A few frugal thoughts 

Hello Dear Reader,

Sunday was my ‘big shop’ day. I know some of you have them and some of you scout round for bargains and know just where and when to shop and get the best prices. I occasionally saunter up to the Co op just before it closes but mostly I plan my shopping and rarely shop spontaneously.

I have a big choice of shops that all offer great prices on my way home from work, near my house and within a few minutes drive. I shop in Bodmin which is the neighbouring town just as the way of a change. Any way, I digress, but back to the frugal thoughts.

I can’t remember the last time I just walked into a shop and picked up what every I liked. Don’t get me wrong, I used to do that in another life but I certainly don’t now. I might have ketchup written on my list but I know when I get there I’m looking for the best value per 100g. If you have a few seconds, then look at the unit prices on the shelf prices. I’m so used to doing that now mental maths has really sharpened, I’m sure it’s as good as brain gym or puzzles. I even look at the back of loo rolls and look at how many square metres I’m getting per roll because sometimes the offers are not great. In most cases, I usually buy one up from the bottom price as that seems to get me the best value.

I’m also really on the ball when it comes to working out portion costs and will use a permanent marker to write on packs when I get home, such as frozen chicken breasts, to work out the unit price and then I can budget each meal. My average price of a main meal is £1 a head sometimes a bit lower or higher.

I also do a monthly shop in specific shops, for example, I can’t find better laundry products for the price anywhere but Lidl (and it’ s on my way home) £2.99 for 40 washes which is 7.5p per wash and the £1.99 2 litre bottle of fabric conditioner gives 66 30ml doses, so a mere 3p per rinse. So, roughly 10p in products to do each wash, I haven’t found anything as cheap or as good as that so far.  I’m like Carol Vorderman walking around shops these days.

Just the other day, we were in Asda and we eyed up the packs of sausages like hungry school children and couldn’t bring ourselves to pay £2.50 for 6 gluten free sausages! I immediately said out loud, I just couldn’t help myself, that’s 40p, or thereabouts per measly sausage! A whole chicken was £3.50 and gluten free………….I bought the chicken! Being thrifty and quick with numbers means I’ll pause before I buy, think of the unit price and often, just walk away as it’s not good value.

Before I go shopping, I do a few things. I check www.mysupermarket.com and make sure I can’t get what I want cheaper else where. If  shop in Asda, I use the price promise feature on their website and enter my receipt and get a refund voucher if I could have bought my groceries cheaper else where. I also use any vouchers that come through my door and use them to shop in Farm foods, conveniently next door to Asda to get 10% off my shopping.

I meant to post this on Sunday, whilst this was still in my mind but here it is today. Unusually, a bit random for me as just a few this and that thrifty thoughts came to mind. You may be at the beginning of your thrifty journey, might be tightening your belt, may have something to save for such as a wedding or a new car and may have a whole load of reason why you need to save money. We are saving for our retirement in nine years and have lots or renovation projects on the go which means with the combination of the two, we have to be super thrifty and make every pound do the work of a fiver.

I’m all shopped until the end of the month. I have a full freezer and pantry and will only need to pick up fresh fruit and veg weekly as I have everything else.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

 

 

Save money: good food


Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve just caught up on the TV show where a ‘wasteful’ family are shown as as an extreme example of over spending on food. One family in question spent £250 a week in food including plenty of  takeaways. The family appeared very busy, had slipped into bad habits and would buy food without thinking about what they already had and what they would do with the food they put in the trolley. The end result was food waste. Now, it’s easy to get into bad habits when people are busy.

We’re a busy couple, with full time careers, work to do at home,  dogs to walk and a home to look after so we are not going to be kitchen martyrs and stand in the kitchen every night thinking about what we’re going to eat. I make sure we eat quickly, cheaply and eat the food we enjoy. A little bit of planning now and then, not even every week saves me time, effort and certainly money. 

If I were to work with any of the families on the show, I’d give them the following help.

1. Stock take what you already have.

2. Create menu ideas with what you have. If you’ve a pile of lentils/tinned pears/cheese , then a simple google search of “recipes with lentils” or whatever ingredient you have to give you some ideas of what to do with it.

3. Try and create as many ideas with what you already have.

4. If you have a whole pile of durable, in date food that you think you’re not going to use, bag it up and take it to a food bank collection point. 

5. If you have spare food you don’t think you’ll eat soon, investigate/google how to freeze it. Then use it later.

6. Eat down what you have.

7. Create a main meal menu plan for the week ahead. It doesn’t have to be fancy, you don’t even need to be able to cook. Your meal plan could just say baked potatoes and beans, fish fingers, oven chips and salad, or eggs on toast, just so you have an idea of what you’re going to eat.

8. Plan your lunches, breakfast and snacks. Breakfast here is always toast or cereals, snacks are apples or bananas, lunches are sandwiches, soup, or reheated leftovers. One standard size box of cornflakes feeds both of us breakfast for a week. 

9. When you shop, you’ll also need to buy cleaning products and toiletries, so before you create a list, stock take everything you have.

10. Now you’re ready to create a list. Remember to take it with you and stick to it. A bargain is no use to you if it’s not on the list. 

All of that seems like a massive task but anything you do for the first time is often really difficult. This gets easier as you don’t have a stock of food you’re not going to eat, you’ll know what you have and you’ll have menu plans for the week ahead. Give yourself a break now and then by batch cooking and having food in the freezer for the nights you don’t want to cook. Another time saver is to plan a ‘student food’ night and relive your youth with scrambled eggs or beans on toast or a plain old bacon or sausage sandwich. Of course, home cooking is far more fun but don’t beat yourself up if you’re just not a cook.

It’s easy to think, we don’t have time or planning is too much bother but it will save time and money in the long run.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Menu plan for the week ahead 


Hello Dear Reader,

Quick pop in and out today as I’m spending time with family. 

A quick stock check and a rifle through my cookery books and a quick plan. Some can be cooked in advance and added to on the day. Some additions to meals can be prepared in the morning before work and then added to later in the day. Some recipes can be prepared in the slow cooker and finished in the oven.

My menu plan isn’t rigid. I might change it as the mood takes me. I might make double portions and freeze some for another day. I’ve already decided to change Stilton scones to cheddar scones as I have cheddar. All our meals usually have the addition of salad or veggies. There’s always the option of toast for breakfast. Lunch can be leftovers that we can reheat at work.

In case you can’t read my writing.

Roast pork – again, pork is still half the price of beef or lamb.

Pulled pork wraps with barbeque sauce.

Coq au vin, mashed potatoes with leeks and veggies.

Honey and mustard sausages with colcannon

Braised beef topped with cheese scones and veggies

Spicy squash, chickpea and spinach stew with brown rice

Fish pie with veggies

Carbonara 

Breakfast – muesli and yogurt/toast

Lunch – sandwich/banana – leftovers 

I’ll pop recipe up as I cook over the weekend or through the week.

Until tomorrow or later,

Love Froogs xxxx