Groceries Part III – Managing Your Food Budget: The Affordable Shopping Cart (cont):
Here’s the continuation of the ‘Affordable Shopping Cart’: Lunches and Dinners
– Nuggets – Iceland carries different brands at different times, but usually you can find a bag of 30 nuggets for £1.50-£2, or a bag of 25 for £1.50.
– French Fries (chips to the British) – Iceland carries many different brands and styles of fries, and many of them are only £1
– Pizza – Iceland carries a variety of flavors, in addition to thin or deep pan, all for just a £1. These are large pizzas that can be cut as soon as you get home in half, thirds, or fourths, depending on your appetite. Recommendation: cut it as soon as you get home; it’s quite hard to cut a frozen pizza.
– Noodles – There are many brands and types of noodles, so you might want to browse around for your favorite. There are many small local stores that sell them, usually between 40p-£1. Some places like Poundland, Always 99p and Iceland sell noodles that come in packs of 4-6 for £1. My personal favorites are KOKA noodles, sold at Home Bargains for only 25p each.
– Burgers – These are quite delicious burgers, which I reckon are healthier than fast food burgers but taste just the same. Poundland and Always 99p sell them for a £1; Iceland sells them individually for little over £1, but has a bargain of three for £3, and you can mix and match between beef burgers and chicken burgers. They also carry hotdogs by the same brand, although I am not entirely convinced by their flavor yet.
– Soups – If you like soups, there are many different brands and flavors to choose from. Normally soup-cans can cost between 69p and £1 at small local stores. Aldi also carries a nice variety, for much less than £1.
– Sandwiches – Poundland, Always 99p, Iceland and Aldi sell a variety of sandwiches for £1, while other stores like TESCO and Sainsbury’s sell them between £1 and £3. The £1 sandwiches are good, but I would personally recommend buying the ingredients separately so that, in the long run, sandwiches will cost you less than £1.
– Hotdogs – I mentioned above that the brand that sells the ‘readymade’ burgers also sells hotdogs, but there are other hotdog brands as well. The difficulty is finding ‘American’ hotdogs, as they are quite different in the UK. I have yet to find a suitable alternative, so I’ll update this when I find one.
– Meat – I have shopped for meat at TESCO, Sainsbury’s and Iceland and can say that without a doubt the best prices can be found in Iceland. A small packet of meat that barely lasts for one or two meals from TESCO can easily cost a minimum of £5, while you can get more of the same mean at Iceland for only £3. Iceland sells ground beef from £1 to £5, depending on the amount you want, braising meat and chopped beef for £3. These packs can be divided and bagged into different portions for different days, or you can cook it all on one go and save it in plastic containers.
– Chicken – Iceland sells both fresh chicken (for the same prices as meat), and breaded chicken that can be baked in the oven. The latter are very tasty and filling, and come in a variety of flavors, including my personal favorite ‘southern fried’. They come in bags of eight for only £2. Aldi also sells cans of chicken chunks in white sauce, and chicken curry for £1, and the curry is particularly enjoyable.
– Tuna – The best and most economic tuna I have been able to find is at Home Bargains, where you could find it for less than £1, but prices for tuna seem to have gone up lately.
– Corned Beef – Like tuna, the price of corned beef has gone up, and no tins can be found for less than £1. In addition they tend to be smaller than they used to be. The cheapest prices can be found at Home Bargains and Aldi.
– Fish Sticks (Fish Fingers in UK) – You can find a box of eight for £1 at Iceland.
– Spaghetti/ Pasta – There is a great variety of pasta in almost every store, and a 500g (about 1lbs) bag normally costs less than £1. At Aldi’s they can be found for 55p.
– Rice – Almost anywhere you buy rice, and for almost any kind of rice, it should not cost more than £1; in fact it will probably cost half of that.
– Mashed Potatoes – Back home I used to be against ‘instant mashed potatoes’, but I’ve discovered that the ones here in the UK are quite tasty. I particularly enjoy ‘Mr. Mash’, which can be bought at almost any Pound/99p store, or Iceland for £1, and it contains three hefty bags of potato flakes ready to be made into mash. Home Bargains sells a smaller box for only 25p. All it takes to make is hot water, milk, a pinch of salt and butter, and presto, delicious mashed potatoes without the hassle of real ones.
Well, that’s it for now! The last section of the ‘Affordable Shopping Cart’ will include extras, like deserts and treats, and anything else I might have missed. Don’t hesitate to make suggestions ^_^. Good shopping everyone!
All the best,