Having decided that the T-Challenge is going to happen in May, I went there on Thursday after the YFG's piano lesson with the intention of picking up the fruit and veg we needed to keep us going over the weekend, and using up a couple of vouchers I had before May.
I am sitting here with the receipt on my lap, and I thought I would share some of our shopping strategies, which I am sure that many of you already use, but might be useful for one or two people, I hope.
We shop for two reasons - the first is for fresh items: fruit and veg, cheese, probiotic drinks for the FH, and some cold meats. The second is to re-stock the pantry and the freezer with items that are on sale, or at a very good price which I think may not last!
Let's introduce some codes here or I am going to be typing out the same thing again and again:
TV = Tesco Value, T = Tesco Own Brand
T Honey-Nut cornflakes (to restock - cheaper than the branded, and the best value size was purchased by comparing the cost per 100g on the shelf labels)
Almond Slices by that famous Baker, Mr K - there were four packets of these at less than half price because that day was their "best before" date - but we know that they are still perfectly edible. I bought these to take to the Craft Club at the chapel because I hadn't had time to make any cakes.
Wholebake Bar - these are the ones I am going to buy in bulk from the manufacturer in future.
Bagels - a branded pack at less that half the RRP because they were also going to pass the use-by. For the EFG.
T Meat - mince, chicken livers, gammon - all at good prices and bought because we have run out in the freezer. I bought two packs of chicken livers because they are cheap at 99p a pack and the shops in this area rarely seem to stock them. See them, buy them here!
White sliced loaf - T a reduced white loaf for the YFG's sandwiches. My breadmakers are both to pot and so at the moment I buy up whatever sliced loaves I find on the reduced stands, and hardly ever buy it full price.
TV Punched pockets 50 - for the EFG's coursework - 50 pockets for 55p. Can't complain.
Various fruit/veg items - apples, bananas, grapes, broccoli
T Cold meats - all the cold meats are bought on the offers where two packets purchased together make each individual packet cheaper. The girls enjoy sandwiches and bagels for school each day so two packs are easily used up in a week.
T Lever arch files - I found three very fancy lever arch files in a clearance bin for £1 each. I know that they had been over £3 each when they came in to the store and I had liked them! We use a lot of folders and files here for school and coursework, so they are now stashed away ready for use when one of us needs an extra file. They may also get used as gifts as they are so nice.
Shampoo - the EFG has a taste for expensive shampoo and she found one of her favourite brands on offer at £3.79 a bottle or £4 for two bottles. Still more than I want to pay for shampoo so she makes a contribution, but we buy the shampoo!
TV Corned beef - prices for this have varied so much lately and branded CB is over £2 a tin, and TV was £1.80odd until recently. Since it has dropped to £1.54 a tin, I buy a tin or two each time I shop and now have quite a few in the store cupboard. This is a good protein, easily stored with a long shelf life and there is a lot that can be done to make varied meals once the tin is opened so it is no ill store, as Mum would have said!
Ketchup - the branded stuff, I'm afraid! Again, this is often on offer, so I bought two £2.19 packs for £3 and into the stores it went.
TV Pasta sauce - the family like this on pasta (!) for a quick and easy meal, sometimes with some veg and some cheese, sometimes just on its own, or with some tuna added. Based on the recent experiences with the other TV sauces going up to 79p, I am buying this whilst it is available at 39p because I know it will get eaten and they like it. I have got 6 jars now, so will probably stop.
T Polo shirts - the YFG is now in summer uniform and needed a couple of new polo shirts for school so we found some in the shop, cheap at £2.50 each and well enough made to last a growing teenager until she grows out of them!
The benefit of this kind of shopping is that I stock up on sales and opportunities so that I can keep my store cupboards full and my freezers well stocked. Then my meal planning happens based on what I have found on good deals and stashed away, and not on what I am tempted by in the shops. It certainly helps with our budget, but I know that other people do it differently - each to their own as long as we try to keep out of debt, eh?!