We had £5.00 worth of nectar points to spend; nectar points being one of the most commonly used and nationwide/UK loyalty cashback/offers scheme – more info at nectar.com. You can gain points from a massive variety of retailers/suppliers through shopping, watching ads, answering surveys and entering competitions. It’s not the most rewarding scheme as it takes a long time to build up points e.g. most places I’ve earned points from through shopping offer 1 point per £1 spent and generally 1000 points = £5.00. So yep it can take years to build up that amount, though if you sign up to offers for big things such as an energy supplier there are often initial incentives such as bonus points.
Anyway we had £5 points to spend and I’d set my mind to buying some fresh veg since we haven’t had any in a while (other than the beetroot I used in my recent cake but that was bought pre-cooked) so I was looking forward to it with a fair amount of anticipation. The only thing is even though you can buy all sorts of things through Nectar when it comes to grocery shopping/food the choice is limited with the main retailer being Sainsbury’s supermarket. That’s not a problem of convenience though since there’s a Sainsbury’s practically everywhere.
I didn’t know exactly how many points I had so went to customer services, got my answer and also coupons for £1.50 off a £10 shop and double points on a shop. I had intended to simply use my points and then go elsewhere for the rest but the money-off coupon wasn’t bad and unfortunately had a quick expiry date. I was still reluctant though and it took ages looking at the ‘special offers’, checking the price by weights, thinking/comparing, being annoyed etc but the thing is I was with mum and she really dislikes shopping around plus it’s an activity which makes her tired and grouchy so all I could really do was moan but accept it. I personally feel the need to shop around e.g. once did a big shop which cost £150 and if I hadn’t checked beforehand and shopped around it would have cost at least double!
Today we ended up with:
7.5kg of mixed potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips.
1kg of brussells sprouts.
5 bell peppers
2 small heads of brocoli
Minus the points and coupon they cost a grand total of £7.53
Note – Nectar points can be checked online after registering, however remember that the points/cash equivalent shown there is a guide as from experience I’ve found/heard that some retailers count them differently. Hence if shopping in store and if you have time it can help to check at customer services first. Also bear in mind when using points at Sainsbury’s that they take point in blocs of 500 (£2.50). I’ve forgotten that before a few times, gotten the groceries ready/calculated it all and then told at the til that I didn’t have enough points and so had to pay extra or put things back. It’s easy to think you have e.g. £4.50 or £9.98 to spend only to find that actually you actually have £2.50 or £5.00 because the amount of points you have to spend is based on your total amount of points divided into blocs of 500. So if I had 900 points in total I could spend 500 of them.
Well the price paid isn’t that bad since I would have paid approx £7 for that from cheaper stores/supermarkets (without discounts) but the basic/cheap veg was battered, split/broken and generally not in great condition. I’m not really bothered about looks normally; I have no problem with knobbly veg, small sizes and covered in soil (which I don’t think of/see as ‘dirt’) plus from experience ‘dirty’ veg lasts longer than washed. However these really were pushing it and since I’m not of the many people I’ve known who’ll throw out food because it doesn’t look appetizing e.g. a bruise on a banana, I’m cooking more now than I thought I would initially. But, again, I could have got better quality veg elsewhere, even some organic and none of the items bought were yellow stickered i.e. reduced items due to being near/at the end of their sell by or use by dates so the shop still bites. (I also have no problem with buying yellow sticker food as food doesn’t go off as soon as the time on the sticker does and it can be kept longer by freezing, pickling etc and if there’s a best before date instead then it’s a bargain.) The shop was frugal but cost more than I’m usually prepared to pay i.e. the sub-title of this blog ‘substance and style’ – I prefer both quality and quantity. That said I’m sure I’ll feel perkier after some stew and dumplings 🙂 plus with the right use this lot can see us through a month.
Mum made an ‘accidental’ soup recently, one where she decided to add everything leftover together and see how it came out… Ok so it wasn’t accidental and was intentional though with the hope that somehow it would turn out well. Chickpeas, soya beans, curry powder, brewer’s yeast, garlic powder, malt vinegar and coconut pulp did not sound like a good idea but she did it anyway. Strangely enough the result smelled and tasted like leek/onion… however it was way too strong. I couldn’t waste it so after we had one portion each, I diluted it heavily with water and used some as ‘cooking water’ for rice; which subsequently came out very nice both in taste and texture, would have been perfect with cherry tomatoes as garnish or for a pilau/pilaf rice. The rest is being used for the stew/dumplings with copious amount of carrots that needed cooking right away, a couple of parsnips and an onion. Hey there’s nothing wrong with mixing leftovers – just gotta do it in a complimentary fashion 😉 I even used some accidentally crushed bread to re-make dough lol. We wouldn’t usually throw away food unless it’d gone off or been dropped so just as clothing can be upcycled food can be too 🙂