My bank doesn’t like me. There. I said it. After getting myself through university, a two week shoe-string trip around the Balkans last year and moving house last summer, I am well and truly skint. All my expendable income is being given to my bank in a bid to make them like me again. That teamed with a fiance who started a business in tandem with the recession – we’re not quite there yet. It’s a sorry state of affairs (so much so that we’re even considering cancelling my birthday trip in March… weeep 😦 ) but it must be done and I’ll be thanking myself for it in 12 months time.
We’re not the only ones living life just above the breadline. I know lots of young professionals who seek to find the balance between having fun, eating well and not breaking the bank. The one thing I’d hate to compromise is food… so we shop sensibly and on a budget. AND we stick to it. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t shop like this…
- We love own brand and we’re not ashamed to say it! Why pay an extra 30P per can on chopped tomatos or beans for the sake of a label – it just doesn’t make sense. Last week we bought some reduced rice pudding in Tesco for 9p… 9-fricken-p! Let’s be honest – they’re probably made in the same factory anyway. Buying own brand can save you pounds on your weekly shop.
- Expensive fruit and veg is off limits. We check the price of everything we put in our trolly/basket and avoid anything we see as a luxury. Asparagus, for example, is a luxury and can be very expensive. I’d love to buy fresh summer berries every week, but at £3 a punnet, I refuse to pay it. Instead I buy canned strawberries, cherries and raspberries where possible for a sixth of the price.
- Shopping local is a great way to save money. Rather than buying pre-packed veg at supermarkets, you can take as much as you need at a local veg shop, usually for a fraction of the price. Castle market is brilliant for this. For example, Lychees are usually pricey in supermarkets, right? You can get a snack size bag for 50p. No rip off there.
- We don’t buy what we don’t need. When we first moved in together, food got thrown away every week because we thought we might use it, but didn’t. After living together for nearly a year and a half, we’ve learnt to pay attention to what we throw away and vow never to buy it again unless we promise to eat it up.
- Vegetarian meals are cheap. Don’t be scared to cut some meat out of our your diet. We eat meat in a main meal around twice a week, and maybe one night we’ll have fish too. I refuse to eat processed meats and if I’m cooking from scratch, well chicken, beef and lamb are pricey these days, even if you do buy the cheaper cuts. (Oh and for the record I don’t like pork or turkey… blreghh). Also, buying Quorn meat is cheaper versus real meat (and it’s much better for you), should you want an alternative.
- We don’t eat crap. Unless it’s for baking treats, we don’t buy chocolate, biscuits, crisps (except the ones Dan has for his lunch) or anything else along those lines. What’s the point? If you have a good enough main meal, you shouldn’t get hungry before bed. We learnt not to snack too much and waste money on being big fat greedy guts… it seems silly and pointless. If I want to indulge – I’ll bake!
Each month we budget about £120 on two big food shops and fresh fruit and veg in-between, that’s approx. £15-20 each a week which isn’t bad going, considering I used to spend £25 on myself when I lived on my own. Oh, that also includes lunches for work. The only extra food I buy out of my own pocket is fruit for my desk at work.
When the going gets tough, you gotta compromise and save dollars where you can. Funny thing is… we’d still shop frugal if we were rich!
What tips do you have for frugal shoppers above and beyond my tips? Let me know…
Hayley Jayne xx