How I buy posh nosh for less

'I wait for half price salmon offers'

'I wait for half price salmon offers'

I’ve been feeding my kids salmon since they were babies.

Now that bombshell’s been dropped, before you click away thinking you’ve got the wrong website, remember isn’t simply about being thrifty or frugal (of course, there’s the good old Old Style MoneySaving Board for that).

The site’s ethos is about cutting bills without cutting back (see Martin’s blogs We don’t hate banks – busting this and other myths and Things people assume I think but I don’t).

Like most parents, I want to give my kids the best possible start in life. I reckon the Omega 3 in oily fish does a good a job in the brain power stakes. 

Being half-Japanese, the kids also love sushi and other standard Japanese foods which people in the UK may consider "posh". So the challenge is to find it here, but for less.

So how do I get it?

Ordinary supermarkets

I wait for half-price salmon offers, then stock up. They usually have fairly long use-by dates, so they keep well in the fridge.

Of course, the reduced section scrum at 3pm on a Sunday can be great for cut-price fresh fish. I try to check tuna steaks are a nice deep shiny red, though, after my other half turned his nose up at my efforts in the past.

We make sticky rice in our rice cooker at home. For this you need short grain rice, which can work out quite pricey in Asian supermarkets.  Buy ordinary pudding rice, from the desserts aisle in Tesco or Sainsbury’s. It’s around 90p-£1 for a 500g packet, roughly half the cost.

Discount supermarkets

Some Japanese food, such as sushi, is made with caviar. In the UK at least, that’s about as posh as you can get and is hugely expensive. I don’t like it, but my husband goes mad for it. So when we found you could get it cheap in Aldi, he was in his element.  

Use the local Asian supermarket

We try to stock up at our nearest every couple of months. The one we go to sells large freezer packs of the more unusual fish you can’t get in ordinary supermarkets.

Plus, while prawns, squid and scallops are available in ordinary supermarkets, they tend to be much smaller – so they shrink to almost nothing when you cook them. Asian supermarkets are also great for larger packs of tofu (needed for miso soup), which cost roughly the same as the small packs you get in ordinary supermarkets.

Try before you buy at Costco

I think meat and fish at Costco are pretty good quality for the price. If you’re unsure, I’ve noticed weekends, when it’s busier, tend to be good for free sampling.

When I go, I keep my eyes peeled and I try before I buy. You need to keep an open mind, know what you want and don’t fall for the patter.  I’ve rarely bought coffee, tea or cakes after sampling them, but I once tried scallops that were double the size you’d get elsewhere. They were really tasty and cost only slightly more, and I’ve bought them a few times since.

Amazon sells food

I’ve been aware of it for a while and have checked out the prices. So far I’ve not found any ingredients I need on sale for less there, but its prices can go up and down depending on demand. So I keep my eye on it and will pounce if I spot a bargain I need.

Grow your own

Spring onions are a staple of many Asian diets, yet they’re so easy to grow. They grow upwards out of the ground and quite close together so they don’t need much soil – mine are just in a longish trough, with a little compost in. 

I’ve also grown Swiss chard and fennel, which make great Jamie Oliver-style "posh nosh" sauces (see Digging deep and saving money too). Plus Swiss chard is like rhubarb, it keeps growing back each year – a great MoneySaver if ever I heard one.

Have you spotted a cheap source of posh nosh? Let us know on the forum, or below.