Hands up if you’re secretly delighted with the idea of chocolate for breakfast, pine needles all over the floor and Christmas tunes EVERYWHERE. It’s officially ok to get Christmassy now November is over- and along with that extra cheer comes the temptation for an extra spend.
According to the Money Advice Service, in 2012 the average adult in the UK is expected to spend £600 on festivities. Setting a budget is a great theory, but over a quarter of us get wrapped up and the sound of jingle bells is soon drowned out by that of the tills, screaming children and angry shoppers. Source.
One of the biggest expenditures is food- and it’s not just the turkey. The lead up to Christmas sees Christmas parties, festive pack lunches and little treats here there and everywhere. And then there are the presents … it’s easy to see how spending can get out of control.
Luckily, as it is now December- we feel the time is right to really go to (tinsel) town and let you know all about our exclusive Xmas features which have all been designed to help YOU save this Christmas.
After all, just because it is the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t mean it can’t be the thriftiest too!
Introducing the Christmas Ministore!
Our Christmas Ministore has been designed to have all your Christmas must haves (including the cranberry sauce) in one easy place. We’ve divided it up into shelves to help you find all you need:
These are a big deal. Check out our Exclusive Christmas Vouchers and grab yourself an absolute Christmas cracker of a bargain- anything from free products to free delivery! Exclusive to mySupermarket, you won’t find these anywhere else.
Another invaluable tool in your savings tool belt, this is the place to check for the best deals and your Christmas essentials. See them all in one place, without the temptation or confusion!
Plus we have Dinner Must-Haves, Wines and Spirits, Drinks, Gifts and our guilty pleasure, the Chocs and Cakes!
We’ve also come up with our Ultimate Lists which are designed to help make sure you don’t forget a thing!
Not only are these the top 15 products in their field, they’ve also got an exclusive 20% Cashback you won’t find anywhere else. That’s right, they’ll have 20% extra off via Cashback ON TOP of the offers you find in the supermarket.
The Ultimate Lists categories are:
Top Thirst Quenchers
Top Dinner Must Haves
Take a look and build your list now, you’ll be able to see the cheapest place to get each list, and also the savings AFTER Cashback. Even a super Savvy Santa couldn’t resist, the lists are updated with real time prices, so you’ll see where your shop is cheapest on the day you shop!
You can then add the list to your shop with one click- and even take out any items that aren’t for you- meaning you are, as always, completely in control of your spend and able to see the true offers in amongst the supermarket chaos!
And, as an extra treat- these offers available on the site itself too! You don’t have to use the lists to see the 20% Cashback, just check the Cashback shelf to see all the Cashback offers available in the store your shopping with!
Could this be the Thriftiest Christmas ever? In the immortal words of every pantomime ever, oh no it’s not, oh yes it is!
It’s official: winter isn’t just coming, it’s here.
It’s easy to get swept up in the doom and gloom of dark evenings and cold mornings but winter has some truly wonderful things going for it too. Think frosty walks and wrapping up, which are made even better when you come home to our favourite thing about the chilly season: the roast dinner!
Sure you can have a Sunday roast any day of the week, any time of year, but it takes on a special resonance when you’re all together as a family and tucking into a proper roast with all the trimmings. Whether it’s pork, beef, chicken or something for vegetarians, the roast dinner is truly a winter essential.
But are we paying for this little luxury more than ever in 2013? Sadly, the answer is yes. Just take a look at the information we found:
Ouch, 19.7% more?! That’s a lot, in fact it’s enough to really pinch in the current economic climate and it’s a pinch we’ll feel all the more as Christmas approaches.
Despite this increase in cost, we wouldn’t dream of going without this hallowed tradition- it’s one of those things that make winter bearable! Luckily, here at mySupermarket we have a few savvy suggestions to help you bring the cost of your roast down from the ceiling and back to the table (and your tummy!)
At at least 30% off their average price, Savvy Buys are the savvy shoppers secret weapon. You can find them all on one shelf on the site and you can filter your results! This way you can really hone in to those roast essentials!
Another genius addition to add to your shopping toolkit- a Swap and Save is when we let you know that you can make your money go further by making a smart swap. It can be anything from Bisto to Oxo, or 300g of loose Broccoli rather than buying 150g pre-packaged. Of course, all our suggestions are there for you to chose from – but you can also say no if your gravy just HAS to be that brand.
So, not only are we telling you how you can lower your roast dinner cost, we’re also telling you how you can make money from it!
In the lead up to Christmas we have loads of roast essentials with on the Cashback shelf-including Stuffing! This means you can earn money (paid straight into your Paypal account) whilst filling your tummy!
So, it’s not all doom and gloom. Just like winter has its perks, so does this news. Yes it may cost more to enjoy your favourite Sunday activity, but there’s also help at hand. So what are you waiting for? Get that meat in the oven now!
What is your favourite roast? Let us know your top recipes in the comments and we’ll post them on our Facebook page!
I was able to catch some of this evenings episode of BBC Watchdog and was delighted to see them highlight the issue of Supermarket wine promotions and question what the TRUE value of certain wines are.
And for our regular users, I hope you recognised the pricing graphs that they showed highlighting the yo-yo pricing that we see so often on wine.
I’ve said on many occasions that the wine aisle is the area of the store where you see the most different types of promotions – half price, % off, Save £1, buy one get one half price, 3 for £10….in fact on one occasion I remember counting over 20 different variations! Confusing? You bet. Can you find the best deal? Fat chance!
So the answer is simple – Check the pricing graph that we show on almost every single wine and on over 100,000 other products across the supermarkets. Then look at the real clincher – the average price across the previous year. I like to call this the TRUE price of a product. Take a look at just one example below. An offer currently available in Tesco at £1 off – but look at the average price: The ‘offer’ price is HIGHER than the average price. Now, i’m not trying to pick on Tesco here – we see examples like these across all of the supermarkets on a daily basis. It just pays to check before picking up that offer. Better still, take our smart phone app with you when you visit a store and scan the barcode of any product to see the average price instantly on your phone.
A quick scan is well worth the saving you could make by knowing you are actually getting a good deal or avoiding a lemon (pardon the cheap foodie pun).
Anyway, all this talk of wine has made me thirsty.
This week’s blog is a guest blog post by Dan Grose of Phones 4u. Checkout what the tech-savvy think of shopping savvy!
mySuperList – App Review
It’s safe to say that shopping is often challenging work, bringing endless frustration to an otherwise peaceful afternoon. Ok, so we may be dramatising it slightly, but anything that makes the whole process easier is always greatly received.
And this is where mySuperList comes in, a smart new iOS app from MySupermarket that’s more than capable of taking the confusion out of shopping.
What does it do?
In its basic form mySuperList replaces the traditional shopping list with an interactive experience. Instead of scrabbling around for a pen and paper before you head out, users can put together their itinerary from an interactive menu, making sure they get exactly what they want from the large database. You can also compare prices, order online and even scan barcodes to find the cheapest option around.
What we liked
Undoubtedly mySuperList’s biggest asset is its sheer usability. Whilst the basic premise may sound straightforward, in reality the detail it offers is second to none. Rather than just throwing things onto a page, you’re presented with everything from price comparisons, stock availability and related items all arranged by supermarket, ensuring you get the best shopping experience possible.
What could be better?
This setup could perhaps be the only drawback, as mySuperList can be a bit overwhelming on first use. With so much going on less tech savvy users may struggle to take it all in, but once you get a feel for everything, this doesn’t present a problem.
There’s no doubt that mySuperList is an essential component for dubious shoppers, and with iOS handsets now available on a range of reasonable phone contracts, this smart, slick app is definitely one to put at the top of your list.
This guest post was written Dan Grose of Phones 4u, the number one destination for all the latest smartphones. You can download mySuperList here:
Thanks Dan! Phones 4u have kindly donated 4 sets of Hednoise Street Headphones for lucky blog readers! To be in with a chance of winning just leave us a comment below letting us know:
What is your top track to go shopping with??
Ours is probably the Rocky Theme tune- great for grabbing bargains! Winners will be picked at random and contacted after the competition closes on October the 12th. Good luck!
At mySupermarket we cannot stress enough how important it is to double check special offers before putting them in your trolley and parting with your cash.
If you are like me and start your online shopping by going straight to the “Offers” tab you need to be wary that often not all is what it seems.
It’s the same when you go into stores. Big bright posters shouting offers at you, stacks of products in the foyer with big price messages and those ends of aisles laden with a myriad of different deals. But we are often being caught out and you probably don’t even know it.
Let me show you just 3 examples:
Pringles – my kids love them. On offer in Tesco, 2 for £4.00. Big messages enticing me to buy. On the face of it, at an ‘offer’ price of £2.00 a tube I should assume it’s a good deal, right?
Wrong. They are also on offer in Asda at a mind-blowingly lower price of £1.25, and in Sainsburys on offer at an even lower price of £1.15! That’s a whopping 42% saving on the Tesco price. Not only that, the pricing graph we show you for all products tells us the Tesco offer price is actually 18% higher than the average price for Pringles over the previous year.
J20. My kids love that too. On multi-buy in Asda at 2 for £7.00 – a saving of 79p per pack based on their normal price of £4.29. But hang on a minute. I click on the product to see what it costs in the other retailers and get a shock. Half Price in both Tesco and Sainsburys at just £2.14 a pack. An eye watering saving of £1.36 PER PACK compared to the Asda multi-buy price – which rather than being a good price is actually 14% higher than the average price over the previous year. Strewth.
Finally Olay Anti Wrinkle cream (I’ve reached that age sadly!). Pricy at the best of times but Boots have a 1/3 off which is an impressive £3.43 discount at a cost of £6.86. I can’t miss out on that! But wait – the product page tells me that it’s also a third off in Sainsburys, and their original price was lower – so it’s only £4.99! A huge £1.87 less that the Boots offer price. But I’ve also noticed that it’s not actually on offer in Asda or Tesco – BUT it’s still £1.86 and £1.82 cheaper respectively at NORMAL price than the Boots offer price.
There are big amounts of money at stake here so what can you do?
At home it’s easy. Just click on any product to see the prices across all the stores and the pricing graph. Also, remember the Savvy Buy logo. If you see this next to a product then there is no need to check the prices because this is telling you that the price is at least 30% cheaper (and often much much more) than it has been all year.
How about outside of the home?
Well, you could take your laptop into stores with you to check our product pages and price graphs when you see an offer? Okay, maybe not!
There is a much better solution. Make sure you have mySuperlist downloaded to your iphone or android and suddenly you’ll have your own portable instant deal checker. You’ll even find exclusive cashback bonuses available on some products which we pay to you just for using the app. Just scan the barcode of any product and you’ll get an instant price comparison. You’ll see if it is a Savvy Buy and we also show you the average price over the last year. And, it even works in Aldi!
So, please don’t ever overpay for products. Just a few quick scans can save you £’s – and if you find that there are products you want that are cheaper in another store just use the app to put them into a list and pop into that store later or buy them online.
What do Aldi, Android and Pulling Levers all have in common?
Answer: they are all new features on mySupermarket!
We’ve have a busy summer – and it’s all because of you
Firstly, Aldi – they are now on our site. They are the fastest growing retailer in the UK and are building a good reputation for some great products at great prices. Many of you like them and rightly so. Aldi are the first of many new stores we hope to add in the coming months. Ultimately we want to give consumers as much choice and price transparency as possible on a level playing field, so they can save wherever and however they choose to shop. We won’t rest until we think we have achieved our aim of “mySupermarket everywhere”.
This is the first offline store we have ever added to our site so its been an interesting project. We’ll be checking and updating prices weekly, but we are only human – if you see anything that looks odd or strange then please let us know. Accuracy of information is our biggest strength but put us right if you spot anything.
And don’t be too disappointed if on occasions you are filling your basket in one of the other stores but notice that the Aldi comparison is not showing up. They have far fewer products than the other retailers so often we wont be able to find a suitable match in Aldi for some of the products you choose.
You’ll also find Aldi on our app, mySuperlist , which I am pleased to say after we launched with iphone is now available on Android (yes, finally!). This allows even more users to shop digitally instore as well as online, and is fast becoming the definitive in-store price checker, product scanner and cashback earner.
Last but not least – Levers. For two years now we have been searching tirelessly for a solution to the number one issue that bothers us about our website . We think we’ve finally cracked it. Well, we hope so.
Sure, we think the store comparison works great, and we know how much you like the swap & save suggestions, savvy buys and of course cashback. But that’s not enough – we think you are missing out on even more savings and this is why:
If we are comparing the contents of your trolley as closely as we can to the other retailers then how can we help you take advantage of promotions in different stores? You wont know about them. Promotions are almost always different by store so they are unlikely to appear in your basket comparison.
So we have created the Comparison Lever – because we want YOU to control how we compare:
If the lever is set to “BEST MATCH” then you basket is compared how it has always been – to identical products in the other retailers or as close as possible.
If you pull the lever to “BOOST SAVINGS” then we compare differently for you. We look for the best prices and promotions in each of the other stores. They might not be exact matches to the products you originally chose but it will be close . But best of all we can show you how much cheaper your shop could be by swapping a few products and switching to a different store . And we were amazed to find the savings were huge. Test it out and see how much the basket totals change.
We know what you might be thinking - “I might not want to do some of the swaps or switch stores”. But that’s fine, we won’t take it personally - you can toggle between both comparison modes as little or as often as you want by moving the lever. It’s up to you – we just don’t want you to miss out. It takes some getting used to but the potential savings can be truly impressive.
And what’s next? I’m sure you will tell us
The media are forever reminding us of how tough times are at the moment with the continual rise in cost of…well, pretty much everything.
Food shopping is no exception and most weeks you’ll see a new report on food inflation, or the increase in the cost of wheat, fruit & veg, water…you name it. And at the same time the supermarkets are offering more and more promotions, and shouting about their various price match’s, promises, guarantee’s etc. So what is really happening to what we are spending on our grocery shopping?
Well we think we have one of, if not the most accurate answer to this because we see what thousands of us are buying day in and day out – and most importantly we know what we are actually paying for products. We can also track this over weeks, months and years to see how spend has changed and in what product areas the price of our average trolley is changing
So we created what we call the “Real Shopper Spend Index”. We use the word ‘Real’ because that is what it is – it’s real, or actual spend. And we use the average price of products because this takes into account all the price promotions, drops and rises that happen constantly.
The very first edition was published in the Sunday Mirror over the weekend and on their website. You can see it for yourselves below.
And what does it say? Well, it tells a story already. Compared to last year the value of the average trolley has barely changed, but there has been a drop in the number of items in it. Meanwhile the average product price has risen by 6% (twice the level of inflation) – so many of us are rigidly sticking to a budget but we are having to sacrifice a few items in order to do so. We’ll be eager to see how this changes in future months.
We think that showing the reality is important – in fact it’s all that matters. What do you think?
We all know we should be eating healthier, but what does that actually mean? More fruit less veg? More fish less meat? No meat at all? It can get rather confusing. Here is a list of the ten foods you should be trying to include in your diet on at least a weekly basis – that way you’ll be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Why it is healthy:
One stalk of broccoli contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin K requirement and nearly 200% of your recommended daily vitamin C requirements.
Why it is healthy
Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These have been linked to fighting heart disease and cancer.
A 100g serving will help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.
Always choose wild salmon over farmed salmon. Farmed salmon contains 16 times more toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) as wild salmon.
Why it is healthy
Walnuts contain the most omega-3 fathhy acids of all the nuts – this may help reduce cholesterol and have been linked to improved mood and help to fight cancer.
Eat a handful for dessert just before bed – the melatonin in walnuts helps you sleep.
Why it is healthy
Avocados are rich in good, satisfying fats, which lower cholesterol.
One whole avocado has more than half the fibre and 40% of the folate you need daily, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
Adding it to your salad can increase the absorption of key nutrients like beta-carotene by three to five times compared with salads without avocado.
Why it is healthy
Garlic is a powerful disease fighter that can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli.
Allicin, found in garlic, works as an anti-inflammatory and lowers cholesterol and blood-pressure.
Quick Tip: Crushed fresh garlic releases the most allicin.
Why it is healthy
Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health.
Adding spinach to a smoothie won’t change the taste but will up its nutritional value.
Why it is healthy:
Almonds are rich in key nutrients; magnesium, vitamin E, iron, calcium, fibre, and riboflavin.
They can also help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Almonds have more fibre than any other tree nut.
Keep a re-sealable bag of almonds with you if you are on the go. It is a great between-meal snack that will keep your blood sugar levels steady.
Why it is healthy:
Blueberries are rich in fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural chemicals that may help prevent disease and keep the body working properly.
Blueberries have also been found to help in treating obesity. Plant polyphenols, found in blueberries have been shown to reduce development of fat cells.
Why it is healthy:
Sweet potatoes are packed full of fibre, beta carotene, vitamin C, as well as vitamin B6. That is a long list for a small vegetable.
Scientists have compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. The sweet potato came out tops, when vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein and complex carbohydrates were ranked.#
Why it is healthy:
Oats have high fibre content – this is great for controlling cholesterol levels. Eating a bowl a day will lower high cholesterol.
Oats are also rich in complex carbohydrates, which slow digestion down – meaning that if you have a bowl for breakfast, it should keep you going until lunch.
It’s that time of the year again. When we were at school the six weeks holiday lasted forever. Sadly, for many parents it can feel the same but for all the wrong reasons!
Keeping the kids occupied over the summer can be a bit of a mission. While the weather is good things are slightly easier, but by week 3 your kids may be missing school more than they thought and little seeds of boredom can soon sprout into mischief and tantrums!
So how can you keep kids occupied this summer, whatever the weather?
Below are our top 10 Crafty things to do with kids should the weather turn against you, or if they simply get bored of frolicking outside. Hey, stranger things have happened.
1. Alien Eggs
Perfect for little boys (and curious girls!) these marbled eggs will turn your tummies! Why not make up and Alien Egg salad with beetroot and purple sprouting broccoli? Whilst you’re making them fire imaginations and ask the kids to draw the aliens who would hatch from eggs like these…
2. Mudpie Magic
Gardening + Baking = an afternoon of fun! These mini gardens are simple, cute and a perfect way to get kids involved in their outdoor spaces. Better still, bring them into the kitchen as a perfect, personalized decoration.
3. Hearts of stone
As the kids start to realise they miss their friends, get them to make personalised gifts to give them next time they see them! These also make great gifts for Mum and Dad and are a great thing to make at Nan and Grandad’s house. In fact, make them for everyone, a bag of (lovely) rocks never looked so good!
4. Backyard Bird Feeder
Thrifty? Check. Engaging? Check. Easy? Check. We’re so in love with this idea we’re wondering why we didn’t think of it sooner!
Once you’ve made your feeder, challenge the kids to a bit of bird spotting and see who comes for a nibble!
5. Plastic Bottle Piggy Bank
Staying with the theme of re-using plastic bottles, try this! This cute money bank is a great way to get the kids saving for their summer holiday fund. Well, how else are they going to buy ALL that ice cream?
6. D.I.Y Lava Lamp
Keep the kids entertained with some science! Made from stuff you’re likely to have in the cupboard this craft is easy, entertaining and (just a little bit) educational!
7. Seashell Mirror
If your summer holiday is towards the start of the 6 weeks, it can be hard with nothing to look forward to by week 4. So why not capture the memories of your amazing holiday with this superb seashell craft? Sand and stylish don’t usually go together but get the kids to make one of these and your downstairs loo will rock! Well…shell.
8. Ribbon Bookmarks
The summer holidays are a perfect time to get children into reading. If it seems a little bit too much like school work, make reading cool by designing your own bookmarks. Then make them for your friends too and swap your favourite stories you’ve read so far. This one is great for older kids (and adults!) as well!
9. Butterfly Decorations
As it is summer, these butterflies are a perfect craft. Use them to decorate the kids’ rooms, the garden or make some thoughtful gifts and greeting cards.
10. Fun Fossils
Finally, why not have a go at being a palaeontologist?
This is a great one if you are always falling over plastic animals. We don’t see why you should limit the fun to dinos though, what about any other animal toys you may have roaming the house?
We all want to save more and waste less… and your freezer will be your best friend in helping you do this. We all have had too much of something or leftovers from a dinner party – the food is still good, but there isn’t enough time or mouths to eat it before it has to go in the bin. Here is a list of 10 surprising foods that you may not have known you could freeze.
Want just one or two glasses, but don’t want to throw the rest of the bottle out? Freeze
it. Frozen wine will keep for around 6 months and is great for cooking – add it to sauces, stews and casseroles.
It is important to crack the eggs before freezing otherwise the shells will crack and leave your freezer in a mess. Crack open place in freezer bags or airtight containers, will last for up to a year. Defrost a few hours before you need them.
Brown Rice (uncooked):
Brown rice is not bleached or refined, meaning that it has higher oil content than white rice. This reduces its shelf life, but makes it great for freezing. It can last for up to a year in the freezer.
Butter, like most dairy products, is prime freezing material and can last in the freezer for up to six months. It is always useful to have some to hand and this way you won’t have to keep an eye on the ‘Use By’ date.
This is a really useful one if you are constantly running out, or if you like to buy your milk for the month, all at once. Thaw in the fridge and stir well before using. Will last for three months in the freezer.
A full freezer is more economical to run as the cold air doesn’t need to circulate as much, so less power is needed. Fill free space and gaps in the freezer with bottles of water or with frozen peas or bread crumbs.
Nuts have a high oil content – this means that they can go off quickly. Freeze them in sandwich bags, take them out in the morning and they should be ready for your lunch. You can freeze them for up to 1 – 2 years, depending on the type of nut.
Fresh Herbs: Basil, Coriander and Parsley.
You will only need to use a small amount of herbs in a recipe, but you have to buy a bag of them at a time. Freeze what you don’t use in ice trays, covered with a small amount of water. Will last up to six months.
Freeze fresh ginger in its whole state in Ziploc bag, you can grate it straight into stir-frys and then just pop it back into its bag and into the freezer again.
If you have any leftover tomato paste, freeze dollop of leftover on a cookie sheet or in ice cube trays and transfer to freezer bags for use in future recipes, use within three months.
If you can never seem to finish a whole loaf before it gets stale, or you only want a slice or two of toast every so often. Pop the loaf in the freezer – it toasts perfectly, straight from the freezer.
Pop any leftover bread slices/crusts into a blender or food processor. Pop them into a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer for a never ending supply of breadcrumbs.
Maple syrup keeps forever in the freezer. It is a bit more expensive than the imitation stuff – but much better for you and tastes amazing. Take it out a few hours before you want to use it and pop it back into the freezer when you are done.
And last Top Tip:
If you have chewing gum stuck to your favourite item of clothing – stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours, or wait until it is solid, and then just pick it all off.