Monday, 4 July 2011

Mrs Bogof begins!

Mrs Bogof? Who or what is that?  You may well ask. I was moved to start the Mrs Bogof project when I had left my job for health reasons and wanted to find ways to decrease the amount I spent on groceries as I wasn’t sure what my future income would be.  I wanted to develop a six months stockpile of food, healthcare, cleaning and miscellaneous items as cheaply as possible to see my family through the coming months.  I was really fired up by the American TV programme Extreme Couponing where people devote time and energy to collecting and shopping with coupons and make some fantastic savings like $600 worth of groceries for $14.97!  Check out the website- it’s jaw dropping.  Sadly, we don’t have such opportunities here in the UK but we do have a massive selection of great food and right now the supermarkets are seriously courting our business.  Do you ever remember seeing so many sales: 3 for 2, half price and of course buy-one-get-one-free offers as in the last year or so?  So hence I started ‘bogof’-ing.


In May and June of this year, 2011, by simply perusing the big supermarket websites, I managed to get £1500 of groceries for around £800 and this also included my weekly consumables too.  Yes, I had to sort out my cupboards and closets, install shelves in my under stairs cupboard and visitors do have to share spare bedroom selves with the odd set of cans or packets, but in six weeks, and with a bit of effort, I put £700 back in to my family’s grocery budget.  My friends were amazed when I told them about this. My grocery trolley and deliveries looks very strange nowadays, not many people will buy whole facings of cook-in sauces alongside the weekly perishables and there will be an odd assortment of multiple jars and packs that don’t look like you could make appetising meals with but they will add to my growing store.  I did spend a little more for the first few weeks- about 10%, just to get my stockpile going and I was absolutely firm with myself, only buying real half price and bogof items that I would truly use. I also made a list of all the things I usually buy with the usual price and the weight or volume and I referred to this whenever I went shopping in person on online. I do also keep a list of my stockpile items as it’s getting hard to remember exactly what I have and I don’t want to have three years supply of an item.  (I remember seeing two sisters on Extreme Couponing who had massive stockpiles of nappies and neither of them had kids!)

I also started looking at the websites that provide money saving advice and also the couponing websites.   Martin Lewis’ awesome was a great place to start. It’s just full of worthwhile advice on a huge array. I was grabbed by the statement that a family could save as much as £1200 a year by going down a ‘brand level’ when choosing grocery items.  Now that is real money and would make an impact in just about everyone’s budgets so I started to investigate. And, yes, you can. Have a look at by Facebook page Mrsbogof for loads of these saving ideas to date I have found about £700 in savings.  I am aiming to find £1500 in savings for an average famiy.

You have probably seen some of the money saving websites advertised.  I really like:, Groupon, Crowdity, voucherselector, vouchercloud and beforeishop.  If you find any other good ones, please let me know.

I have always been quite frugal with money and love to cook, and as you’ll see by my videos, I am no stranger to food.  Looking at the claims that a family of four could be fed for £50 a week, I was disappointed at the quality and quantity of the food.  Have a look at the websites; as a former Head Teacher, I was not impressed that children were being sent to school three days a week with toast and jam. Toast and peanut butter and a glass of orange juice- great, but not the massive carb hit of just jam and toast. Also, if you add up the calories, they’re not sufficient for a mum, dad and two school-aged, active children, never mind sporty teenagers. Most disappointingly, however, is the lack of sufficient fruit and vegetables.  So I started to look at recipes, some of my own and some from my recipe books, to see if anyone could create really good, nutritious dinners for £6.00 or less and guess what- you can!   

So the Mrs Bogof lifestyle lead to me creating this blog and I have also registered the Mrs domain name and will be creating a website too.  Have a look at my cooking demonstrations on You Tube and please ‘like’ my Mrsbogof page on Facebook. Do let me know if you have any good money saving ideas. Spread the word!

Mrs Bogof x

To get you started, have a look at my You Tube videos.

Eggdrop soup  The finished product!

Mushroom and chicken casserole  A family favourite.