Frugal Fridays #17: Grocery shopping tip

No matter how much I squeezed it, the five pound note in my purse was only going to stretch so far. I did the normal scramble around my room in search of loose change, but as I’m always prudent with my money, this only yielded 20p. Then, I remembered Belle, of Beauty and the Beast fame.

In our first semester in this house, contributions were added to the Belle-shaped moneybox to purchase household items. Now we have a new system whereby each of us is responsible for a different item. My job, for example, is to maintain supplies of washing up liquid and sponges.

“Is there any money left in Belle?” I asked my house mate.

“No idea, no one’s checked for ages,” said she. “Have a look.”

The content of the moneybox was £1.20, all in silver and copper coins.

“Oh, that’s not real money.” The housemate said with a sigh.

“Do you mind if I have it then?”

Yes, it was cheeky, but if you don’t ask than you don’t get. And I do assist the household by buying washing up supplies. So my budget for my food shop soared to £6.40! I spent a grand total of £6.23 in the end and here’s what I got:


I went into Sainsbury’s armed with a list, like I normally do. Next to each item is the corresponding price. That way, I have a rough idea of how much my grocery bill will be. But this trip, each time I made a saving on an item, I made a note of it. For example, I had written down 20p for onions, but they only came to 12p – 8p saved. They totted up as I was going round the shop. I had 90p allocated to buy butter, so when I saw the reduced posh Lurpak butter for 99p, I knew I could afford it because of the savings I made elsewhere. I’m sure most of you shop in this manner already, but it really did help me to stick to my budget, so I thought I’d share my new found knowledge.

It felt very satisfactory knowing that I was getting the most from each penny. Even the kind checkout lady commented on the amount of products I had managed to buy. It did feel good carrying home my heavy shopping bags, filled with my lovely bargains. I do believe I’ve caught the frugal living bug good and proper.


7 thoughts on “Frugal Fridays #17: Grocery shopping tip

  1. An excellent shop.

    At first I thought you might have got better value by buying the cheap rice and adding your own veggies and a stock cube to it, although the rice would have lasted you longer, as one kilo is just 40p it would only have saved you pennies overall, and by doing it this way you have a convenient and tasty product already mixed in the packet, AND of course your main concern was getting the best value for the money you had in your hand at the time …. which you did amazingly well.

    The downside to watching your pennies is that there aren’t any lurking around the place are they, as you found out today 🙂

  2. Well done you. I am proud of you.
    I am a child of the the late 40’s and grew up with a Mum who knew how to make her limited house keeping money go round as when it was gone it was gone and there was no more, and it certainly rubbed off on me. As a young bride every penny counted, mortgage and utility bills first and food came in last so Mum’s hints and tips came in very handy. My Mum used to give me the chicken carcass after their Sunday lunch and I could make a curry and soup from just the scraps to last 2 days.

    I live in Western Australia (the last 34 years) and am now retired and have watched the cost of living rise sky high here, in fact one of the highest in the world. The days of a REAL bargain in the shops is a thing of the past and so my knowledge of frugal ways comes into play once again. We manage very well while I watch others around me struggle when I know they don’t have to. One of the things that upsets me is to see young folk here on very high wages just squandering their money each week, eating out all the time and very rarely bothering to shop and cook. If hard times come they will have no stored knowledge of how to manage on less to fall back on.
    Please don’t think I am a miserable old miser, I am a Pom through and through and find a funny side to everything. I enjoy doing what I do and just yesterday I overheard my Husband talking with friends about how much they earned during their working life. We have a lovely home, owned outright, and a comment was made that we must have been high wage earners. My husbands voice came through loud and clear – no, he said, we have never earned a lot of money, my dear wife has always been such a good manager and the credit goes to her. I felt so proud and the looks on our friends faces was a picture. One commented that I should start a blog !!!
    Back to you dear Storyteller. Please keep up the good work, it will all pay off in the long run. There is nothing so rewarding than living in retirement with no debt. Frugalness starts when you are young and you would be my star pupil.

    • I can’t tell you how much this comment means to me, thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. I agree that so many young people don’t have the knowledge to sustain their spending at the rate they do. I feel they come back to earth with a bump in the not-to-distant future. I do think about long-term goals when I’m trying to be thrifty. Owning my own home is a big goal of mine, your lifestyle is an inspiration. Thank you for your kind words, I shall strive to do you proud!

  3. Hi Rebecca,
    you did really well with your £5.00. My first reaction too would have been to buy a bag of rice and do your own, but I totally understand why you bought the packets of rice. I do the same with flavoured cous cous as it is only me that eats it. What I do though, is to stretch the flavour slightly by ‘diluting’ the packet contents with some plain (cheap) basics cous cous, which stretches it a bit more. This may be an idea if you have a spare 40p one week to buy some basics rice? Good luck to you, we are still stretching things a bit here this week, as major work to be done on the motorhome this week. X

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