I find that a lot of personal finance blogs I read are exactly that, personal. They may contain posts about an individuals journey out of debt or what they have spent in the Supermarket that week etc, whereas I feel that mine is more about ways to save money and where to go to grab a bargain, along with the latest financial consumer news and some receipes thrown in for good measure. I have recently left comments on a few blogs where the author has asked its readers what they do to save money and whether they buy branded or unbranded items when shopping for essentials and what products they would never cut back on i.e. Loo roll, Baked Beans, Shampoo etc, so today I am going to give you an insight into my shopping basket and share with you my favourite products whether essential or luxury.
In the last few months, I have started to shop online rather than instore and find I am making huge savings each week. I am no longer tempted by special offers I don't really need, I have a 4 weekly menu plan and stick with it. I add essential storecupboard items each time I run low, or out of them, as you can save your trolley contents until you checkout. I get the shopping delivered Midweek, when delivery charges are cheapest, but what I save, more than makes up for delivery.
I sometimes go to Tesco in the evening with my eldest daughter, who has recently left home and now has to do her own shopping and it is at these times that I take advantage of cheap bakery items. Last time I went a few weeks back, I got packs of rolls, uncut loaves and french stick all for 13p each! When I got home, I sliced the bread before freezing to cut down on waste and that way, can just take out what I need as I need it, as bread defrosts quite quickly.
My essentials and things I use a lot of and am happy to economise on
Onions - Sainsburys Basic range is only 50p per bag and contains approx 18 onions!
Stew Pack - much prefer the contents of the Sainsburys basic range bag and at only £1 it is cheaper than Tesco and really fills up a stew or casserole or makes a great vegetable soup which will feed loads for a quid with a bit of crusty bread.
Bananas - More than happy with Sainsburys Basic range again. I honestly find their Basic range far superior to Tesco Value.
Pain Killers - I buy paracetamol in Savers for 19p!
Flour - have used value ranges for years, fine for yorkshire puds, baking etc
Things I wont economise on
Loo Roll - I tend to buy this in Savers, as they always have the 6 instead of 4 pack of Kleenex for approx 30p cheaper than Supermarket. So not only do you save money but you get 2 extra rolls.
Tuna - I always used to get Tesco Value for years and never had a problem, but then about 6 months back, I opened a tin and it looked like bloody Kitty Kat we used to feed the Moggy on when I was a kid! I topped off my childrens jacket potato with it one day and they all refused to eat it! It was pale pink, no sign of a chunk anywhere (it looked like puree) and it stank, so now it is John West for me, but I buy the 4 packs when they are on offer.
Tea Bags - My fave is the yellow pack of Twinings but when they are not on offer, I find Sainsburys red label very palatable.
Cereals - I buy branded - full stop. I read on a blog that someone said she couldn't taste the difference between sainsburys crunchy nut and kelloggs - I don't want to take the chance, so buy branded, but only when it is on offer.
Bread - I do buy Supermarket own brand on occasion, usually when there is nothing on offer, but won't buy value or basic.
Crisps - Won't buy anything other than Walkers but will buy Cheese Puffs or Quavery type snacks in a supermarket own brand, when Walkers is not on offer.
Cola - nothing but Pepsi Max in this house! but they usually have 2 bottles for £2 at one supermarket or another! I won't buy it full price, I will get a different type of fizzy instead.
Washing Powder - only use Aerial, but buy it from Savers and have started to buy Sainsburys basic range soap powder at 65p per pack for washing towels, bath mats and bedding - it smells gorgeous!
Shampoo and Conditioner - I totally love my Frederic Fekkai! I have just run out and last night, used Herbal Essences (the girls fav) but my hair feels totally different today. It is quite costly when bought at Space NK, but go to HQ Hair via Paypal and at least you get cashback! I have also bought this on Ebay quite often. You may have seen my previous post on the free Loreal Professionnel shampoo and conditioner, well I have my voucher ready to pick up my freebie next time I visit the salon. This offer runs until August 09 so it could be a while before I get any FF! Check out my previous posts if you want a Salon professional range for free and details of the downloadable voucher.
Other things I do to cut costs on shopping
I often go to Aldi's when I see a TV advert showing their fruit and veg products for silly prices as I use a lot of fruit, doing 3 lots of pack up each day. In fact yesterday I took advantage of their current offers on fruit and veg and at 69p each got 1. 6 oranges 2. 6 red apples 3. a punnet of plums 4. a punnet of red grapes 5. a punnet of button mushrooms and 6. a bag of salad potatoes. Total £4.17.
I go to the Farm Shop when I can get there, which isn't often, but it defo saves money.
I don't buy pots of expensive sandwich fillers, I make my own, 1. cheese, onion, mayo 2. Tuna, sweetcorn, mayo. 3 Coronation chicken with chicken leftovers, and a bit of curry powder mixed into mayo and a few sultanas 4. egg mayonnaise 5. prawn mayonnaise etc etc
I feeze bread, pitta bread, muffins, crumpets etc and take out the night before, whatever I will need the next day, saves them going mouldy green before they all get used.
How I make use of Leftovers or items going out of date
Chicken - make a pie or if not enough, I use leftover meat for sarnis or wraps for packing up.
Pizza & Pasta - taken cold for pack up.
Ham & Bacon - I use in Quiche or add to the chicken pie.
Apples - if old and going a bit soft, I cook for apple sauce with pork and freeze.
Bananas - I make banana cake - great for pack lunches or picnics.
Bread - if there is any going a bit stale, I make bread or bread and butter pudding.
I would never buy value Beefburgers but do buy cheap chicken. Now I realise this is a controversial subject that will no doubt raise a few eyebrows after the plight of battery chickens was bought to light last year by Hugh Fearnely-Whittingsall in his Channel 4 programme. Now don't get me wrong I love Hugh and when I watch his series and see what that man can do with a wild mushroom, it makes me want to move into River Cottage!
In his programme on chickens, Hugh interviewed shoppers in Tesco and a few mums said "I would love to buy organic, but I simply can't afford it, I have a family to feed". So, if you have a family to feed on a weekly budget of say, £50 and you have the option of buying a chicken for £2.50 or an organic one for £7, what do you do?
Everyone seems to have jumped on the "Thrifty" bandwagon of late, with even the Broadsheet newspapers giving us tips on how to save money but I am a bit fed up with broadcasters and journalists harping on about a. being middle class (I thought that the class system in this country was dead, but oh no, it is alive and kicking, in the eyes of the snobs that believe they are middle class) b. making no apologises for only buying organic produce and c. not buying clothes from certain High St chains due to child labour issues. Although I agree, in priniciple, with some of these issues, I just don't think these people have a bloody clue! I have friends who don't have a bloody clue either! They have never had to think about switching a light off to save money, nor do they break out in a cold sweat at the supermarket checkout, for fear they don't have enough money in their purse to pay for the contents of their trolley.
The idea for this Blog had been around for a while before I actually started it, but it was bought about by personal experience due to a drastic change in circumstances last spring. My aim is to help you whether you are a student, a single parent on benefits or just a normal family who is feeling the effects of the credit crunch and may need to make savings on everyday things to afford them the luxury holiday they have wanted for years. I don't want to be patronised by people waving the single parent flag, when they have a wardrobe of designer clothes, a full time job and a full time nanny to match! and I certainly don't want to patronise the readers of my Blog. Sure I love designer goods and have spent a fair bit on them over the years. I have always been the kind of girl who prefers to have one pair of Jimmy Choo's a year rather than 6 pairs from Office or Faith, but times are different now. Even people who have money are scared to spend it. If a girl is going out on a Saturday night and needs a new top, we have to realise that some people can only afford Primark and others can't afford to go out at all! I told you talking about chicken was controversial and look how it has taken me off at a tangent! So yes I do buy cheap chicken and make no apologises for it, it makes a bloody gorgeous pie!