Sunday, 28 April 2013

Cheaper than chips: warning - long, rambly entry!

After having a very careful think about things, I have decided to bring all my waffling about 'eating on a pound a day' over here.  After all, it is very food related so this is much the better place.  As I need something to identify entries on this theme, I've decided that 'cheaper than chips' is nice and catchy and says what it is, given the price tag on a bag of chips from the chippy nowadays!


My brain is full of stuff right now but I will try to give it some coherence.  Here we go . . .

1.  I will try to spend no more than £1.50 a day on food.  I'm aiming for £1.25; that's my target.  If it goes well, I may lower this, it all depends.  I'd like to do the £1.00 thing but I don't think it is possible.  Reading blogs about it, people were foraging in supermarket bins, getting extra money by entertaining in the street (in one case reading Dickens, would you believe?) and generally spending quite a lot of time on getting around the small amount of dosh they had.  To be quite honest, not only do I not have the time for that, the thought of being seen rummaging in Morrison's bins by parents of my children turns me cold with horror.  As for busking - can you imagine it?  I can . . . < shudder >

2.  While I will head over to the 'reduced' corners for a look, I will not buy stuff just because it *is* reduced.  It has to fit into the wider scheme of things.  Ready meals are as out as they ever were!  I will take advantage of BOGOFs and the like if, and only if, they fit into this wider scheme (whatever it may look like as it evolves) and if they can be used or preserved without waste.  For example, I would buy going over lemons cheaply and make a couple of pots of lemon curd, one of which I could barter for half a dozen eggs from a friend and another to have on my breakfast toast.  Eggs make great meals!  I might buy three for a tenner on mince, for example, because I know that I can concoct some very good and frugal meals with that much meat.  My freezer is always my best friend!
It helps to be able to buy when things are reduced.  Some people don't necessarily have that option.  For me, to some extend, it is a mathematical exercise - figures in a book, as my dad often says.  It's a luxury that I don't really appreciate enough.

3.  I'm doing an awful lot of weighing and calculating at the moment.  The online calculator is my New Best Friend!  I've discovered My Supermarket although it's a shame they don't give Morrison's prices.

4.  The point of this is to eat better (and I truly believe I will) while spending just a fraction of what I usually pay for food.  That's going to mean more or less cooking from scratch.  I am lucky in that I do a lot of that already.  We - all of us - are lucky because there's a lot of information out there on the Internet.  No excuses for not knowing what and how nowadays.  Love my kitchen scales too!

5.  I have cupboards and a freezer full to bursting with stuff, mostly stuff that will enable me to make meals.  Dried fruit, pulses (loadsa pulses), spices, herbs, etc.  I will use them.  It makes no sense to have these supplies and go out to buy more.  So today I have 100g of dried butter beans soaking.  You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find the cost of dried butter beans online.  I've made an educated guess and will try to remember to look next time I am in Morrison's.  This applies to the dried peas, the yellow split peas, the lentils . . . oh, you get the idea, I'm sure.  Generally, store cupboard pricing will have to be a best fit thing.

6.   I am umming and ahing about maybe a fortnightly trip to Aldi or Lidl (or both) to stock up on cans.  Chopped tomatoes, for example, which I use a lot,  and so on.  I have to balance savings with fuel costs and time.

7.  I know it's self indulgent but I need some sort of accountability so will be posting about successes  failures, discoveries, etc, in this blog.  While I obviously hope my readers will like reading it all, I'm really doing it for me.  I'll keep posting the recipes too but not under the cheaper than chips heading.  And there are times when I will eat out (especially if someone else is paying) or otherwise splash out a bit - and I will say when.

8.  And last of all - I need to find my organised hat!  from now on there's no popping over to Morrison's for a sarnie and a bag of crisps because I have forgotten to pack my lunch.  That would take two day's food money (shocking when you think of it like that, isn't it?).  I need to know what dinner will be in the morning so that I can make any necessary preparations.

So - what are the advantages
Obviously, spending less money.  I will be making a donation to a hunger charity, seeing as I'm not doing the sponsored thing.
Hopefully a reduction in food waste.
Healthier eating (I may plant vegetables in among my flowers this year) and a healthier me.
Using up some of the store cupboard supplies of which there are far too many for just one person.
There are more but that will do!


  1. I do so agree: but I wonder whether one should factor in the cost of running a fridge and freezer. But part of me is fuming too. While I am all for economy and no waste, we should not have to be cutting back on good, humanely reared food whilst still paying so much for our heating supplies. And now Monsanto etc. are trying to legislate on what species of veg. we can legally grow, both here in the UK and Africa.

  2. Absolutely disgraceful, isn't it?

    For me, it's about being more frugal and developing better spending and eating habits. I'd be running the freezer and fridge and using cooking appliances anyway.
    See, I'm making my own rules. :-)
    J x