Posts Tagged With: frugal food

Going BOGOF crazy and Food Diary: Day 4

I just spent a bit more than planned doing my weekly shop in the Co-op but they had some good offers on things that I use so I’ve gone BOGOF crazy for the second day in a row! I spent £40 and something pence so I have roughly £42 left for the last two weeks of the month which should be plenty. They had the stir-in sauces and also Dolmio white lasagne sauce on BOGOF so I stocked up. I don’t generally buy many jars of sauce but I have no patience with making my own white sauce (I know, I know, I should persevere) and the stir-in sauces are very handy for packed lunches. My cupboard is so well stocked at the moment I had trouble fitting it all in. Sausages were also on a offer so I bought an extra pack for the freezer. Pizza were also on offer so I grabbed a couple for tonight as a friend is coming over later. We are going to a birthday party tomorrow night. I already had half a bottle of vodka in the fridge so I picked up some yummy looking pressed fruit juice (apple and raspberry) – two for £2.40. AND Pringles were reduced to £1 so I grabbed a couple to take with us. So I did pretty well all in all…

FOOD DIARY

BREAKFAST: Cereal and tea.

PACKED LUNCH: The same bacon-pasta thing as yesterday, 3 apples, a banana and a piece of home-made flapjack (I made a batch last night). Since it was a colleagues birthday I also had a piece of chocolate cake and three mini muffins!

DINNER: Pizza and salad. And flapjack!

Categories: Ramblings | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Bathroom Basics BOGOFs and Food diary: Day 3

I had to go and do some stocking up in Boots today – why does everything run out at the same time? I’m almost out of mouthwash so that was first on my list. I found a BOGOF deal on ‘Plax’ so I went with that one (they had the same offer on an own-brand mouthwash but they only had one left!) saving £3.29. My toothbrush has suddenly started looking a bit frayed so I wanted a new one. Boots are running a BOGOF deal on Listerine toothbrushes so I picked up two of those and saved £1.99. I also bought Boots’ own-brand tooth floss at £1.89 (actually not enough wax for my liking but it was the only option available). While I was hovering in the dental section I also noticed that my usual toothpaste was on offer, reduced from £1.29 to £1 so I picked up a tube of that as well. I generally avoid going into shops if I don’t need anything so, when I actually make it through the doors, I do have a quick ‘sweep’ to see if anything else I generally use is on offer. I spotted cotton wool pads – two packets for £2 (usually £1.65 each) so two packets duly went into my shopping basket. I spent a total of £10.17 and saved £6.87 and I’m all stocked up again.

There were lots of good offers on other products but not on anything I’m likely to run out of for a while so I wasn’t even tempted to pick anything else up. I’m still ploughing through my supply of soaps (remember I had something of a back-log?). I currently have one on the go in the soap dish and another still in its wrapper in a drawer. Even though I prefer body wash/shower gel, I made a pact with myself at the start of the year not to buy anymore until I really had nothing left to wash with. Using the soaps have been fine – my only grumble would be that the bath needs more of a scrub afterwards but that’s about it. I did buy two bars of olive soap while I was in Kos (the only things that I bought for myself to bring back). I decided to pick them up because the only local shop that stocks proper olive soap sells each bar for around £3 and, in Greece, it costs under £1. So, other than that, I’ve stuck to my pact pretty well. I’ve also got an unopened shower gel in the drawer but I’m saving that for when the soap supply has finally dwindled. I’ll really appreciate it when I finally get to use it!

FOOD DIARY: DAY 3

BREAKFAST: Cereal and a cup of tea (are you seeing a pattern here?!)

PACKED LUNCH: Last night I boiled up some wholemeal pasta twists and shells. I then added a stir-in sweet pepper sauce (one of two which I got on a BOGOF deal and which had been sitting in the cupboard for a bit!) and 4 rashers of bacon, chopped up and fried with a tiny amount of oil. Seriously yummy. I made 4 large portions so there is enough for both Husband and I to have some for lunch today and tomorrow.  Also, two apples, a banana and a slice of melon.

DINNER: It’s been a bit of an odd ‘using things up’ dinner tonight – large platefuls of cauliflower cheese (with broccoli and peas added). I’ve also got some corn on the cobb which we’ll have later with butter. This is currently on offer at Tesco – each pack contains two for £1.50 but it is currently…you guessed it… buy one get one free!

Categories: Budget beauty | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Food diary: day 2

BREAKFAST: Cereal and a cuppa

PACKED LUNCH: Cheese and runner bean chutney sandwich, 2 bananas, 2 apples and a slice of melon. I also bought a small pack of Maltesers (but from my ‘pocket’ money – not the food budget).

DINNER: At my parents (who very kindly provide dinner once a week most weeks!). We also had a soft boiled egg with bread and butter back at home.

Categories: Ramblings | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

How I halved my food budget

This year I’ve made big cuts to my previous spending budgets so that I can save more and be less wasteful. I’ve made changes here and there but one of the biggest things I’ve done is halve our food budget. This equates to around £120 extra in the savings account each month and much, much more if I include how much I used to spend on going out for lunch and buying sandwiches. I know most readers and bloggers are pretty savvy in these days of economic doom and gloom but in case there are any newbies out there, this is how I’ve done it.

CLEARING OUT THE CUPBOARDS: One of the first things I did was to go through all of my food cupboards. I threw out anything out of date and then put anything nearing expiry right at the front to make sure I used it up in time.

MAKING A MEAL PLAN: Every week I make a meal plan before I go shopping. I know a lot of people that do this and then don’t stick to it. This is madness if you really want to stick to your budget. Work out which days you will be in/out and plan accordingly, then write a list based on what you will actually need.

SET A BUDGET: It might take a few weeks of trial and error to figure out your ideal budget. The best way is to stick to your list (what you need) and try not to buy too many extras. For me, it turned out that about £30 a week is plenty for both Husband and I for all of our meals, though I often use a bit extra from my general spending fund at weekends, particularly if we have friends coming over.

SHOPPING: I am very good at sticking to the list based on my meal plan. However, I’ll break away from it for a good deal, like buy-one-get-one-free,  but only if I know I will actually use the items and if buying them won’t take me over budget.

WRITING A STORE CUPBOARD LIST: I have a list of basic items (it is quite long!) which I keep in my filofax. I read about someone who has a similar list taped to the inside of their cupboard door. Whatever works for you best – as long as you can find it easily and it won’t get thrown away by accident. The list includes things like olive oil, butter, pasta etc and also non-food items like tin foil and loo roll. Basically, if I use it a lot and it comes dried, tinned, in a jar or in a packet then it goes on the list.

WORKING OUT WHEN TO SHOP: I get paid monthly and my preferred supermarket is a 22 mile round-trip away so I don’t want to waste time and money going there every week. Instead, I use up a large chunk of my monthly food budget doing a ‘big’ shop when I’ve been paid. I prepare for this by going around the kitchen with my storecupboard list and checking how much of everything I have left and what is likely to run out over the next month. This means that, on a weekly basis, I only need to stock up on fresh produce like dairy, fruit, veg and meat.

COOKING IN BATCHES: I really have saved a fortune by cooking up big batches of lasagne, casserole and so on. Not only is it much, much cheaper cooking like this but, after a long day at work, I love sitting down to a home-cooked meal that involves minimal preparation followed by minimal washing-up.

USING THE FREEZER: Not everyone has a freezer I know. Mine isn’t massive – just 4 drawers but I use it all the time now, not only for my batch cooking but also for those handy BOGOFs on everything from bread to salmon.

MARKED-DOWN GOODS: Lurk around in supermarkets and bakeries at the end of the day. There are bound to be some marked down goods. I don’t do this very often as, like I said, I tend to stick to the list. But there are some great bargains to be had on everything from meat to cheesecake.

PACKED LUNCHES: We all know it but I’m convinced that buying lunch instead of taking something with you can almost double your food spending. And how much better does a home-made egg sandwich taste than one from a supermarket?  Also, a colleague of mine bought a multi-pack of crisps today – 8 packets for £1. Sold seperately in the same supermarket, each bag of the same brand was priced at 47p. When I did my food shop on Friday I got some great deals on fruit – 10 apples for £1.50. All good packed lunch stuff, depending on what you like. Personally, I don’t buy multi-packs of crisps, biscuits or chocolate bars because neither Husband or I have any self-control. If I brought it home we would eat it all in one sitting. I wish this were a joke but it really isn’t…

What advice would you give someone trying to cut their food budget?

Categories: Frugal food, Home Economics | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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