Tag Archives: groceries

grocery shopping basket

4 Oct

london 11.09am 14.7C sunny wednesday 2017 pimlico library

i am reading the free metro newspaper that i got from the bus, and i see a report that grocery basket up £1.80 on last year. it was done by my supermarket, a website, surveying 35 popular items , it cost £84.90 last month, 3p less than the month before (august), but £1.81 more than same time last year. i wonder what is in those 35 items. and how do they chose which price they buy at.

(my grocery bill last month was £40. of which £20 is for veg and meat).

for eg, i wanted to buy detergent for clothes. i bought 1litre ace brand for £2 from sainsburys.  but you can go real  high in price if u buy some branded stuff… as high as £7 or more.

i also bought a washing up liquid, 45p for 450ml from sainsburys from their basic range.  they all contain the same ingredients, that is the rather surprising aspect of these things. yet some brands charge like 4 times more. for eg, fairy liquid charges £1.65 for the same thing, same ingredient as the basic sainsburys washing up liquid that i bought. 

  • 15-30% Anionic Surfactants,
  • 5-15% Non-Ionic Surfactants,
  • Methylisothiazolinone,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Perfumes. fairy liquid

Our composition  Sainsbury’s basics washing up liquid contains amongst other ingredients:  5-15% Anionic Surfactant.  Less than 5% Non-Ionic Surfactant, Amphoteric Surfactant.  Also contains: Methylisothoazolinone, Benzisothiazolinone, Perfume.

just the proportions differ. i have used the basic and see no difference from fairy liquid. i dilute both by 10, and it cleans just as good. lathers just as much as each other.

the advert for fairy liquid plays on the comparison that it washes more dishes than its competitors. it might well be so, and it looks impressive when they line up all the dishes it washes against the competition. but in real life, people only wash a few dishes each time… and they will squirt out a huge dollop … so all that is wasted. people are not going to use it sparingly in proportion to the number of dishes. so a huge dollop is pushed out even if it is to wash a few dishes. 

added. i have since found poundland sells the same brand, ace, clothes detergent 700ml for £1. and that tesco actually has an offer now for that brand 1litre for £1.50. the internet does make it easier to spot the same brand being sold cheaper elsewhere. one thing though, the store might not have it in stock when u go there… it might be online on sale, but the store you chose to go to might not have it. as i have found when i went to the tesco in kennington… they dont have the ace brand on sale.

tesco have stopped stocking their basic brand, they called it biological concentreated laundry liquid, which i used to buy for £1.50 for 1 litre. i had a good look at their ingredients and i have noticed they are very similar to the washing up liquid. i wonder if they are the same, and that u can use washing up liquid as a clothes detergent! i think they are the same really, perhaps the detergent has got some bleach in them. i have a feeling they all use the same ingredients really. 



a friend of mine uses washing up liquid as a clothes detergent. he was the one who also made me aware that cold water can be used to wash dishes. no need to always use hot water. or rather, he made me remember what we did in malaysia. we always use cold water to wash dishes.

. i have since found out that u must use a teaspoon of washing up liquid for a small wash…dont use the same amount that u use with detergent,  because it produces a lot of bubbles.


just sunday outing

24 Jul

london 11.22pm 19.2C dry sunday 2016

i read somewhere that they have found that people who do things they like get to treat their depression as much as those who undergo cognitive behaviour therapy. one method is external, using the outside world to make a person less depressed, whilst the other method is internal changing the way the mind thinks and working from the inside out. i think i use both methods. i find things to enjoy even  though they might appear to be quite trivial;  whilst also controlling my mind to look at things in a positive way. 

i had an enjoyable time today going to the aldi in the old kent road to buy vegetables when i saw online that they are selling veg for 39p. it was quite a nice exercise to figure out the best way to get there. i finally decided to go for the number 36, to peckham, and from there the p12 to the aldi store. i got celery, nectarines,carrots,2cauliflowers, and courgettes all for 39p each. i wish i got the tomatoes too… even though they are rather small ones on the vine. anyway coming back it was a toss up which bus came first, if it is the p12, then i shall go back the way i came, but the 453 bus came first, so i took that to elephant and castle , got off there hoping to catch the c10, but from the timetable there was nothing arriving in less than 10mins, so i took the next bus which came along, the bus 12 as it happens, to westminster and then from there the bus 87 to the tate britain. i know it is rather a convoluted route, but it went quite smoothly because the connections came without much waiting time. i know all this is very trivial but it did give me rather a lot of pleasure. maybe the secret is to find pleasure in small things like this. i enjoy watching the world go by on top of the bus, and seeing people about me doing their thing. the day was rather cloudy and cool with a light breeze which added to the enjoyment as it was so pleasant and comfortable. 

on the old kent road i see lots of people wearing very colourful sunday best clothes. the costumes looks like what i see nigerians (in a documentary) wearing, very colourful matching dresses with headdresses, for the women, with some men wearing long gowns of plain white or light colours. i missed the chance of taking pictures of them, esp the women, because their costumes were so colourful and striking. 

daily life

18 Feb

london 5.07pm 7.7C sunny clear blue sky thursday 2016

its only become this nice weather a few hours ago. so we can see a nice sunset now and every thing looks lovely. i got the bus to cross the vauxhall bridge on my way to morrisons in camberwell to buy the chicken legs (5 in a pack)1.35kg they have on offer, reduced from £3.50 to £2.

and got a nice view of the setting sun and river views (its at low tide) when i re -crossed it on the way back. one lady along the route came aboard carry a large pile of the free newspapers, evening standard to put on the bus. i was right glad she did, i took one and thanked her when she came to sit next to me at the front of the bus.  but she said the bus driver dont like it, as he says people take it and throw it on the floor and litter his bus. haha.

i can understand why the bus driver might object, because it was quite a big pile, and even though i took two, one to leave in the hallway of my block for the other residents, i could see a newspaper on the ground when i left the bus. some one had dropped it on the floor. people can be bastards sometimes. haha.

i was very glad to get it though. 

i got a £5 morrisons gift voucher from the daily mail points system.  so i used that to buy 2 packs. i got change for that of £1. it is always nice to get something for free. hoho. 

earlier i went to the morrisons branch in strutton ground,(its a pedestrianised road, with pop up food stalls that cater to the lunch crowd, as well as shop restaurants, like the fish and chips place.) itis near new scotland yard offices (sold now to be torn down for luxury flats), and found the shop is gutted, with some workmen inside dismantling the shelves. they have closed it. i have heard of them closing branches, no mention of this one being one of them, but i guess it cannot be making much money, even though it was only opened about a year or so.

 and one store closed and another open. not a morrisons, but  i saw another one by sainsburys opened near me. it is below a block of luxury flats called great minster on marsham street. it is opposite the former westminster hospital, (which was converted to flats long ago).

i thought the planning application had been refused by westminster council, because some locals have objected, but it is here now, so i guess sainsburys must have reapplied with a scaled down plan and that was allowed. it is now just a local sainsburys, whilst before the plan was to take over the whole ground floor of that block.  i guess it is nice to have a sainsburys so near me. as usual someone else will lose out; the small corner store in the grosvenor estate will lose business. 

it will provide competition to the local tesco, that is hidden away in the home office block of govt building. i went in this new sainsburys to have a look and found they had reduced priced groceries, i cannot imagine they are long enough there to accummulate sell by dated groceries, so they must have reduced it as a opening ploy.

i bought a pack of 350mg mushrooms, for 45p. mushrooms are real nice in an omelette. what with all the luxury flats, and the govt offices around, it is doing roaring business. i went at lunch hour and there were queues to pay, they all look like office workers buying their lunch. we here in london are really spoilt for choice in the supermarkets that are like so close to each other. 

low prices of food

5 Feb

london 8.18pm 11.5C drizzle. ( very mild, dont u think?) friday 2016

its the start of the weekend i suppose, so not know what to expect in the bargain foods dept. i had run out of bread, so decided to try  pot luck when i got to the supermarket. l saw this tower of crates with lots of them, selling for 6p, 4p, 10p, 13p i bought 4 packs. 3wholemeal800mg @6p each, and the warburton toastie at 10p. it will fill my freezer this lot. haha.

Digital StillCamera
Digital StillCamera

the cashier forgot himself and asked me if i got a tesco points card. until he realised that it is less than a £1 and so cannot apply. haha.

i bought a 20p tesco spaghetti, hoping to kick it to £1 but even with all those items it still fell short. i dont mind, as i prefer to get cheap stuff than have lots of high priced goods just to get the points.

i consider the beef mince (500mg) as a good buy at 40p. and of course the breads are great. the milk was so cheap that i bought one even though i dont really like skimmed milk, far less fatless ones.  there were many of them on the shelves 2L sold for 10p each. it is a special brand, no fat… so not even semi skimmed but fatless milk. i prefer full fat actually.

i drank a cup of it to  taste it, when i got back.it’s very watery… haha. i dont understand why anyone would pay good money to buy such milk. what is milk without its fat? just coloured water really. it retails for £1 normally.

on the way there i was walking over the vauxhallbridge, when suddenly a cyclist fell off his bike in front of me. no reason that i can see. it makes me realise that if that lane was not separated from traffic, he would be a dead duck. so i guess it is good that they are spending money and disrupting everyone by building separate cycle lanes . cyclists can be their own worst enemy. 


what do u do now that u are retired?

12 Jan

london 11.24am 7.9C cloudy, tuesday 2016

i hear people say they dont like grocery shopping for food. but i enjoy buying food, and cooking it.

yesterday i get the joy of finding minced angus beef, 500mg,reduced from £4 to 80p, and they dont even expire till 13 jan. not often i get to see such reductions on beef, so i bought  4 of them. and had a delicious meal of one of the packs last night. the rest i freezed. i think this hunting for reduced price bargains like this is part of the fun and contributes to why i like it so much. and as a side effect i found that when i do find such bargains, i really enjoy eating it. i think if i were to just buy the beef whenever i want, it wont be the same. eating it often wont generate the  intense desire and fulfillment that comes when i eat it once in a while. 

for those people who dont know how to cook, or cook in a very rudimentary fashion, buying ready made foods only, i dont know how they spend their time.

without the periods of food hunting and food cooking, they must have a lot of time on their hands, esp if they are retired and not working. of course they might say well that is why mylife is so much more interesting than yours. haha. i have lots of things to do than to spend time buying food and cooking it and making it the highlight of my life. haha. maybe they are right, but i dont envy them. i cannot think of anything u can do at this late stage of your life that is as easy and enjoyable as shopping for food and cooking it. and eating the result. 

maybe they spent all the time dozing in the sun. haha. or sleeping in their beds. that would certainly eat into their time and make it fly by. 

i am so glad of reading too. glad that i can read, that my eyesight is still ok that it does not make reading difficult. it makes me really glad of eyesight. the blind must feel very isolated as there are so many things they cannot do. i think of all the senses, the sense of sight is the most important. 

added12.54pm 13.1.16, the reduced foods section can create a fearful scrum with people fighting to get the food. as happened in this tesco supermarket and a person got hurt. but it depands on what night u go. i went on monday, which is a quiet day, and no one was fighting to get the food. perhaps that tesco is staggering its reductions to stop the fights happening. that would be a good thing if they do. 

minor things in life

16 Jun

There was a long line of cars waiting for the lights to go red, and this car was honking and trying to attract the attention of the car next to it, but slightly ahead.
It turned out when they moved off, that the car had a flat tire on the back wheel, and the other car was trying to let it know. It is one of the mysteries of life that when u are driving a car , u can never know if one of the tires go flat. nowadays, tires don’t go flat with a bang, but quietly lose air. I am sure he would be damaging his tire hub rim by driving on it with a flat tire.

It made me realise how glad I am that I don’t have a car. These things really can make life irritating…I mean things going wrong with the car; and we are not even talking about the agro u can get from other road users.

I go through life now getting lots of evidence of these minor irritations, and reinforcing to me how wonderful my life is without having those things.

So what I am saying is if u feel life is depriving you of its enjoyment because u cannot afford to run a car, just be happy that u don’t have a car and never have to tolerate the nonsensical irritations that owning a car will bring to you.

I happened to find a daily mirror newspaper in the library the other day, and saw an advert by asda of 50p celery and 60p brocolli. That is the good thing about these cheap tabloid newspapers, u get adverts about bargains in the supermarkets. Unlike the so called quality papers. So often, it is the only way I can know of these special low price offers. Vegetables are cheap now, maybe because it is the summer and so the harvest is plentiful.

Also, mywaitrose card arrived by the post. I registered for it online. I tried it out by going to the Tottenham court waitrose, to get my free coffee. It was a self service, and the cashier did not even take my card to swipe the number. maybe he rang it up on the till but he said to go ahead and get the coffee so i did.  It normally costs £1.80. The coffee was v weak, and I realise it was because I used a large cup to make the cappuccino. The trouble was this was the only size available. I thought the machine will just dispense the small amount, but it seems to be controlled by the cup size.

Another day I went to the waitrose in john lewis, and this time the cashier rang it up in his till and gave me a receipt for it. It was normally £2.10 . But foolishly I spilt all of it when I went to add the suger. So I never did taste it. I shall have to go again to try it properly next time.

But it is a great service of waitrose to give free coffee every day with the card.

I think u can get free coffee everywhere in waitrose branches that serve coffee. The john lewis one is the only one I know that actually have someone make it fresh for you. I am kicking myself for spilling that coffee because it looked like a really good cup of coffee. The others seem to dispense it from a machine.

I saw the new waitrose in Vauxhall have a coffee making machine so maybe they too will give me free coffee. It is not listed in the list of branches that offer this service. I shall have to ask them one day when I happen to be waiting for a bus in Vauxhall.

Even though there is this great coffee offer from waitrose , I wont be using it much. I don’t really like strong coffee.

But isn’t London lovely to have this free coffee available?

I heard about this waitrose coffee offer from a blog about frugal living. Now that is one good reason for reading other people’s frugal blogs.haha.

My gym membership is going to expire in august and I am thinking of not renewing it. At the moment it is £11 a month, but come august it will be a year and the introductory offer expires and so the membership goes up to the normal £20 a month. I am wondering if it is worth the £20 a month.

I go regularly, but I have free swimming sessions at the local sports centre, and so I could get my exercise from swimming instead of the gym.
So I think I shall terminate my gym membership come august and see if I can just do swimming.

It will be a change from the gym. I am getting a bit bored with the gym.

Life is so carefree now, that this is the kind of thing that exercise my mind. Minor things as u can see.

shopping for food part 5

1 May

April is now over and here is the 4th week’s grocery bill and the last of these kinds of posting about my grocery bill. It is just to show how easy it is to keep to a £53 a month budget for food.
My grocery spending up to date.

23.4- 30.4.2013
Sweetpeppers 600mgx2 =.78p
Frozen king prawns (sainsburys) 225mg = £2.50p
Celeryx2 = £1
Bread800mg =.25p
Oats1kg =.75p
Total £4.78
Running total £37.35

Recount the previous 3 weeks.

Cauliflower = .69p
15eggs = 1.34p
Frozen broccoli 1kg = £1
Sweet peppers = .59p
Toilet paper 12rolls = £1.89
Oranges = .69p
Biscuits = .23
Apricot jam454mg (from aldi) = .79p
Total £7.22
Running total £32.57

Ceylon tea 125mg = £1.29
Bread800mgx2 = .20p
Cocoa powder Tesco 250mg =£2.28
Peanut butter Tesco 340mg = .62
Broccoli =.25p
Onions = .50p
Tomatoes (cherry and ordinary) =£1
Garlic = .50p
Carrots =.50p
Ginger = .50p
2.5kg frozen chicken pieces Sainsbury =.£4.38
Total £12.02
Running total £25.35

Sultanas 500mg =.98p
Oats 1kg = .75p
Coffee100mg = .47
Cauliflower = .40p
Gala apples = £1
Pork 2kg = £5.98
Ginger =.50
Garlic = .50p
Tomatoes =.50p
Onions =.50p
Ketchup = .28p
Broccoli = .49p
Carrots = .49p
Leeks = .49p
Total £13.33

Summary of april 2013 grocery spending
Veg= £11.88
Meat =£10.36
Seafood =£2.50
Fruits £1.69

Stock-up items
tea loose 125mg £1.29
Cocoa 250mg =£2.28

I buy rice 5kg at a time. Last time it cost £4. But I think that Tesco basic basmati rice is no longer being sold. So I guess it will be £5 for 5kg from now. I take about 45days to finish a bag. So it comes to about 11p a day.
So even if u add £5 to the running total, it will only come to £42.35

I am curious to compare with what I spent 1 yr ago.

March 2012 spend.

First week
Chicken =£3.16
bacon pork 2kg = £3
Broccoli =.62p
Potatoes ,carrots = 1.26
Beef = £3.29p
Pork =£2.61
Bread = .10p
milk powder400mg £1.01p
peanut butter =.62p
Porksausages2packs =.40p
Total £16.07

2nd week
Chicken =£1
Mushroom = .29p
Bread800mgx3 =.30p
Parsnips =.30p
Onions =.60p
Eggs =1.25p
Oranges =£1
Total 4.74
Running total £20.81

3rd week
Veg =£1.30
Pork = £3.65
Chilli sauce =£1.65
Rice noodlesx2 =£1.90
bean sprouts =.50p
Toilet paper8rolls £1.96
Cauliflower =.59p
frozenPeas900mg =.90p
Total £12.47
Running total £33.26

4th week
Broccoli =.50p
Oranges =£1
Beef = £3.59
Digestive biscuits =.39p
peanut butter =.62p
Total £6.10

Running total £39.36

Summary of april 2012
Meat =£20.70
Veg = £6.36
Fruits =£2

I noticed that a year ago I ate more meat. because there were lots of meat being reduced in price as they reach their sell by date. This year there is a dearth of these bargain meats. I made up for it by eating more veg, because I found out aldi has super 6 items reduction promotion where they sell veg very cheap.

Also the other supermarkets are reducing their prices on veg too.

You can see how easy it is to keep to a £53 a month budget.

I spent less than that.

Next week there will be the publicity because there is a charity asking people to try living on £1 a day.
And I see their recipes full of beans, and lentils … no meat.
And rather boring and small portions too… yet it need not be so. Just a little bit more than £1 a day and buying in bulk for a month instead of weekly will enable u to eat well. And no need to go vegetarian either.

I think I have shown that it is easy to have a filling balanced diet on about £1 a day and it is sustainable.

The menus made by those celebrities who try to follow it , mainly eggs, bread, lentils and beans, are not sustainable in the long run.

The secret? No starters nor desserts , cereals, or milk.

Oats(made in the microwave with a sprinkle of sultanas, milk powder and water) and toastedbread with jam/peanut butter , coffee for breakfast. It may sound monotonous but I find in the morning I am too lazy to make anything more complicated than that.
Many people think we like variety, but for something like breakfast many us would settle for familiarity and ease of preparation. And function… oats makes u non constipated.

I can do without desserts because by the time I eat the dish I prepared , I am too full to eat anything else. And also I am too lazy to prepare starters or desserts. Why bother to make an apple crumble with all that cooking and preparing when eating the fruit raw is so easy and nutritious. I find this western style of having sweet dessert where u cook fruits etc with lots of suger is quite laughable.

What is not obvious is that many of the methods of cooking I do, use very little energy to cook. I use very little electricity to cook my meals. It is something that is not highlighted in all the frugal menus that people post. I noticed that many recipes will ask that you stew the meat over the hob, and then put it in a pie to cook some more in the oven, so much over cooking. Or parboil potatoes or carrots or whatever and then still put it in the oven to roast some more. Those foods have been cooked to death.
Or it says simmer for 2hrs… who got the time, and think of all that wasted electricity used.

There was a frugal blogger who said there was a time when she ran out of money for the gas meter, so to cook spaghetti she just boiled water in the kettle and pour it over the spaghetti and cover with lid, and said the spaghetti cooked just the same as cooking it in water kept boiling for the whole time. (just remember to wash the spag in water,hot or cold, depanding on how u want to use the spag; to remove the starch).

She said she had always thought that spaghetti have to be cooked in lots of boiling water for the whole time. The cook books tell you so. Just goes to show people don’t really know how to conserve energy when cooking. Not surprising when u consider the recipe books propagate such wasteful energy practises.

And if u use the ramen, instant noodles, u can do the whole thing in the water that makes the soup. No need to cook the noodles separately in water, and then throw the water away with all the contents of the sachet in it. don’t laugh, I have read it being done that way by bloggers who purport to teach us how they do it.

Also, u can just buy the instant noodles, costing 12p each (used to be 9p) and use half a stock cube to flavour the soup instead of those msg laden sachets that u get with the ramen package costing 40p each.

Here is a link to a recipe by gino d’acampo, a tv chef.

First he boiled his 3 aubergines in 2 litres(!) of water, dry it, and then grill it.
He breaded chicken breast and fried it, and then put it with the aubergine and sauce in an oven to roast.

Boil, and grill, and roast… what did he think his aubergines are made of? That they are alive and hard to kill? Haha.

Chuck everything raw in the pot and roast it all in the oven, I say.

Or cook the breaded breasts separately and pour the sauce over it.no need for the oven really.

Granted that article was written in jan 2010, so maybe he has learnt to use less electricity when he cook now.