A new month

My month begins on 25th so yesterday was effectively (at least in my budgetary world) July. This is all to do with salary and when it hits my bank account. Coincidentally it was the same when I had my full time job and I continued during my student years, so I’ve been living with this alternative calendar for around 20 years now and find it hard to imagine otherwise. This meant that yesterday was ‘big shop’ day. By this I don’t necessarily mean a big food shop (though it is sometimes quite substantial) but also any other bits and pieces required such as birthday presents needed during the forthcoming month.

Is it just me or do we all take a sneaky peek into other shopper’s trolleys? I love to see what other people are buying; they always seem to have found something interesting that I’ve never seen! Today, I shall share a few of the contents of my trolley with you, and if you think ‘how boring’ or wonder why I’d do that – that’s fine (but my blog’s strap line is ‘all sorts of everything’).  Pop back soon for an alternative  ‘all sort.’

The food shop yesterday was mostly about replenishing store cupboard items. I didn’t need a great deal because, as ever, my cupboards have plenty in them. The trouble is that it’s not always the stuff I need!  No frozen foods were required (freezer’s full too) though I did buy three packs of ice lollies; it’s very hot in the Midlands at the moment.

I recently discovered that polenta in the Tesco World Foods aisle is significantly less expensive then in the standard aisles so I’ve been checking out the other items and just look at this!  The small bottle of sweet chilli sauce bought a couple of weeks ago cost £1.50 for 100ml.  This large bottle was £1.65 for 700ml. Astonishing! I’ve tasted it and can tell no difference. If you eat a lot of rice (we don’t) you can big savings on the enormous bags they stock.


Other bargains included our favourite Azera coffee on offer for £3 instead of £5.89. It’s one of those things that is quite regularly on offer so I stock up at the appropriate time and have never yet paid full price. Then I saw that the Extra large pineapples were only 49p whilst the smaller ones were £1…insane!


Cheese always features in my shopping trolley – A strong cheddar (mainly for husband but maybe a little for cooking too), halloumi and feta for me, Gruyere for the French onion soup planned for later in the week (I know it’s hot but I like soup anytime), Parmesan substitute (I like the real stuff for eating just as it is, but this is for putting in a quiche and I know it tastes absolutely fine) and finally two packs of 12 Babybel Light for £2 a pack , almost half price. A note to Slimming World members – I split up my Healthy A choice  thus:  one third unsweetened Almond milk plus two thirds cheese (it’s not a lot of cheese so it makes you very inventive)!  Given that I eat very little meat (less than once a week) my protein comes mostly from fish, cheese and pulses.


British strawberries, two for £3, Good Earth peanut butter for £2 instead of £3, and a pack of four Muller Bliss yogurts (blissfully yummy) were reduced from £2.69 to 85p because the outer wrapping had been torn. We get through rather a lot of walnuts – husband likes them on his cereal, I like them with cheese (use them as a Healthy B choice), and I cook with them. These walnuts are from Home Bargains – the nicest I’ve tasted. Of course if I had my own walnut tree like a certain blog friend of mine, I may say that they were the second nicest! Oh the thought – mmmm!


Incidentally SW members, here’s a tip I heard in group recently. Take 23 hazelnuts (B choice) and swirl them in one melted Freddo bar (5 syns). Separate them with a cocktail stick, pop them in the fridge, then nibble all evening! I’ve yet to try it but I do now have the hazelnuts. Freddos were only available in packs of six so I resisted for obvious reasons.

Talking of budgeting (I did mention the word in my first sentence), I was having a conversation with a young student the other day and she asked me, “Why are student loans paid termly?” I couldn’t answer other than to suggest that it may be a leftover from the days when the grant cheques were prepared manually but there is surely no reason to continue with this archaic system now that payments are processed electronically.   Can you imagine the horror of being told that you would get paid just three times a year? Employees (and indeed those in receipt of a pension) would be up in arms at the thought of having to budget thus, and yet we expect young people with little more experience than managing their pocket money or earnings from a weekend job to to be able to cope. No wonder they so often get into a financial mess.


  1. I’ve finally worked out how to comment! I have to ‘like’ first.

    I play a sort of mental game with myself. My ‘month’ begins, predictably, on the 1st, but the money is all in well before then, sometimes well, well before in the case of the state pension. It’s just a nice feeling that if (and I almost never do) I overspend that month, I don’t get overdrawn.


    • I think my game works similarly, Joy. I have a couple of pensions that go in at different times but by imagining my month to be from 25th, it’s like having a buffer. I’m glad you are able to comment!


  2. Another post where my comment has not gone through! I thanked you for allowing us a peek at what was in your shopping cart! And commented on the student loans, why they might pay it quarterly instead of monthly, saying perhaps it was meant to go with the academic quarters or semesters, when tuition would be due.


    • Haha, I do love to see what people buy and sometimes I can’t help feeling a little judgmental when I see trollies loaded up with fatty, sugary snacks. Don’t get me wrong, I have a very sweet tooth, but it’s almost all some people seem to buy! Yes, it is paid to align with three terms (even though there are usually two semesters) but I’m sure it’s not beyond the wit of a computer programmer to write a programme which pays the fees separately to the student living allowance.


  3. the food is so cheap compared to New Zealand. Its very cold here, and sometimes very rainy, as it’s winter, and the vegetable crops do suffer so, which does put our prices up – nearly $5 for a head of cauliflower, for example. $5 is more or less £2.50.


    • Wow! I knew that our food prices were lower than yours but that is a lot of money! A decent size cauliflower is about £1….about $2 then, though they do vary in price a bit according to the season. No-one here actually thinks that food is cheap so I guess it’s relative to what one is used to paying.


  4. D does the foodshop in our house as he has more time than me. He will ask for a list but when he does I can’t always think of what I want but not necessarily need. I’ve taken to trying to meal plan but I’m still trying to master this new art of food as I can’t always decide that far in advance as to what I might want to eat a week on thursday. I’m sure we will get there eventually.



    • Maybe plan only three or four days at a time, or just think in terms of 7 meals for the week and then decide on the day which you most feel like at the time. Of course you may not want the thing you get left with on the last day!


  5. I only ever buy Azeera when it’s reduced, I just make sure I have two or three tins in the larder so I don’t run out and have to pay full price. I do like it best but not enough to pay £5.49 for it. £3 is much more like it.


    • What canny shoppers we are! Interestingly it was £5.49 until very recently but when I bought it this week, it said it was more.


      • It still says £5.49 on the Asda website which is where I get my delivery from but I saw it for £3 when I was in Tesco with my daughter and picked up a tin there. I bought a garden chair and coffee!! She bought cheese and a television so I think she wins in the odd shopping contest.


  6. Your post has just served to remind me I desperately need to do a food shop, although cooking is the last thing on my mind at the moment, preferring to be outside in the sunshine.
    Love the new look of the blog. X


    • Thanks Jules. I’m happier with it. It’s certainly too hot to cook today. Salad again, I think. I might summon up the energy to boil a couple of eggs!


  7. Hello, Eloise, and yes, I love to look into other people’s trolleys, too! What a lot of bargains you have found, but I’ve never seen let alone tasted a Freddo bar, what on earth is that? The name alone would put me off, ha ha! I presume it’s a wicked chocolate bar. I buy one Lindt Carmel & Sea Salt bar a week, and have just a small piece each evening until it’s gone. I can make the whole bar last a week as the chocolate is dark and you only feel the need to eat one or two small pieces, it’s so rich, for the chocolate-taste satisfaction.
    I also like sweet chilli sauce, and buy the small bottle, but sadly a much-larger bottle wouldn’t fit into the fridge where space is at a premium. Indeed, a lot of our shopping depends on how large/small the item is, and “will it go in the fridge?” even though we have quite a large fridge (but not one of those giant American-style fridges, which I wouldn’t want anyway.)
    Oh, the walnut tree! For years and years we had nuts every winter, except in years when the tree was ‘resting’, about one year in seven, but these last few winters we’ve not had any as the squirrels grab the lot! They can strip the tree almost overnight, the blighters. But there again, it’s all they have to eat. We have Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Lidl, Aldi …
    We have three ‘pay days’ each month! Husband’s company pension, Husband’s state pension, my state pension, so for three weeks out of the four or five in the month, some funds are going into the account. I still find this strange but it’s rather nice, especially if you have forgotten that today is a ‘pay day’ as I call it still, when suddenly there will be a little boost to the coffers!
    Margaret P


    • Haha, Margaret, you haven’t missed much! A Freddo Bar is a very small bar of Cadbury milk chocolate in the shape of a frog. The child it is aimed at will also be very small. Haha (again), I have a side by side American fridge-freezer which I love! It sits in an alcove which We had widened especially for it as I didn’t want it sticking out.


  8. Student loans, arg.

    I returned to school as an adult. Here in Canada, the federal government ones are supposed to be paid out every semester. There was a glitch in my first payment. Somehow my school was given two semesters worth of money. My tuition was fully paid for four semesters. I wound up going to the bank to get another loan to pay for my child care, books, and uniforms.

    The next cheque was pretty much mine and was applied to the bank loan.

    It was nightmare and I was a 40 year old married woman with children. I shudder to think what an 18yo would have done.

    Your ‘world food” our ‘ethnic cooking’ aisle. Tea, noodles, some biscuits. Far cheaper. The biggest saver is stock cubes. Knorr, I’m looking at you.


    • It seems that your student finance company is as bad as ours. They made mistake after mistake with my funding. There was a young lad on my course who had to leave because they messed his up so badly.
      I’m a ‘World food’ convert! There is no logical reason for such enormous differences.


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