Monthly Archives: March 2013

Reducing the Spending…the weekly shop #12

I realise that due to an eventful few weeks I have been ‘missing’ from this blog but I am happy to report I am still managing to keep a hold on my spending.  I had a little blip when my mum came to stay and actually spent £67.83 just on lunches, coffees and cakes in various Tea Rooms between Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon.  However I do not see my mum that often and I do like to treat her when she comes to stay.  Perhaps in the summer we can do more picnics.  I haven’t mentioned to mum that we are on a tight budget or she would worry so I need to make any picnics seem like fun rather than a no spending exercise!

I have noticed that the big supermarkets and also Boots can be more expensive for toothpaste, toiletries and cleaning products unless they are on offer so I had a trawl of the town centre pound shops and Wilkinsons this last week.  I was looking for Dettol wipes as they are useful for cleaning my desk and keyboard at work but Mr Sainsbury was not very forthcoming with any offers on these!  I found that the packs in the pound shops are the small ones but Wilkinsons have the large pack on offer at the moment at only £1.50 normally £3.60.

As fast as I am saving the pennies it feels like I am running to stand still.  For instance tonight I went to buy some foot cushioning pads that had always been £3.95 only to find they are now £4.75 an increase of £0.80p or 20%.  No longer are items increasing by 0.05p or even 0.10p the rise in price is becoming significantly larger.

When it comes to  fuel prices (gas and electricity) and utility bills it is almost name your price as increases  send the cost of staying warm sky-high.  All I can do to reduce this spending is try to use less and find a good deal.

The breakdown of our electric shower unit both at home and the old one at the cottage, together with the computer monitor has been quite an expense this month.  We are covered in our bill account as I always keep some money by for maintenance and contingencies but of course if everything was to breakdown at once we would be rather stretched.

So far this year I have bought very little for myself not even a magazine and my one treat has become the hot chocolate and an egg custard before I do the weekly shop.  Every small amount I save seems to go out again to pay for the unexpected and unfortunately the unexpected have been quite large bills.  I can only hope that eventually the savings I am making do end up as just that…savings.

So how did I do this last week?

The General Spend

Out of my weekly £10 I bought

  • The pre-shop Hot Choc and tart  £2.64  I can save 85p here if I took my own cake
  • To exterminate the germs at work a large Pack of Dettol Wipes  £1.50 on offer at Wilkos
  • A tub of creme fraiche for the Leek and Potato soup and Apple crumbles £0.77
  • When hunger took over a small bag of Kettle crisps £0.50

Total of £5.41

I also withdrew £10 extra from the card cash to give to Red Nose day collection at work.

The Weekly Shop

This is last Thursdays shopping I wasn’t feeling altogether well and so it was a bit of a dash round.  I am glad I went though as we were snowed in all weekend.


The Offers

  • 2 x Large Kettle Crisps @ £1.00 a bag  Saving £1.58
  • 4 x 4 pack Cirio Tomato Puree @ 2 packs for £1.00  Saving £3.16
  • 2 Organic semi skimmed milk 2 for £3.00 Saving £0.58
  • 2 x 4 Fromage Frais packs @ 2 for £2.00  Saving £1.00
  • 2 Organic cheese @ 2 for £4.50  Saving £50
  • 1 Golden Syrup cake @ £1.00  ( this was to take with us to Shrewsbury but we did not go because of the snow)
  • 2 packs of Petite Pois Peas  @ £0.99 each (not shown)

Bread offer

The bread also on offer @ 2 for £1.50 saving £0.30

Other items

Items not on offer but running out of

A little Easter Surprise

A couple of treats

A little Easter Bunny to take to my mum in law and a few mini eggs for the top of my buns which I am going to bake this week.  Hopefully!

The Bunny was £1.50 and the eggs £1.00

There are vegetables as well but not sure what happened to the photo.

Total Spent

36 items  £47.94  Total savings £5.54 (almost the same as my cash spend this week)

Reward Points earned  94

Bonus points coupon  50

Further Bonus Points coupon  80

Bag re-use points  4

Total Points 3616 worth £18.08

So to recap

I came in on budget this week but it is surprising how little shopping you get for your £50.  I only had to top up the veg this week with celery, onions, eating apples for work, 2 cooking apples, a pack of watercress, spinach and rocket ( I am learning to add the wilting end of packet to soups now so there is no waste), Sweetheart cabbage and Broccoli.

As I missed posting about weeks 10 and 11 this is a summary of what I spent

Week 10 was £67.89 and this was all on food for mums visit apart from £5.98 on some Easter cards.

Week 11 was £69.30 and included a bunch of flowers for a friend £4.00, Persil Non-Bio original washing liquid £5.70 and a pack of 18 toilet rolls £6.65 and 3 plastic clip top tubs £4 to store snacks for work.

Both weeks I went over budget so I will try to keep the final week of March under budget to compensate.  I will be raiding the store cupboards this week to make our meals and I will not be buying very much on Thursday so over the month when I do my review I think it will average out.

My reward points are building up now and Simone from Linden Grove mentioned that you can use these on Amazon.  As I am trying not to buy books at the moment I thought they would be useful for buying new printer inks when the time comes.

March has been a long month but I have been able to  practice all my new spending or rather no spending habits and quite a few of them are beginning to take root.  When I visit Boots I head straight for the Advantage Card machine to print out the offers before I go to find whatever it was I had gone to buy.  When I go to Sainsbury’s I still browse the magazines but I know I do not really need to buy one.  Each week I check the store cupboard items for offers as I go around the store.  I continue to take my lunch to work and even though I have missed the odd day the savings allow me to last the week easily on just £10.

How are your no spending plans shaping up so far?


Reducing the Spending…the weekly shop 9#

This is the shopping for last Thursday the last of the February shops – I am just a little late in posting it due to our weekend in Scotland.

The General Spend

Out of my £10.00 last week I bought

  • A special card for a special friend – £2.50p
  • Body shop for hair conditioner –  £3.00
  • Pre-shop hot – choc pleasure plus indulgent custard tart – £2.64
  • Homeless guy – £1.00

Balance left for weekend £0.86

Weekend Spend – Trip to Scotland

  • Tebay Services refreshments with half price coupon – £2.10
  • Extortionately priced  biscuits for starving travellers – £2.75
  • Forgotten items bought from local shop – £3.85
  • Lunch on journey back (Toasties and drinks) – £10.40

Total cost – £19.10

The Weekly Shop

On the positive side I am getting into the flow of planning the meals and then doing the shopping and taking lunches to work – no bought ones this week.

On the negative side I am still making big or silly mistakes and sometimes both big and silly.

I am still dithering over ‘do I purchase or not’ should I pass over a bargain because I will overspend but even worse are the missed opportunities of gaining bonus points or saving 10% on items other than food and this is often because I have either dithered or found that some of the offer dates have expired before I can get to the shop to use them – how annoying is that!

I could have saved 20% on the skirt I bought for my mum-in-law in M&S but it expired last Sunday when we were in Scotland miles from any Marks and Spencers.

I could have saved a further 10% on the Hair Mousse I bought on top of the buy two for £6 offer saving a further 60p off the £5.18.  Instead of paying £18.95 for my 3 for 2 Boots No 7 creams I could have bought each pot with a £5 off coupon (always loads for the taking at work) had I waited making the total only £12 95.

Now I need to up the game, but this will not be until after my mum’s visit this week from Thursday for a long weekend.  I can already see the money flowing out of our account and into the tea shops that she likes to visit while we are out and about.  As it is Mothers day this weekend I can hardly deny her the pleasure.  We will just have to cut down in other ways afterwards and enjoy our time together without me feeling guilty about spending.

Our trip to Scotland this last weekend was a very sudden decision and didn’t leave me very much time to prepare.  I managed to throw a few vegetables into the pot on Friday so that we could have soup for tea and I was left with a portion for my lunch this week at work. I didn’t get to make any homemade cake and we ended up buying biscuits on the motorway to go with our drinks (there can hardly be a dearer way – £2.75 for a tiny box of Borders chocolate covered coconut biscuit but it was cheaper than buying a cake each) and we did get one drink half price plus two stamps on our reward card towards another free drink on our next visit.

On the way home we treated ourselves to lunch in a local tea shop overlooking the beach rather than make sandwiches but did organise ourselves enough to make flasks of hot chocolate for the journey to go with the rest of those yummy biscuits.

Had I not forgotten to buy some bottled water in Sainsbury’s for the trip and whatever else it was I had forgotten (see I even forget now!) we would have been £3.85 better off (that is more than another bag of mixed nuts which would make two Nutloaves – four meals!)

Offers week 9

   The Offers

  • 2 x 4 pints organic milk  2 for £3.00 saving  £0.58p
  • 2 bags Organic Mixed nuts @ £2.87 each saving £1.50
  • Tomato,Mozzarella and  Basil Tart reduced to £1.50 saving £1.50p
  • 2 x Organic Mature Cheddar 2 for £4.50 saving £1.10
  • 1 dozen medium Organic eggs £2.00 saving £0.65
  • 2 packs of Pea and Mint Rissotto bakes 2 for £4.00 saving £0.58

Fruit and Veg

Fruit and Veg

  • 1 bag organic apples  £2.50
  • 3k bag organic potatoes  £3.00
  • 1 bag organic Sweet Potato  £2.00
  • 1 bag Organic Parsnips  £1.50
  • 1 Pkt Tenderstem Broccoli  £2.00
  • 1 x 3 courgettes  £2.00
  • 2 bananas  £0.246
  • 1 pack organic beetroot  ££1.00
  • 1 Bramley Apple  £0.51

Not on offer

The Store Cupboard and Dairy

  • 1 tub Prunes  £1.49
  • 1 pkt fresh spinach and ricotta pasta  £0.99
  • 1 small Coleslaw  £0.55
  • 1 Organic Baked Beans  £0.57
  • 1 Natural Yoghurt £2.50
  • Box Clipper Organic Decaff Teabags  £2.55
  • 1 Espresso Coffee Lavazza  £3.69



  • 1 Atrogel – Arnica gel  £9.14

Total  spent

29 items Total spend £58.34

Reward points earned 156

Bonus points coupon  nil

Bag re-use 4

Total Points 2883 worth £14.41

So to recap

For the money there doesn’t seem to be as much food compared to other weeks and considering the items I didn’t buy such as bread, butter and fromage frais pots.  I also bought less veg on this main shopping trip as my plan is to buy fresh throughout the week when required so I had already bought some extra veg on the Tuesday and Wednesday to top up the previous weeks a total of £10.83.  Vegetables and nuts are certainly not cheap anymore and for the few pence I would save I am not prepared to give up eating organic.

Getting the Arnica Gel from Sainsbury’s was for convenience as I usually support my local Wholefoods shop and this was my dearest purchase without it I would have been under my £50.00.

So I have worked it out at last (I am a slow learner!) that planning and thinking ahead are key to budgeting – you cannot take your eye off the ball for one moment.  The other lesson I have learned is if you look for it there is invariably a bargain to be had somewhere even if it is just that the item can be found cheaper elsewhere.  This gets easier as the price of items becomes ingrained into your mind and my next trial will be to venture into the pound shops (of which we have many in town) and other places I don’t normally shop such as Superdrug and Bodyline to check out what offers or bargains I might find there and see if there is anything we use.  I did notice that the pound shop had Simple handsoap at £1 – this is £2 at Sainsbury’s I remember because I bought it on offer at £1 and thought I had done well.

I have been doing really well at use up and making things last – even though I have a stock of hand soap in the cupboard I have been using up any old bits of soaps from gift packs and hotel rooms and the same with face creams – I have used night cream during the day rather than pay full price for a new day cream knowing that an offer was bound to present itself soon!

My total spend for February will be another post – my instinct is I probably did quite well but overspent a bit on food but have ended up with quite a few stock items on offer which I now need to turn into meals for March.  I am not looking forward to March as it is usually a long month although I am planning to change the way I portion out the money and think of it in terms of the whole month rather than a week at a time.  This should give me ore flexibility but could also tempt me to spend more …we will see.

Two months of the year down how are you doing with the budget?