Category Archives: Offers

Reducing the spending… week 9

Shopping day has come around fast – by the time I got to the supermarket tonight I had spent the best part of the day in Leeds trekking up to St James hospital for blood tests then getting the train back to Huddersfield and going to work.  I worked until 6 o’clock then walked around to Sainsbury’s in the downpour and stood dripping at the counter waiting for a very welcome hot chocolate!

I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for shopping but managed to grab a few bargains.  My total spend has taken me over my £50 by £7.05 but I took advantage of some of the offers still on this week.

Groceries

Groceries

Fruit and veg

Fruit and veg

The offers 

  • 2 more packets of Oatiflake cereal still on offer for £2 a box,
  • 2 packets of Birds Eye frozen petite pois peas at £1 bag,
  • 3 x Soya milk – 3 for £3,
  • 2 organic Cheddar cheese – 2 for £4.50,
  • 2 x organic semi skimmed milk for £3,
  • 2 x organic Braeburn apples for £4,
  • 2 bars Green and Black organic chocolate 2 for £3.00,
  • 2 boxes mushrooms for £1.50
  • 2 organic granary loaves reduced to £0.59 each

Because the mushrooms were such a bargain I will be amending my original menu plan to incorporate two mushroom meals one of them a Stroganoff.

The cheese I will grate into a container and freeze.

The chocolate is also a bargain and I have bought this ready to make chocolates for Easter.

The bread I had sliced and this will go in the freezer.

Total spend £63.34 less savings £6.29 = £57.05

Reward points 122

Total rewards 885 worth £4.42

I am building up a nice stock of some items that have been on offer for a few weeks – cereal, cheese, soya milk so that when the offer finishes they should last me a while hopefully until they are on offer again!

We still have a lot of food in the cupboards but until the threat of snow disappears I am not going to run my cupboard stores down just in case.

Menu plan for this week

We never got to make the curry last week and I had to adjust the menu plan to fit in with the fact we came home late on the Wednesday and Saturday.  Wednesday we had Pizza as I bought  2 Marguerita Pizzas for £1.59 with salad and Saturday good old Egg and Chips.

I made the curry on Monday evening and we ate the rest tonight.  Lovely hubby made a big pan of soup on Sunday for lunch and so I have been able to take this to work for 2 days.  I also bought a crustless Quiche in Sainsbury’s which I will take for the next 2 days and have with salad – this will save me £8.20 on my lunches.

This isn’t the most exciting menu but it will use the cheap mushrooms and the left over courgettes from last week.  I haven’t planned to try out a new recipe this week as I know I will be a bit short of time.

Monday

Lunch – homemade veg soup leftover from Sunday

Evening meal – Veg and Lentil Curry with brown rice

Tuesday

Lunch – last of homemade veg soup

Evening meal – Veg and Lentil Curry with Taco shells

Wednesday

Lunch – salad and 1/2 Sainsbury’s crustless Quiche

Evening meal – Mushroom Stroganoff with green beans

Thursday

Lunch – salad and 1/2 Sainsbury’s crustless Quiche

Evening meal – Ratatouille (using mushrooms) and Baked potatoes

Friday

Lunch – sandwich and salad

Evening meal – Lasagne with ratatouille as a base and Broccoli

Saturday

Lunch – homemade soup / something on toast with salad

Evening meal – Shepherds pie with brown lentils and frozen broad beans

Sunday

Lunch – homemade soup / sandwich

Evening meal – Shepherds pie and frozen broccoli

Hopefully I will be able to keep to the plan this week but I can recommend making a plan to anyone who wants to save money and reduce waste as even a very loose plan is better than none.  It helps to focus on making the best use of the food already in the cupboards and fridge and reduces the amount of fresh food that is wasted if it doesn’t get eaten in time.  I find with careful planning I buy fewer veg – but what I do buy we eat at its best and I am not ‘guess’ buying only to find I have over bought.

Reducing the spending… week 41

Week 41 already and I have started the week with a new months allowance so I must not let this go to my head and overspend in the first week.  But you may ask how did I do in September – I have just been totting up the figures and this is what they look like:-

  • Groceries, which for me includes cleaning products – £190.03
  • Lunches at work – £25.66
  • Supplements and food from Health store – £21.58
  • Toiletries – £65.21 (this is the stock of No7 face creams I got on offer)

And just in case you were wondering – I confess to spending a total of £19.53 on magazines – my target spend in this area should be zero.

Overall I am quite pleased with the results – the toiletries were a bit of an outlay but I won’t need to buy face cream for a long time.

October Challenge

Areas for improvement – definitely magazines, closely followed by those lunches at work, however it should be noted that my grocery spend would go up slightly if I took lunches to work from home, so I wouldn’t be saving the whole of the £25.66 I spent.  An easy adjustment to make will be to take my own bread – which I did do this week saving me £2.68 a week.

As I did very well the week before last by only shopping for what we needed during the week and not doing a big shop I am going to try this again.  So I will do a bigger shop once a fortnight and then buy as I need on the alternate weeks.

I had 3 birthdays this month for special friends and on Sunday I made a card for each of them – (pictures of these will be over on my other blog where the journey takes me soon) saving me about £6-£7.

In November I have 4 birthdays and an Anniversary so my aim is to make these in October as well as beginning to think about making for Christmas.

I will continue with my store cupboard use up and making sure that nothing goes in my bin.  I congratulated myself last week as I used up every last morsel…

…so this over ripe banana

Ripe Banana

added to these ingredients –  the last 2 eggs, the end of a chocolate bar and some left over walnuts…

Chocolate Loaf ingredients

became these…Mini Chocolate, Walnut and Banana Loaves

Chocolate Banana Loaf

They didn’t even get as far as having the chocolate topping!

The end of the Ciabbatta loaf…

Stale end of loaf

became breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs

and eventually the topping on the Macaroni Cheesbake on Thursday…

Macaroni Bake

and remember I froze the ends of tomato paste and some Barts Mediterranean Herbs in the ice cube trays which I have now transferred into my storage tubs ready to use.

Flavour cubes

Menu Plan Week 41

  • Monday – Lasagne with Peas
  • Tuesday – Lasagne with Broccoli
  • Wednesday – Baked Potato with cheese, homemade coleslaw and salad
  • Thursday – Macaroni Cheese Bake and Peas
  • Friday – Cheese and Leek ramekins and salad
  • Saturday – Meal out
  • Sunday – Cheese and Leek Ramekins with salad

Spending so far this week – cash

  • Monday – Lunch at work -Soup –  £2.55
  • Tuesday – Lunch at work Soup –  £2.55
  • Wednesday – Lunch at work Soup £2.55, Hot choc in Sainsbury’s £1.80
  • Thursday – Lunch at work Soup £2.55, extra groceries £2.80

Spending this week by Card

  Sainsbury’s – Groceries

  • Lactose free milk    £1.48
  • Lettuce and watercress  £1.50
  • Bertolli margarine  £1.50
  • Organic  mushrooms  £1.28
  • Blueberries  £2.25
  • Courgette  £0.42

Total spend £8.43

Health Foods

  • Blackcurrant Spread  £2.49
  • Rude Health Spelt Flakes  £2.99
  • Viridian Acidphilus  £7.80
  • Viridian Vit B comples £6.50

Total spend £19.78

On Wednesday I had to go to the out of town Sainsbury’s for Petrol and I called in to get a few items – but not to do a big grocery shop.   Luckily I did the shopping before I bought the petrol so I was able to get £0.8p per litre off the total with the voucher I got for spending more than £20 on their clothing range.

Wool Jumpers

This is what I got for hubby dear – 2 wool jumpers @ £20 each which I didn’t think was bad and I brought a pair of leather boots home to try (not pictured) price £40, however all these come out of our clothing budget.

Groceries

I spent £22.27 on groceries and veg for my planned meals and items we had run out of.  The Oatmeal is ready for making some Parkin.

Fruit and Veg

I also took advantage of one or two bargains – I know the weather is only just starting to turn but I do not possess a heated blanket or have a microwave to heat up a wheat bag so I treated myself to a brand new Hot Water Bottle £5.99 (every girls dream eh!).  Actually I put two in my mum’s bed when she visits and one of my old ones sprung a leak on me recently so this new one is just what I needed.Bargains

The Atrogel – Arnica Gel had a third off only £6.85 so couldn’t walk on past that  and the dispenser £3.00 is for…you will have to wait and see…

Then it happened…unexpected item in the bagging area!!!

Christmas

Well I never said no magazines meant no Christmas Specials  – Prima Xmas Makes £3.99…and the red raffia – just what I need for my Christmas parcels £1.00.

My total spend at Sainsbury’s was £119. 41 with £80 of that from my clothing budget.

Reward points earned 481

New total 12050 worth £60.25

So that is the week so far – I have still to get through Friday, Saturday and Sunday but I should not need to spend any money on food shopping.  I am now going to snuggle down in bed and browse through my Prima Xmas magazine looking for Christmas ideas.

 

Have a lovely frugal weekend.

Reducing the spending…week 40 days 1-5

Firstly a quick update on my September Challenge

If you have been following along you will know that my challenge for September was to use up the food in my store cupboard, spend a lot less on groceries and reach the end of the month without using any of my pay that was deposited into our bank account on the 20th September.

Well it is good news – my bank statement shows that I did manage to get to the end of the month with my pay intact and £30 to spare this is largely due to my efforts to plan our meals around the items in our store cupboard and freezer and only buy in necessities.

So far this week it has been very boring on the meal front though luckily everything up to today has been very quick and simple as time was a bit in short supply.

I planned the meals around all the ‘need to use up items’ lurking in the freezer – you know all those odds and ends that are often not a complete meal by themselves and by Thursday we sat down to a rather strange combination, which I decided was even too odd to photograph.  Hopefully from today the freezer is almost empty of the ‘bits’ and we can return to preparing something a little more exciting.

Cauldron Sausage

Menu Plan

  • Monday – Cauldron Lincolnshire Soya Sausages from freezer and served with little potatoes, sweet   potatoes,  a carrot and the remaining button mushrooms with gravy. (pictured above)
  • Tuesday – Higgedy Spinach and Feta pie from the freezer served with little potatoes the last of the packet frozen broad beans and the 2 remaining carrots.
  • Wednesday – Pizza base from the freezer, topped with last of the open jar of stir through tomato sauce that hubby had on his pasta last Friday evening, mushrooms, grated cheese from freezer, served with peas.
  • Thursday – Sainsbury’s frozen veg pie and a Pea and Mint rice cake –  both had half each as neither could decide which one to have!  – served with little potatoes and fresh French beans.
  • Friday – Mushroom Stroganof served with savoury frozen rice ( a free trial pack from Ocado months ago)
  • Saturday – Halloumi and salad
  • Sunday – Lasagne with green salad

The Weekly Shopping #40

It was decision time all the way around the supermarket and I was exhausted by the time I hit the tills because although I had planned to only buy exactly what we needed for the week and no more I hadn’t bargained for the bargains so to speak!

First of all I needed a pack of butter, however it was on offer so it seemed more cost-effective in the long run to buy the 2 for £5 saving £1.

This was repeated on the milk, the bread and the cheese.

Then I had to buy one or two items we had almost run out of that are expensive like the organic, cold pressed unfiltered virgin Olive Oil £3, a jar of organic Mayonnaise £2.50, a packet ground Flax seed £2.40 and a dozen organic mixed size eggs £3.60.

I also needed some items like frozen peas that we were completely out of but  I could not find an offer on these so had to pay full price.

 Grocery items

Groceries

Fruit and Veg

Fresh Fruit and Veg

Bread

Bread

I spent £59.86 on the groceries  £14.64 of this was for those extra 2 for so much offers so you might say this week was £45.22 for the items we really needed.  My target is now £26.96 for the remaining weeks of this year so I am £18.26 over budget.

Sainsbury's non grocery items

The Extras

Yep this is where I fell down – mooching round the clothes (not a good idea) I saw they do the soft cord leggings I bought in Maroon a while ago in a Navy (not pictured) – so in the trolley they went – cost £14 (but out of my clothes account).  Then walking through the Housewares department (another bad idea) I noticed that plain white Egyptian pillowcases with a high thread count were on offer £6.66 for 2 cases – a bargain and much cheaper than the John Lewis ones sold singularly, maybe not quite the same quality but I only want them as a pillow protector under the proper ones.

Snack bags

The sandwich bags were on offer and don’t you just love these little patterned snack bags – obviously not a good seller as they are being discontinued for the knock down price of 75p.  I thought I might use them for my craft bits and bobs and freezing small amounts of herbs.

And did I mention the magazines?  They kind of leaped off the shelf and into my trolley.  The card making one had a free offer of clear rubber Christmas stamps, which I know I will use for cards etc even though I am not keen on the actual magazine – £4.99.  The other magazine ‘What doctors don’t tell you’ cost £3.95 and is my way of keeping up on any healthy foods and new research that might be of interest to keep us healthy into our old age!

Yes it was all going well until the extras – total spend £31.35

Did my cash spending for the week go any better?

I went to draw out my £10 for the week at Sainsbury’s cash point and like last week found that they no longer appear to be dispensing £10 notes – they start at £20.  Shame on you Sainsbury’s encouraging me to overspend!

  • Because we ate ready prepared foods this week there was no leftovers to take for lunch at work so I had soup and a breadcake from the local bakery, however I did think ahead to take my own buttered bread one day saving 55p.  Cost – £8.99
  • Extra groceries – Lactose Free Milk £3.11,  Mini Potatoes £1, semi skimmed milk £0.89
  • Birthday card for a colleague £1.99
  • Hot choc and custard treat before shopping at Sainsburys £2.65

Total cash spend £18.63 – cash allowance for the week £10 (major £8.63 overspend!)

 

Despite the overspends I am pleased to have used up some of the foods in the cupboard and freezer and will continue to do this.  Not doing a weekly shop last week certainly saved a lot of money and I might consider doing my bigger shop once a fortnight. I will keep you posted on this.

 

Join me in my next post when I will outline my October Challenge

Reducing the spending…week 39 – day 2 update

Meal Day 2 from the store cupboard / fridge / freezer onlyLentil Curry

Main Meal – Curry and Brown Rice

This was the nicest curry I have made in a while – the difference might be that I made it with Coconut Oil rather than Olive Oil.  The brown lentils and rice were in the cupboard and I added 1/2 large can of Coconut Milk from the freezer.  The vegetables I used in this dish were 2 onions, 1 large carrot, 1 of the 2 remaining courgettes, 2 sticks of celery, 3 small potatoes and 2 left over ones.  To all this I added 1/3 of small jar of Pataks Korma curry paste which I bought on offer recently.  For the two of us I like this size of jar but I rather think it has been discontinued.

For dessert we had some more of the crumble with a spoonful of creme frais.

Shopping Day 3

Today’s spend in readiness to make meal day 3

  • 1 Ciabatta Loaf reduced from £1.50 to 80p
  • 1 bag radishes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red pepper

Total Cost £3.00

Boots

No 7 offer

  • 3 for 2 offer on NO 7 Protect and Perfect Serum @ £23.95 each is £47.90 less £5 voucher = £42.90 or £14.30 each

plus 168 points plus Extra points with 2 points vouchers 500 = 668 or £6.68

Marks and Spencers

1 Navy stretchy pencil skirt £25.00 less £6 vouchers = £19.00

Lunch

I have to confess I was up too late to make anything and so had to buy soup and a bread-cake again for lunch cost £3.22.  I will definitely be taking my lunch tomorrow.

Vouchers still to spend

As you may have noticed I am using up vouchers and collecting extra points where I can. I have still  a number of vouchers to use – some better than others

  • £5 Morrisons Voucher (we tend to use these in Scotland)
  • £5 Tesco (also use in Scotland)
  • £5 Garden Token
  • £5 off at BHS
  • 3 x £5 Boots No7 skincare tokens
  • 5 x £3 No 7 makeup tokens
  • 2 for 1 entry to Stllingfleet and Parcevall Hall Gardens
  • 50p off McCain Chips
  • 100 points at Sainsbury’s on canned or packet veg and pulses
  • 70 points on a frozen pie or ready meal
  • 120 points if spending £3 on a curry sauce
  • plus various coupons for Boots toiletries from 25% off to extra points.

I also found out you can get a £5 BHS voucher off £25 spend if you book a collection for donated used clothing before 30th September – might just make that.

I have booked a hearing test at Boots and I get 150 Advantage points.  I also claimed my free 100 or so points at Sainsbury’s for having my cholesterol test at their pharmacy.

For my Day 3 meal tomorrow there has been a slight change of plan and we are having Chickpea and Tomato Bake to use the Ciabatta loaf and red pepper instead of the Tuscan Casserole.

I noticed hubby is also out of Jam so he is being forced to eat up any leftover bits before I get a new jar.  I will need fresh milk tomorrow and some potatoes too but nothing else – so should be a cheap day.

I foolishly volunteered to bake something for the Macmillan coffee morning we are holding at work on Friday.  I say foolishly not because it isn’t a good cause but because I hadn’t thought about just when I would do this baking.  Where am I going to find a spare hour tomorrow when I am having my hair cut after work and will be in late?

Still I couldn’t say no as Macmillan is the charity of our choice at work this year and the whole office is supporting them and raising money by organising pamper evenings, sleep overs, long walks and marathons and jumping out of airplanes – I will just stick to the baking it is not quite so taxing even if I might be doing it at midnight!

 

Reducing the spending…week 39

Meal Day 1 – from the store cupboard / fridge and freezer only

Mushroom and Leek Pancakes

Main Course – Mushroom and Leek Pancakes baked in a cheese sauce with steamed Broccoli

To make the pancake batter I used some Buckwheat flour which is gluten free, lactose free milk and 2 of my remaining 10 eggs.   For the filling I used up the remaining 4 chestnut mushrooms and a further 8 button mushrooms – so I have half a pack of mushrooms left for another meal.  I used 1 generous leek and I will use the other 2 in soup.  I had fresh parsley for the filling and grated cheese for the sauce in the freezer.

Plum and Apple Crumble

Dessert – Apple and Plum Crumble with ice cream

The apples came from our Beach cottage garden and I already had the plums which I left to ripen from last week.  The crumble topping was the end of some ready made in the freezer and I used up the end of a tub of ice-cream.

I will post the recipes in my recipe pages.

The weekly shopping #39

A slight change to my shopping this week as I will not be doing a ‘big’ shop but rather buying as I need.  Today’s purchases.

Groceries

  • Yoghurt 2 for £2.50 a saving of £0.68
  • Creme Frais £0.77
  • Salad Cress £0.25
  • Bag Lettuce £1.00
  • 4 Kitchen rolls – £1 a pack of 2 saving £1.16
  • Kleenex Compact Tissue offer 2 packs of 4 for £5.00 saving £2.36 although not on my list I took advantage of this offer while it was still available (they are the flat handy little boxes that fit neatly into my glove compartment and dressing table drawer).

Total Spend £11.77 less a Brand Match coupon for £2.66 = £9.11

Although the Tissues at £5 will take me over my budget for the week it was too good an offer to miss.

My new points balance is now 11338 worth £56.69 – I think I have just discovered a good source of extra income!

In Boots I bought a pot of basic No 7 Night Cream with my £5 off coupon – cost £4.95.

I also purchased a card and bunch of flowers for a colleagues birthday – cost £5.99

And…I will say this quietly as I am trying not to draw attention to the fact that I bought my lunch – soup and a bread-cake – cost £3.22

These small birthday gifts and cards do add up over the year and it would be good if I could turn my attentions to making some cards.

Well that is a full account of today’s spending. Tomorrow I have another Boots coupon to use and I will be making another store cupboard meal.

3 for 2 offers at Boots…

Lift and Luminate Cream

 

Apologies for the lack of posts recently.  I promise when I return from Scotland (our holidays) I will do more frequent posts and let you all know what I have been up to.  This is just a quick update to let you know I am still trying hard to reduce our spending and taking full use of coupons and offers if and only if it is something I frequently use.  As you may already know for those of you reading my blogs my aim is to reduce my stuff as well as spend less.

My bathroom cupboard is almost down to the basic essentials.  I have been using up all those unwanted gifts, impulse purchases and items I just didn’t gel with.  I now have more room to build up stocks of the items we do use.

I use Boots No 7 face creams as I have a problem with sensitive skin and No 7 has very little if no perfume in the range.  I always make use of the 3 for 2 offers but I make sure I wait to buy anything until they are also using the £5 off coupon which can be used in conjunction.  And wow did I do well at Boots yesterday.

I bought 3 Lift and Luminate face cream pots usually £23 each.  On 3 for 2 this cost £46 less the £5.00 coupon £41 in total.  This is quite an outlay but it does keep and it will last me easily the whole year and beyond.

But that was not the end of the ‘good deal’ because I had been to the advantage card point before my purchase as I have trained myself to do religiously when I walk into the store and got a coupon for extra points on purchases over £30 that day.

 I also had another point’s coupon just for No 7 purchases and a double points coupon sent to me by post as an advantage card holder.  Altogether I had 208 points for my original purchase points plus 900 with all the extra points’ coupons that would scan through.  That equals £2.08 in ordinary points and £9 in extra points.  That is like a £11.08 reduction on my £41 making my 3 creams £10 a pot… oh and of course you get another £5 off coupon with the purchase.

 A word of warning though for anyone confused with working out the costs benefits whilst in the store – buying 3 for 2 if you have a £5 off coupon is only an advantage on items over a certain price.  £10 would be the break even point.  Anything less than £10 and you will get better savings.  For instance I also buy the basic No 7 day cream which I have to use as a base cream on my sensitive skin.  Each pot is £9.00.

If I bought 3 for 2 x £9 pot less £5 this would cost me £18 less £5 = £13 for 3 pots.  However if I have 3 x £5 coupons and bought each pot individually this would be £9 less £5 = £4 x 3 pots = £12.  Buying each individually with a £5 coupon is £1 cheaper.

My tip is always take the time to visit the advantage card point before shopping.  Some of the coupons have long dates so print more than one off.  This week I have a 10% off any shower gel, 10% off toothpaste / toothbrush, and 10% off shampoo and conditioner.  They run until 3rd September.  They almost always offer points if you spend more than £15 / £20 or £30 in one transaction so worth shopping for all your requirements in one go.

I just love how my stock of cream looks in my cupboard now.

3 for 2 on No7