Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Cheapskate’s guide to weekly household shopping

Food and household goods are usually at the bottom of everyone’s calculations when trying to work out a budget. However, it’s surely the most important bit; if the fridge is empty in my house it’s the first thing everyone makes a noise about.

I’m not suggesting you ignore other commitments in favour of buying food, just that there are ways of saving huge amounts of money on your weekly shop.

My top tips:

•  Before making your shopping list (a money saving must!) always check what’s in your cupboard, fridge and freezer. If you have a packet of mince, for example, buy the ingredients you need to make this into a meal. DON’T buy more mince!

•  Forget that shopping snobbery – you can’t afford it. Go to Lidl, Kwiksave and Asda their own brands on basic goods can cost anything from half to a third less than those of the more upmarket supermarkets.

•  Shopping may take longer as you hunt for bargains – factor this in – you may have to shop twice.

•  Buy your basics in the cheaper shops ie: tinned tomatoes, rice, pasta etc.

•  If you really can’t live without your favourite coffee/shower gel etc then always look for ‘BOGOF’ deals.

•  Do what our predecessors turned into an art form – cut coupons! Get together with others and collect every single coupon you see. Even if it’s for dog food and you don’t own a dog, your coupon buddies might have a mutt and would gladly trade you a coupon for something you do use.

•  Spices and herbs keep forever but when you do have to buy them they are pricey! ESK in Hastings town centre sell enormous quantities at very reasonable prices. If you don’t need loads ask a friend to buy it with you – why not?

•  If you want organic… then the cheapest places to shop are Asda followed by Tesco.

•  Vegetarians look away now… Aesthetically I know fresh meat is more appealing but buying frozen is far cheaper. Not as ‘pretty’ (?) but there you go, I’m trying to save you money here!! This does call for a little more planning. Make sure you take meat out in time to defrost thoroughly otherwise you’ll be running off down to the kebab shop for dinner. NOT CHEAP!

•  Vegetarians come back… Ok, I know it’s wonderful to buy fruit and vegetables from posh looking stores with wonderfully colourful displays – I too have been seduced by these gorgeous places. However much of Lidl’s fresh produce is Class 1 and therefore as good as any you will find elsewhere. Bananas, pears etc may need time to ripen but will save you up to a third in cost.

•  Golden rule: Do not let anything go to waste. If it looks like you’re not going to be able to use something up then freeze it. Bread, cakes, milk even cheese can be frozen.

•  Finally… Make soup. Even if the veg at the bottom of the fridge drawer looks like a monster from the deep it will be fine in soup – believe me – I’m not dead yet!

If you have any money saving tips you would like to share then please feel free to email or leave a comment on my other blog, Chasing Her Tale.

Next time I will be cutting the cost on that famous money-pit otherwise known as The Children’s Birthday Party!


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Posted 18:58 Monday, Mar 19, 2012 In: Cheapskate

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