Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Cherry picking the best buys

I went into town to pay a bill today, and needed to buy a few items, mainly cat and dog food. We have quite a big B & M shop in the High Street, it's in the old Woolworths store. I've been cherry picking a few items from here for a while as some of their prices are quite good. Their 1kg boxes of Bakers Complete Meaty Meals (I call them meaty chunks) are £1.99, whereas in Tesco and other supermarkets they are £2.88, a big saving. They also do pouches of Feline Fayre cat food, mostly fishy in jelly, at 25p each or five for £1. That makes it £2.50 for 12, the same price as I would pay for a box of Felix pouches when they are on offer. By the way, never pay full price for cat food pouches, there is always an offer on somewhere.

B & M do 200grm packs of cooked ham for 99p, far cheaper than the supermarkets, and it looks alright as well. Not that I eat it, it's a treat for the cats and Rocky. My treat is cheddar cheese with herbs and garlic, 99p for 160grm, it's delicious, I try not to breath on anyone when I eat that, ha ha. It's very tasty, I keep pinching a bit every time I open the fridge.

I had a mooch round the food section while I was there, just in case I missed anything. I got a packet of wholegrain crackers for 19p, a bottle of Zest lemon juice 330ml for 35p, and two flapjacks at 19p each, which is cheaper than the cash and carry. Six free range eggs were 89p which I thought was quite good. I also bought a bottle of bleach for 39p. If you look in a Pound shop you will see the same thing at two bottles for £1.

I popped up to Morrisons to check out the price of cat food. The Felix pouches weren't on offer but the foil trays were, at £2.50 a box, so I got some of those instead. While I was there I checked out a few other prices as well, and was surprised to see that some of the items were more expensive than in Tesco. Tins of Value peaches are 29p in Tesco, 39p in Morrisons. Tins of Value rice pud are 12p in Tesco, 27p in Morrisons. There wasn't many people shopping, I spoke to one woman about prices and she thought things were expensive as well, she prefers Asda. It's very difficult to say which supermarket is the cheapest because it all depends on what you buy.

While I was up that end of town I had a look in Poundstretcher, and was surprised to see the same cat litter as I have been buying from the pound shop, at 99p.

Now this is a good buy if anyone has the clumping cat litter. Personally I prefer it, easier to scoop the dirty litter out. The only thing with this one is it's slightly dusty, but I can put up with that. The supermarkets own brand is £1.58, so a big saving.

I was reading on a forum, someone posted about supermarket prices rising and their shopping bill was shooting up by pounds each week and they felt helpless to stop it. There is only one answer to that, you can't change the prices so change your shopping habits. Don't do the whole of your shopping in one supermarket. Ditch your shopping list and go with an open mind. Be flexible in what you eat. If the price of something you regularly buy goes up, look for an alternative, something which is just as good but cheaper. Stop snacking, no crisps, chocolate, pop, cakes, biscuits. These items are treats and should be consumed occasionally, not every day. I have managed to wean myself off these now, I don't go down these aisles at all. Another thing you can do to save money is make more meals without meat. Gradually reduce your meat days and increase your veg days. Happy bargain hunting.
Toodle pip.


  1. Wish we had a B&Ms, Ilona, looks like they have great bargains. As for Morrisons...they've just slapped huge price hikes on lots of their 'savers' range of foods. They too had rice pud at 12p a can and peaches at 29p...the pud went up last week to 27p and the peaches to 39p. Don't know what game they're playing, especially putting up the prices by 10p or more on these basics items. Anyway, I either won't be buying or will take my business elsewhere...Aldi's peaches are still 29p.

  2. It depends how close together your supermarkets are; you have to take into account the petrol you are using. Mine are very close but as I dont really want to spend a whole morning going round them I usually just go to Aldi s for my fruit and veggies, milk, butter, eggs and porridge oats. I buy my meat from a farm about once every three months and it is all in the freezer.
    I do keep dried beans and lentils and make all my own cakes etc.
    Dont buy fruit juices or wine or beer - always have a jar of Marmite though for toast .

  3. When it comes to snacks and sweets, I have to exert will power at the point of purchase; that is, I simply cannot buy them, full stop. If they are in the cupboard at home, they will be devoured instead of portioned out. I'm embarrassed to say this, but it's true. Fortunately, even though I have so little control at home, I DO have control in the shop. It's rare that I even think of buying junk food/sweets. My treats tend to be things like nuts; expensive, but at least good for me!

  4. quinn I quite agree, I have to say no at the shop because I cannot save anything. A whole bar of chocolate or bag of sweets would be devoured in one go. I can be a pig.

    Point taken lizzie. I don't very often go to Morrisons because it's at the other end of town. I don't go to the big Asda at all for the same reason, though they have opened up a little Asda in the town centre. Luckily Tesco is close to the motorway, so I am sometimes passing it as I come back from a trip, and it is also near a retail park so there are other shops in the vicinity. I love Marmite as well.

  5. I buy things like porridge oats,sugar,flour,raisins,pasta chick peas( and other pulses) etc in a bulk store. You have to scoop the dry goods into bags yourself but it saves money buying that way,and saves on excess packaging (which drives me nuts).
    Jane x

  6. Sometimes I think I must be a hopeless case!

  7. Prices have gone up in US, too. Plus I moved from the northeast to Florida and they don't mark down the food here. Guess they throw it out. I used to buy loads of markeddown fruit, veggies, and cans that weren't even out of date. The stores would put big racks of them out and they'd be gone in no time; (not only me buying them, of course.) I really miss that. Used to make applesauce, freeze bananas for frosty drinks, etc. So now I buy less and make more soup.

  8. Quinn,
    I remarked to a group of people that I cannot bring home chocolate since I will just eat it all. The person sneared at me, saying, "Well, obviously YOU have no self-control. You should develop self control...blah...blah...blah." I kept my cool even though I was furious. I said, "Actually, not bringing it home was an act of self-control." The person kept it up. If I were not polite, I would have told the person off...and bopped her in the nose. See, I do have self-control.

    I never plan a meatless day. Sometimes, it happens. By having smaller portions of meat, I can have meat everyday. I am fully capable of eating large portions of meat, but I limit my meat intake because that is better for me, my weight, my money, and the planet. On the day I do not have meat, i eat two eggs in the morning.

  9. I usually shop at Morrisons as it is the nearest supermarket and last week it was closed for one day for refubishment. It now has a state fo art veg section with a huge selection of exotic fruit and veg, a clothing section, provided by Peacocks, new wine layout and much more and price hikes. I guess all this new stuff has to be paid for. They didn't ask me if I wanted it though.

  10. Stepson works in Morrisons, but I never shop there. I prefere to do all my shopping at Sainsburys, Tesco and Aldi. Some fruits and veg is much cheaper in Aldi. Cat litter is cheaper in Sainsburys, and other stuff I get from Tesco or the poundshop nearby. None of theese shops are far apart and I can do it all in one shopping trip. I also pick and chose from the cheapest buy and the best shop to get it from.
    I still make meal lists for each week, but I have managed to spend about £60 for feeding three of us per week instead of the £85 I started off with when prices were first increased. I use alot from the freezer which helps as well. DB is a sweet eater. I`ve weaned myself off them long ago. Still have to buy him his mint humbugs and occassional digestives. He keeps making promises to stop eating them, but has no will power to follow through. I don`t even eat any deserts now. Fruit salads are my favourite. I make those up with fresh fruit, not tinned. I`ve managed to lose another 2 lb in weight by exercise and sensible eating. That also will eventually save money in the longrun.
    It certainly is a good idea to shop around for the best value for your money!

  11. Thinking outside the box when it comes to grocery shopping is something I try and do every week. I do take a list but I am prepared to change it depending on if I see a cheaper alternative, or simply not buy it at all and do the research and leg work. I also always take a calculator and if I go over budget I rummage through and take something out, though sometimes its a tough call! If I find something cheap, I use the internet for culinary inspiration (yay for the internet!). My Morris's seems to have now reduced the amount of discount on the YS! I haven't been able to find any 5p, 9p or 19p goods, they seem to be just taking pences off even late at night :( It seems my line of cheap food is drying up and I need to rethink on how I am going to keep my costs down. I'm back on the value stuff but like someone else says even those prices aren't that cheap anymore. Meat is now on a Sunday, with left overs made into another 2 dishes for the freezer. The rest of the week we eat veggie which has been surprisingly satisfying and interesting. We don't do sweet things at all so I am really talking about a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner with plenty of fruit for inbetween.

    Hope everyone else is managing OK, it's hard not to worry!

  12. Hi Ilona, I shop in Aldi mainly, unless I go to town in the morning. I tend to go to the Pound Shop, Iceland and Home Bargains. Also, Morrisons to see what offers they have available. When I went to Morrisons the other week, I tried to do a shop buying the cheapest available option on my list, which was around Aldi's price mark. I did notice though that some of the items were having their prices changed as some were slightly cheaper than Aldi at the time, probably won't be the case this week. I take my trolley with me when I go to town as it holds quite a lot. I occasionally go to Tescos and always check out the reduced section but the only real bargains I ever get there are if I'm shopping around 9.30pm, like last week. Walk everywhere, rarely take bus or taxi, so no extra costs there. within easy walking distance of most stores, unless I want to go to the out of town retail parks, which isn't very often, when I get the bus. Aldi don't very often have prices reduced but I did manage to get free range eggs the other week for half price, so 65p a carton, dated for the 11th but read somewhere that eggs are good up until 2 weeks after the best before date, and I'm still here so...

    We do have a wholesale store in town but unfortunately, they don't allow individuals to use their store. Only businesses can use them, shops and caterers etc. Pity.

    The cat litter you got in Poundstretchers, Ilona, was a very good price. I came across this video of a cat using the toilet and I thought, perhaps you could toilet train the cats to use your loo, maybe it would be a saving on cat litter costs but when I saw how much loo paper it pulled off the roll, I thought, scrap that idea. The two for a pee, three for a poo went completely out the window.


    Thanks for posting, I like to hear about your money saving.

    Cheers, Christy.

  13. I, like heleng couldn't believe my eyes when Morrison's Value Rice Pudding rose from 13p to 27p. Thought it might have been an error but no. Sainsburys value rice is only available spaspodically SO my treat is now off limits.

    I manage by making a chicken last 4 meals for 2 people Roast breast cut in half for one meal, 1 leg turns into Sweet and Sour with brown rice. The second leg is added to a homemade tomato sauce served with pasta the other breast is used for a salad. Like you I have ditched the extras and I work on a 3 month menu plan so that I can take advantage of offers and buy ahead. I then deduct the money spent from the months budget when I am going to use them. I have set up spread sheets and I am very fortunate as I am retired to have the time to devote to these matters. I feed 2 people for £35.00 per week but it is very hard and I often go without so that my partner who has poor health doesn't suffer I just love it when the Doctor asks how much alcohol do you consume. What planet are they on ?.Afford alcohol !I can't even afford fruit juice. Many Many thanks to Ilona who inspires me to continue and keeps me smiling.

  14. Good advice Ilona, especially the stop snacking. While I was ill during the Summer Mr Twigs did the weekly shop and bought ONLY what was on the list and our shopping was £20 cheaper per week. He doesn't snack at all, no sweets, biccies or cake, just a bag of crisps now and then, so he wasn't tempted. Next week I'll not buy any snack stuff and I bet the bill is smaller.

  15. PS We do all our shopping at Home Bargains and Aldi now and our shopping is £40 cheaper per week than when I shopped on line at Tesco - what a saving !!

  16. I get cat food when it's on offer aswell and also cat food from B@M. In fact I try to buy most food on offer and then just the essentials. I've no menu plan - just stretch out the meals by concocting new meals from leftovers.
    Love from Mum

  17. Yes Home Bargains is another good place to shop, I get a few things from there.

    Diana, you are an angel. You make the most of what you have, you're £35 a week is fantastic, good for you.

    My goodness Christy, that made me laugh, thanks for the link. I think they need to move that toilet roll.

    I think that Morrisons will lose a lot of customers by putting their prices up, and who wants to buy clothes with their weekly shopping. Sounds like they are copying Sainsbury's.


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