Friday, 4 May 2012

Frugal Friday... Let's go shopping!

How do you shop? Do you rush into the supermarket on the way home having just realised you desperately need milk? Or wander in on spec, "in case there's something we need" - and emerge 30 minutes later laden with bags and £20 lighter? Perhaps you're one of those annoying people with a list? If you are, congratulate yourself - for you are on the chosen path to shopping frugality!

Tesco, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Lists seem boring - I know, they seem like something your Gran would have had don't they - "The Shopping List" - but that boring bit of paper, so long as you stick to buying only those items written in it, is a sure-fire way to reduce your grocery spend each week. Our household is fed, washed and cleaned up after on about £150 per month or less - that's one (reasonably!) normal adult, one rugby player with appetite to match, and one HRH The Cat, who has learnt over time that if she wants to survive without too many ribs showing, she would be well advised to eat what she's given. She is the recipient of one of our grocery shops few branded items though - we've reached a compromise with Go Cat on the grounds that she will grudgingly tolerate eating it and I will grudgingly tolerate paying for it.

There are a few tricks to the list thing. First would be to note things on it as you think of them - so when you use the last of something, it goes on the following weeks shopping list. That way you don't forget something vital, and have to make one of those last minute dashes to the shop, which is invariably when a pint of milk turns into two bags of things you didn't know you needed. Second - plan your meals, then write on the list the things you need to make those meals. This reduces the odd rogue items cluttering up the fridge that end up getting thrown out because you bought them on impulse and have no idea what to do with them. Third - stick to the list! Initially, this needs to be "stick like glue to the list" as you get used to working this way - over time it may get more fluid. Fourth - as well as the main meals, remember lunches and breakfasts - and basics like bread, milk and fruit and veg of course. "Man cannot live on meat alone....." although Ben would have a pretty good go...!

Market in Barcelona

Don't neglect the reduced counter either - if there is something on there that fits with your meal plan, or that you can pop in the freezer ready to incorporate into the following weeks plan, then snap it up, it can be a great way to make savings. Finally, all those vouchers that you get through the post - use them! BUT - and I know this sounds obvious - ONLY if they are for things that you buy anyway! If you're spending £3.50 because you've a voucher that gives you £1 off - it's only a saving if the product was on your list anyway!


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