Happy 2019 to you! Pictured above is the ancient fire festival of The Burning of the Clavie that takes place on the old new year, 11th January, at Burghead in Scotland. May this year bring all that you want it to bring.
And if that’s saving a bit of money? One of the fastest ways to cut back on spending is taking control of your food budget.
It’s a bright and frosty morning today and we’ve been out and about getting some bargains. Tesco, as seen above, have reduced their basic festive veg (full size bags including potatoes) to 29p. That’s cauliflower, sprouts, parsnips, carrots and tatties. We now have to see if we can fit them all in the fridge!
A staff member at Aldi confirmed that, unusually for a supermarket, the best time to get their marked down veg is first thing in the morning as it’s done the night before. Some Christmas tree shaped pretzels from Aldi:
Christmas Eve is a good time to catch the biggest food mark downs from other supermarkets especially early evening. Roll on the 10p bread and more 25p meal ideas!
We love that Aldi do this; never seen it in Lidl! This morning we got organic broccoli and carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, leeks and bread all at half the, already cheap, price. Making more 25p meals possible!
It’s hot. It was hot at 8am this morning, properly hot, here in Scotland as we sat on the bench above and drank our tea. We hope you’re getting a chance to do cooling things like paddling in the sea and/or eating ice lollies.
This is not so much a how-to post as an inspirational one. If you can get free pallets – and many companies are happy to give the old ones away rather than paying for disposal – there’s lots of things you can do with them!
Well there’s been lots of really cold weather here: ice, snow, driving winds, sleet, hail… you name it. But we’re cosy in front of the fire and looking forward to Spring and all the sunshine and wild foods it will bring!
We have a new post up, all about super-frugal meal making, in fact aiming for 25p per person for a good dinner. See it here: The 25p Meal.
We’re all appreciating our warm jumpers just now, including the ones we got for Christmas from Everything5Pounds. Amazing quality items there, and all for £5!
One of the cheapest ways to pare your food budget right back is to find out what time your local supermarket marks down its perishable products and do your shopping then. This makes possible what we call the 25p meal: feeding a family of four for £1, or under, all ingredients.
Cauliflower (25p) in a white sauce (milk/marg/flour/water totalling 20p), and 30p worth of leftover rice made into herby tomato rice by adding: 1 onion (7p, not marked down but really cheap in Lidl) a squirt of tomato puree (5p), dried herbs (5p) salt (2p).
Above was a nice meal based around getting an organic unsliced wholemeal loaf for 10p, and adding marg and garlic to make it into garlic bread. Cheap spaghetti (often around 20p for 500g in value ranges) mixed with a tin of kidney beans at 25p and marked down pepper and courgette, both 10p each. Salad was a 10p lettuce with a squirt of lemon juice. There was a LOT of garlic bread made with that one loaf!
A firm favourite now, actually considered a treat in this house, is the meal of pizza bagels, or pittas, or, as pictured below, pizza paninis. Made with 4 Paninis at 19p for 2, then with pizza sauce consisting of an onion fried in a tiny bit of oil, tomato puree, herbs and salt, totalling no more than 10p. They only need a few minutes in the oven or under the grill as the bread bases are already cooked. We paired them with a reduced salad bag at 10p, reduced hummus at 32p and a tub of pasta salad marked down to 26p. Over budget by 6p! If we’d used cheaper bread, such as one pack of bagels reduced to 20p, we would have been under.
It would be cheaper to use the pizzas as a side to homemade soup (see our many soup recipes). Of course, you can add any topping you like to these, but the sauce is delicious in itself.
This next one pushes the budget again, though only by 10p, for a luxury breakfast! It’s porridge (20p worth value range oats) made with water, but with a huge box of blueberries (marked down to 75p) and half a bar of Lidl dark chocolate (bar is 30p, so 15p), smashed up. Yum.
Our local Tesco usually does a big mark down around 6pm. The one in the next town is a little later at 6.45pm and its prices go right down to 2p for many items. Asda starts much earlier in the day with its reductions. Martin Lewis wrote an article on the different supermarkets and their reduction times here.
Unless we’re going to use them that day, we tend to avoid ready chopped things which go off quickly. Whole vegetables and fruit will keep for a few days and bread will be good for a couple of days or can go straight in the freezer. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve filled our freezer with 10p loaves and buns!
It can be fun to use your imagination and ingenuity to make best use of what’s available on any given day in the reduced section. Please feel free to share your ideas and successes in the comments below 🙂
Ailish Sinclair‘s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, and featuring the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, is out Autumn 2019. On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.
Seriously, centuries of Scots are not wrong: this is one of the cheapest and most fortifying meals ever.
Most supermarkets do porridge oats in their value range too.
For one person: Place 50g/half a cup of porridge oats in a small pan. Add 300ml/1and a half cups of liquid. This could be milk of your choosing, or water, or a mix of both. We like to use half soya milk and half water.
Bring to the boil, stirring frequently because porridge does like to stick to the pan, then turn down to simmer for 4 or 5 minutes until thickened, still stirring.
Pour into a bowl and eat.
Toppings. Some days we like a chocolate swirl (choc shot), other times we go for a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and raisins. Some like jam. You could use fresh berries. Blueberries go particularly well with the chocolate swirl!
We recall grandparents having their porridge made with just water and seasoned with salt which is undoubtedly the most frugal way to take it but… *shudder*
You could even sprinkle one compartment of a graze box (first one free) onto it!