Category Archives: Living Rich on Less

Smoky Yellow Split Pea Soup

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful break over the festive holidays. I spent a magical five days with my mum and her three dogs in Verwood, Dorset. It was so relaxing, which was just what I needed after a busy year finishing the cookbook.

We went for daily walks in Verwood Forest, had a glorious day on Bournemouth beach, and spent our evenings watching films and munching our way through all the Christmas goodies. As you may have seen on my social media channels, I was totally spoilt by family and friends this Christmas and received lots of beautiful boxes of vegan chocolates. Needless to say, most are empty now.

And after all the excesses of the festive season, this month I’m looking forward to getting back to my favourite way of eating – simple meals filled with natural ingredients and packed full of flavour and nutrients.

To kickstart my recipe shares for January, I have one of my family’s favourite winter-warming dishes – Smoky Yellow Split Pea Soup ❤️

Not only is this soup easy to make, but it’s incredibly cheap too. A 500g bag of Suma yellow split peas costs £1.15 and we only use half a bag in this recipe. Add in the remaining ingredients and this soup costs about £2.25, which works out at 56p per portion. Bargain! Continue reading

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Filed under Living Rich on Less, Lunches & Light Dinners, Soups

Spanish Veggie Paella (Easy, Low Cost, One Pot Dinner)

This month I promised I’d share some of all-time favourite one pot meals. After all that meal prepping, cooking and pot washing in December, I need a few weeks of simple meals. Easy, quick prep, cheap, healthy meals that leave only one pot to wash up. Now we’re talking 😉

I’m going to begin with one of my absolute favourite one pot meals – Veggie Paella. This dish is typically made with shellfish, but I’ve used colourful veggies and nutrient-rich nuts instead 🙂

Spanish Veggie Paella 4 - 500

Here’s how I make it…

Spanish Veggie Paella 5 - 500

Enjoy! xx

This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #WellnessWeekend

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Filed under Dinners, Living Rich on Less

Saving Money with mySupermarket Companion

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of mySupermarket. So when they contacted me to ask whether I’d like a sneak preview of a new app they’d created called ‘mySupermarket Companion‘, I jumped at the chance to test it out 🙂

The beauty of this new app is that it enables you to shop on your regular supermarket’s website. The app keeps track of your shopping basket, alerting you as to whether your basket is cheaper at one of the other major supermarkets or whether you could swap some items for a different brand or multibuys in order to save money.

I trialled mySupermarket Companion last week whilst I was doing my regular online grocery shop at Tesco. While I was shopping, I kept the app tucked away in the corner of my screen by clicking on the minimise button (‘-‘). Now and then, I maximised the app (clicking on the ‘+’ button) to check my progress.

As I began my shop, it looked like other supermarkets were going to be cheaper…

…. but as I carried on adding items to my basket, Tesco became the cheapest supermarket 🙂

If you want to compare the price of a particular product across the different supermarkets, you simply click on the product’s title. The mySupermarket Companion app instantly pops up in the left-hand corner to show you the price comparison.  In the example below, I could see that there were deals on my favourite pasta sauce in all the supermarkets but, this week, Tesco was the cheapest.

When I’d finished my shop, I clicked on the ‘swap and save’ pink pig to see how I could make further savings on my shop. By clicking on this button, you’re automatically sent to the ‘Saving Centre’ on the mySupermarket website where you can view your ‘swap and save’ options.

On this page you also get to see a comparison of the cost of your shopping basket across the five supermarkets. Incredibly, this week, my basket would have been most expensive at Asda! £14 more expensive! I didn’t expect that!

Once I’d selected my ‘swap and saves’, I clicked on ‘Checkout from Tesco’, then ‘Send Basket to Tesco’ on the next screen.  While the basket was transferring, the Savings Pig totted up the total amount I’d saved on today’s shop… £13.14! Result!

Back on the Tesco site, I booked my delivery slot and paid. Shopping done!

So what do I think of the new my Supermarket app?  Well, I LOVE IT!  It’s such a useful little tool!  It only takes a few seconds to download (even on my ancient laptop!) and doesn’t require any fussy installation. Next time you visit your regular supermarket web page, the mySupermarket Companion automatically appears in the bottom left hand corner. From my ‘walk through’ above, you can see how easy and intuitive it is.  By keeping it minimised while you shop, it’s totally unobtrusive. As well as saving us lots of money on our grocery shopping, the tool itself is FREE to download.

For those of you that already shop online, I definitely recommend downloading mySupermarket Companion. If you do so, I’d love to hear how you get on. Leave me a comment below and let me know how much money you save in your first week!

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Filed under Being Frugal, Living Rich on Less

Saving Money with mySupermarket – Living Rich on Less #2

When mySupermarket asked if I would consider writing a review of their online grocery comparison and shopping site, I was more than happy to oblige. I’d first heard of mySupermarket about a year ago when a friend recommended that I should try it out as a way of saving money on groceries (which I mentioned in this post). I was so impressed with it that I’ve carried on using it ever since. Thanks to its online comparison tools, I’ve saved a small fortune over the past year as well as a huge amount of my time.

Let me show you some of my favourite features on the site.

Speed & ease of comparing individual prices
If I want to look up the best deal on a particular grocery item, I simply type it into the Search box. With one click I can compare the prices of different brands, volumes/weights, multibuy deals and spot the cheapest. I can also click to compare the same grocery item across five different supermarkets.

This week I found that Alpro milks and Seeds of Change Pasta Sauces were on offer at Waitrose, so I made sure I stocked up.

Prior to using mySupermarket, I used to walk up and down the aisles of supermarkets trying to remember prices in order to compare them. Sometimes I found that certain items appeared on three different aisles. One such example is nuts. These often appear on the wholefood aisle, baking aisle and Asian/World foods aisle. By typing the item into the Search box on mySupermarket, I can find out in seconds which brand/volume/weight is the best value for money. This has saved me a huge amount of time and money over the past year (and oh do I hate traipsing round the aisles of supermarkets! 😉 )

If you already shop online and have your groceries delivered (like I do), you can click on the ‘Options’ tab and import your regular shopping list into your mySupermarket favourites. Each time you shop you can easily amend the basket, adding and deleting food items. If it’s your first time grocery shopping online, it’s very easy to set up your shopping basket from scratch.

On the right hand side of the webpage, you see the price of your shopping basket across the five supermarkets. The price comparison automatically adjusts every time you add a new item to the basket.

Once you’ve finished shopping, you can select your preferred supermarket and your basket will automatically be sent to the supermarket’s website where you pay and select your preferred delivery date. It’s as simple as that! 🙂

‘Swap and Save’ Function
Once you’ve finished adding items to your shopping basket, you can click on the ‘Saving Centre’ in the bottom right-hand corner of the webpage. This shows you how you can save money by swapping items in your basket to cheaper items (either cheaper brands, larger volumes/weights or multibuy deals). You simply click to swap and your basket is automatically amended.

There are a multitude of money-saving features on mySupermarket and I’ve only explored a fraction of them so far. At the bottom right-hand corner of the home page, there’s a ‘Quick Tour’ link which gives a useful overview of all the site’s features.

Thanks to mySupermarket, I’ve saved hundreds of pounds over the past year, as well as countless hours of my time. So I’d like to say a big “thank you” to the “genius” that came up with the idea for this site. It’s brilliant! 🙂

– UK friends, have you heard of mySupermarket? If so, have you ever used it?

 – Friends outside the UK, do you have something similar to mySupermarket in your country? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Have a great week everyone! xx

 

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Filed under Being Frugal, Living Rich on Less

Living Rich on Less! A Yummy Budget-Friendly Recipe for the Weekend – Creamy Chana Dal with Cauliflower & Peas

Cutting Back on Personal Spending

In recent years, I’ve been making a conscious effort to cut my personal spending.  Since making the decision to leave the day job, I need to do this more than ever!

Here’s a few ways that I’ve cut back on spending so far…

Sold my car saving £100s each year (I now walk/bike/bus)

– Stopped my gym membership saving £360 per year (I now exercise outside)

– Negotiated a new deal on my phone, reducing my monthly payments from £30 to £13.50, saving £198 per year. I’ve now got a much better deal for less money!

– Stopped buying so many clothes which is saving me £100s per year. I hardly ever buy clothes these days and, if I do, it’s usually to replace worn out items. I still love quality brands, like Kuyichi, but I’ll buy last season T Shirts etc for half price or less. I also buy from charity shops.

– Stopped buying books & magazines saving about £100 per year. Instead I’ve got an Amazon wishlist for birthdays & Christmas 🙂

These cutbacks have reduced my personal spending by well over £1,000 per year.  And the funny thing is, I’m actually happier as a result of making these cutbacks. My life is simpler, less cluttered and I’m less dependent on money. However, there are two areas where I haven’t cut back, and that’s giving to charity and present-giving. These are too important to me!

Cutting Back on Family Overheads

I’ve also been sorting out the family’s finances in an attempt to cut our overheads. Here’s how I’ve got on so far…

– Switched our water from rates to a meter. We now pay £35 per month, compared to £61, saving £313 per year

– Switched our gas & electricity to a new supplier and reduced our consumption. We currently pay £79 per month, compared to £148, saving £828 per year. I check the gas & electricity deals each year now and switch if I find a better deal.

– Renegotiated our house insurance. For the same cover, we now pay £149 compared to £275, saving £126 per year. My advice is to never automatically renew your house insurance each year. You seem to get penalised for loyalty! I use comparison sites to check rates then ring my existing supplier to see if they can match it (they always do!)

– Renegotiated the mortgage. We’re now on a ‘tracker for life’ deal and currently paying 2.49%, the lowest rate we’ve ever paid on a mortgage.

– Cut our grocery bill from around £80 to £70 per week (this includes all household products, food & toiletries), saving £520 per year.

To date, I’ve managed to cut our bills by nearly £2,000 per year, which isn’t too bad considering the cost of living has increased these past few years.  It didn’t take a lot of effort either. There are some great online comparison sites available now, which save time & effort. Some of my favourite sites are: www.uswitch.comwww.moneysavingexpert.com, www.gocompare.com and www.mySupermarket.com.

The one area that I still need to work on is landline telephone & broadband. We’re currently paying £109 each quarter which is way too high.  I’m currently looking at Sky and Plusnet so, if anyone has experience of either of these two, I’d love to hear what you think of them 🙂

A Budget-Friendly Recipe for the Weekend

On Wednesday, I promised that I’d give the recipe for one of our favourite lentil dishes which uses Chana Dal (also known as Yellow Split Gram and Gram Dal). This lentil is a relative of the chick pea and has a lovely nutty flavour.

This dish is super duper cheap to make! In Tesco, a 2kg bag of Indus Chana Dal costs just £2.99 (and this size bag will last you ages).

The dish is mildly spiced, so perfect for all the family, though feel free to crank up the heat if you like spice! It’s also deliciously creamy. I use Alpro Soya Cream in this dish, which makes it dairy free and low in fat. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend, November 15-19 2012]

Lentils are so versatile. As well as using them in Indian dishes, we make lentil burgers, lentil loaves and add them to soups. This week I made a large batch of tomato and red lentil soup and it was lush! Lil’ L took it to school, M took it to work, and we had enough left over for dinner one evening too. You can check out the recipe here.

Do you cook with lentils? If so, I’d love to hear about your favourite lentil dish. Add a link to your recipe if possible.

Also, do you keep an eye on your finances and look for ways to cut bills? If so, I’d love to hear your tips!

Right, it’s Friday night and the weekend has officially begun 🙂 Time for me to sign off!

Have a great weekend everyone! xx

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Filed under Dinners, Living Rich on Less