Supermarket Conundrums

So as you hopefully know we set ourselves some rules when we started our challenge, which we can proudly say we have not yet broken!!

We have of late however come across a few conundrums when it comes to just how far we are taking our supermarket-free life.


The first of these came when recently purchasing car insurance (collective groan – doesn’t searching for car insurance drive you crazy?) Now we are very keen on saving money, and car insurance is one of those things that if you really do shop around you can find yourself a better deal. Unimpressed with a renewal notice which was double what we paid last year we popped onto several insurance comparison websites and the cheapest price we found was not only half the cost of our renewal notice but was…….from a leading supermarket. Hmmmmmm. For the sake of saving £9 on the next best quote we had a large debate about where we stood on the issue of supermarket-fronted banks, and the outcome was….in for a penny in for a pound!! Yes we may have set out to avoid doing any grocery or household shopping in supermarkets but it would not seem quite right to be buying any products from them, this is after all ayearwithoutsupermarkets(.com)!

50 quid

Conundrum number 2 concerned cash points. As you will know the money for our weekly local shopping comes out of that oh so convenient hole in the wall, but what if that particular wall is a supermarket wall? Yes we would not be actually going into the supermarket but does this count as using a supermarket? There are some supermarkets that have their own banks’ cash machine, where it is clear you are using a supermarket for your money, and there are some that are very clearly a high street bank cash machine just dumped into a wall that happens to belong to a supermarket. We figured that these later ones are ok, as we are not actually going into the supermarket nor giving them any of our custom!

petrol light

Number 3 on the list occurred whilst driving home the other day from Birmingham. Having lived in the area we were not too worried when the petrol light came on as we pulled up at our destination, knowing that there were at least 3 garages between us and the main road back the motorway. As we set off the car gave us a handy reminder that it was running low on food, and we headed off home via the first garage we found. As we got to the first garage and we both had a moment of realisation – this garage was in fact run by a popular supermarket chain. Hmmmmm, as is the next one, double hmmmmmmm. Now it is not in the rules that we cannot use supermarket petrol stations but we feel that it is sort of implied, and have up to now avoided them and did not intend to give in! Whilst pootling along the petrol light again beeped at us to let us know it was still empty. Despite the fact we were both sat having a conversation about petrol stations and looking for a petrol station it still felt the need to remind us! Next we found petrol station operated by a famous petroleum company – result! As we indicated to turn in however we realised that… pay you had to go inside a supermarket convenience store that someone had helpfully built on the forecourt. Triple hmmmmmmmmmmm. Now had we just bought petrol and nothing else, not touched any of the stock, not even looked at any of the stock we figured we might just be alright. But no, in for a penny in for a pound, this would mean crossing the threshold of a supermarket and would definitely be a step too far! So off we went and thankfully a U-turn and a trip down a few backstreets later we were proud owners of a tank full of non-supermarket tainted petrol, defiantly worth the extra effort!!


18 thoughts on “Supermarket Conundrums

  1. I don’t think you would have broken your rules by getting your insurance/cash/fuel in those ways, as you didn’t have the option of ‘buying local’ & supporting an independant retailer. (I would have gone for whatever was the cheaer choice!!).

  2. I was pondering the supermarket fuel conundrum on your behalf last week!! Glad you have clarified. Good for you for sticking to your guns 🙂

  3. Rosey Field
    I have just read all about your challenge and realised that it is four weeks since I did a shop at my normal supermarket. This week I did purchase from Iceland which I think could be classed as a supermarket as you serve yourself. But from now on we are going to give this thing a go in the hope that we can support our local producers and perhaps even save some money. I already buy my meat from a local butcher and mostly get fruit and veg from the weekly market. How do you go about getting cleaning things cos is Wilkos classed as a supermarket or not. I think you have done marvellous keep up the good work.

    • Hi Rosey,
      Thanks for getting in touch. glad to hear you are doing some of your shopping locally!! We get our cleaning products from our local household store, which sells what we need. It is great you are going to give supermarket free a go, we would not class wilko as a supermarket but would not buy food etc. from there.
      Best of luck!!

      • I have been thinking about this challenge all day today except when I watched Santa Paws the film. We are going to start on the 1st March and form now till then I will sus out where I can buy everything I need from without going to the supermarket. I feel quite excited and at least if I buy nice free range and organic meat from my lovely butchers I know we will not be eating horse meat. Thanks for your support.

      • We have decided to start it early. The last time I did any shopping in a sort of supermarket (Iceland) was Monday 4th Feb so we are taking our start date from 5th Feb 2013. I have been today and shopped on the market for fruit and veg, and had a lovely time in the Deli shop in Tamworth explaining to the manand woman in their what I was doing. They were really pleased and said they would give any support I needed. All his stuff is sourced local to where I live. I am pondering on the little shops by us, (Spar) and wonder ifI could buy margarine, sugar and any other staples from there or not.. Would be most grateful for your advice on this.

      • yeah!!!! We did the same thing hence our 5th Nov start date! Great that your local shop was pleased – great friends to have. We would class spar as a supermarket but use our local newsagent for the occasional item as this helps to support them and helps us with items such as sugar and milk! Although we are in talks about milk supplies at the mo! Good luck

  4. Isn’t it interesting how the supermarkets have infiltrated so many areas of our lives? No wonder we all think they’re indispensable! Congrats on taking the moral higher ground!!

  5. I started today trying not to use supermarkets so much. (Not as strong as you guys – I’m starting gently.) As we have a good local market which is on five days per week I bought my cheese, meat and fruit and veg there. I have my own chickens so eggs are being produced for us each day!

  6. We are a bit like you with the petrol thing, but as we currently have very limited financial means the cheapest (by about 5p per litre!) place to get our fuel is a Supermarket, as we need to make every penny count, so at the moment ite the sensible choice for us.
    Also, we are luck to have a B&M store and a Poundstretcher near us (not sure if these would be lumped in with supermarkets of not) and they are great for picking up branded cleaning supplies at low prices. Well done for your resisting the easy options. :o)

    • Thank you – so far we have yet to buy from Poundland et al – we 100 % wouldn’t buy food from them (seems to go against our local shopping ethos) – our local independent household shop has all we need in terms of cleaning products so…….here’s hoping we won’t have to darken their door

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