Friday, 24 March 2023

What happened next

 What happened to the contents of that lovely "Waste not" box?

The onions, the chilli and the swede were perfectly sound and went into my general vegetable store.

Two onions plus the peppers, padron peppers, tomatoes and aubergine went into ratatouille.  No courgettes but that's OK by me.

The apples and plum were stewed to have with my breakfast porridge.

The satsumas have mostly gone into my fruit bowl.

I say mostly because I also made a fruit salad with the melon, a couple of the satsumas and a banana, an apple and a mango from elsewhere.  The juice of the lemon added a tang to it.

The lettuce will be in salad over the next couple of days.

And the mushrooms have been frozen.  

Well used loveliness, I think.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

The Box

 It's a while since I shared a Lidl "Waste Not" box with you, but today I had time to weigh things and price them so here goes.  I've priced the stuff as though I had bought it at Sainsbury because the Lidl website doesn't help much.

Swede                             0.62

Onions                            0.6

Tomatoes                       0.74

Apple                               0.6

Plum                                0.40

Satsumas                        0.73

Honeydew melon            1.69

Little gem X2                 0.85

Red onion                       0.09

Sweet peppers              1.3

Mushrooms                   1.26

Padron peppers            0.30

Chilli                                0.10

Lemon                             0.30

Aubergine                      0.85



Having bought a "Waste Not" box for the princely sum of £1.50. I consider myself to be honour-bound not to waste it.  I don't waste food anyway but for this it seems doubly important.  So when I have sorted it even more, I will let you know the destiny of everything.  For now I will say that the only worrying item was the mushrooms so they have already been wiped, sliced and frozen.  

Saturday, 25 February 2023

Comparing prices


I checked a Sainsbury receipt and compared prices from February 2022 to now.   I did this back in September and found my food inflation was 12%.  

Once again I have excluded anything which I bought in 2022 but can't get today.  And I do most of my shopping at Lidl but use Sainsbury when I can't go to Brigg myself.




% increase

2     Young's Admirals Pie 300g




1     Sainsbury's New Zealand Lamb Mince 500g




1     Mary Ann's Dairy Mature Cheddar Cheese 600g




5     Semi-Skimmed Longer Lasting UHT Milk 1 Litre




2     Sainsbury's Light Evaporated Milk 410g




1    Frozen Cooked & Peeled Coldwater Prawns 250g




1     J.James White Fish Fillets 520g




1     Sainsbury's Salmon Fillets 360g




1     Sainsbury's 7% Fresh British Turkey Mince 500g 




1     Sainsbury's Buttersoft Spreadable Butter 500g




1     Sainsbury's Celery




1     Mary Ann's Dairy Mozzarella 125G




2     Sainsbury's Aubergine




1     Sainsbury's Sweet Potato 1.25kg




1     Sainsbury's Young Spinach 260g




1     Whipping Fresh Cream 300ml




1     Sainsbury's Cherry Tomatoes 500g




1     Bisto Turkey Gravy Granules 190g








As you can see my food inflation is now 14%.  It was 12% in September.  Almost everything I use is Sainsbury's own label apart from the fish pies and the gravy granules.  Mary Ann and J James are Sainsbury budget range labels. 

Friday, 17 February 2023

Year on year


Way back in April 2022 I said I was going to try and reduce my grocery spend.  I gave my figures since 2018 and said that in 2022 I was going to reduce the weekly spend from £44.17 per week to £35 which I called "a very considerable reduction".  As inflation has been so high I thought that might be an understatement!

But I managed it.  In fact I cut it from £44.17 to £31.85 which has amazed me!

I've put the figures below and have also listed my eating out spending.  Eating out includes coffees and snacks as well as the occasional meal.  In 2020 and 2021 such treats were very curtailed because of the pandemic and I felt a little anxious that once the compulsory restraint was over my spend would once again soar.  That hasn't happened - I still take my own snacks if I go out for the day and I have reduced the frequency of meals out with friends.

                                2018                2019            2020            2021    2022

Av grocery               £56.81            £52.92        £47.17          £44.17    £31.85   

Eating out                £15.45            £17.77        £5.27            £0.49        £3.23

Total                        £72.76              £70.69        £52.44        £44.66        £35.08

So the big question is, how did I manage to spend so much in 2018?

Monday, 7 November 2022

Looking at the budget

I said in this post that I wanted to keep my October grocery spending below £74.51 and I failed!  I spent £92.73 as I dare not let my food cupboard get too low.  However, I think £92.73 isn't too bad.  It included lots of things needed for making the puddings which I give as Christmas presents 

I'm now starting to look towards Christmas even more and my grocery budget this month will be £150.  I'm now buying treat food for myself and the three bird roast plus loads of pigs in blankets are already in the freezer.  I shall prepare and freeze bread sauce, swede and carrot, gravy and braised red cabbage over the next few weeks.  My roast (turkey, chicken, duck) will last for several meals.  

I'm hoping that, with careful shopping and getting things ready well in advance, I may keep my Christmas grocery budget as low as possible.  And I will minimise my prepping on Christmas Day.  

Well, let's see how it goes!

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

How? (part one)

 How have I cut my food bill?  

To be honest, although I have my grocery books (listing everything I buy) going back over five years, I am surprised at how much I have managed to reduce my expenditure.  I could afford to spend more on food but there are other things I want to do which will cost money!

There are some economies I can identify.

1.  I have reduced my meat and fish consumption.  I haven't gone vegetarian (I like fish and meat A LOT!) but I have changed the things I buy.  For example one of my oily fish portions was usually a salmon steak or smoked mackerel: now it's more likely to be a tin of sardines.  I've also reduced my portion sizes.

2.  I keep a very careful eye on my stores.  The fridge is checked daily to see what ought to be eaten  that day.  I have inventories of the contents of my freezer and tin stores.  

3. I shop only once a week with few top ups.  I find it hard to go to a supermarket and come out with just the loaf of bread or pint of milk I went it for.  Somehow other "essentials" would find their way into my basket so I just don't go in.  

(I'll be listing more cuts in my next post)

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

The time has come

Frugally Challenged said.  And what I have said is the time has come to have a low spend month for food. 

 I've had a Sainsbury delivery (to use up some vouchers) which has cost me £24.61 and I shall allow myself another £50 to last the month.  I've got a fairly well stocked freezer and tins cupboard as well as quite a bit of fresh veg, so with a little ingenuity I should eat well.  I don't want to let anything get too low as the gaps on supermarket shelves are a little worrying so I've allowed more than I usually do for low spend.

I've actually been doing quite well on curbing food spending.  Last year my daily average food spend was £6.22 and so far this year it has been £4.32 which isn't bad in a time of rapidly rising prices.  Things were a little out  of hand last year, I must admit!  However, I have started to go out for the odd meal so the daily average there has gone up from 7p in 2021 to 37p in 2022.  Hardly a fortune even then and it will be going up considerably by the end of this month as I have a couple of catch-up lunches with friends. 

I have a major (secret!) project in mind which is going to need quite a few pennies.  Just cutting the food bill won't pay for it, but it will help!