Food, Food, Money, Save Money, Spend Money

Since the withdrawal of the Tesco Clubcard points boost a couple of years ago I’ve been left stranded as to what to do with my mountain of points. I’ve over £200 worth at the time of writing, and with many due to expire in the coming months I’m working out where and when to spend my points to ensure maximum value. Helen and I don’t eat out much when in the UK at least not in the restaurant sense.

However, with an exchange value of four times (that’s £5 Clubcard vouchers into £20 credit) for most restaurants available via the Clubcard programme it seemed like the most fitting way to spend at least a small amount of the points I have.

We chose to dine at Prezzo, an Italian chain that we’ve eaten at in the past. We changed £5 into £20 and received our electronic voucher by email almost instantly (huge bonus!).

The electronic voucher could be spent at anytime (at the time of writing, it’s always worth checking the terms and conditions before confirming your purchase) so we used it that very Saturday evening at our most local Prezzo, at the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds.


As can be expected the voucher is not redeemable alongside any of the other promotional offers currently available at the restaurant. So we we’re left to choose from the traditional main menu.

Luckily, that left us with A LOT to choose from. Albeit I started to wish I’d changed a little more than £5 into £20 as I knew this wasn’t going to cover us.


I opted for the Tropicana pizza (yes I am one of those people that eats pineapple on a pizza). The thin hand rolled base was fantastic and the fact it was cooked in a traditional pizza oven in the front of the restaurant was a lovely added touch.


Helen opted for the traditional beef lasagna. Her detailed review consisted of the following quote “Despite not looking picture perfect (you can say that again!), it was actually really nice, well… Nicer than it looks at least. I’d have liked a little more meat – especially on one side where it seemed to just be lasagna sheets”.

While we both opted for soft drinks, although there was an extensive cocktail and alcoholic menu to suit all tastes. 


In total, our £20 voucher from £5 Tesco Clubcard vouchers brought our total cost down to £5.40. Sure I’d have loved to paid £25 in vouchers and just £0.40 but really, who can complain about a restaurant meal for two costing just £5.40? – Not me that’s for sure.

We’re really looking forward to finding out what other experiences we can ensure and share with you thanks to Tesco Clubcard. In the meantime, be sure to let us know how you spend your Tesco Clubcard vouchers in the comments below.

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Food, Save Money

If you are anything like me then you love saving money where you can and food shopping should be no exception. But apart from the meal planning and buying the cheaper brands over the fancier brands, what else can you do?

You can buy reduced food – and I am here to tell you how.


What Is Reduced Food

Reduced food is the food within a supermarket that is going out of date or display date that day, it can’t be sold at a full price so it is reduced throughout the day until it has gone or it is thrown away.

Each supermarket does it in a different way but all generally have a section with the aisles for the food. Some will keep the meat and fridge separate from the fruit and veg section. 

Supermarket Reduced Times

This is a guide and should be taken as such. The times change for each supermarket and individual store. 



I will note that we found that some stores vary in that places such as M&S Food generally mark down an hour or so before closing where as Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys were more likely to slowly reduced food throughout the day before cutting the prices right down at the end of the day. 


Reduced Food Etiquette

If you know anything about yellow label shopping or reduced food shopping you will know that there are plenty of opinions on whether it is fair to other people and if it should be done. While we shopped at our local supermarket trying to bag some bargains we picked up on the etiquette. I am not saying everyone has the same attitude but it is something worth keeping in mind. 


Don’t Be Greedy

While there are people in the world who are greedy, you don’t have to be one of them. Reduce your own waste and only buy what you need and will use, remember only buy what you can store too.

Share

We have often been the closest to the action and been able to get the good stuff once it is marked down, however, if you already have 1 packet of sausages and you realise the person behind you wanted them but couldn’t reach, pass them to them. There have been many times we have swapped our deals with other shoppers so we have more variety in our basket. 

Be Kind

Not everyone will be kind and you will be stunned that some people can be aggressive or plain rude but don’t lower yourself to that level. Be nice to the staff as they often don’t like doing the job, the nicer you are to them the nicer they are going to be to you. 



There you have it, my ultimate guide to reduced food shopping. If you have any tips or tricks to bagging the bargains let me know in the comments. 

If you found this helpful and you are looking for more ways to make your money go further check out my post on Wombling. 

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Food, Food, Save Money

While we have been travelling around on our digital nomad adventure, we came across a few things. These things you often don’t realise you use so much until you no longer have it. Such thing as an oven, we found ourselves struggling to find ideas for meals without cheating by buying a frozen pizza and sticking it in the oven.

The one thing was apparent on our travels, most accommodation we came across only had a hob. Here are meals to make on a stove top.


1. Fajitas

Fajitas are great to make, especially if you are sick of pasta, these are a great alternative. Ingredients are common and can be found pretty much everywhere, chicken is the most expensive part of the meal but easily found.

The trickiest part of this meal is the spices, if you can’t get your hands on a fajita mix, simply buy a couple of cheap spices and throw them together. Include paprika, cumin, chilli and cayenne, if not all of them pick a couple and go from there.


2. Tuna Pesto Pasta

You will most likely be able to find some form of dry or fresh pasta within a supermarket, it is an easy hob meal and doesn’t take too long either. Mix up the pasta with a tin of tuna and pesto, top with a little cheese and there you have it. 


3. Chicken in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This is a little different, something a little more formal for a meal but a good one to have. The most expensive ingredient again will be the chicken, you can serve this up with a salad, rice or pasta if you like. Click here for the full recipe and method.




4. Stir Fry

More than likely you will be able to find some kind of sauce for a stir fry within the supermarkets. You can use fresh or dried egg noodles for cooking, dried noodles can be better especially if you’re on the move. This is a great one pan dish, through everything in and it is done. 


5. Enchiladas

This one might confuse you as many people traditionally make up the enchiladas, lay them in an oven proof dish top with tomatoes and cheese to grill. There is nothing wrong with wanting to save on the washing up, be even more efficient and eat out of the pan!


6. Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Meatballs and pasta is a classic and can be done so many ways, different meats and different styles of sauces so feel free to change it up according to what you have available. The meat will be the most expensive ingredient but counteract the price by buying the cheapest passata sauce and flavour to your taste.


7. Breaded Chicken Bites

Who doesn’t love breaded chicken bites right? This meal is a great option especially if you have smaller ones to feed, this can be fun for everyone to make and eat. The chicken can be lightly fried in a frying pan and teamed up with some peas and small boiled potatoes. You can also do the same method to make fish fingers.


8. Roasted Veg Bruschetta

You can make an ordinary bruschetta with a nice crunchy bread, mozzarella or feta with lettuce and tomatoes, or make a warm roasted veg bruschetta.

Simple peel your veggies into thin strips, use a peeler if you have one available, fry in a pan with a little oil until soft. Use the same pan to toast your bread and pile on the plate adding feta or mozzarella to top it off. These are all ingredients you can find in most supermarkets and for cheap prices.




9. Omelette

Fed up of toast or cereal for breakfast? Get some eggs together with some cheese and onion and make an omelette. This is a simple and easy dish to make and the ingredients are cheap to find in supermarkets. Change it up for different flavours for dinner the next day to keep it fresh.

So there you have it, meals you can cook on the hob, have you got a favourite hob dish you love making? Let me know in the comments below. 

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Food

If you watch our vlogs you’ll know that I’m certainly not the chef in the house. Which is why I’ve enlisted the help of some of my favourite food bloggers to help with this series; Feed 4 For Under £10. Starting with Ellie’s Kitchen UK…


Eating on a budget doesn’t have to mean skipping the good stuff. This recipe proves that you can eat colourful, healthy and lip-smackingly good food every night without spending a fortune! This recipe is easy, family friendly and downright tasty, so give it a go! And don’t forget to share your pictures tagging @EllieskitchenUK on social media!

Ingredients –

Handful grated cheese – £0.70

500g Mince Beef – £2.41

400g Black Beans – £0.75

4 Sweet Potatoes – £0.80

2 Avocados – £1.58

2 Peppers (Not Green) – £0.90

Bunch of Coriander – £0.70

1 Lime – £0.30

2 Tbsp. Sweet Chilli sauce – £0.30

Cumin – £0.85

Paprika – £0.85

Garlic – £0.30

Method –

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

  2. Drizzle the sweet potatoes in olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake them for 50 minutes or until soft until soft.

Tip: To speed things up you can spike the potatoes with a fork a few times and microwave on a plate. Once they are soft (about 10-12 minutes) pop in the oven to crisp off!

  1. While the potatoes are in oven, sort the guac! Scoop flesh out of two avocados. Add to bowl. Add a handful of chopped coriander, the juice of a lime, and the Chilli sauce. This is the cheat’s way of making amazing guacamole!

  2. Chilli time! Dice the peppers.

  3. In a pan, add a splash of olive oil. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons of cumin, and 2 teaspoons of paprika. Once the garlic has softened (1 minute) add the peppers.

  4. Fry until soft, on a medium to low heat. Add a bit of water if it starts catching on the pan. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

  5. Once softened, add your mice and cook through.

  6. Then add the beans.

Tip: Make sure you taste your chilli once the mince is cooked. You may want to add more spices to boost the flavour. Use your chef’s instinct!  

  1. Remove your sweet potatoes from the oven. Top with the yummy chilli, your guacamole, a little cheese and some more coriander. ENJOY!


Feed 4 for under £10
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Clothes, Everything Else, Food, Leisure, Personal Finance, Save Money, Travel

I love my student discount card. I love it even more now that I can get it without being a student.
 

Which is why I’ve put together this complete directory of where you can get a student discount.

This is an open document, meaning you’re able to contribute. So if you know of anywhere in the world that offers a student discount for students then feel free to add it to the sheet using this form.


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Food

Today I want to talk about the fact and fiction of food labelling terminology. Food waste is a huge problem both in the UK and worldwide, and by educating ourselves on food we can reduce the amount of food, and therefore money we’re throwing away on a daily basis.  

What Does Best Before Mean?

One of the most common food labelling terminology used is ‘best before’. This phrase is used to describe the food’s quality. If the food was passed this date then it will be safe to eat.

The phrase ‘best before’ is often found on foods such as; pasta, cereal, herbs and spices, sweets and chocolate. According to food label terminology provided that you have stored the food correctly, the food is perfectly fine to eat after the best before date. However the quality may not be at it’s best.
 

What Does Use By Mean?

The food labelling terminology ‘use by’ is there for your safety. If the date which is shown on the label has passed then the food is unsafe to eat, and you should therefore dispose of it.

Foods that include ‘use by’ dates will include meat and dairy products such as yogurt, cheeses and milk. If you are not going to consume food before it’s use by date, then it’s worthwhile checking whether you can freeze it. This will reduce food waste and save you money at the supermarket.  

What Does Display Until Mean?

Another common food labelling terminology you might find is ‘display until’. This doesn’t concern the consume and instead should be taken notice of by the staff working in the shop in which the produce is being sold.

Products that have a display until label will also have another label that will include either a best before date or a use by date.  

What Does Nutritional Information Mean?

By law food and drink products sold in the EU are required to provide nutritional information. This food labelling terminology will be followed by a list of the following (at a minimum) per 100g or 100ml of the food;

Energy (in kJ and kcal)
Fat (in g)
Saturates (in g)
Carbohydrate (in g)
Sugars (in g)
Protein (in g)
Salt (in g)

Plus the amount of any nutrient for which a claim has been made You may also see the label state amounts ‘per serving’ or ‘per portion’ it’s important to check what the products manufacturer determines as a serving or portion before referencing this nutritional information. However this product labelling terminology will always be in addition to the 100g or 100ml breakdown.  

What Does ‘Light’ Mean?

You may often find food labelling terminology to include words such as ‘light’, ‘lighter’ or ‘lite’. These words are only used if the food contains at least 30% less of at least one typical value such as calories or fat. To comply with EU regulations the label must explain exactly what has been reduced and by how much, for example “Light: 50% less fat’.

What Does Organic Mean?

You may find the term ‘organic’ used on some products and products label. This term can only be applied to products in which 95% or more of the ingredients are organic. Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives.

Many people believe that organic food has a higher nutrient content and is kinder to the environment and livestock. This has seen an improved demand for organic produce over the past decade which has seen prices rise significantly.

All organic products sold in the EU are required to be certified by organic control.   I hope that by sharing commonly found food labelling terminology. You will be inspired to save money at the supermarket, reduce your food waste and save money.

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Food

We all know that spending less in the shops is going to save us money, but how can we take that one step further? Today I’m looking at products that help us to reduce food waste.

I’ve spoken before about the damaging affects of food waste in our supermarket industry but today I want to cover things on a household scale. Which is why I’ve created this list of products that is set to help you reduce food waste and save money.  

1. Food Minder

The food minder is a simple food management tool that helps to reduce food waste. The visual suction cups are applied to food and drink and help to remind you of an items expiry status.  .

Allowing you to see what products need to be consumed first with just one quick glance. This video explains everything you need to know.


 


2. Fruit & Veg Saver

Did you know the average British family throws away £500 worth of fruit and vegetables per year? It can often seem that we’ve only just been to the supermarket, and already we’re throwing out our fresh fruit and veg. .

They have been used by organic farmers for more than 20 years. Designed to extend the shelf-life of fruit and vegetables by up to three times.

They are completely safe, non-toxic, organic and can be fully recycled. Using them couldn’t be easier. Simply place one in each of your fridge draws, in storage containers or in the bottom of your fruit bowl.

It sounds too good to be true, so let me explain the science behind it… Most fruits and vegetables emit ethylene gas as they ripen. However, these fruits and vegetables are also highly sensitive this gas, and the presence will speed up the rate in which fruits and vegetables ripen. Therefore creating a chain reaction of ripening and rotten produce.

However, don’t just take my word for it. Check out the many Amazon reviews…

 

3. Food Huggers

Food Huggers are another fantastic product that can help you reduce food waste. These silicone covers help preserve the freshness of leftover fruits and vegetables.

All you need to do is push the remainder of the product half down into the hugger most suitable (based on size) and then save it in the fridge until you need it again. Made with 100% FDA silicone, food huggers are 100% BPA and phthalate free.

. Preventing exposure to circulating air, which can cause food to spoil or dehydrate.

I love the flexibility of food huggers. They can also be used to reseal open jars or cans, they are dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. Making them suitable for so many products in your kitchen.

Food huggers are a great way to reduce food waste


4. Spagetti Measurer

Personally, pasta has to be the most wasted food in our house. . The spaghetti measurer from Joseph and Joseph allows you to adjust it in size based on the number of people you are cooking for. Not only does this stop you from over eating due to bigger portion sizes, it also reduces food waste.




There we have it, my top four items to help you to reduce food waste. As always I’d love to know the gadgets you’re using in your kitchen to reduce food waste – be sure to let me know in the comments below.

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Food

In 2015, the major British supermarket Tesco’s food waste amounted to 59,400 tonnes. That’s enough to make 119 MILLION meals from one supermarket alone.

 

However, we’ve not got to this figure overnight, far from it. In fact, year this figure is growing, with an increase of 4% when compared to 2014.

 



So, what can we gather from this? Our supermarkets commitment to reducing food waste is worse than ever. I say our supermarkets, although I don’t really know. That’s because Tesco is the only major supermarket to be daring enough to post such figures.

 

However, in the UK one man and his team of volunteers is looking to change all that, with the launch of The Real Junk Food Project.  

What Is The Real Junk Food Project

TRJFP was launched by professional chef Adam Smith in December 2013.

 

Whilst in Australia, Adam witnessed the scale of food waste, agriculturally and within the catering industry. Upon his return to the UK, together with his partner, Johanna, he was inspired to set up TRJFP.

The Real Junk Food Project has taken tonnes of food that is being thrown away by supermarkets which is completely safe to eat and used it to feed people. They do this with TRJFP Cafés and the recently launched supermarkets. Both of which are ‘pay as you feel’.

   

TRJFP doesn’t just feed homeless people or refugee’s the idea is to feed EVERYONE. Regardless of race, religion or background. However, TRJFP doesn’t just get their food from mainstream supermarkets.

Donations come in all shapes and sizes including; allotments, food banks, restaurants, cafés, food photographers, events and functions. Although the cafe project started in Leeds, there are now a magnitude of TRJFP cafe’s across the world. Use this handy tool to find the one most local to you.


The Real Junk Food Project Supermarkets

Two years after the successful launch of their first cafe. TRJFP went onto launch a PAYF supermarket in Pudsey, Leeds.

 

It’s somewhere that Helen and I have had the pleasure of visiting on numerous occasions, including Christmas Eve (one of the biggest days of wasted food). However, even in just the past 18 months, the team at TRJFP have gone on to set up another supermarket in Sheffield.

The Real Junk Food Project Supermarket
The Real Junk Food Project team have the ambition to open one of these supermarkets and a number of there boutique cafe’s in every major city in the UK (they’ve already achieved almost 100 at the time of writing).

 

I for one believe that based on their current popularity and speed of growth this is a highly achievable target. Contact the team on Facebook or through their website to find out how you can help contribute in your local area. As with all the initiatives, customers are invited to pay for their meal in money, time and skills.

 

It’s worth mentioning that the UK isn’t the only one to be trailing such ‘supermarkets’ in a bid to reduce food waste. In Denmark the NGO DanChurchAid have opened up a store selling expired – but safe to consume food for a discounted rate. The supermarket is known as WeFood and much like TRJFP it’s doing so well that a second store has opened.

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