6 surprising benefits of shopping locally

Did you know it’s small business Saturday today?  Because of that today I’ve decided to share with you my 6 surprising benefits of shopping locally… some you may already know about but some you might never have even realised!

6 surprising benefits of shopping  locally

Buying locally uses less plastic

Not only do small local businesses tend to use less packaging to keep their prices as low as they possible but plastic is used to protect and preserve products, which can make them cheaper to transport and last longer – and so cheaper for consumers.  Local businesses don’t need to do that; most eateries bake/make fresh goods daily, greengrocers don’t package up their fresh vegetables and cafe’s reuse mugs/cups etc (just to name a few!).

Your money will go back into the local economy

Shopping locally will support your community.  Indirectly your money will be going back into the local economy when you shop and will keep local producers in business.

Create local jobs

If a business is busy & making money then chances are they will soon need to invest some of that money into staff.  These jobs will be taken by people locally.

You get better food

I don’t tend to buy much fruit from supermarkets anymore and spend £6/week on fruit and veg locally instead.  Last month I noticed my local greengrocers didn’t have any swede out on display.  I asked the lady behind the counter and she said they weren’t in season.  My first thought was ‘but Asda have them in year round’ and then it got me thinking.

Why DO Asda have them in year round and HOW do they have them in year round if they’re not actually in season?  Buying foods locally, for example from a greengrocers, will mean they stock what are actually in season; what are ripe & ready to eat.  They won’t sell produce that has been preserved for months before from mass farming tactics or vegetables that aren’t as fresh or rather have the correct amount of vitamins in them that they should because they’ve been harvested a season too early.

You get a better shopping experience

You cannot beat the personal touch of a local business owner who knows the area, knows you and knows the majority of their customers that come through the door by their first name.

6 surprising benefits of shopping  locally

Local business support local charities

There are a lot of local businesses that support specific local charities. When you spend money in their stores you too maybe encouraged to pop your change in the charity box on the counter or notice a sponsor form for Dave to get his head shaved.

So the next time you pass your nearest fruit shop, bakery or haberdashery make it your aim that the next time you need something you head straight there.

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

 

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How to avoid over spending at the supermarket

We have a set amount each week that we spend on our weekly supermarket shop (or rather an amount that DON’T go over!).  Don’t get me wrong we do top up with bits a bobs during the week I mean who doesn’t.. fruit and veg doesn’t seem to last long as long from the supermarkets as it does from the greengrocer but the hints and tips below on how to avoid over spending at the supermarket helps us massively to stick to our weekly shopping budget.

How to avoid over spending at the supermarket

Order online

I order my shopping and collect because I know if I walk around the supermarket myself I WILL buy things we don’t need.

Ordering online allows me to see what we’ve bought before and what’s on our ‘usual list’. If I need something specific that’s not on that list then I search for it and it takes me straight to it; I don’t go walking past the Nutella aisle to get bread!

Meal plan

We have a list of all our favourite foods. We try to look down it before every shop and plan our meals for the following week. I say try because even though the thought is there it’s easier said than done!  By meal planning we find we again only buy what we need for that week. School holidays are the worst time to meal plan I feel as we are in and out not knowing what we are doing from one day to the next AND we have lunches to prepare too…. it’s so much easier when they have packed lunch or school dinners and I only have to think about the kids evening meal!



Why not use sign up to receive blog updates from us on the right hand side of this page and to say thank you will send you over a printable to list your families favourite meals and start next weeks meal plan!  You won’t regret it and I guarantee it will save you money!

Make a list

If you can’t order online and basically order from your electronic list then make sure you physically go with a list in hand every time you walk into the supermarket.

Do NOT deviate from said list! The list should come from your meal planning!

Check the offers

Not every offer is as good as it looks.  Always check the price per unit against the singles before you commit to popping a pack of 6 in there before it’s reduced by 50p.  Look out for £1.10/kg or similar and compare with other pack sizes around the same area.

Leave the kids at home!

How many times have you got to the till and found as you empty things on the conveyor belt ice lollies, chocolate bar, a box of Kellogg’s (posh!) cereal!  Don’t tell me it’s never happened to you so if you can leave the kids at home (obviously with a responsible adult & not on their own!)

I hope this post is of use… if you feel someone else may also benefit from a read then feel free to share!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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How I’m planning on saving money on our food shop

A couple of months ago within numerous #5frugalthings I mentioned about me doing our food shopping at anywhere BUT Asda. Heron & Iceland had become my supermarkets of choice but things just haven’t worked out as I had planned.

How I’m planning on saving money on our food shop

I’m finding we are actually spending far more than ever before going to various places rather than just the one. I would go into Heron on a Monday and because I couldn’t get everything from that one store for the whole week I’d end up nipping next door to Co-op and noticing the Nutella on offer or when at Iceland realise I too needed babywipes (something again they don’t sell) so I’d nip over to Asda and notice crisps were on offer. The same crisps I had bought earlier on in the week from Heron!

Overbuying…

We were either doubling up or not buying at all meaning a trip to the overpriced local shop/petrol station occurred more often than not.

I’ve decided that we need to revert back to one shop ideally a shop that I can pick up from or get delivered so I’m not tempted to buy something that’s on offer as I walk by it.

I really really REALLY do not want to go back to Asda. If you are a follower of our YouTube channel you will know the problems we’ve encountered with our local click and collect (that it’s never available or working!) and it’s just a lot more hassle than it’s worth. But then there are things that we still nip to Asda for every week (antibacterial wipes, toilet rolls, nappy bags and make your own pizza)!!?

I’ve decided I’m going to continue with Iceland because I do believe they are really good value. Their mince is on par with Morrison’s and delivery is free if over £35 (just £2 if under!)

Asda is free collection if over £25 but £4 if I want it delivering at the same time as my Iceland delivery!

So this week I’ve ordered from Iceland (£35 inc free delivery) and Asda (£27 collection). We should NOT have to step foot in another supermarket this week. Maybe the greengrocers at the back end of the week but there’ll be no nipping in Heron or Tesco’s or anything…. this weeks shop is done !!!!

 

Initially I know that might sound a lot but as it’s the first week I have all intentions of from next week doing one or the other and not both.

I’ll of course keep you updated as far as how long this lasts… it was difficult initially because I’d never ordered from Iceland before and they don’t do everything (they don’t even do Granny Smith apples which I found odd!) so to navigate round took me a good hour or so but it’s done now so shouldn’t have that issue in the future.



Oooooh I’m so excited for my first ever home delivery on Monday!!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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10 freezable foods to save time AND money!

I’m in the process of really changing how we eat, what we eat and how much we spend on food shopping so this week I have decided to share with you my top 10 freezable foods that save me time AND money.

freezable foods



My top 10 freezable foods

  1. milk; I used to think my mum was crazy when she used to get the frozen milk out of the chest freezer in the garage and leave in the sink overnight to defrost…. now I can’t recommend it enough! Just don’t free glass bottles of milk as it will expand! Stick with the plastic ones!
  2. Pancakes; make a big batch of them and if you can freeze them!  Believe me I know how hard this maybe for some… there us no way we can freeze to eat later when we have Nutella in the house!  Just defrost and warm them back up in the microwave!
  3.  Cookie dough for freshly made hot cookie dough pudding! Just bring it out, let it defrost and bake as you normally would
  4. Sausages / sausage casserole; we always buy our sausages from a local Farmers Market and freeze them the minute we get home. When you are ready to cook with them bring them out of the freezer and defrost at room temperature. Cook a large batch of sausage casserole and freeze in small plastic containers. Stick some mash on there too before you pop it in the freezer and that’s a meal! Don’t be worried about the fact you’re re-freezing because they are now cooked and it’s totally fine
  5. Bread; again like my Mum used to do with free hot dog breads, burger buns and loafs of bread too! It’s such a big help.  Just stick it on defrost setting in the microwave and they’re ready to eat in minutes.
  6. Vegetables; yes we do buy frozen peas, peppers, onions and the like but when it comes to root veggies that need peeling like potatoes, carrots and swede we much prefer the fresh stuff.  That said they don’t last for very long do they. If they are coming to the end of their lives and I haven’t used them up I batch cook all three, bag them up into freezer bags and pop them in the freezer. Just leave out to defrost and warm up in the microwave
  7. Mince; I bulk buy my mince and cut a 500g one in half or bigger into thirds. Don’t forget like the sausage you can freeze when brought fresh and then defrost, cook and refreeze again
  8. Cottage Pie; totally freezable!  You can either cook, defrost and just reheat in the microwave which is what I do with leftovers or fry the mince, cook the veggies, pop in the mix THEN freeze  Follow the instructions on the packet of mix re the temperature and timings as if cooking from scratch but this is a nice way to have a fresher tasking cottage pie than just freezing a leftover.
  9. Grapes – just make sure you start the freezing process of grapes on a flat tray. If, like sometimes I do with fresh sausages, I forget to separate and you pop them all in a bag together then they ALL get stuck together.  At the end of the day you won’t be saving anything because you’ll end up bringing out the hole bunch as they’ve all frozen together!
  10. Chicken; again chicken is another thing we buy in bulk and bag up every single breast separately that we we can get out the freezer the morning we plan to eat it for dinner. By freezing them from fresh also gives us the option of if we don’t happen to use it within 24 hours of it being defrosted we can cook it and refreeze!

I’d love to hear what some of your ‘must freeze foods’ are and what meals do you batch cook too?



Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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The best home made hot cookie dough receipe… ever !

Since our 2015 trip to Walt Disney World I have been obsessed and I mean full on obsessed with hot chocolate/cookie dessert… the Fantasy Land hot fudge & ice-cream is my favourite Disney snack for sure!

Ever since then, whenever I’ve seen a cookie type dessert on the menu I’ve HAD to have it; Oreo cookie ice cream, cookie dough sundae and of course the hot cookie dough and cream itself!

Now I used to be a baker; I can bake and decorate a cake to quite a high standard (if I say so myself!) but cooking food like meals and desserts…. I’ll admit to not being the best! I thought how difficult would it be to actually MAKE a hot cookie dessert instead of treating ourselves to the overpriced thin ones at Pizza Hut?!



I’ve been making this for quite a while now so although it’s been trial and error at times I’m 100% there…. and it’s sooo stinking good!

The best hot cookie dough... ever !

You will need:
  • 125g butter (salted preferably but unsalted will be fine – ‘proper’ butter is better than stork but more expensive)
  • 200g caster sugar (you can either use all white caster sugar or 100g brown & 100g white)
  • 1 egg
  • Lid full of vanilla extract
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 50g crushed chocolate (cheaper!) or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan oven).



Cream the butter/stork (if using butter pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften or take out of fridge an hour or so before to bring it to room temperature.

Add the sugar (brown and/or white) and cream again before adding the egg and vanilla extract.

The best hot cookie dough... ever !

Next add the flour and chocolate and mix thoroughly.

The best hot cookie dough... ever !

This mixture makes enough for 4 people maybe even 6 but instead of dividing it up at this stage flatten the dough in a bowl similar to the one shown in the picture below.

The best hot cookie dough... ever !

Reduce the temperature to 180 and pop the dough in middle of the oven. After 8/9 minutes reduce the temperature to 160 and bake for another 8 minutes – it should be golden on the top and soft (almost looking unbaked) in the middle.



Ensure you dish it up whilst hot and the chocolate is melted but do take care it will be boiling hot!

We serve ours with ice cream and it’s one of our favourite if not 100% our favourite homemade desserts (particularly for my eldest son… he regularly goes back for seconds!)

Thanks so much for reading… and I hope you enjoy your homemade cookie dough dessert!

Kirsty x

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#5frugalthings I’ve done this week…. batch cooking | Matalan sale | Home Bargains

Batch cooking

We did our shopping at Iceland again last weekend which I’m really enjoying… AND I batch cooked on Monday too. We currently have at least 5 cottage pies in there and that’s from just one pack of mince. I chose to not freeze them in plastic tubs this time though as I find they are costly, take up room in the cupboards when not in use and take up a lot of space in the freezer. I’ve chose to pop them all in freezer bags. I fattened them out and next Monday I will get another double pack of mince from Iceland for just £2 and batch cook another meal.

meal-planning

As I previously mentioned on this weeks Mondays meal planning post I purchased the Reduce My Food Spend course by The Frugal Cottage in the hope it will help me in my quest of reducing my weekly shopping. So far so good, it’s really opened my eyes to a few things and that’s before I’d even printed all the printables available so on with some more batch cooking !!



Holiday purchases

I nipped to Home Bargains on the way home from work yesterday and picked up some dog treats (cheapest place I’ve found them and believe me we have shopped around!), some plasters, tissues and (not don’t laugh because yes you read right)… some powder to stop chafing!!!

Random I know but Florida holidays are not all Mickey Mouse, tears at the castle, cuddles and kisses you know…. chaff-age is a real thing! Yes I’m maybe a little more over weight now than ever before but put it this way I don’t actually think my inner thighs have ever NOT had a gap between in my whole adult life and in the heat it just makes me feel so uncomfortable and unclean I don’t like it at all!

This talc like ‘stuff’ was just 99p so I’m going to give a go in the run up to Florida …if it doesn’t work I’ll just stick with roll on deodorant! Ideally I wanted some short cut cycling shorts type shorts but I was worried you’d be able to see the bottom of them under shorts so I’ve kind of given up on that idea.

Saving on lunch

I’ve been back in my day job this week…. boo boo and hubby made my lunch ALLLL WEEK! I have been off the last couple of weeks for Easter with the children so I can’t really complain about heading back but the frugal element about it too is that I’m technically in money jail purely because I don’t have a lunch hour at work anymore I save soooo much money! It’s a pain in a way because I don’t get to just nip out to fill up the biscuit tin or just pick something up from Superdrug or somewhere but honestly it saves me so much money not going until town on my lunch hour!

Exclusive sale !!!

And lastly… a super exclusive …. I went into Matalan literally only this morning (13 April!) and noticed there were hand written numbers on a few of the tags…. this means only one thing people!  A sale is a brewing !!  I wanted to finish up on my holiday clothes purchases today but knowing full well there is a sale imminent…. I took pictures and left!  9am tomorrow morning I will be back there finishing off my shopping, picking up a couple of the things i tried on this morning and purchasing no doubt for HALF the price they are today !!



I’m feeling now though that I should maybe try to increase what I make during the month, what do you think?  Not by a massive amount but maybe set my aim now to £200 just a little more than what I’m doing now?

So how frugal have you been this week?  I would love to hear in the comments down below and if you too would like to join in with us by sharing what frugal and thrifty things you’ve been up to this week – even it’s just a picture of one of your #5frugalthings over on Instagram  we’d love to see them!

You don’t have to share five things you’ve done though, anything thrifty or frugal that you’ve been working on would be perfect… small steps and all that!

Thanks for reading & be sure to go check out the ladies I mentioned at the very start of this #5frugalthings linky series for more hints and tips on saving money 🙂

Kirsty x

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Meal planning Monday… fail!

So I joined this meal planning Linky with the greatest of enthusiasm but half term arrived and we ate waaaay to many takeaways, Easter eggs and general rubbish! I just knew we would… I said we would…. we always do!  So not only this is a meal planning Monday fail posted on a Tuesday(!) it’s as big a fail as my butt right now !!

I’ve just bought the Reduce My Food Spend course by The Frugal Cottage in the hope I can make a start on it (again!) this week so be sure to go check it out and I will let you know how I get on next week.

I am going to do the old cupboard inventory again today (not anticipating much to have changed given the minimal cooking of dinner we did last week!) and most certainly nip to butchers (again like I was meant to last week!)

meal-planning

My plan for this week has been made a little easier with the kids heading back to school tomorrow and having set dinners cooked/made for them at least.

Monday:

sausage casserole. I also batch cooked a load of cottage pie to freeze too yesterday to just bring out of the freezer later on in the week.

Tuesday

spaghetti bolognese / lasagne – I’m not a massive fan of spag bol but I eat it because everyone else does. It just seems so bland – I much prefer lasagne. I was going to try and make myself a lasagne today to pop in the fridge but I ended up doing the cottage pies!)

Wednesday:

Jacket potatoes …. I also bought a powder chilli mix to make a small portion with the mince from yesterday. I intend to do a little bit to try on these jacket spuds today!

Thursday:

freezer food….! we are all loving southern fried chicken in wraps and home made potato wedges so chances are we’ll have that!

Friday:

cottage pie (from the freezer made earlier on in the week!)

Saturday:

all you can eat buffet baby!!!! Need I say anymore….. it’s date night with friends today and I intend to eat, eat, eat! (Even though this morning I put my work clothes on and man they feel a tad snug!)

Sunday:

some concoction I reckon… whatever’s left!

I’m trying to make Monday my shopping day so mentally I can get back into our week being an actual week. I do feel we struggle massively as I’ve said before because of hubbys working patterns… but I guess we are lucky because I actually know what day of the week it is now; I had no chance when he was working 4 on 4 off #mindblown!!

Have you sorted you means for this week? What do you have planned?

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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Meal Planning Monday….

So this week is the start of the Easter holidays, easter eggs AND no work so I will be very VERY surprised if any of this meal planning Monday goes ahead …. !

meal-planning

That being said I’m back on it; I completed my inventory of the fridge and freezer later last week (ate out all weekend at friends and family – don’t you just love those no cook weekends!) so nothing much would’ve changed since then as frozen food is concerned and only this morning went through the dry food cupboards so I am ready to plan!

Did you see last weeks 5 frugal things blog post when we headed to Iceland for our shopping…. I’m yet to do my big food shop at Asda since telling them to pretty much stuff it and haven’t done so for probably 2 weeks now (go me!) so again this morning I headed to one of the bigger Icelands near me to see what they had in there in comparison to the smaller store I went to last week.

We are going to have to think about lunches this week too but will probably end up doing a picnic lunch a couple of times… cheap and cheerful and the kids weirdly love a jam sarnie or two!

Monday: chicken wraps and homemade wedges or waffles – this is for sure one of my fave meals at the moment!

Tuesday: it’s my eldest’s 7th birthday today so we will probably be going out for dinner 🙂 be it for lunch or dinner I’ve no doubt we will be out for at least one of them because we don’t have to rush around for rugby training (it’s usually pasta Tuesday though otherwise!) lunch likely to be beans on toast!

Wednesday: We have some of my little boys friends around on Wednesday so we are going to grab a pizza from takeaway from them. He isn’t having a party this year and with it being the school holidays too we said he could have a few friends around for a Fifa and pizza afternoon 🙂

Thursday: Whatever we can rustle up …. nothing planned yet but on the other hand after doing our Easter Egg hunt during the day that day the kids probably won’t be that interested in anything but chocolate so yes chances are we will probably just play it by ear!

Friday: Chicken curry, rice & naan bread // toad in the hole, carrots, potatoes & swede.

Saturday: Usually takeaway night but having eaten out a few times this week already we really NEED to cook something tonight! I plan to do a cooked tea; likely sausage casserole or something similar (we have tons of bloody sausages in our freezer at the mo!)

I love to hear about your meal plans & where do you tend to shop too?

I want to do a series (likely to be on my Instagram so be sure to go follow us if you don’t already!) on what I buy from where. Of course the biggies such as Asda are going to say they will beat others with their Asda guarantee but consistency is the key for me; don’t up and reduce your prices just for the fun of it it’s wrong! My experience with the likes of Iceland, Heron and Home Bargains show they are the same low prices all the time so I am wanting to do list the specific things I get from specific places and why.

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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Meal planning Monday….

With hubby & I’s different working days/hours; our weeks don’t start and end like most and certainly aren’t a standard Monday to Friday working week… so we kind of meal plan around the kids activities and school to at least get some structure to it because mentally it’s really difficult not being able to plan for the week like normal people do Monday through Sunday!

I’ve decided this weekend though, whilst trying to cut down and avoid the big supermarkets, to get back into meal planning… we have a magnetic wipeboard we got from Ikea when we renovated the kitchen and it has been used don’t get me wrong, it’s used every week, but not always for what it was intended for let’s say!?

You will also notice there’ll be a couple of meals on one day… that’s because we tend to cook two different meals every night.. it’s very rare we have the same all around (and yes it’s a pain we are trying really hard to avoid this …. I’m trying super hard at the moment to taste EVERYTHING that is put on the table… I even tried enchiladas last night!).

The problem is that me and my daughter like the same things and hubby and my son like the same things… but I just don’t like the things they eat and they don’t like the things WE eat 🤦🏻‍♀️

Pin this for later….meal-planning

So this week….

Sunday: homemade burgers & homemade wedges or waffles // enchiladas & home made wedges or waffles

Monday: chicken wraps and homemade wedges or waffles

Tuesday: spaghetti bolognese // lasagne & garlic bread

Wednesday: sausage casserole (make extra to freeze!) // enchiladas (left over mix from Sunday)

Thursday: Chicken nuggets, chips, beans & cheese

Friday: Chicken curry, rice & naan bread // toad in the hole, carrots, potatoes & swede.

Saturday: Takeaway (if we’ve been good and eaten as planned this whole week!

Lunches during the week are chicken, corned beef or cheese sandwiches, eldest has school dinners and weekend lunches tend to be Beans on Toast or hot dogs.

We have rugby, dance class and puppy class to fit in during most weeks too so there are certain nights we have certain things such as pasta before sport and quick left over/frozen meals when we know we won’t have much time to cook and need a quick dinner.

I’d love to hear what meals you have planned for this week or you too meal plan how do you get on?

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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Oreos… how do you eat yours?

Whilst watching the kids tuck into the pack of Oreos Britmums kindly sent us last week; I was so amused at how every single one of us eats their Oreo biscuit differently?!

So the question on the blog today is; how do you eat yours!?

Are you a dunker or do you eat them whole?

Do you do what I do and just eat it in two bites of like my youngest who sucks it so it lasts longer but this results in her having black teeth like pirates!

My eldest nibbles around the edge to the cream and then just shoves it all in and hubby just ‘shoves it in in a ‘onner” he tells me … eloquently I’m sure!?

I’d love to know how you eat yours .. drop me a comment down below.

Did you know Oreo is celebrating The Great Oreo Cookie Quest promotion on-packs now, which means anyone can pick up a pack and have a chance to win awesome prizes, including a once-in-a-lifetime trip to California and the Googleplex! I’d love to go back to California!

Oreos are a fun and tasty occasional treat for the whole family and we tucked into the packet that Britmums/Oreo sent us after school!

This post is an entry for BritMums #OreoCookieQuest, sponsored by Oreo.

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