Approved Food, what I get, what I do with it
I mention AP frequently as there are many huge bargains to be had. If anyone is unfamiliar with what they do, despite my frequent mentions, AP stock short dated ambient foodstuffs. This is stock that may or may not be before a best before date, and never after a use by date. It may be from production runs where packaging has changed, over stocks or any other reason where a stockist wants to sell it on.
So, what do they sell, and how can you use it to keep your grocery budget down? You will need to have the funds to bulk buy, and the room to store your bulk buys. You can’tgo there with a shopping list, as they only have what they have, whatever it is they can get this week. Choose carefully, it’s not a bargain if it doesn’t get used. I bought several packs of mini-nan breads once for instance, and didn’t realise that I would need to freeze them. They all went mouldy. Arrghh. AP have an ever changing stock list and what is there one day, might not be there the next. A strategy that works for me is to buy loads of something that will keep a long time, while it is in stock, and if it is something that I know I can use, preferably in lots of different ways.
If you are living on a strict budget, if you can, set some cash aside each week, until you have accumulated enough for a shop at AP, then pop over and see what bargains are there. If there is nothing you want, wait a week, then have another look. Then once your lovely big box has arrived, use those bargains in your forthcoming meal plans.
In February 2014, I did a shop there, and amongst other things, bought 4 x 850g tins of mango pulp for £1 the 4. Having got it and used some, on 23rd February, I ordered 8 more tins. They will keep indefinitely and I have found many things to use mango pulp for. At the same time, I ordered 20 x 300g packs of Maggi coconut milk powder using the same reasoning. These cost £15 for all 20 and they are currently being sold at £3.59 in Tesco, so a massive £56.80 saving.
I wanted to make a dinner with these, rather than something sweet, and invented a delicious chickpea, mango and coconut curry which costs 53p using supermarket purchased ingredients, or less than half that using the AP sourced ingredients, so a significant saving for the grocery budget. The same sauce can also be used over pasta for a lovely change.
I use the coconut milk powder in lots of different things, including this Thai Green Curry, a Sweet Bean Curry
I can’t have caffeine so drink decaf tea and coffee. My preferred instant coffee is Kenco, so imagine my delight when I spotted 300g vending packs of just this at £3.49 each. Even on offer, 100g is the same price as the 300g, so a huge 66% saving. I got 6 of those, I enjoy it every day and I’ve still got lots left.
Sometimes I get posh pasta. It works out about the same as value pasta, but I get to use the posh stuff instead. I seem to have a bit of a pasta mountain at the moment, so I need to do more pasta meals.
And speaking of the posh stuff, I simply love these tins of posh tuna. They were just 33p each and I use them with a big salad, or with a jacket potato. They could be used with some of that pasta too, or used in a quiche
I might mix in some of these black olives. At 25p a tin, I can afford to be generous with them. I made a savoury green Olive & Tomato Curd recently which is delectable and I have on toast for breakfast. I have lots and lots of these black olives, so I may make a curd using those.
I made a Cranberry Curd in December. I have lots of 500g packs of dried apricots that I got for £1.49 each, I may do a curd with those. Sometimes I make a crumble with them, or a compote with prunes also from AP which I have at breakfast with yogurt, or DP uses them to snack on
In December, I got DP an entire box of Snickers, 40 of them for £4.99, just 12p each, he’s just on the last few now.
I have 4 bags of Hovis granary bread mix in the larder (50p each). I shall mix them in, bit by bit, to my magic dough in the fridge, and make lunch time rolls with them
These are just a few of the many bargains I have got my sticky mitts on from AP. If I was going to shop today, and having a quick look at what they currently have on offer, I would be looking to stock up on packs of 200g creamed coconut 50p, 24 x 45g Bazooka Chew Bitz £2.99, a giant 2.5kg tin of mandarins £1.49, and maybe an equally huge 2.5kg tin of marrowfat peas.
I hope I have given you some ideas on how you can save on your grocery budget using Approved Food. Another way to eat well and stay on budget
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one