I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a while, but was worried what type of boring old fart housewife you would all think I was. That and also the fact that i’m Northern Irish and we all MUST shop in M&S.
I truly believe that like most things, shopping is generational, although for me, for a good few years, I tended to shop like my Mum and not like my Grandad.
I will never ever forget when Lidl came to Banbridge. My grandad nearly passed out. He was the bargain shopping KING in our family.
Like, i’m talking it was tin food roulette in Granny and Grandads house. When you went to the back square larder to get beans for your toast…9 times out of 10 it would end up being peaches because he always bought the tins that were dented and had the labels missing.
Man, he embarrassed the life out of you when you went food shopping with him as a child…always the first place he looked was the yellow sticker reduced corner. If he found a tin that had a dent in it, you would have thought he was a looney asking for it to be reduced.
Actually this man, this man was a LEGEND.
We could all learn something from Tommy M.
When I gave up work a few years ago, I knew straight away that my food shopping habits HAD to change.
I was one of those afore mentioned M&S person, the premade dinners person, the posh deli person, the top brands only kinda person.
Looking back…what a complete and utter tube I was, really, I WASTED so much money.
You see what I didnt have back then was TIME. I bought all the ready meals and all the BRANDED stuff probably because I thought it was the best and I wanted my hubby and boys… to have the best.
Rubbish. Utter Rubbish. Right now I actually feel sick that I was such a brand snob.
So now i’m the money saving queen when it comes to food.
I know that there will be a variety of people reading this blog and life is very different for each of us, so I can only give you my advice on the way we work things at home. Feel free to get in touch if you’ve any questions or would like help to make things work for you!
Some of my Top tips:
- Please shop in Lidl (or if you are lucky enough Aldi). I don’t know about you..but if you go to Spain on holidays you’ll nearly pee your pants when you find one..you will..you know it and I know it. So my tip for you is… When you are doing your weekly food shop in Lidl, just pretend you are on holidays….its becomes much more fun(sunglasses and flipflops optional).
- It can take a while to find the products you love when moving to lidl/aldi. You are not always going to love everything, and you also might not like something but the rest of the family will love it…so involve everyone in the new buys. My hubby likes the freeway diet cola, whereas i’m still a diet coke girl! So give it a few weeks till you find your flow. I still shop in tesco/asda because there are items that I can’t live without.
- For people that work Full time, my advice is to do your big shopping online, once a month or every fortnight. I also would look at signing up to the tesco delivery saver (£7 a month) and i’m sure asda has this option too. Another tip is to look at both the online supermarkets to see where has your favourite branded products on offer (secret tip is when a favourite brand goes off offer in one supermarket, it will go on in another).
- I’ve said it before and will keep saying it, but BATCH COOKING, for your main evening meals. Not only does it save money, but saves time and stress and that can be nearly as important as money these days. I’ve written a blog on some of my favourite batch recipes here. Yes it does mean for a 4 week stretch you eat the same foods, but keep a Saturday/Sunday free that you can change things up a bit! Also if you do fancy a change one night….the foods in the freezer, so it will do again!!
- I do buy most of my fresh produce (vegetables and meat) from Lidl, but your local vegetable shop and butcher should not be overlooked either. At the moment Im using a local butchers in Banbridge called AJs (Ballygowan rd) for my big box of chicken fillets (18 for £20) and so far the chicken has been excellent. Opposite AJs is a lovely little vegetable shop, and for seasonal fresh fruit and vegs, it cant be beaten on taste and price!
- Shopping seasonally is another great tip for fruit and vegetables, winter can be expensive months for eating healthily, but now is the season of soft fruits and salads…and the cheapest way to have salads is to GROW YOUR OWN. Now I’m going to hold my hands up and say i haven’t put vegetable beds in our new house YET, but we have wind issues, i’m trying my best to talk the hubby into a greenhouse…wish me luck! Lettuce, herbs, scallions, radishes, tomatoes, new potatoes do grow well in pots….why don’t you give it a go, (i’m laughing as i type this next bit, but Lidl are actually giving away free seed pots at the minute..so you could try this for free…i PROMISE this is in no way endorsed by Lidl, but if you’re listening Lidi get in touch!!)
- Try to change from “branded” products. Listen, if someone a few years ago had of taken my Robinsons orange/pineapple diluting juice from me, I would have laughed in their face….but now I’ll only use the Asda version…at £1 compared to £3, you are a fool drinking it! OR if you had of taken my Twinnings everyday tea from me, I literally wouldn’t have got up in the morning. Now I use the Lidl Fallon Gold tea bags and they are £1.15 compared with £3.50. Making these TWO swaps would save me about £70 a year….so that’s a new pair of saltwalters for mama bear right there, or if we are being really sensible 1.5 of diesel (i’m sticking with the saltwaters).
So those are a few of my tips. I know once I hit publish, i’ll think of more, but maybe reading this little blog will be more of an encouragement than anything to stop being so frivolous with hard earned money!
I think my grandad Tommy would be proud of me today!
Love Laura J (ps below is a list of my favourite Lidl purchases…some are pure steals!)