Saturday, June 21, 2008

Re-post: Economy drive - Apr 05

From Monday, April 04, 2005

I've just done nearly a week's grocery shopping for £21.20. For the list fetishists amongst us, here it is.......

Milk, 5 litres: £2.82
Cheap chicken nuggets, 2 bags: 98p
12 Yorkshire Puddings: 68p
10 mini pizzas: 94p
Bag of American Fries: 91p
20 recycled refuse sacks: £1.18
Pack of 4 loo rolls: 42p
Fairy liquid: 88p
Tea bags: £1.38
5 tins chopped tomatoes: 85p
5 tins baked beans: 80p
3 tins sliced mushrooms: 99p
4 bars milk choc: £1
Choc for Tom: 51p
Sweets: 69p
Lasagne: 27p
4 bags pasta: 85p
4 loaves wholemeal bread: £1.48
A punnet of plums: 98p
A punnet of mushrooms: 50p
12 large free range eggs: £1.74

We had some provisions already - olive oil, spices & condiments, sunflower spread, jams & ketchups, sugar, coffee, potatoes and some dried and tinned pulses, so with what we had and what we bought today I know we'll manage fine. I'll make a lot of pasta meals, vegetarian chilli, maybe some pancakes etc. Funnily enough, we actually eat better on 'poor' weeks, because I try harder to make good use of the food! When I know there's plenty and when I'm busy the children often fix their own individual meals and take them off to their rooms. Nice for their independence, but it's good to sit around the table every day.

If we could get by on £25-worth of groceries a week, we could do everything we wanted to the house a lot more quickly! Though, having said that, there isn't the time or energy to get the jobs done any faster than we can afford to. I don't think we could get by on £25-worth of groceries a week long term: it's OK for occasional weeks but then we start craving more expensive stuff. But I think we could manage on, say £35-£40 rather than the £70-£80 we've been spending recently, and then we'd have spare cash for other things.

I really enjoy economy shopping: it's a good challenge. And it amazes me, pushing my trolley around, what proportion of the stock carried by supermarkets we actually don't need. There are cleaning products by the hundreds, all slightly different for different jobs. I've never used anything other than basic soap, with vinegar and salt etc when required. There are 4 whole aisles of fresh meat and fish, which we don't usually buy. 2 aisles of booze: ditto. We bypassed the whole dairy section today, which is massive! The only thing we ever really need from there is sunflower spread. We do eat cheese and yoghurt but they're not a dairy requirement for us and we don't miss them when we don't have them. With fresh fruit & veg, basic pasta and pulses it's possible to create a good, healthy balanced diet. I'd have organic wholemeal pasta for choice, but not this week. If I'm going to put aside £60 for bank charges, we need the 17p-a-packet pasta this week!

It's a constant battle between consumer and retailer for the money. They lay on heaps of glossy, 'appetising', attractive produce and them try to convince us we need it all so that we'll spend. We don't need it all! We don't need most of it. When/if we get the field producing food, we'll need even less supermarket stuff.

I like to walk out to the car feeling like I won the battle, anyway.

So now, we need to put it all away, empty the car boot, fill it with stuff for the tip + newspaper & glass to recycle, then home again to collect the meeting boxes, then out to the home ed meeting. I might even get some skates cleaned up if there's time.

posted by Gill at 9:05 AM 34 comments


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