family to look after, etc. BUT I have just done my usual on-line order, bearing in mind everything you are teaching us all, and I have spent HALF of what I usually spend!!! Your blog is worth its weight in gold! Thank you Ilona.

    I will look out for that programme too.

  4. WOW your fridge is busting - well done you. You are an inspiration! I work near Tesco but never seem to shop there. My sister often does on the way to me. She buys things from 8p and has 5 children.

    I do buy reduced items but its not often. Wednesdays are good as Sainburys! Thanks for the reminder re superscrimpers - did you watch The Money Programme last night - was really good! Toodlepip lol x

  5. wow great deals I also buy "day old's" as we call them, why pay full price for things if you don't have too?

    Gill in Canada

  6. I loved this post (Actually I love all of them! Am reading through your archives). I can make a £ do the work of several but you are teaching me loads. Thank you.

  7. I wish I had the space that you have in your fridge. If I bought so much stuff, I'd never find it in my under counter fridge and therefore things might get wasted (shock horror) Have no room anywhere else for a larger one. If I ever move house, I want room for a tall fridge freezer, or even two separate units.

  8. I too love your blog. Being frugal is second nature to me, my mum and dad had little money and the first 20 years of my marriage was on low wages. Finding bargains is part of my everyday life, I think its ingrained now.I have used discount searches for specific presents and have managed to get up to 75% off some of the things I wanted. I have saved money on all my purchases for Christmas.
    My family are used to my frugal ways and all benefit from mums bargain hunting. For all those sniffy people who turn their noses up at us, I have everything I need and don't mind a bit of leg work to get the best deal. Sally

  9. Full Marks Ilona, thats what I call shopping!

  10. just watched Superscrimpers, omg, £1,400 in a week on food and drink just because for Christmas!

    our xmas food budget is £40, any tips please?

    Josie x

  11. I use carrots quite often to make mash or chips and personally I prefer the flavour.
    As for 'haven't got the time' to search out the bargains, well that's plain silly. If you are popping in the shop on the way home from work to grab a meal, that's generally the time that they reduce stuff to 10p and there is enough choice to make a cracking meal out of, if like you say, you are flexible in what you eat.
    Good blog Iona, keep them coming.

  12. If you can stand it - half an hour before closing time on Christmas Eve is completely random - but I did get a whole salmon once for £4.99!!

  13. I love dropping by your blog! I think that your ideas are fantastic and that your money saving tips are great!
    Jille x

  14. Good haul ! We rarely get mark-downs like that here in the States - I think food like that goes to food banks. Only one supermarket locally here in the mid-west mark down their old fruit and veg (and believe me it IS old) We do get good sales and loss leaders though. Those brussels looked very fresh.

  15. Can't see why anyone would be upset by this post, Ilona. It's nobody's business but yours how long you spend shopping, and I for one am filled with admiration at your ability to get great value for money.

  16. wow I wonder how long that little lot will see you through? The yoghurt should keep for ages as long as it is unopened.
    You are good at finding bargains.
    Our Asda is terrible at reducing,they will take maybe 10 or 15p off and wonder why nothing gets sold.
    Tesco is too far away for me.

  17. I love seeing a full fridge like that!
    How long will the veggies stay fresh and is their a secret to keeping them edible for a long time? Don't worry about upsetting people. Our differences make life interesting.

  18. Sorry I'm gonna bash Tesco. Everytime I go in there their prices even of value items has risen by a lot no matter what you buy. Often value items go up by half the value again etc. I dont know where everyone I read online lives but in our Tescos nothing is reduced much to under 1-3 quid except the odd bread to 20p. :(

  19. just looked at your 'how much I spend on food? and noticed that tesco value baked beans are on your list 31p a tin, tesco also do a discount brand tin for 28p a tin, tastes the same.

  20. I heard on the radio how Aldi had beaten M & S in a Which survey on something or other, I just turned it on as I got on the motorway. Nice one Aldi.

  21. Hi Josie. I did buy Value beans, but if you look at my latest shopping list you will see Tins of beans x 2 = 56p. I did spot them.

    Hi Jen, Bash all you like, it makes me mad sometimes when they keep playing with prices, and some of the Value items seem to be in short supply as well. I think each shop has it's own policy on reductions, it depends on the manager.

    Hi What'sitlike. The intact veg should last a week or more in the fridge, but the prepared fruit and veg won't last quite as long. I check it every day with my nose and eyes, and eat it before it gets to the ropey stage. All other food gets put on hold while I eat what needs to be eaten first. The sprouts will last the longest, then the spuds and celery. I have made a pan of stew to be frozen into portions tomorrow.

  22. Fruit and vegetables at the food banks around here in the states don't have yucky, old fruit. They just take the produce taken off the shelves as a new truck delivers more. Of course, some fruits and vegetables hold up better than others. In the produce dept at the supermarket, I find reduced produce that is well within eating limits. You did a good job it appears with your shopping.

  23. I love reading posts like this one, really pleased you managed to get all those bargains, Ilona. You did a great job getting that little lot, plenty to keep you going over Christmas. I hadn't been near Tesco for ages but called by the other day and managed to pick up some pots of pineapple and a fruit salad tub for 20p each, didn't last long here. They had lots of satsumas and easy peelers etc last night too, all reduced to 28p, very good too, no pips. You're an inspiration Ilona. Kids spotted that Super Scrimpers Christmas was on and said, Ilona might be on but I remember you mentioning about it on your blog, you don't do Christmas. Couldn't believe the £1,400 spend the couple had for Christmas, just for groceries. Mindboggling. Cheers for now, Christy.


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