Over the course of the last six months of doing my other blog '365 Days - £365' it's reinforced my absolute belief that shopping wisely, knowing what's in your cupboards and freezers, knowing what's in season and thus much, much cheaper in the shops and thinking ahead of going shopping either by writing a shopping list or, if you can, I can't ..... just committing to memory what you need, and then shopping just for that and not what the supermarket has bought in bulk and decided that you will buy off them, by pushing it in your face so much you do almost without thinking, it is still possible to keep your food budget right down.
Using vouchers wisely, here I had a £5 off a £25 spend in M&S, combined with a £15 voucher obtained by using my credit card for other purchases (it's always paid off in full when the statement comes in, no interest payments for me). This gave me a total of twenty pounds worth of 'free food'.
You need to keep an eye on the date a voucher is up, I took this to the wire and used it on it's last valid day. As I didn't need lots of things, I used it to stock up on some storecupboard items that I would be needing soon.
We get lots of these when we shop at Sainsbugs, the machine next to the till churns them out like a maniac and it's always interesting to see what it thinks you will need to be buying next time. I rifle through them as soon as I get them and throw away any that I obviously will not use.... or not want to be tempted to use while I'm in the shop next time.
When I get home I see if I need to restock on any of the things on the other coupons. While I was doing my challenge I tended to use these to buy things for the Foodbank trolley that is positioned in our nearest large branch of Sainsbugs. Just because I didn't need the food (or couldn't afford the food) didn't mean that all the coupons went straight in the bin. I've noticed that recently some people are just putting their coupons into the trolley for the Foodbank. I'm not sure if they are able to make use of these but it's better than just putting them in the bin, so I will do this in future.
In my purse at the moment I have these and the ones in the picture above. So before I go shopping in a while I will be checking through my cupboards and seeing if there is anything I need, if not I will be Foodbank shopping today, while I get the things that I do know I need and using all these vouchers to add to my points total.
I have got in the habit of writing myself a shopping list with the coupon requirements on one side and other things I need to buy on the other. It saves having to get the coupons out over and over to make sure I am buying the right things at just the right price to take advantage of them. or even worse getting to the till and finding out I have made a mistake by not quite reaching the required threshold.
Supermarket shopping takes time and a lot of mathematical skill these days. But if we take our time and shop wisely we can use what the supermarkets are trying to bamboozle us with to our best advantage. And at the end of the day you don't have to spend coupons, sometimes I stand and decided that no I am not going to actually buy what is on the coupon because it is actually a bad offer compared to something else that is nearby.
And I apologise to my brother now ..... he doesn't really like my shopping and foodie posts, and now the other Blog is over and done with they will be appearing with a little bit more regularity on here.
Sorry Graham ... but I hope you picked up a tip or two, if you managed to read all the way to the bottom ;-)