Christmas on a budget

This year will be my first hosting a Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and since I don’t have a lot of money to spend on the food, it’s going to be a challenge. I’ve set a budget of 35£ for 5 people, which seems only reasonable and is a budget that will give me leftovers for a few days after. My guests will be my next-door neighbors and they’ve never tried traditional Finnish food before. The dinner will consist of a smorgasbord of a few selected, traditional Finnish Christmas dishes such as;

  • Finnish meatballs – pretty much the same as Swedish ones
  • Mini sausages – they’re called Prinskorv which translates to Prince sausages
  • Beet salad – a cold salad with beets, apples, pickles, carrots, red onion and cooked potatoes
  • Janssons Frestelse – a hot casserole called Jansson’s Temptation in English and is a dish with potatoes, onions, anchovies, cream and spices.
  • Mild smoked salmon – simple, tasty and very traditional.
  • Boiled potatoes – we’re a potato eating nation just like Ireland and Sweden
  • Julskinka – The Christmas Ham, cooked in the oven for a few hours before it’s coated with mustard and egg and sprinkled with breadcrumbs and then roasted at a high temperature. The ham is left to cool down and served cold in thick slices.
  • Ägg med gubbröra – hardboiled eggs with “old-man’s-mix” of anchovies, mayo, crème fraiche, chives and a few other things.
  • Morotslåda – a carrot casserole with rice and sprinkled with breadcrumbs that’s then cooked in the oven.
  • Potatislåda – it’s pretty much sweetened mash that’s cook in the oven. It’s sweetened with some treacle.
  • Peas – no words are necessary, it’s warm peas.
  • Toffee – hard toffee with chopped hazelnuts
  • Fresh fruits
  • Nuts and dried fruits
  • Aladdin – a Swedish box of mixed chocolates that’s always had after dinner
  • Twist – a bag of mixed chocolates and sweets
  • Merci – you know what this is, it’s more chocolate

All of this at a maximum cost of 35£, which isn’t that difficult really. The ham was the most expensive purchase at 25£, but that was bought a long time ago, so I’m not adding it to the cost. If you choose to do so then the total cost would rise to 60£, which would still be cheap for five people and a few days of food. Plus, the little sausages were given to me as a gift by my aunt when she visited me almost two months ago – not cost for them. A lot of the condiments – such as mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper, spices – are already in my cabinets and will not be purchased which will further lower my out of pocket expenses a bit too.

I will be posting all the costs as they come up since I’m not buying everything at once. I’m very allowed to use coupons, reduced items and any other methods to save money. Reduced items can be a huge savior and it has: I’ve bought all the herbs and the smoked salmon reduced and simply put them in the freezer, with the ham, until it’s time to use them. The herbs I chopped before freezing just to ease the process a bit.

I’ll start a separate thread for the expenses of the Christmas smorgasbord.

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Rant warning!

Today I’m going to rant about my shopping trip at Sainsbury’s.

 

So today I went to Sainsbury’s to do my shopping and to use my coupons, like I always do. Nothing too strange about it. It all went fine until I came to the cashier and handed her my Nectar card and my stack of coupons. She flatly refused to scan them and called a manger over… He too refused to accept my coupons. The reason:

He claimed that I had photocopied them due to the fact that some of them were black and white, this due to the very simple fact that my printer had run out of colour ink a couple of days prior and I didn’t have any more at home. Plus, he claimed that they weren’t unique, which I know for a fact that they were since I printed them from several different accounts, each with its own e-mail address. I calmly tried to explain myself to him and said to him that I’d never photocopied a coupon in my life or tried coupon fraud, but he refused and “claimed” to have spoken to representatives from the websites where I had printed the coupons from and they had verified all this.

I don’t really believed him, but in order to not be banned from the shop I let it go, paid and then returned the items that I didn’t get my discount on to get a refund.

I’ve never been called a liar and a fraud like that in a shop, in front of customers and I have no intention of committing coupon fraud. All the coupons I use are legit and valid and I take great pride in using them correctly.

Guess which shop that lost a customer that day… Shame really, since I like the shop but I refuse to be called a cheat when I’m far from being one.

 

Rant over, thank you for reading!

Presenting: The Poor Man’s guide to Coupons – season 1!

It is done! I can now proudly present season 1 of my upcoming blog series: The Poor Man’s Guide to Coupons – season 1 

It will be a beginners guide to using coupons as a person with limited means and not like all the middle class people you see on YouTube! The first season will be dedicated to the basic principals of couponing. I can also announce that there WILL a second season with even more basics and busting a couple of the most common myths about Couponing and extreme Couponing.

I can also give you an “Episode Guide” or a “Chapter List” of this season.

Episode Guide / Chapter List

  1. What are coupons (and rebates) and why should you be using them?
  2. Different types of rebates, coupons and deductions and how to combine them
  3. The store’s own rebate-, loyalty-, and club card. Why you SHOULD use them!
  4. Where do I get coupons?
  5. How to read coupons to avoid doing it wrong
  6. The shops’ sell cycles and own rebates in combination with your coupons.
  7. Different store chains = different coupon policies. Learn to read them and memorize the most important parts.
  8. Store your coupons correctly and keep them up to date
  9. Couponers Anonymous 
  10. Practical tips before, during and after a haul!

The first episode will be out in March!

Today’s Christmas haul!

So this week my local ICA shop has some amazing deals on baking stuff, and so I had to take advantage with all the holidays coming up. 

  • 2x2kg flour 1.50€
  • 2x1kg butter 3€
  • 10 eggs 1€
  • Muffin forms 50c/pack
  • 4 tubes of toothpaste 4€ 
  • 2 bottles of shampoo 2€
  • 4 packs of freezer bags 2.50€

The butter, eggs and flour will come in handy when I start my Christmas baking next month!

Got today’s haul at a bargain

I went to the shop to find coupons, not to shop, but then I found their 50% off shelves… at most I was going to buy some cheap meat that’s about to expire. I didn’t just buy crap, the things I actually bought I need.

Nothing was expired, every food thing is perfectly within date and edible.  This time I got:

  • 4 six packs of Pepsi Max
  • 4 packs of gel packs for the toilet
  • 2 bottles of organic apple cider
  • 2 small bottles of cloudy, organic apple juice
  • 2 taco kits
  • 2 Tetra Pak of organic sour milk 
  • 2 packs of cleaning cloths
  • 1 pack of garbage bags 
  • 2 chocolates protein puddings
  • 1 special gel pack for the toilet 

Total cost: 34€

Before rebates:  68€!

Today’s Haul

I went to the shop today and got the best deals of this week! I was supposed to get ecological yogurt as well, but they were out and won’t have any until tomorrow, so I’m going back then. I also bought the wrong brand of soda, I accidentally bought the one that wasn’t on sale – so I need to change that as well.

Not everything I bought is in the picture, but almost. This week I got:

  • 2 bags of spaghetti for 10kr/bag (1kg/bag) (1€/bag)
  • 2 packs of chicken nugget from Max. These are DELICIOUS, buy them if you can – they are terrific! They only cost 35kr/box (3.50€/box)
  • 2 toothbrushes, 2 for 15kr (1.50€/2)
  • 1kg ecological carrots 10kr (1€)
  • Soda 5kr/bottle (50 cents/bottle)
  • 2 loaves of bread 10kr/loaf (1€/loaf)

This will last me a while, along with the other food I bought last week.

Best deals of this week at ICA!

This week’s ad is out for the shops and I’ve checked them out to see what the best deals are. Remember that not all the “deals” in the ads are real, or good, deals, so be check out what the regular price is on the tag. I’ve simply taken the ones that I know are good deals and pasted them here.

Remember to check how many you can buy per household/transaction and always buy the full allowance!