Tag Archives: Sainsbury

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.



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.


Lunch – homemade veg soup leftover from Sunday

Evening meal – Veg and Lentil Curry with brown rice


Lunch – last of homemade veg soup

Evening meal – Veg and Lentil Curry with Taco shells


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

Evening meal – Mushroom Stroganoff with green beans


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

Evening meal – Ratatouille (using mushrooms) and Baked potatoes


Lunch – sandwich and salad

Evening meal – Lasagne with ratatouille as a base and Broccoli


Lunch – homemade soup / something on toast with salad

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


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 #8

Groceries Wk 8

This week I spent a hefty  £57.95 on groceries and a further £13 on Britta water filters, (half price for a box of 6).  As I thought I didn’t need very much shopping this week I was a little surprised at the amount.

However, quite a few of the items were expensive buys this week as I was running out of a few things or come to the end of a roll.  Some of the dearer things were –

  • Cling Film (biodegradable)  £1.95
  • Foil  £1.65
  • Flaxseed  £2.40
  • Coffee Espresso x 2  £7.18
  • 1 doz organic eggs – mixed sizes  £3.70
  • Rubber gloves  £2.15

I saved on the offers on Ecover washing up liquid, cheese, bread and Kitchen towels.

My lunches at work were dearer this week than last.  I only managed one lunch taken from home and the rest I bought at a cost of £9.04.

I also bought two bottles of supplements – Vitamin D £8.79 and Acidophilus £7.55.  I haven’t been taking these for a week or two and my plan is to take them every other day as a compromise to try and save money on these over the year as this is definitely and expensive category in my budget.

I spent a massive £34.72 in the stationery shops – Staples and Rymans.  I am working on simplifying our home office at the moment and I am changing one or two of my systems for keeping track of all the paperwork.  So as well as decluttering I am also spending some money here to try and improve the set up.

I needed to renew my 3 lever arch files which have worn and split due to continuous use.  I managed to get some new ones at half price and they are sturdier than the old ones so should last longer.  I use one for filing my papers that relate to my bill account, one for my bank, credit card and savings statements and a third for my mum in laws paperwork.

However, I decided this week that I would begin a separate fourth file for my savings statements and remove them from my bank statements file as it is an expanding section which is overloading the file.

What I bought this week


Four white lever arch files £3.34 x 4 = £13.36

8 narrow plastic wallets (I have a purpose for these wait and see!) £10.13 with 15% off

1 slimline purple pen for my notebook £2.99

1 Martha Stewart stick up pocket £5.49

Filofax Expenses

1 pack of Filofax expense forms – did I really need these – probably not! £ 2.75

Spring Flowers

Various Spring flowering plants for the garden £15.95

    • 1 Hellebore Niger
    • 2 pots Dwarf Narcissus
    • 2 pink Cyclamens

1 box of 6 primulas



Decorating items – £12.98

  • Hairline crack filler £5.99
  • Filler tools  £3.00
  • Tester pot  £3.99 (not shown)

I will be doing a post soon about Simplifying our home office and all will be revealed.  Meanwhile this coming week has to be a no spend /low spend to compensate for last week.  There are only 5 days left in February and although I have overspent in Stationery and Supplements I am still within the whole housekeeping budget because my food spending is only £115.95 so far for the month.

Tomorrow I will post my coming weeks menu plan and review last weeks.

Reducing the spending…a whole new year

I haven’t been here for a while but it is good to be back and yes I know I need to update my header for 2014 but that will be coming soon.

Last year I did make a big effort to cut the grocery budget and even though it wasn’t as much as I wanted (£10 a week over my budget of £50) it did make a big difference over the year against my previuos £70-80 week.  The weeks that I managed to write a menu plan in reasonable detail and stick to it helped to lower the costs substantially as did buying items only on offer,  unless we were absolutely desperate.

I work four full days a week so I can’t put heaps of time into this exercise but the new habits I did put in place have continued.  So this year I will be building on last years success.  Of course it will get harder as I am starting from a different place where the many obvious and easy savings have already been tried and tested.  Finding new ways to save money can depend on a number issues and for me eating organic is not negotiable even to save the pennies, whereas trying a different supermarket or method of shopping might be.

For anybody reading this who thinks that being frugal or thrifty is about a choice rather than absolute necessity they are quite correct in my case, it is a conscious choice.    Even though we had a 25% wage cut for the last 3 years we are not surviving on the bread line like some households – however, I would say that there is no room for frivolous spending or throwing money away needlessly, especially as retirement is looming on the horizon and we want to make sure we have enough put by not to be a burden on anyone else, including the state.  We also want to be able to enjoy our older years when they arrive.

Another reason for the mindful thrifting is I hate waste or buying for the sake of  – it seems like an insult to all the starving people in the world to be throwing any food stuff away.  My main and only reason for throwing food away would be for the safety aspect and by this I mean if I wasn’t sure if a food could still be eaten beyond the stated use by date without undue harm.

I will often stretch some foods beyond the use by unless it has mayonnaise in it like the deli pots of coleslaw then I take extra care.  Fruit and veg dates I completely ignore and I just use the visual test – if it is shrivelled and bearing mould it becomes compost.  This is not often though as I tend to make soup with any remains from the week.

Planning menus wisely does overcome this tendency to end up with a pile of items in the fridge at the end of a week that have only had a spoonful removed and have since exceeded their use by and beyond.

So of all the ways of saving on the grocery spending I am going to concentrate on the menu planning as I believe this is the one thing that promotes  both a balanced meal and big savings on food waste and food cost.

Having said all that I ended up in Sainsburys tonight without a list or a plan, the shopping expedition was a feat in itself, battling not with snow today but with the strong winds and lashing rain.  Sainsburys had to close off their automatic doors at one point.  I had no choice but to do a bit of a trolley dash so I could get on my way home.

I decided tonight was not the night to be exceptionally frugal with the groceries and although I was by no means stockpiling I made sure that we have a good stock of items to tide us over should the snow return.  Bare cupboards are fine if you don’t get marooned.

So here is the grocery spend £62.01 to be precise less £13.50 reward points – I found a few items on offer – to the right of the photo.

Food shopping

The Bargains

  • The Soya milk was a good buy 3 for £3,
  • Oatibix flakes £2 a box,
  • 2 x Spelt rolls reduced to £0.69,
  • Vivaldi potatoes reduced to £1,
  • 2 loaves  for £1.50,
  • cheese 2 for £4.50,
  • Milk 2 for £3.

So now I must set to and plan the menus around the shopping for this week – in fact I hope I can stretch this amount of food to a fortnight or maybe longer.

How is your food shopping / meal planning going so far this year?

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


Fruit and Veg

Fresh Fruit and Veg



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


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


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…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?

Reducing the Spending…the weekly shop 4#…

Thursday night and it seemed to be panic buying night in Sainsbury’s again – the forecast for the weekend was bleak and there had been an obvious rush for bread , milk and veg.  I decided that I would buy a little more than normal myself of the fresh foods just in case we got snowed in even more.

It has been a crazy week so far with the unpredictability of the weather and also my poor better half has a cold.  I don’t feel I had the same focus on the money and meals and we had the extra cost of having my daughter and partner to stay over theprevious weekend combined with our visit to Shrewsbury last Saturday.

For this I had to draw out £20 from the Cash Card to cover any expenditure over the weekend and I put the £1.33 left from last week in the ‘pot’.

My daughter and her partner joined us on the trip to Shrewsbury and as we are penny pinching here at the moment everyone had to join in so it was sandwiches for lunch, a flask of Hot Chocolate (the only drink we could unanimously agree on) and a trip to the local ‘sit in’ Chippy on the way home (Cost for 4 people £21.90), which we paid for on our debit card.

So how did I do this week?

The General Spend – my personal £10 allowance for the week

I worked from home on Monday and Tuesday due to the heavy snowfall so I didn’t even break into my £10.  On Wednesday morning I took the opportunity to have my cholesterol levels checked in the Sainsbury’s pharmacy on my way to work.  I usually fast but this morning had a small amount of fat free yoghurt to tide me over as I knew I would need the energy tramping through the snow to get to my car.

After having the test I made my way to the cafe for a quick breakfast and had toast, yoghurt and a decaff tea for £2.72 on my gift card and 4 Reward points.  Still had my £10 intact.

Lunch was on the firm that I work for as it was our Staff Conference.  We are provided with an assortment of M&S sandwiches, crisps and fresh orange juice followed by those tiny tray bakes for afterwards, of course you have to be careful you don’t get squashed in the stampede for a free lunch – but I came out of it well fed and hadn’t spent a penny.

Thursday I was late for work because of the snow and didn’t have the time to prepare lunch – I did consider a voluntary fast but in the end hunger overtook and I had to resort to a Baked Potato with Cheese and salad at £3.35 from the local Sandwich shop.

Thursday evening I did the shopping and before I started had my only little treat, a plain hot chocolate £1.79 – using the balance left on the gift card of £1.20 and paid cash 0.59p and received 2 Reward Points.

Out of the £10 I spent

  • Baked Potato    £3.35
  • Hot Chocolate  £0.59

This leaves £6.06 for the weekend.

Out of the £20 cash for the Shrewsbury visit I bought

  • Flowers for the Birthday girl  £5.99
  • Filofax Year Planner  £3.75*

This leaves £10.26 which I will use for next weeks £10 allowance, the 26p can go in the pot.

*I did argue with myself over the Year Planner as £3.75 is quite an outlay now.  Could I do without it?  I like to see the coming months all in one go and map out our weekend visits in and amongst things like birthdays and appointments.  I debated whether I should make one I have done in previous years but cannot do a fold out version like Filofax.  It is something I consult everyday so eventually I declared it a necessity and haven’t regretted my decision (yet!)

The Weekly Shop

Did I mention I had a disaster with my fridge last weekend after filling up with all the veg on Thursday I found on Friday that the temperature was far too cold (dial had been moved perhaps?) bit of a mystery…anyway we ended up with very stiff absolutely frozen Watercress and Spinach.  Most of the other veg although as hard as rocks did thaw out and were still usable.  So to add to what I could salvage is my veg and the rest of the shopping and with prices now too!  I am getting much better at knowing the price of things…go on ask me how much for a bag of Carrots.

Fruit and veg

  • 2 Cooking Apples   £0.91
  • Cauliflower and Broccoli   £1.00
  • Bag Organic Sweet Potatoes   £2.00
  • Bag 3 Mixed Organic Peppers   £2.50
  • Bag Organic Carrots 750g   £1.30
  • Bag Watercress, Spinach and Rocket   £1.50
  • Bag Organic Potatoes 1.5g   £1.69
  • 1 large Organic Avocado   £1.00
  • 1 Box Organic Mushrooms 250g   £1.28
  • 1 Box Organic Tomatoes 400g   £1.75

Store Cupboard

  • Organic Penne Pasta   £1.05
  • Organic Decaff Tea Bags   £2.55
  • Decaff Espresso  x 2 £3.69
  • I bag Organic Sugar   £1.05
  • 1 Carton Lentils  £0.79
  • 1 Tin Baked Beans   £0.57
  • 1 tin Organic Cocoa   £2.20
  • 1 unrefined Organic Olive Oil   £2.49
  • 1 large baked multi seeded loaf   £1.35
  • 1 box Toilet Tissue   £0.69


  • Jarlsberg Cheese   £1.86
  • 1 tub Coleslaw   £0.55
  • 1 tub Nat Yoghurt   £2.50


Items on Offer

  • 2 packs Oatflakes   £2.00each
  • 2 packs Bran Flakes £2.00 each
  • 2 Cartons Passata with Basil 2 for £1.50 (save £0.40p)
  • 2 Semi-skimmed milk  2 for £3.00 (save 0.58p)
  • 2 cartons Lurpack with Olive Oil 2 for £5.00 (save £1.00)
  • 2 Organic Cheese 2 for £4.50 (save £0.80p)
  • 2 x 4 Larger pots Petit Filou 2 for £2.00 (save £1.00)
  • 2 pots pasta sauce 2 for £2.50 (save £0.70p)
  • Sainsbury’s Tissues 2 for £2.00
  • 3 x Simple Anti bacterial Handwash @ £1.00 each   £3.00 (save £3.00)
  • 3 for 2 Wholemeal Rolls   £1.20 (save £0.40p)

My favourite bit of the shopping.  Finding offers is like going for the kill after the hunt (I imagine that is – being veggie I have never hunted) but the satisfaction of not paying full price for something does become quickly obsessive.

I had coupons but not for anything that I had bought nor really wanted this time.  I was overjoyed though to find some discarded ones left in a trolley when I came to put mine away – no guesses where they are now!

Total spent

48 items Total Spend £72.22

Reward Points earned 144

Bag re-use 5

Total Points balance 1793 worth  £8.96

So to recap

Only £22.22 over budget…oops!  This was quite an increase in this weeks shopping for one or two reasons… (and I am desperately trying to justify the amount here)

  1. I will be at home all next week and cannot pop into the shops for any extras
  2. The weather is still bad here with more snow expected…need to make sure we can last out
  3. I took advantage of a few offers on stock items such as the cereals, handwash, tissues and an extra Butter – this alone was £15.
  4. I was quite low on a number of high cost items – Olive oil, Coffee, and some of the veg.

I am now wondering if I can sell something or work some overtime for £22 to cover the overspend or it will be a budget of £28 next time.  I don’t like the look of either.

If I have learnt (learned for the grammarians) anything this week it is Organic Peppers are expensive at the moment and I need to be more observant of price in the veg isle and definitely look into exactly what is seasonal and adjust my meal planning to suit.

I also realise that to do this No/Low spending challenge is challenging and you need to have a slightly obsessive personality – so I’m well suited then.

Only one more week to go this month and then it will be the grand reckoning.  Hope you will have time next week to come shopping with me.