I cannot begin to tell you how it irks me that the farmers are having to eek out an existence due to the pressure put on them by the super-stores, and how we the consumer are faced with ever-rising food costs, with the only ones really benefiting being the super-stores.
The super-stores manipulate and play us (the consumer) like puppets. They put the highest profit products at eye-level, offer 'two-for-one' deals which aren't deals at all, and the one that gets me, the obscure pricing info which is supposed to make the price structuring clearer but ends up just muddying the waters a whole lot.
Up until the last month or so I have been one of the super-stores willing consumers. I was at least savvy enough to know that eye-level shelves hold more expensive products than those set out on the lower shelves, and that 'deals' are not necessarily deals at all, but on the the whole, due to convenience, I have happily gone along and filled my trolley and fallen victim to the many other marketing traps they have to offer. (think pushing Christmas waaaaay before Christmas actually arrives here)
I've been reading some fab blogs of woman who have said 'enough is enough' and taken back control of their budgets. Frugal Queen being one of the most inspirational ones. I guess what I have come to realize is that you can eat well on a rather strict budget.
So November is the launch of my new personal 'project'. I am going to try and get by on feeding my family of four on £100 per week. This cuts my grocery budget by £100 for this 4 week month. For months with 4.5 weeks I aim to do it on £80/week, hopefully by then I will have my budget-savvyness down pat.
In order to make this work I am going to do the following:
* Buy all my cleaning and beauty products as discount stores such has Home Bargains, B&M, and Poundland (a suggestion from the Frugal Queen)
* Use our fantastic market to buy all my fruit and veg. It's way cheaper and I can get allot more for my money. This also means we will be eating food in season.
*Buy meat from the Butcher. This is one area I'm not compromising on. I believe in eating quality meat and our local butcher not only supplies that but he also sources his meat locally which mans a smaller carbon footprint. PLUS - when buying meat from the butcher they often show their appreciation by giving discounts for larger orders.
* Shop at a variety of different stores including Aldi, Lidl and Iceland. I'm not going to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak :) I've usually avoided these stores but you know what? They LISTEN to what people want and need and deliver without all the frills and trills.
So that's on the shopping side of things. On the cooking side of things which is inextricably linked, I've determined to:
*Put together a detailed meal plan. I have always meal planned but I can do much better
* Include more vegetarian meals thereby cutting down the meat bill.
* Use my Crock-pot a whole lot more! I'm finding baking recipes here too! Who knew! Also by using the Crock-pot instead of the oven I will be saving on the electric bill. According to Froogs over at The Frugal Queen in this post they are much more economical.
* Freezer Meals. I'm going to spend a couple of hours making some freezer meals. There are always times during a month when time gets away with you or you just are not up to cooking. Instead of hopping down to the nearest take-out, I want to have meals that I can whip out of the freezer and pop into the oven. Healthier and cheaper!
* More Baking. To help keep those sweet cravings in check by not popping out to the store for a choccy or the like, I am going to batch bake and keep us stocked up on treats made right in my dear little kitchen ;)
So that's what I've been putting together. I thought that for the month of November I would post here keeping a record on how each week pans out, any recipes that I've used that turned out to be a winner, and any other thoughts and discoveries about this new adventure :)
I am grateful that this is something that I choose to do and not have to do. For many there is no choice. But I firmly believe that just because we can do something it does not mean that we should. I would far rather be able to get to the end of the month and have saved money - not something we are achieving right now! I read on a blog somewhere that saving money does not come from 'one thing', but rather from changing lots of small things and being consistent about it. How true!
In our near future we are going to have to pay out for our Permanent Leave to Remain here in the UK - not a cheap process, so we need to be saving towards that. After that we are going to want to buy a house and then get rid of the mortgage asap.
I'm excited! Excited for the challenge, excited about the learning process, excited about becoming wiser with our money and securing a brighter future for our family by getting a control over our money and spending power.
Do you have any frugal tips that work for you that you would be willing to share? I would love to hear them so please do leave a comment with your tip or with the link to a blog that inspires you.
Blessings to you all...