For The Love Of Aldi


For many many years in the lead up to Christmas, we buy a few extra food bits and pieces for the fast approaching festive season every week in an effort to spread the cost, but for some strange reason this year, we didn’t. It was pretty horrifying to have to do so much damage to our finances in one go, so we headed off to Aldi in an effort to curb our spending and save a few pennies and I was so pleased with our purchases we will definitely be heading there again next year.

Now my hubby is quite an indulgent spender with little thought for the consequences and this year he insisted on a goose, a duck and a turkey crown all of which we bought from Aldi and were as delicious as if they had been from M&S.

The basics also came up trumps with Maris Piper potatoes at 29p per bag, we bought six and our carrots, parsnips and sprouts came from there too! Large boxes of stuffing for 37p mixed up with our sausagement (also Aldi) for our homemade stuffing balls tasted no different than when we have used Paxo in the past.


We also bought some budget busting treats, like a box of 18 Macaroons above (frozen section) for £2.99 – a real steal when I pay £1.75 for just one in Lauderee whenever I visit London. They may be a little bit smaller but honestly tasted no different and the Chocolate melt in the middle pudding bought for those that don’t like Christmas Pud went down a treat and was utterly delicious and would of passed as Marks any day of the week. Sadly it disappeared before I got chance to take a picture so I grabbed one from the Aldi website so you know what to look out for next year!

So all in all Aldi was the place to be this Christmas and with a overflowing shopping trolley coming in at £133, our food shop wasn’t quite as painful as I thought it would be!

How did you cut food costs this Christmas?

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Christmas Food On A Budget

£2.66 Christmas dinner served up

I haven’t done much of my Christmas food shopping as yet. All the fresh stuff is left as late as possible and I like to have time to gather as much information as possible as to where the best deals and cheapest products are.  Luckily this year that was all done for me, as I was sitting doing some online food shopping the other day, there was a feature on This Morning with all the information I could possibly need.

Now I know that traipsing to different supermarkets can be a bit of a pain but it is the only way to get the best prices and well worth the planning. You may not wish to visit them all on the same day, maybe choose one that stocks the products you can freeze first followed by those that have the cheapest fresh food nearer to the day.

So if you missed it, here is the list of the best priced food according to This Morning which focused heavily on luxury products:-


Large beef roasting joint was £11.00 – now £5.00
1kg Salmon was £24.00 – now £12.00
Seven cheese selection pack, serves 19, was £8.00 – now £4.00


M Signature fruit stuffing parcels, 6 pack £2.99
Chocolate choux crown £3.00
Shellfish platter £5.99
Large fruit panettone £2.00


Prosecco Magnum, serves 12, was £19.50 – now £14.50
Large smoked gammon joint, serves 4, was £6 – now £3.00
Blanc de Blancs champagne £22.50
Taste the Difference mulled wine £6
Fox’s Fabulously Biscuit Selection 600g was £6 – now £4 until 1 January
Cognac laced christmas pudding, serves 8, was £12.00 – now £6.00


Pierre Darcys Champagne was £24.25, now £10.00
Special bucks fizz smoked salmon, serves 2 , £3.00


Vintage manx christmas pudding £12.99
Specially Selected serrano ham leg £34.99
Specially Selected wild lobster tails with garlic butter £9.99
Whole salami with cutting board £3.99


Whole cooked canadian lobster, serves 2, £5.00
Winter berry glistening gateau £4.00
Whole cooked canadian lobster £5.00
Apple and red cabbage £1.00


Vintage Arestel cava brut £4.99

Whole self-basting turkey with giblets £9.99, Serves 4-8

Brandy butter 200g – deluxe brandy butter £1.59
Allini prosecco de spumante £4.99
Favorina panettone classico £3.99
Pack of 6 oysters £2.79

Deluxe christmas chutneys £1.29 each

The Good Housekeeping Cost of Christmas Survey also features some great prices and show’s that Christmas dinner can actually be served for just £2.66 per head which is actually less than in 2013 due to the battle between retailers and traditional supermarkets. Research found that the cost of feeding eight on Christmas Day could be as little as £21.31 which is the third cheapest basket since the survey began in 2009.

A like-for-like comparison across all 10 leading supermarkets found Iceland was the cheapest, with dinner for eight people costing £27.84, including fresh vegetables.

Fellow discounter and last year’s winner Lidl came second at £28.13, followed by Morrisons (£29.12) and Aldi (£32.06).

Good Housekeeping consumer director Caroline Bloor said: “It’s a constant struggle for many to keep family food bills under control, but the current battle between the traditional supermarkets and the discounters is pulling prices down for everyone – and will continue to do so.

“Even at the most expensive supermarkets there are still bargains to be found, for example Waitrose’s Christmas cake is 49p cheaper than Aldi’s and the cost of potatoes and carrots is broadly the same across all retailers.

The Good Housekeeping £2.66 Christmas dinner ingredients across all supermarkets are:

Turkey: Lidl Braemoor (£9.99);

Potatoes: The Co-operative Maris Piper 1.5kg (£1.50);

Sage and onion stuffing: Morrisons, Asda, Tesco 2x85g (30p);

Sprouts: Aldi 750g (49p);

Carrots: Aldi 1.2kg (49p);

Parsnips: Tesco 750g (90p);

Cranberry sauce: Tesco Everyday Value 185g (50p);

Christmas pudding: Sainsbury’s Basics 2x454g (£2);

Brandy butter: Aldi, Lidl 200g (£1.49);

Mince pies: Sainsbury’s Basics Mince Puffs x 8 (65p);

Christmas cake: Large Iced Fruit Bar 800g (£3).

Will you be shopping around for your festive fayre this year or sticking with just one supermarket?




I haven’t blogged in such a long time it took me ages to remember my log in details! I’ve still been living as frugally as possibly but allowing myself some of life’s little luxuries when there is a bargain to be had!



As Christmas draws ever closer, I have finally made a start on the wrapping. I bought all my paper and some of my special cards in the M&S sale just before Christmas last year. I am also in love with anything White Company so bought some white and silver baubles in the sale at the same time in an effort to create a WC looking tree but hubby says it looks “Corporate” which is somewhat annoying. What does he know anyway!

I use recycled ribbon on parcels for close family i.e. the ones I will be with when they open their pressies so that I can be screwed up paper collector and grab back the various sizes and colours of ribbon to use all over again next year.

Flowers and shoes are two of my favourite things and in winter there are no particular flowers that fit a seasonal brief so I was happy to pick up these pink roses for 75p in my local Co-op and I had been after the perfect pair of black court shoes with a slightly pointed toe and not to higher heel for a while now and was happy to score these brand new Hobbs beauties for £15 on ebay last week.

I also managed to score some free stuff from a close friends daughter who has a one year old baby girl and sorted out a bag of clothes for my daughters baby and lovely baby walker, all immaculate condition and will come in really useful if only to keep at mine for when I am on babysitting duty!

I’m off out for the day tomorrow and although I dread the idea of spending money on a day out in London, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and have an enjoyable day with a spot of yummy lunch. It will also be a good time to make use of my Starbucks gift card on a delicious seasonal red cup – I can’t wait!


Frugal Present Wrapping


Buying gifts can be expensive at the best of times.  There have been many an occasion where I actually dread having to not only buy the gift, but then there is the cost of the card and of course, the obligatory gift bag or wrapping paper and tag.

Last week I had to buy a gift for a new baby boy and was pretty chuffed to pick up a pack of two sheets of paper and two gift tags for just 80p in Morrisons (not to mention the cutest little slogan all-in-one in Debenhams reduced to just £2.40!) but for other celebrations like birthdays, I try and keep a roll of wrapping paper in the house as I find this works out cheaper and you seem to have less waste, just being able to cut off the correct size for your gift and no minuscule bits of wrapping paper laying around that will never get used.


I buy a roll that is pretty universal in design, something that will work for all occasions and both genders and when it comes to tags, I pick up a pack of luggage tags for £1 in the local Post Office which I not only use on my suitcase when I go on holiday, but yes you’ve guessed it, I also use them as tags for gifts.


You can buy the classic buff coloured ones or the primary colours which work really well with my balloon themed paper  and use them for Christmas wrapping as well. Its a pretty fashionable way to address things at present and they are all the rage at weddings for either favours or place settings and will be sure to save you a few pennies in the long run.


Iced Latte


I find it really difficult to walk past a coffee shop and not pick up an Iced Latte of some description when the sun is shining.  Obviously they aren’t cheap and are full of sugary syrup which is not only high in calories but also really bad for you.


For some reason I find them very thirst quenching when a cup of tea just won’t do. So with the use of some instant coffee, cold milk, sugar and ice cubes, I am now making my own for a fraction of the cost by dissolving a large teaspoon of coffee and sugar to taste in a very small amount of boiling hot water. Topping up with semi skimmed milk and some ice cubes.




Ice, Ice Baby!



Last weekend when it was really hot and sunny (no luck this past weekend sadly) I was desperate for an ice cold drink but had no ice.  We don’t seem to have ice cube trays any more and I certainly didn’t want to go to the supermarket and buy any, they had probably sold out anyway so there was only one thing to do – improvise!



A quick scout around the kitchen and it wasn’t long before I had transferred the eggs from their box into a wicker basket, cut the box in two, washed up the side I wanted to use and discarded the other, filled each little egg shape with water and popped it into the freezer!

It didn’t take long and before I knew it I had ice cubes! Not the traditional shaped ones admittedly but what the heck! I continued to churn out ice cubes every few hours and transfer into carrier bags which I placed in the outside freezer ensuring I have plenty of ice ready and waiting for a heatwave or a bottle of Aldi’s version of Pimms which is just as good as the real thing!


[Free Stuff] How About A New Boiler?


Sound too good  to be true, read on as you may just qualify!

It’s not great being in the financial position where you actually qualify for something free and although I scrimp and scrape so that the kids don’t go without and that we can sometimes have an annual holiday in the sun and afford other  luxuries,  the fact of the matter is, we did qualify for a new boiler under a government backed scheme.

I’m sure you, the same as us, have seen the Help-Link television advert and after a very costly repair to our  blown up boiler on New Years Day  2012, we knew that we were running  the gauntlet  with our engineer telling us upon repair that he  had no idea how long it would last so the advert for “affordable warmth” led us to investigate further,  as the boiler was making the most terrible noise which was actually scaring the life out of me every time  a tap turned on!

As one of the benefits we are in receipt of appeared to allow  us to qualify, we made an enquiry which in turn led to a visit from someone from  the company who assessed the house.  The chap was here for hours, measuring up,  checking all the radiators, then going through our paperwork as you have to supply evidence for the benefit you claim etc and a few weeks later we got a call to say we had been approved and our new boiler would be fitted within the next couple of weeks.

It hasn’t been in long enough for me to report any changes in our gas usage although I have been assured that how the new boiler works will save money in the long run.

How can anybody just give out new boilers worth £2,500 you may ask, well naturally I picked the brains of the workmen involved and it turns out the gas and electricity companies were told by the government that they would have to pay millions in penalties or put money into a scheme  such as Help-Link which is actually cheaper for them, so it is classed as a government backed  scheme.

If you don’t qualify for a grant you can spread the cost of a new boiler by paying monthly, have a look on the website to find out all the details here.

My brother didn’t qualify but managed to replace their boiler by applying for a council grant and my sister in laws sister (that’s a mouth full) obtained a council grant to replace her  windows.  There will be certain conditions with a council  grant, maybe age of property and it may cover only essential repairs and will have to be repaid if you sell the house within a certain term, but if you need urgent works that you can’t afford, give your local council a ring to find out if they can help.



A Not So Frugal Half Term

Its official, I hate half term and not for the reasons you may think. Oh no I have never been one of “those” mums who can’t wait to get the kids back to school, mine never drive me round  the twist really and I enjoy their company, but having the kids off school does come at a price when you are trying to be frugal.

Sure you can search the internet to find free stuff for kids and I have done free entry museums, kids go for £1 train fares, picnics in the park but nothing is ever really free when you think about the cost of travelling to your chosen destination and buying something to eat whilst your out.  As your children become older, like mine,  a sandwich in the car doesn’t exactly cut the mustard, they are more interested in Nando’s or Wagamamas before or after the cinema visit if I’m honest and considering we really don’t do much all year except our annual holiday, I can’t not offer a couple of days out and therefore find myself having spent £60 this week. Ouch.

Yes it feels painful to write it down and I was actually really shocked by the fact I put £100 in my purse and now find myself with only £40 left to go back in the bank/holiday/contingency funds. The worst part about it is remembering where it all went, I know how much a few things cost, like the £10 that went on petrol and £35 on food out for 2 days, as for the other £15? A coffee in Nero’s for £2.50 that still leaves £12.50 unaccounted for, even after emptying my purse and handbag for receipts of any description!


The only saving grace of the two days out was popping in to a Department store whilst the kids were in the cinema and getting a sample of a Mac face and body foundation I have heard great things about but that I would never buy at full price (who knew Mac decant product for you into a little sample pot) and a perfume sample of Victor and Rolf Flower Bomb perfume which I love. I can never walk past a beauty counter without trying to snag a freebie, it’s all about “luxe for less” after all!

Roll on summer and picnics at the beach, although we have Easter to contend with first! 

How are you finding half term? Spent more than you accounted for?


[Money) A Funny Old Week

Lots of no spend days last week,  in fact although I moaned about my friend saying she would meet me for an all day breakfast at £4.95 with cup of tea included, it turned out to be the only day I actually spent any money!

Mon – No spend.

Tuesday – No spend.

Wednesday – Bus Fare £4, Blow Dry with Junior Training £5, All Day Breakfast £4.95.  Total £13.95.

Thursday – No spend.

Friday – No spend. We don’t do Valentines in this house.

Saturday – No spend.

Sunday – No spend.

Another funny old week of no late night Supermarket bargain hunting and no cheap flowers bought at all last week but I did have a bunch bought by a friend so that saved even more money, thank you S!

I find the easiest way to achieve lots of no spend days is to steer completely clear of the shops!  Once in town and it becomes a different story, I pop into Boots to look on their clearance shelf, I look at clothes, always on the hunt for a bargain, I’m tempted by coffee shops and caramel latte’s so by keeping away from the town centre definitely works for me.  How do you manage to achieve your no spend days and do you have to keep away from the shops to achieve them?



[Money] Frugal Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week


Using up leftovers from the Lamb  joint to make curry. Yummy.

Getting a Blow Dry for £5 from a junior overseen by a senior stylist at my regular salon.

Meeting friends for lunch.  I thought I was just going to her house but received a  text saying she would meet me at a local pub for an all day breakfast for £4.95 which includes tea or coffee and finished off by using the word “bargain”.  I wasn’t happy initially as I had just paid £5 for my hair and £4 for my bus fare that day but reluctantly went to the cashpoint and withdrew another £10, so mixed emotions really although it  made a nice change and was a very good breakfast.



Free perfume samples.  These always come in handy. I pop them in my bag, ideal for freshening up if you are out and don’t want to carry a bottle of scent, plus it’s a great way to try fragrances you may not have had before.

A friend arriving with tulips.  I love tulips and is my first bunch this year.

Oh and you know the holiday I told you about in my last post, well it turns out hubby used some of our Avios points and got £72 off our BA return journey which only cost us £63 in total to get home in addition to our £32.99 each to fly out! Funny how he forgot to tell me about this and I know we have to wait until the end of August for our getaway but with this awful weather, all I can think about is sunshine, beaches and laying round the pool!

Have a safe weekend and I hope you haven’t been too badly affected by our adverse weather  conditions.  I really wish me and the kids were going somewhere warm for half term but sadly not!