Save Money – postpone shopping. Well that’s pretty obvious isn’t it?
It’s not a shopping ban, just postpone going grocery shopping by a day or two each week, or putting off that major purchase for a month or two.
This week, my husband and I were feeling particularly lazy. For the last few days, we have been saying, we need to get the groceries, we have run out of x, y, etc. So much so, that it almost became a game, on how innovative we could be, to delay our shopping by another day.
Saturday, I was going to be out all day. Now being the sensible person that I am, I was taking my lunch with me. So I had salad with ham, egg, cucumber and tomato. Sunday I was also taking lunch with me, but the lettuce, tomato and ham had finished, so I had egg, cucumber and some cheese. By Monday even the cheese was finished! We were out of potatoes, so we had pasta. We eventually went shopping on Wednesday, when in previous times, we might have given in and gone shopping on Sunday.
Last week I had cleaned out the freezer (I had left the door ever so slightly ajar. Fortunately it hadn’t defrosted, but everything was iced up.) So, as part of my cleaning it out, I took stock of what was in there. All sorts of roasts, fish, soup, home-made pies. Enough to keep us for a month or more. I am great at buying the bargains when they are offer, less good at eating them. As is my friend! My freezer has 2 chickens in it that she bought for 25p /35c, the other day. Her freezer was full! She kindly gave me one chicken too. It fed 3 as a roast one night, two salads the next day, several individual pies (which went in the freezer…), and 6 portions of chicken soup. Even allowing for veg, each serving cost less than 25p.
So why postpone shopping? I can hear you say, you’ll just end up buying more when you next go. But you don’t. At least we don’t. The fridge gets emptied of all the stuff lurking in the corners, that you haven’t got round to eating. There are fewer things to nibble on. If all the nice treats are gone, then you only eat if you are hungry, not if you are having a snack attack. You also eat some of the stuff in the freezer that you keep meaning to get round to. A lot of the stuff in my freezer is made from leftovers – chicken pies from left-over chicken, shepherd pies from left-over roast meat, soup when we have had chicken. I waste as little as possible. I also batch cook, so add in bolognese sauce, stews, fish pies etc. Not to mention the ‘special offers’…
We don’t starve, but we do run out of fresh vegetables, which is fine for a day or two, but no longer. We miss them. However, at this time of year, our garage is pretty chilly, so the veg keeps for ages – it is probably optimal storage temperature. Let’s face it, prior to our consumer society, where fresh fruit and veg is flown in from across the world, to suit our wants (not needs!), we used to eat according to what was available (fresh fruit in summer, preserved or tinned fruit the rest of the year), apples that were carefully stored, potatoes that had to last you from October until the ‘new’ potatoes arrived in May. Really – do we need asparagus flown in from Africa for us to eat in January? – We might not need it, but we want it!
Side Topic – Define Healthy Eating
Personally, I am in a bit of an Eat Healthier phase. The more I read of how our low-fat eating and continuous grazing habits over the last 30 years have contributed to our very unhealthy, overweight, diabetic-prone community, the more I am convinced that we have it wrong.
So, I am eating full fat meat, butter and cream again – no more low-fat margarine spreads. As little sugar, as I can get away with (and it is in everything – anything with an -ose in the ingredients is a form of sugar, even bread and ham). I already mainly eat wholemeal bread, except for the occasional ‘treat’ of white bread. I am also going for 3 meals a day, no snacks. It would appear that as soon as we started going low-fat the obesity epidemic grew, and despite what the statin manufacturers tell us, the body needs cholesterol. In Scotland, they are actively discussing a ‘fat’ tax. Now if that was a ‘processed food’ tax, I would support it.
Equally, is it not time that we undertook some country or even better, world wide research into the different diets, and measure which are best for health, and no longer rely on some dodgy research decisions that were made many years ago. Our 30 or 40 years of low-fat, fast food, evidently isn’t working. Today we have dietary advice formed from a 6 week TV series, not detailed nutritional research. What about our gut microbes? I have read a few articles that suggest that sweeteners can change our gut bacteria So, please can we have some serious monitored trials funded by someone independent, who is not either a drug company, or a food company who will gain from the outcome of the trial. The human race needs it, or we will literally eat ourselves to death!
It is simplistic to say our parents ate real food and weren’t overweight. Yes some were, as old photographs often show you. My grandfather lived to 78 in the 1940’s, a good age then. He had no diabetes, but he wasn’t thin, for sure!
On Tuesday 23rd January 2018, on the BBC news in Scotland, it reported that poorer children tended to be more overweight than wealthier children. Why? Junk food is cheaper than protein and fat rich food which keeps you fuller longer.
(Disclaimer : I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical experience. This is what I am doing to myself, for my own benefit. Do your own research, there’s plenty of it out there from eminently qualified sources)
Wow – this post has just changed a bit from its original topic, but I am leaving it in!
Back on Topic – Unnecessary Shopping
We had a young friend come to see us last week, so I got a couple of treats in for her to choose one from, as an after dinner treat. (which her parents allow her). What happened to the rest of the snacks? Well, my husband and I had 1 each – did we need them? – No! But we ate them, just because they were there. Learning – if you don’t buy them, you can’t eat them!
Take that trip to Costco / IKEA / other big retail shopping opportunity- Look at everything you put in your trolley. Do you really need that super-sized pack of pretzels. I read a blog the other week where a mother was using large empty pretzel containers to organise a child’s playroom. There must have been 50 containers. All I can say is – that family eats a lot of pretzels, which lets face it are pretty much unnecessary calories. They might be nice, but they are certainly not necessary.
Just picture that trolley as you walk round the aisles – those cushions look great, but do you need them? Could you re-cover your old ones, or are they going to end up in landfill? How many candle holders does one family need? I am the biggest sucker for gadgets. In the UK, we have a shop called Lakeland, it has every household gadget you could ever possibly need. I really need to put blinkers on when I am there, and enforce my iron will that says – I just need x!
As, for major purchases, putting them off for a month or two is usually pretty easy. A washing machine may need replacing urgently, but new chairs can often wait a while. My husband and I have been debating to replace a couch with 2 swivel chairs for a while. We first discussed it about a year ago, we looked around, decided we would ‘wait and see’, but in the Christmas Sales we got the same chairs at 25% off with free delivery, and friends are delighted to take our old couch. A win/win all round. That way you move from an impulse decision – they look great – don’t they?, toward, the ‘planned’ – this decision is cost effective, it works for our family and someone else is getting a benefit too
Straight maths, If you postpone grocery shopping for 1 or 2 days each week, you should be able to reduce your grocery bill by 13% (46 weekly shops instead of 52). Certainly by even just cutting out top-up shops, you should notice a significant difference. (OK – I’ll let you buy nappies and milk, but no biscuits just because you are in the shop…)
I well understand the dilemma of a busy parent only managing to go shopping at weekends, so maybe the alternate is to buy a little less each week. I always used to ‘over-buy’, so there was always something in the fridge, but maybe that wasn’t the best option, because we ate what was there. So slightly less, is easier to do.
So why not try it for a few weeks. It’s easy to do, you’ll soon find out if it works for you. £10 a month saved is £120 at year end, £20 a month is £240 etc.
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