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!

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

 

Budget Busting Meals – Roasted Vegetable Ciabatta

Here’s today’s budget busting lunch:

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F

Take one seeded ciabatta (£1 for a pack of 4 in Tesco)

Mix a little olive oil with 1 clove of crushed garlic.  Cut the ciabatta in half and brush with the oil.

Finely chop a mix of veggies (I use red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, courgette (zucchini), mushrooms).  Tip the vegetables into a roasting pan.  Add a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.  Mix to coat the veggies in the oil.

Aren’t they beautiful?

After the veggies have been in the oven for 10 minutes, add the ciabatta (cut side up).  Cook on for a further 5 minutes then remove from the oven and assemble.

Voila!  A super quick, cheap, delicious lunch 🙂

This ciabatta could easily be elevated to ‘dinner’ status by adding a little pesto, and a nice salad side dish or bowl of crispy kale 🙂

For more budget busting meals, check out my Recipe section.  All the dinners are super cheap to make, costing pence rather than pounds per portion (even using organic ingredients!)

My favourite budget-busting meal has got to be dhal and chapatis.  It’s so cheap to make and so tasty!  It’s one of the family’s all-time favourite meals.  What’s your favourite budget busting meal? 

 

Big Budget Challenge – Weeks V & VI

I’m now into my sixth week of the Big Budget Challenge, hosted by the lovely Laura @ KeepingHealthyGettingStylish.  I’m still really enjoying this challenge, largely due to the fact that I’m finding ways to make lots of savings without feeling that I’m depriving the family or compromising on the quality of the goods I’m buying.  That’s the way to do it! 😉

Here’s a rundown of my money saving attempts over the past two weeks:

1. Avoid waste.  Still haven’t thrown away any food!  In the past, I would often end up throwing away half-used pots of hummus that were hiding at the back of the fridge.  Since taking on the B.B.C. challenge, I’ve made sure that I make regular checks of what’s in the fridge and use up everything before it starts to grow fur. 

Last week, I found myself with a large bag of organic carrots that would soon be past their best, so I decided to make some carrot and coriander soup.  I asked M to stop at the supermarket on the way home from work and buy some speciality bread to make the meal a touch more special.  By the time he arrived there, all the freshly made bread was being sold off at a fraction of the original price so he picked up some fantastic bargains, including some carrot and pumpkin seed bread for 50p a loaf!

The soup was so delicious… really creamy, yet I didn’t put any milk or cream in it!  If anyone’s interested in the recipe, I can post it.

2. Shop around for the cheapest deals. I did another large online grocery shop last week and used www.mysupermarket.co.uk again.  So simple and quick to use (took me less than 20 mins).  Again, the website confirmed that Tesco was the cheapest supermarket for my grocery basket (£127 at Tesco vs £145 at Sainsbury; £147 at Asda; £168 at Waitrose).  I saved £15.85 by multi-buying (2-4-1s, etc) and a further £16.40 by using the website’s ‘Swap & Save’ function.

This week’s top bargains from Tesco:
– 750g Natco Cashew Nuts for £5.00 (compared to £1.99 for 200g in the Tesco own label range)
400g Natco Jeera Ground cumin for £1.99 (compared to 85p for 43g in the Tesco own label range).

3. Make use of home-grown foods.  Still using tons of home-grown apples, stewing them, making puddings, and puree for apple pancakes. 

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes are so delish!

 4. Go foraging! I didn’t go far this week… just into the garden.  With the crazy weather we’re currently experiencing, lots of plants that we normally see in Spring have started shooting up now… including the stinging nettles.  For years I’ve been saying that I’m going to try cooking the nettles and, last Tuesday, I finally got round to doing it!  The Nettle Bhajee (which featured in yesterday’s post) was really tasty and I’ll definitely make it again 🙂

5. Make use of vouchers and deals. This week, I did an online shop at Goodness Direct to stock up on nuts and seeds, as well as buy some delicious healthy organic treats.  There are a few codes available on the web that give you £10 off your order with Goodness Direct, including the one on the right-hand side of Laura’s website. You also get free delivery when you spend over £35. 

It felt like Christmas had come early when the box arrived on the door step!  Here’s what I got…

I bulk-purchased some of the foods that we consume a lot, and this saved me a small fortune.  My top two bulk purchases were 3kg of brown linseed for £5.07 (this will keep us going for the next year!) and 500g pitted dates for £1.55 (I bought 2 bags).  These prices are way cheaper than anything I’ve ever found in the supermarkets or local health food stores.

Another tip… if you buy broken Brazil nuts, they are much cheaper than whole Brazil nuts.  For ages, I’ve been buying whole Brazil nuts then spend ages chopping them up!  At Goodness Direct, 250g of broken Brazil nuts are £1.99 compared to £3.33 for the whole nuts!

So, with all these savings on bulk purchases, free delivery, £10 off, I felt I deserved a few delicious organic treats (even if I am in the midst of the Big Budget Challenge 😉 )  At the moment, I am absolutely loving Meridian’s organic wild blueberry and cherry & berry spreads, and their Green Pesto (in the ‘Free From’ range).  Regardless of the fact that it’s vegan, I think this is the best pesto out there!  Not only does it taste great, but it’s also got an amazing texture (little bit crunchy, just how I like it 🙂 )

I’m definitely going to explore bulk purchasing more.  Do you bulk buy any grocery items?  If so, what’s your top bulk purchase items and where do you buy them?

 

Big Budget Challenge – Weeks III & IV

As it was the half term school holidays last week, which began with a mini break to Sherwood Forest followed by Lil’ L’s 8th birthday, I didn’t get round to posting an update for Laura’s Big Budget Challenge.  Many apologies Laura!  To make up for this, I’ll give a rundown of my ‘money saves’ over the past two weeks vis-a-vis my 5 budget rules

1. Avoid waste. I’m pleased to say that I’ve managed to avoid throwing away any food over the past two weeks 🙂  There was a close call with a bag of spinach that was starting to look sorry for itself, but Laura’s post on Monday inspired me to make a spinach, butternut squash and chickpea curry.  I even roasted the squash seeds (for the first time ever) and we had them with the hemp burger and roasted squash dinner on Monday.  No seeds will ever get thrown away again… they’re so nice lightly roasted! 🙂

2. Shop around for cheapest deals. I’m planning to do another big online grocery shop tomorrow and I’ll definitely be using www.mysupermarket.co.uk again.  It saved me quite a few pounds on my last big grocery shop and I’m intrigued to see what I can save this time round 🙂

3. Make use of home grown foods.  We’ve been eating lots of home-grown apples (still not sick of them 😉 ).  We’ve also had some very generous donations of home-grown produce from friends and family, including these amazing courgettes/zucchinis.

As well as using the zucchini in lots of savoury dishes (roasted veg & pasta; lasagna; fajitas), I made some wicked date and zucchini brownies last week, which I pictured in yesterday’s post.  (I’ll be writing up the recipe and posting it very soon).

All the donated produce has been used up now, so I’ve turned my attention to some rather unusual home-grown produce… dandelion leaves and nettles.  I didn’t intentionally grow these, but as they’re growing so beautifully in my garden, it’ll be fun to see whether I can turn them into something tasty 😉

4. Go foraging! Whilst cycling round Sherwood Forest last week, I couldn’t resist a quick pause to collect sweet chestnuts.

The cases are so prickly!  I used my feet to squeeze the nuts out of the shells, while M adopted a more hands-on approach.

I didn’t have a bag with me, so I crammed as many as I could into the back pocket of my cycling jacket.

You won’t believe how many I actually managed to cram into that pocket!

I absolutely adore roasted chestnuts!  They really remind me of childhood Christmas Eves when my Dad would roast chestnuts, sprinkle them with salt and tip them on a newspaper.  We’d then sit on the living room floor and tuck in!

Today, I decided to use some of the nuts to make a sweet chestnut casserole with herby dumplings.

The dumplings were flavoured with fresh rosemary from the garden.  This is one of the few edible plants that the slugs and snails actually leave alone!  It’s a really easy herb to grow and seems to look after itself.  Our plant has been here the whole time we’ve lived in Bath (11 years now) and it hasn’t need any attention at all. (That’s SO my sort of plant 😉 )

5. Make use of vouchers and deals. We used our Tesco vouchers again on Lil’ L’s birthday, saving us £21 on the entry fee into a sea aquarium.  I’m glad we didn’t pay real money for this trip as the aquarium was awful (in my opinion).  The image of the snake-headed turtle pounding up and down its tiny tank is still haunting me 🙁

So that’s my big budget challenge update for weeks III and IV!  Have you had any great money saves in the last month?  If so, I’d love to hear them! 

The Big Budget Challenge – Week II

I’m  now in my second week of ‘The Big Budget Challenge’ hosted by the lovely Laura @ Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish.  I did okay in Week I, but Week 2 has been even better 🙂 

Here’s a run down of my top ‘money saves’ this week:

1. Avoid waste. No food thrown away this week!  

See these sad-looking bananas….

I turned them into this:

It’s banana cinnamon ‘ice cream’.  It’s so creamy that you would think it was proper ice cream!  To make it, I simply cut the bananas into slices, froze them, then whizzed them in the blender on the ice setting until they were all chopped up.  I then transferred them to a bowl, added a dash of nondairy milk, lashings of cinnamon and a tablespoon of ground linseed.  I then pulsed them using a hand blender until they went white and creamy.  The bananas were so ripe that I didn’t need to add any sweetener.  Lil’ L loves this dessert and it makes a nice change from apples 😉

2. Shop around for cheapest deals.  I finally got round to trying out www.mysupermarket.co.uk that a friend recommended way back in the summer.  I was really impressed with it.  It’s so simple to use.  At a click of a button, it allows you to import your online shopping basket from your usual provider (mine’s Tesco). You can then easily edit the basket, deleting items you no longer need and adding new items. 

Then, it does something really useful…

  • It shows you how you can save money by swapping to cheaper items. If you agree with their ‘Swap & Save’ suggestions, you just click to swap.  I saved £6.36 by swapping some items.
  • It then compares the cost of your basket at four supermarkets.  If your shop would be cheaper elsewhere, you just click to swap.  I did a big grocery shop (83 items) and the total was £139 at Tesco.  In Asda, the same shop would have cost me £155; Sainsbury’s £166; and Ocado (Waitrose) a wopping £177. I’ve always done my big grocery shops at Tesco, so it was great to discover that it is actually the cheapest supermarket for me. 🙂 
     
    It’s interesting because the cheapest supermarket very much depends on the types of groceries you buy.  For my friend, Sainsbury’s came out £30 cheaper than Tesco!  Lately, I’ve been disorganised with my grocery shopping and have ended up buying bits and pieces on a weekly basis from the Waitrose in Bath.  By getting more organised and ordering a fortnightly Tesco home delivery, I should save a small fortune! 🙂 

3. Make use of home grown foods.  We’re eating tons of apples and there’s still hundreds left!  After watching Monty Don’s episode on how to ‘over winter’ apples, I challenged M to make me a storage contraption using old scraps from the garage.  He rose to the challenge and made a great storage system…..

… but it took him the whole of Sunday.  He’s now banned me from watching Gardners’ World as he’s fed up with landing Monty Don’s ‘Jobs for the Weekend’. 😉

4. Go foraging!  No foraging this week as I’m still working out what to do with all the nuts we found last week

5. Make use of vouchers and deals. HUGE savings here! Last Friday, me and my good friend J went to London to meet up with our gorgeous friends N and H for lunch.  I converted my Tesco vouchers into tokens for redspottedhankie.com and managed to get both our travel tickets for FREE!  A total saving of £66!  This meant we had more cash to spend on gorgeous eats and drinks 🙂 

So, lots of savings this week.  Good thing too because next week is going to be v. v. expensive 😉