I haven’t been here for a while but it is good to be back and yes I know I need to update my header for 2014 but that will be coming soon.
Last year I did make a big effort to cut the grocery budget and even though it wasn’t as much as I wanted (£10 a week over my budget of £50) it did make a big difference over the year against my previuos £70-80 week. The weeks that I managed to write a menu plan in reasonable detail and stick to it helped to lower the costs substantially as did buying items only on offer, unless we were absolutely desperate.
I work four full days a week so I can’t put heaps of time into this exercise but the new habits I did put in place have continued. So this year I will be building on last years success. Of course it will get harder as I am starting from a different place where the many obvious and easy savings have already been tried and tested. Finding new ways to save money can depend on a number issues and for me eating organic is not negotiable even to save the pennies, whereas trying a different supermarket or method of shopping might be.
For anybody reading this who thinks that being frugal or thrifty is about a choice rather than absolute necessity they are quite correct in my case, it is a conscious choice. Even though we had a 25% wage cut for the last 3 years we are not surviving on the bread line like some households – however, I would say that there is no room for frivolous spending or throwing money away needlessly, especially as retirement is looming on the horizon and we want to make sure we have enough put by not to be a burden on anyone else, including the state. We also want to be able to enjoy our older years when they arrive.
Another reason for the mindful thrifting is I hate waste or buying for the sake of – it seems like an insult to all the starving people in the world to be throwing any food stuff away. My main and only reason for throwing food away would be for the safety aspect and by this I mean if I wasn’t sure if a food could still be eaten beyond the stated use by date without undue harm.
I will often stretch some foods beyond the use by unless it has mayonnaise in it like the deli pots of coleslaw then I take extra care. Fruit and veg dates I completely ignore and I just use the visual test – if it is shrivelled and bearing mould it becomes compost. This is not often though as I tend to make soup with any remains from the week.
Planning menus wisely does overcome this tendency to end up with a pile of items in the fridge at the end of a week that have only had a spoonful removed and have since exceeded their use by and beyond.
So of all the ways of saving on the grocery spending I am going to concentrate on the menu planning as I believe this is the one thing that promotes both a balanced meal and big savings on food waste and food cost.
Having said all that I ended up in Sainsburys tonight without a list or a plan, the shopping expedition was a feat in itself, battling not with snow today but with the strong winds and lashing rain. Sainsburys had to close off their automatic doors at one point. I had no choice but to do a bit of a trolley dash so I could get on my way home.
I decided tonight was not the night to be exceptionally frugal with the groceries and although I was by no means stockpiling I made sure that we have a good stock of items to tide us over should the snow return. Bare cupboards are fine if you don’t get marooned.
So here is the grocery spend £62.01 to be precise less £13.50 reward points – I found a few items on offer – to the right of the photo.
- The Soya milk was a good buy 3 for £3,
- Oatibix flakes £2 a box,
- 2 x Spelt rolls reduced to £0.69,
- Vivaldi potatoes reduced to £1,
- 2 loaves for £1.50,
- cheese 2 for £4.50,
- Milk 2 for £3.
So now I must set to and plan the menus around the shopping for this week – in fact I hope I can stretch this amount of food to a fortnight or maybe longer.
How is your food shopping / meal planning going so far this year?