What with trying to keep spending down a little this month on the regular stuff, I ventured to the shops last friday with a firm eye on the budget. There were certain things we did need, but equally there were others - milk for me, for example - where the freezer could come to the rescue. I buy milk in 4 pint containers, as that is the cheapest way to purchase - under 30p a pint, whereas buying a pint at a time, as you need it, will cost you 49p a pint. I drink skimmed or semi-skimmed in any case - well, when I say "drink" I mean "put in tea" and "Cook with" - and both of these last way beyond their sell-by date. So, I buy a 4 pint container, freeze half of it into two individual pint bottles, and then the rest gets put in the fridge for immediate use.
As well as the regular food-type bits, I needed toothpaste. I'm remarkably unfussy about the brand of toothpaste I use - simply going for whichever good quality one is on special offer at the time, and the best deal I've found anywhere tends to be in the 99p shop. This week was no exception - a twin-pack of Colgate for 99p. While I was in there, two other people picked up the single tube of Colgate alongside the twin pack and walked off with those - goes to show, it pays to look a bit harder. While I was in town there were some PR people giving out sample tubes of Aquafresh as well, I ended up with three, so that will sort out toothpaste for holiday and trip away next year, at no cost to us.
Sainsburys was the next stop - it needed to be as I had used their car-park - two hours free parking for customers, so I became a customer by buying a couple of things we would use or needed anyway - a packet of butter and 2 more tins of tuna, total spend £2.69. £2.50 of this was paid for with nectar points, leaving a 19p cash spend. On receiving the receipt, I discovered that two vouchers had been printed by the till as well - one for £2 worth of Nectar points if spending £20, and the other for 40p of nectar points on a product I would happily buy in any case. Can you guess where I'm shopping this week?!
On to Tesco - site of the "proper" weekly shop this time around as I had another of those "£2 off when you spend £20" vouchers. If I'm buying to a target amount like that I use the calculator on my phone to keep track as I go round the store and aim to get as close as possible to the spend threshold. As you can see from the picture above I did quite well for my £20 spend this week. I got a large box of washing powder, 4 pints of full-fat milk for Ben, 2 bags of apples, nectarines, bananas, salad, spring onions, a savoy cabbage, mushrooms, a dozen free range eggs, 4 x bread rolls and 2 x packs of yogurts. The whole lot came to £20.62, of which £5.50 was the washing powder. Combined with what we have in the storecupboard, larder, fridge & freezer already, that £13.12 food spend (remember I had the £2 voucher) will feed the pair of us easily this week. The fruit mainly gets eaten with lunch, the yogurts make a perfectly acceptable pudding for after week-night teas. The eggs will make sandwiches for lunch, omlettes for a main meal, and are there for any baking I do as well. the Spring onions were on a "2 for £1" deal with the savoy cabbage, so we'll be having stir-fry one night this week with some of the mushrooms. Although I meal plan several weeks in advance, one of the key things for us is to stay flexible to take advantage of any special offers, so this weeks planned soup (Tuesday) will be a stir fry instead, and we will have nice chunky frittata style omlettes on Monday with the salad I bought.
How do you organise your shopping then? Having written your meal plan do you write your list accordingly and only buy what is on it regardless of what specials there are? Or maybe you shop according to special offers and then plan the meals around what you've bought?