If you are a regular reader you already know that I love the discount supermarkets. They save me so much money on groceries – I found I reduced my bill by about £30 a week when I started using Aldi or Lidl rather than the larger, traditional supermarkets. That’s a saving of over £1500 a year without even trying!
However, they are also great with their special deals on various home and lifestyle products.
This week Aldi has done particularly well. If you or one of your family have a problem with gluten, they have a whole shelf of interesting looking deals on gluten free food, including this Betty Crocker cake mix. I am having a dinner party on Saturday and one of our guests is a coeliac so I will make that for her dessert. They had lots of other yummy looking things too. As the cashier told me, these products move fast, so be quick if you are interested.
Aldi also have a fantastic range of baby and nursery stuff currently. Amazing prices! A high chair for £19.99, a changing mat for £3.99, some very cute bean bags for £16.99 and reusable nappies for £9.99.
I spent £50 on the week’s shopping for the three of us. I will add cat food and Lactofree milk to this total, but I think that’s pretty good going. I bypassed the plants and garden deals. They are so good I can’t resist them and I have spent enough on the garden this month.
What about you? Have you tried the discounters yet and which do you prefer?
I quite enjoy the adverts on TV for Aldi, where they compare an expensive brand of coffee, tea or whatever with their own version. The message is that theirs is just as good, but cheaper!
When I initially started trying to save money on my grocery shopping the first thing I did was dump the brands wherever I could. I tried all of the supermarket basics first. Some we liked and some we didn’t. Value/Smart Price baked beans were a definite no-no, unless included in a veggie stew. Loo rolls didn’t last as long but were worth buying as they were so much cheaper. Value bacon may not look as good but it tastes pretty similar. The kids ate the biscuits even if they didn’t arrive in fancy packaging. I now wouldn’t dream of buying anything other than a basic fruit juice either.
Where we didn’t enjoy the basic products, I moved up to supermarket own brand. Most we liked, but occasionally we still resorted to a branded product.
With the advent of the discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, the situation has improved even more. Most of their own products are very good quality and as cheap or even cheaper than the old style shop own brands. I have found them to be better overall.
I might consider something from a range such as a Tesco Finest if it is on offer but I have found some of these are disappointing. I think they are a marketing ploy and another way to squeeze a bit more money out of their customers.
Generally speaking if I buy a brand it is because 1. I really like it more than the alternatives (such as my Millicano coffee mentioned in yesterday’s blog post) or 2. It is a really good price. I don’t need to pay for a company’s expensive branding – they pay marketing people a lot of money to work out how to make us spend our wages. I bet at least half the time if people did a blind test to decide which product was branded and which was a supermarket’s own brand they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. So, if you really want to save money on your groceries chuck out the brands and try some supermarket own labels!
It was a madly busy day at work today, followed by a visit to the hospital to see my mum. She was in a lot of pain today, although she did manage a little walk along the corridor on her frame with the physiotherapist.
Luckily my daughters had sorted dinner when I got home – Quorn bolognese, as one of them is vegetarian.
I hardly drink coffee at all as I can’t do too much caffeine, but I do enjoy one decent cup each morning. I usually buy Millicano. I try to find it on offer as it’s not cheap, so I was interested to try this Alcafe Barista Moments coffee from Aldi. It was a pretty nice cup actually, not quite Millicano but not bad at all. It cost £2; Millicano is usually at least £4.30. I might mix the two to save a bit of money!
Anybody else tried this? What did you think?
I’m hoping to go and collect Mum tomorrow and take her home but we will have to see what her consultant says. Fingers crossed!
I can’t believe I am still using up various cheeses from Christmas. It is quite nice to have a bit of Brie in my sandwich at work as I wouldn’t usually buy it except as a treat.
Every day I take a pot of home made soup, half a bake-at-home baguette filled with whatever needs using or sometimes just butter, and some fruit. The baguettes are really cheap from Aldi – they cost 45p for two and I only have half. So my lunch costs about 11p for the bread,the soup is made with mostly home grown veg so is probably only around 10p a cup and a couple of pieces of fruit – 50p? With a bit of cheese let’s say approximately 70-80p for a very nice satisfying packed lunch. Not bad I think for my low spend January!
I have some chocolate rice cakes if I need an afternoon snack. Theses are sooooo nice! They cost 95p for four, so my treat is a little cheaper Han anything from the vending machine at 80p an item. Lower in calories too at only 93 per bar.
I could spend £3 on a sandwich from the shop, 60p for a bag of crisps, £2 for a coffee and get an 80p chocolate bar – £5-6 a day? Over £1000 a year? Nah, don’t think so …
Well, you know I am a huge fan of the discount supermarkets, especially Aldi, since that is my nearest one (although Lidl is coming soon and will actually be even closer). Yesterday I did a week’s shop for 3-4 of us for a week for £55. I didn’t need all that much as I had done a big shop the week before. As I had a shorter list I allowed myself to look at some of the interesting bits and bobs in the central aisles.
One of the things that caught my eye was a Sweet Freedom Choc Shots bottle, basically liquid chocolate made with no sugar. It is sweetened with fruit juice. Yesterday we had it on ice cream for dessert and before bed I made some hot chocolate. It was delicious. There is a fruit syrup version that I think would be lovely on porridge so I will look out for that. It is vegan, gluten free and suitable for diabetics.
I also got some magic eraser sponges. I had seen these before but the Aldi ones were cheap enough to be worth a try. They work well with minimal effort and got a load of dirty marks off the wall in the hallway where we chuck our shoes in a basket. The pix show before and after. I will be interested to see if they really do work on ovens and tougher jobs.
DD3 had her first driving lesson yesterday which she was very excited about. The instructor said she was a natural and they seem to have driven for miles. I bought her four lessons to say well done on her A level results and her dad did the same. After that she is on her own so let’s hope she gets a job soon!
I went to Aldi to do the weekly shop on Saturday. I always get there as they open at the weekend. If you don’t you can’t get in the car park! The stores aren’t huge but I think all the car parks are too small. This isn’t helped when a massive delivery lorry turns up and takes up half the car park, which seems to happen quite often.
They had some lovely plants in there and I couldn’t resist. They are so cheap! I also found a solar hurricane lamp for a friend’s birthday, but when I got it home we liked it so much we decided to keep it and go back and get a few more as presents. Of course when we got there it was absolute bedlam!
I thought my 15 year old Miele dishwasher had finally bitten the dust on Saturday as it started making a terrible grinding noise. I bought it in the sale and even then it cost £450 but it has been brilliant for a long time. Mr S came to the rescue though and pulled some bits apart and found a prune stone – it must have got into the works somehow! It works fine now 😀. I could have spent £100 getting an engineer out but I probably would have just scrapped it as it is so old. Every household needs a Mr Shoestring!
He also repaired two garden chairs I got as a set from the charity shop. The table and two of the chairs are solid but the other two were slightly damaged. Now we have a full set and just need the sunshine back.
Honestly, he is a gem 😀😀. Hope he doesn’t read this – don’t want his head expanding!
Mum’s gone to Aldi….
Tomorrow is the big day. DD1 is leaving! Going to her own cute little house with her best friend. Out to face the big wide world and to cope with the responsibility of paying her own (quite large) bills and attempting to live on a budget and not get into debt.
I want her to succeed but I am also worried for her. I know what it is like to have to stretch every penny and go without if necessary, how depressing it can feel sometimes to have no spare cash and to never be able to be relaxed about money. It’s hard when you are 22 and just want to buy clothes and makeup!
My moving in gift is a week’s worth of groceries from Aldi, as ever my favourite supermarket. (As well as all the furniture, curtains and kitchen bits she has pinched from the shed and the attic of course!)
I have bought them bread, milk, butter, cheese, fruit, fresh and tinned veg, pasta, rice, pizza, chicken, jars of sauces, loo roll, kitchen roll, cling film, cleaning stuff, fajita kits, baked beans and more… Her groceries cost more than mine!! Still this should take the pressure off until she gets paid again, then she is on her own!
Anyone else have mixed emotions about their babies flying the nest?
When you are on a tight budget it can feel a bit grim and relentless sometimes. When I start to find the going tough, I give myself a boost with a small treat. This could take the form of a long hot bubble bath, a glass or two of icy white wine, a bunch of Aldi’s fabulously good value flowers, a proper home pedicure, maybe even a supermarket takeaway if I can run to it.
For people who go out to eat or to the pub often or who can afford a weekly visit to the beautician these might seem silly. To me they are things that I enjoy and have the power to give me a boost.
The point is that, whatever your budget will run to, it is important to have the occasional treat, even if it’s just a bar of Cadburys!
What’s your favourite affordable luxury?
I managed to make dinner in 5 minutes flat yesterday morning, and threw it in the slow cooker before I left for work. No fuss winter grub. This serves 5-6. All of the ingredients were from Aldi.
Pack of three frying steaks (you could use stewing steak but as it happened this was cheaper)
Medium onion, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
Tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 pint beef stock
Large handful of chopped mushrooms
Heaped teaspoon dried mixed herbs
Splash of Worcester sauce
Seasoning to taste
Chop it up and throw it on the slow cooker on medium for 6-8 hours. It was so easy and delicious, and the meat was really tender. We had some broccoli with ours.
I love my slow cooker! I frequently just tip it all in and rarely follow a recipe and it usually works perfectly.
What are you cooking in yours?
I love doing my food shop at Aldi. I can see why the discounters have got the big supermarkets running scared. I have shopped at my local one since it opened 4 years ago. To begin with it was very quiet; the car park was empty. People took a while to catch on. Then the recession hit and folk started to actively look at ways to save money. Now the car park is usually full, and I try to avoid going at the weekend as you can’t even get in unless you are there on the dot of 8 am.
I have heard all kinds of comments about Aldi that really quite annoy me. A Facebook friend suggested that only chavs and the great unwashed shopped there, but went a bit quiet when I told him that I rarely noticed this when I went in to do my weekly shop. I have since seen him in there!! A colleague’s wife said she wouldn’t be see dead in there in case people thought she was short of money. In my experience it is frequented by all sections of society and I have often seen brand new BMWs and Jaguars parked next to the old bangers like mine. Most sensible people enjoy a bargain!
For those who are on a low income, and for people who need to budget like myself, shops like Aldi, Lidl and now Kwiksave are an absolute Godsend. Yes, you have to change the way you shop and they may not sell absolutely everything you want. I have to go elsewhere for the Lactofree products I use and my gluten free flour. However, I find now that I plan my meals around what I know is likely to be in stock. I really enjoy the smallness of the stores and that I can get round and stick to my list in a very short time span without being distracted by clothes and household goods that I can’t afford and aren’t on my shopping list. I still manage to find some nice treats for us all – the chocolate and alcohol is excellent! The quality generally is brilliant; you just don’t have such a huge choice.
If you haven’t tried doing your main shop at a discount supermarket, then I urge you to do so. I estimate that I save around £30 a week by doing so. Not to be sniffed at! If you aren’t fortunate enough to have one locally then try the Value and Basics brands. If you read her blog you will see that a Girl called Jack practically lived on Sainsbury’s Basics and it doesn’t seem to have done her any harm….