So this week has seen us shopping and eating on a budget of £25 half our usual budget. Have we starved? Has it been difficult? Well the results are in!
Firstly we have far from starved but…….. now we are very low on food it is getting more difficult to come up with interesting meals. Now of course we have the pantry as back up but……. this weeks frugal shop has bought something to our attention. When we were supermarket shoppers our pantry was bursting full of stuff! We call it stuff as opposed to food or ingredients as we are unable to easily put our finger on exactly what was in there. The thing is our pantry these days isn’t as full but it is still in use just with more considered items in that we could in fact list if we had to. This has shown us that this experiment has changed our shopping habits and…… our mindset!
Before the start of our supermarket freeness we felt slightly stressed and ‘low’ on food if we didn’t have a neat stack of tinned goods in the pantry, or a million different types of baking supplies or weird and wacky items we had purchased in order to try out a particular recipe. We also used to have a stack of curry sauces and other convenience items! Now we simply don’t have these things! Well we still have the jars of weird curry sauces as…… the truth is we can’t face eating them. The items in our pantry now are ingredients rather than ‘products’ if this makes any sense! We have flour, sugar, oats, yeast, herbs and spices, nuts, dried fruit. So….. we think this has to be one of the reasons why this is working for us, we have stopped buying ‘products’ and now only buy ingredients.
We have been looking back at the photos of what we buy each week and have realised that we always buy fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, a few meals worth of meat, butter, milk and then we buy a few store cupboard ingredients each time. Plus cleaning products and loo roll, although the cleaning products we have purchased have been minimal. It would seem that the key to this for us is…….. less really is more and you can make more with less! Having the confidence to only buy what you need instead of stock piling for a rainy day seems to be the way forward (for us at least we know others may disagree). What’s really interesting is that this way of living is completely the opposite system to that which the supermarket makes one shop to! For us when we were supermarket shopping we really thought we were saving money by buying all the offers and saving them in our overcrowded pantry. With this system we didn’t know what we had and therefore sometimes purchase duplicates, things would go past their best and get wasted or we’d get bored of eating the same products. Our new method means that we choose what we eat and make rather than the supermarket.
Yes some things are more expensive without the supermarket but…… in the long run (for us – this is a disclaimer so that we don’t get sued by any of the big boys or a million comments telling us we are wrong) carefully selected items lead to a much better way of eating.
We have talked a lot this week about why this is working for us and we have come up with a list of items that we used to buy that we now either do not buy, buy very very occasionally or now make an alternative, there is only one conclusion these must have been the items that made our shopping bill more than we thought:
- Cereals – we always had at least three boxes of them on the go, we now have homemade granola or muesli and eat much less.
- Juices, Squashes, fizzy drinks – we buy very little of these kinds of products and are still on the same bottle of squash we bought back in week 3 of our year without supermarkets.
- Crisps – Becksie used to LOVE crisps Ian has never been that fussed!
- Biscuits – Ian used to LOVE biscuits Becksie was never that fused – to be fair Ian still LOVES biscuits but now we make our own – Becksie now loves these biscuits too.
- Processed freezer products – oven chips, ‘quick’ tea options, the odd pizza
- Other delights we had purchased because they were reduced and therefore ‘great’ value.
- Packet items – rice, pasta etc etc
- Ice cream
- Bread, bagels, croissants and Danish pastries
If you had asked us before we would have said that we didn’t eat all this stuff that often and mostly cooked from scratch but…… we can only conclude that we had lulled ourselves into a false sense of security. What’s really interesting is that the items listed above are very often the items on special offer!
So that concludes our shopping ramblings for the day – Happy Easter folks!