Friday, 24 October 2014

‘How has being a savvy shopper changed my life’

When I first married I lived in a row of semi-detached Victorian cottages built in the 1660s for the workers of Queen Elizabeth I Palace in Enfield. The cottages had names like ‘Rose Cottage and ‘Abesynia Cottage but ours was ‘Frugal Cottage’!

I was not always frugal however being a young married couple we had to learn to make ends meet and make do and mend and the name of our house was always at the back of my mind!

Over the years we got out of the strict regime that we had set for ourselves, the arrival of children and holidays in the USA taking up most of my brain space.

Due to two years off work money was quite tight, no choice of whether to be a savvy shopper or not. I did not see eating cheap quality food from frozen food stores being an alternative, we both love food and I love cooking.

I made it my goal to provide Mr R with a nutritious and tasty meal each evening and to cook something special on the weekends.

I would plan my meals around what was in the freezer, cupboard and would visit my local Tesco late each day to see what was reduced in price. At the end of the day the price would be 10% of the original, allowing me to buy food for a few days at a fraction of the cost.

During that time I started blogging and was asked if I would like to receive cheese, meat, sauces, pasta and much more to cook and review on the blog. This helped to supplement our shopping bill.

I also became expert at money off vouchers. A voucher offering  £8.00 off a £40.00 spend would makes me pick offers that I could cook immediately, freeze or store so that the actual value of my shopping bill would, with planning come to £45.00-£48.00 but only cost £32.00!

We have a local allotment and Mr R and I grow much of our fresh vegetables to supplement our shopping bill. Last year we cultivated 1/3 of the plot growing most of our vegetables for the summer and early autumn with preserving and freezing keeping us going for some time. Limnited variety but fantastic quality. That first year we had over 15 kg of fresh blackberries which we used in pies, puddings, jams and chutneys. This year we cultivated another 1/3 of the plot giving a  more varied assortment of vegetables and fruit for our diet that was virtually free.

Recycle glass jars for jams and chutneys and forage outside for sloes for sloe gin and elderflowers for cordials making fantastic presents for everyone.

Pressure is somewhat lifted now that I am in a full time job. I love the ‘hunt for bargains’ and being inventive with recipes and meals realising that being a savvy shopper has now become a hobby as well as a way of life.

This post is in response to Savoo and their Savvy Shopper competition.  All opinions are my own.

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