The Rules!

  1. No shopping of any kind in supermarkets for one whole year –  supermarkets are defined as ‘a large self-service store retailing food and household supplies’ (Collins English Dictionary)
  2. £50 budget for food per week to feed our family including any guest we might entertain. We will always try to be below budget and will save any unspent funds (pet food is not included in our £50 food budget).
  3. We must still eat well – by this we mean healthy, nutritious food that is cooked from scratch.
  4. We must not be lazy and cheat!
  5. We must still eat a variety of foods and try out new types of food  / recipes as often as possible.
  6. We must not waste any food
  7. We will not bulk buy / stock up before the challenge starts as this is considered cheating but we can continue to use the items we already have in our pantry and freezer as we do not want to waste food.
  8. We will limit ourselves to one meal out per fortnight (that we purchase ourselves).
  9. Eating food at family and friends houses is not a breach of the rules
  10. Any cheating will result in the following weeks shopping budget being slashed in half!
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71 thoughts on “The Rules!

  1. love the ideas, rules very strict ! Try a pilot study first of a month or two and may be adjust a little. What defines cheating? Who says you have cheated? In order for Ian to be on a level playing field with you & Lizzie may be he should not have his college lunches or you have some compensation reward/credits.

  2. Love the idea. Is Poundland a supermarket? Or Aldi? Subscribed so will get daily updates.
    Look forward to sharing some non-supermarket meals with you.
    Dad

  3. What you’re doing really interests me, i’m a student and mother to two small children, so saving money and more ethical living is really exciting! Good luck, the blogg is great, very inspirational!

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, we are also trying to save money and finding this a great way to do it and it really really isn’t difficult. keep posted as in the new year we are planning to do some posts about saving money yet still eating/living well!

  4. HI Team Pugh (and a very Merry Christmas to you).
    Ive come over to you via Jen’s Make Do and Mend Year blog and am looking forward to seeing how you get on with this.
    I have a couple of questions (if you dont mind).
    How many people are you feedinf ro your £50?
    Also, are you relying on veg you have grown yourself to keep you within your budget? Im quite a keen veg grower, but the last 2 years have been pants when it comes to what I have managed to harvest, so I cant quarantee to keep 2 of us in veg for a season, and am wondering if you will be relying on your veg patch, or if you have a back up plan?
    Cheers

    • Hiya, thanks for coming to take a look, we are feeding two adults and one 7 month old baby and to be honest with a little bit of thought it is quite easy. We do get some free veg from Becksie’s dad but 95% of our fruit and veg is included in our weekly shopping from markets. We do have a garden and are planning a makeover to make it more productive for next year. in the 7 weeks that we have been supermarket free we have saved over £100 – we can highly recommend it! Merry Christmas to you!!

    • Tt really is not that hard when you give it a go – why don’t you give it a try for a month and write a guest post about it? Do follow the blog if you have not already done so! Happy new year!!

      • I suppose that would be a lot of fun, but I can’t really try it out because I’m only 18 and live at my parents home with a non-vegan family. I hope I’ll manage to keep your idea in mind until I live alone.. love experiments!
        But I feel incredibly honoured by your suggestion 🙂 Thank you so much! I wish you a very happy and succesful new year, too! 🙂

  5. Yes i like this and have allways found that meats from my local butchers seem more expensive but they are not because their is absolutely no waste.my butcher allways have recipe ideas and ways to eat cheaply ie less expensive parts of meats which are just as good if cooked the correct way.i am quite a fussy eater and would only eat the breast of chicken but now butcher has recommended thighs which are more tasty cooked in slow cooker and he takes the bones out.and vegetables bought from the market stalls always last long than supermarkets because of the conditions they are stored in & because they are local produce.sorry to go on but gave me an excuse to air my views. supermarkets are a no no for meat and veg in this house i have learnt this a long time ago.but i’m afraid that everything else has to be bought from a supermarket for me anyway.once every 3 weeks,(done online)

    • couldn’t agree more – our butcher / fish man always helps and shares recipes! Sounds like you are doing a fab job on the old #local shopping front 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on our blog. Best wishes Team Pugh

  6. Guys – this sounds fantastic. I’m in the process of building a business case to start up a local food distribution business which allows customers to order their favourite products from their favourite local stores online and get a consolidated order delivered to their home address. Want to make good quality, locally sourced product more easily available to people so they don’t have to go to the supermarket! I’d be interested in whether you think this will work and what people might be prepared to pay for such a service.

    • Glad to hear to hear you like what we are doing! have you had a look at Big Barn? I think your idea has legs, some people have commented to us that with working full-time they would struggle to get to a market or shop in the daytime, so this could fill a niche for them. keep us posted with how you get on!

  7. Great project guys! By the way, what are you doing for e.g. nappies? Do you buy on the internet for stuff like that, or just find other retailers (e.g. Boots)?

    • We decided that boots was allowed (but not for food) – nappies etc come out of our household budget. Its amazing how there are so many shops selling what the supermarkets sell and it is actually very easy to go supermarket cold turkey

  8. Been on your website for 2 minutes and I already love it! We too buy local and very rarely in supermarkets, most of the money we spend on food is on fresh veggies,meats,dairy,etc, and we always cook from scratch. I don’t know how healthy my cooking is but it’s definitely healthier than any other foods in shop nowadays. We’re also on a budget weekly and we don’t spend more than £50 on food either. But having 2 cats that eat like there’s no tomorrow..sometimes we spend more! Oh I’m so excited to start reading your blog. Your newest reader is here! Love, Marci “Crafty Button” Hunter xx

    • Thank you, so pleased you like our blog! My new dolly will be starring very soon so keep coming back to track her progress! It would seem we have lots in common 🙂 lots of love xxx

  9. This is a great idea. I already do as much shopping as possible at local markets but struggle with things like fresh milk, cleaning products and toiletries. Fresh milk is only available in supermarkets (I live in rural SW France) and buying toilet rolls or eco cleaner from the bio shop would cost a fortune, and I just can’t justify that extra expense (plus it’s 25 mins away in the car…). Can I ask, do your cleaning products and toiletries come out of the £50 per week? If so, bravo! You’re doing brilliantly. Good luck with this. I will sign up to get your posts and keep trying to find other ways of feeding & cleaning my house & family, sans supermarchés!

    • Hiya
      Thank you for your comment – the £50 budget is for food but we spend no more than £3 a week on household products, we’ve been making our own, using less (shampoo etc). The project has made us cut back in more ways than our food. All the best from Snowy England – thank you for reading and following 🙂

    • Hi firstly to all at Teampugh (I love your blog btw) and to Kerry. Just a quickie here Kerry do you know of any “like minded organizations” in France. I live in the very rural alps and apart from intending my first visit to the local LETS (they call it SEL in French) next week, I would LOVE to meet like-minded people over here. Been here for ages (over 30 years) and the language no problem, but am looking to find out if you know of any national organizations similar to those which seem to abound in the UK. All the best to all Anna

  10. hi can i ask where you shop i get that meat – butchers, milk – milkman, where would you buy say crisps for example, i know not the healthiest but my kids would not go without also I have a toddler in nappies where would you get them ? sorry for the probably stupid questions but im very interested in this and i feasable would like to give it a go

    • Hiya
      Thank you for the interest. Nappies come from our local chemist! To be honest we are not really huge eaters of things like crisps but we could buy them from markets stalls, or our local household shop that sometimes has food stuff in or independent newsagent should we really need them or……. we could make our own! Let us know how you get on 🙂
      Best Wishes
      Team Pugh

  11. Hi, I think what you’re doing is great and I’m really interested in seeing how you get on. I too am on a mission to avoid using supermarkets where possible, and been moving towards it gradually over the last few years. I’ve got a young family and neither of us work in a town, so losing the convenience of supermarkets was probably the biggest obstacle, but there are lots of online shops that you can use. We buy our meat and cheese from our local farmshop, milk and cream delivered from the farm next door to us, fruit and veg delivered from an organic veg box scheme and some dry goods and toiletries from the health food shop in town or from online shops (ps I get my nappies online!). We still use supermarkets for some things, but I think if everyone moved even half of their shopping elsewhere – what a huge impact that would have on local shops! It was great this Christmas, meat and other goodies ordered from the farm shop and veg delivered to the house – no more miserable busy supermarkets at Christmas for us!! I think ‘a year without’ anything is a good way to break a habit. We once did a year without the TV (we did still watch DVDs) that was about 10 years ago and it really changed our TV habits, even now we still only watch the things we really want to watch. I’ve just tried to do a year without non ethical clothing, I didn’t quite manage it, but did buy most things from fairtrade clothes websites and charity shops. It’s definitely got me out of the habit of buying very cheap unethical clothes and I’ve found some lovely online fairtrade clothes sites that I’ll carry on using. So after a year, even if you do go back to using supermarkets occasionally, you will probably never go back to being completely dependent on them! Best wishes and nice to find some like minded people!

    • Thanks for getting in touch! it has indeed been very liberating to break our supermarket habit and we are saving so much money and eating much better food, we can honestly say we have no intention of going back to supermarket life even after the year is up, we will need to find ourselves a new challenge then though!!

  12. Just stumbled onto your blog and loving it! Going to route through a few more posts later for ideas for my own family 🙂 We really enjoy growing some of our own fruit and veg and are pretty good at making meals from scratch (the odd pizza being the exception) so I think this would be a great challenge to try! Thanks for the motivation 🙂

      • I have enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I noticed the article in the Wilts and Glos Standard this week. I have also started to shop in the new grocers shops that have started up in Cirencester. It feels like it used to in Ciren when i was a child and my mother would go to the grocers, bakers butchers etc and we would meet people we knew and chat on a sat morning – it was so sociable. The market garden in Ciren is so nice to shop in as they thank you for shopping there! not used to that! Could I also say the farmers market has good produce but is very underused and may not continue without customers. I will be following your blog and may start to do the same! Claire xx

      • Hi Claire

        Thank you so much for reading 🙂 couldn’t agree more about the social aspect of loacl shopping – we love it 🙂 Market garden is a great shop and …… we promise to check out the farmers market. Markets and the highstreet need support – use them or lose them. Great news that you may join us in our supermarket free mission – do keep us posted. Best Wishes Team Pugh xx

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  14. Hi. I love this idea and would love to try it. What sort of budget do you think a family of 5 will need? And also where do you buy your bread flour etc and toiletries. Does holland and barrett count?
    I’ve told my husband and kids that I am doing this as my £90+ a week Asda/morrisons shopping bill is ridiculous. And for what? A load of crap?!
    Anyways thanks for this blog, will be subscribing.

    • Hiya so sorry somehow we missed this comment – Well our £50 budget is more than enough to feed two hungry adults and one hungry baby – why do’t you try to to reduce the £90 to £80 and then £70 etc as it get easier? Flour comes from the local market or the local mill and since November I have only bought about 3 loaves of bread form the baker and made the rest. Toiletries come from the local household shop or chemist but we have scaled back what we use 🙂 Interesting point re Holland and Barrett I think I would probably not allow us to buy food stuff from them as the local deli does similar products at better prices. Good luck and keep us posted 🙂

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    • Hiya, cleaning products come from our £50 budget and we currently either buy them from our local independent home ware shop or make our own. We have drastically reduced the amount of cleaning products we use since starting this project. Shampoo and soap don’t count in the £50 budget but they are bought from local shops such as the local chemist. Best Wishes

  16. This is a great idea, we try to follow some of these rules too tho its hard to avoid our vilage co-op. Do like to use markets and farm shops but some farm shops can be expensive. Very lucky to have a great butchers here tho.

  17. This is fantastic! I’m trying every which way I can to start up my own smallholding, perhaps this will light the fire under me 🙂

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  19. Hey

    Keep up the good work, you truly embrace the #LiveshopLocal ethos with your impressive mission.
    Hopefully your pursuit will encourage others to also ‘Live Shop Local’ and discover that there is more to life that than the big 4 Supermarkets including a world that exist where people, quality, character, pride and heritage leads by example.

    Well done again,
    from the Live shop Local team

  20. You may be interested in “Tesc-No – living without supermarkets”, an ebook about someone who did the same thing, but for a bet.

  21. Recently stumbled across your site and loving the posts so far. We have 4 children aged 3 to 15 so know all about little ones and wellies lol. We have 2 cats and 6 chickens and have over the years had rabbits and hamsters as well lol. We try to grow what we can in the garden, but this time of year have to buy most of our veggies. We try to avoid the big stores and I bake and cook most of our meals from scratch. Most of our meat/fish comes from a local farm shop as does our veggies/fruit and we like the two nearest markets to us, but I have to admit to using Aldi and Lidl for other stuff because of the cost savings. I occasionally do go in a big store if I have found a really good offer or need some free yeast from the instore bakery and take great pleasure in only buying my offer or reduced sale items and NOT falling for the marketing and filling up my trolley. We could manage without the big stores if we had to and that’s a very freeing thought and I like the fact that we support local businesses. I hold my hands up and admire your stance of not even steeping into one of the stores. I know quite a few farmers around here and know exactly how badly they are treated by the supermarkets-I think you can guess who is the worse lol.
    Loving the advent posts, definately going to set to and make reusable calenders for next year, reckon the kids will still want chocolate alongside a little note-will mix up activities/kindnesses and family chores I think. Decided to save the plastic trays from the inside of this years bought calenders to use as a chocolate mould for next years “little teats”. You have given me some new baking ideas and crafty ideas to try with the kids for Christmas so a big thankyou for that. Keep up the good work :).

    • Thank you so much for reading and getting in touch we are glad you are enjoying our ramblings 🙂 It really is great falling for the marketing – its like beating the system 🙂 Keep up the great work at your end – all the best and a very Merry Christmas lots of love Team Pugh xx

  22. Please excuse my spelling mistakes in the above post, in my defense I was typing with a 3 year old pulling at my arm and am full of a cold lol.

  23. Have a lovely Christmas and just you wait once the little ones are at school you get to sit through nativities. I love them makes you feel really Christmassy and they are sooo cute. We counted up and we reckon with preschool and nursery as well this was our 11th nativity. Ironically we and eldest son (15) knew all the songs as he did the same version when he was in infants.

    Merry Christmas

  24. I’ve just seen this as a link from a newspaper..I’ve recently got into baking (after years of being terrified after several disasters!) This is an absolutely wonderful idea, and I am so keen to do this myself. I’m sure my partner will be up for it too if I tempt him with fresh bread!

    Thank you so so so much for the inspiration, and as an architect can I say what a fantastic childrens kitchen! What a great idea!

    All they very best

    Lou

  25. Really inspired by you and Ian and I am going to try to have a go at not using supermarkets. Colin in a bit sceptical at the moment but I am sure he will come round when I start saving money hehe! Becky is up for it and as she still lives with us she wants to get on board. As there are 3 adults in the house i am not sure we can do shop on £50 a week but will have a go. My first job has been to get all our bank statements out and find out what we have spent on food, clothing, petrol, mobiles etc. I was astounded that three people (although we do have a lot of visitors at the manse) could eat that amount of food. We have also wasted quite a bit of food too when cleaning out the fridge and finding salad stuff and cold meats lurking after not being used. I hate waste so i have decided enough is enough.

    • Hiya

      Great to hear from you I hope you are all well. i can certainly recommend this way of shopping and know there are some brilliant food producers in Lincs. I look forward to catching up with you and seeing how its going.

      Lots of Love
      xxxx

  26. I’ve just discovered your blog ( I feel like a late arrival at the party!) and I think it’s so inspiring. I’m on a similar journey myself, although I’m making plenty of mistakes along the way!

  27. Hi, I work for a dairy company that delivers milk direct to the door. I love this idea as if everyone would do it, it would mean that supermarkets would not be able to dictate the price to farmers.

  28. Well I;’been ‘having a go’ since just after Christmas, ie when the article about Team Pugh was published in the mail. Since then, I’ve only visited the “Big T” once, (mainly because a friend wanted me to get something for her) and the local Co-op twice, but went armed with a list and stuck to it. Had to do this because the items I wanted are, genuinely, only sold to the major chains. However the spend each time was less than £10, so felt justified. My meat now comes from a variety of sources, all local/independent butchers, and a pork farmer. Veggies are all from local farm shops; I have to travel but when I can buy a huge net of onions for under £2, I think its worth it. An italian shop not far away is great for wonderful Pasta, coffee, etc; currently I am on a controlled diet which bans fresh pasta, but once I am able, I will be making my own; I have been donated a pasta machine and can’t wait! My local healthfood shop provides the non dairy milk, and I now also make my own yogurt using EasiYo mixes, also from said shop These work out at just over £2 for a whole litre and don’t have the sugar content of the main brands. I have seen a way to make plain yoghurt in the slow cooker but it wasn’t a success, so decided it wasnt cost effective. I also use home made plain or greek yogurt, strained to make soft cheese. I am now making my own bread, but results have been mixed, to say the least. I use a breadmaker and it might be worth investing in a better quality one, but at the moment I am persevering with various combinations and also make soda bread from scratch. Oddly enough, bread flour is difficult to source round here, particularly wholemeal. We have Jordans Mill about 20 minutes away but in addition to the petrol to get there, it is quite expensive. However, Healthfood shop provides Spelt, and again, expermenting with that. I’m not sure I’ve saved a huge amount at the moment, and need to start experimenting more with using vegetables instead of meat but there is no doubt, we are eating a much more varied and healthy diet and I’m even having a look at home made baked beans. There are only two of us but we both have large appetites, so a free range £8 chicken wil provide at least 3 main meals, a couple of sarnies with the scraps, and a large vat of soup from the stock, so money well spent. The thing I am struggling with is fresh fish. We have a local market but the fish man is not always there, and is very expensive, but I have only yesterday discovered that a little independent supplier of Chinese and oriental goods has frozen fish, sea bass, haddock, etc, so that’s a start. This lovely little store also supplies local chinese restaurants so has good quality rice at wholesale prices, and spices – their bags of spices would fill at last 5 Schwartz pots at the cost of only one! We also have a Polish shop opened up which has wonderful pickles etc, cheaper than anywhere else, and until I can get my head round doing my own, these are fine.Cleaning stuff currently comes from B&M, Poundshop etc and toilet paper has even been found in our local newsagents for far less than any of the Big Four but I am also using more basic products, such as soda crystals and white vinegar which work fine.

    However, round here you DO have to travel and I would like your take on some of the (I think) franchise type convenience stores which have replaced the traditional corner shops. I would appreciate knowing which ones you would use, if any for the staples, milk, butter etc? I think “One Stop” is a no no, as I heard they were owned by Tesco but what about – if you are aware of them – Nisa, Spar, Costcutter, etc. We have a few of these and I suppose my view is that even if they are owned by one of the major chains, as long as the owner is getting the lions share of the profits, then that’s ok. By this token I have maybe cheated! I do pay more for a large bottle of milk in such a store – £1.35 as opposed to £1, but I also yesterday got a large tub of flora for .98p, and a pack of Philadelphia Cheese for .96, so saved all round. P

    If I were honest, the one store I do miss is Lidl. Their Parmesan, Prosciuttio, chocolate and packs of individual tissues are excellent value for money so I may end up doing a “once a month” stock up. I’ve resisted for two months but things may bet the better of me.

    Finally, (sorry to bang on) I AM finding my attitude to food changing. I found myself thinking that I needed to go shopping at the end of the week, but then did a reconsider and instead, did a “make do” by finishing up whatever was in the fridge, so thank you, I am 65 next birthday, and still able to change, I hope. It has been an eye opening experience, and one I am thoroughly enjoying. It has taken time to organise and source supplies, but As I said prevously, I have saved, but not massively; my next challenge is to get that food bill down by being more experimental.

    Onwards and upwards!

    • It sounds like you are doing an amazing job – I think its about working out what works for you and everyone doing their own bit. Keep up the wonderful work, thank you so much for getting in touch and reading 🙂

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