Change How You Shop and be Happier !!

Shopping on a tight budget can be depressing and repetitive, unless you make changes.We’ve had many weeks when we’ve had to feed ourselves for £10 each, there are 6 of us, 4 adults and 2 children. We try and see this as a challenge rather than something negative.

1, Stop shopping at the BIG supermarket that you’ve shopped in for years. We were regular customers in Tesco for over a decade. We stopped and started shopping in a discount German store Lidl and the local butchers and grocery stores for fresh fruit and vegetables. Lidl stocks a wide range of organic fresh foods and has a different theme every week, this is good fun, we’ve took advantage of this and had complete Italian weeks when every main meal has been Italian as thats what week it was in Lidl !!

2, Make a meal plan every week and STICK TO IT !!Unless theres something cool on offer when you get to the store !

3, Look out for the discounted items, my husband confessed yesterday that when he shops he scans every aisle for the yellow reduced stickers rather than browsing ! Visit the reduced sections of the store before getting whats on your list, be prepared to alter your meal plan depending on whats available.

4, Eat whats in season, not only is this good for your body its cheaper and helps the environment so that you are not eating fresh green beans grown in Zambia for dinner in November when you could have bought frozen ones grown a few miles away. I confess we had stir fry the other night and when I checked where the sugar snap peas had come from I was disappointed to find they’d been flown in from Chile! They were delicious but we usually try and eat local grown, seasonal food. This sounds very middle class but really its not, we buy greens and potatoes from a local store that are grown on a farm which is walking distance away. We get fresh produce from our family with gardens and allotments. We try and buy British Milk and butter and cheeses.

5, Eat Organic, yes its possible on a low income. We swopped and buy only organic milk, 4 litres cost £3 for two bottles, which will last us for a few days, its worth the extra 50%, the milk taste amazing.

6, Eat 2 vegetarian main meals a week and 1 with oily fish, this helps a lot. try new recipes. The best vegetarian recipes are intended to be meat free rather than the ones that replace meat in a traditional recipe, e.g no one I know who is in their right mind likes a lentil Bolognese, use those lentils to make a tasty daal or soup.

7, The “ooo” factor, we look for new products that when we get home we’ll pack it away and say “oo thats going to be nice” The thing we bought this week was a hot chocolate from Lidl that is made from chocolate chips, it only cost £1.99 and man it was amazing !!

8, Cook from scratch, if you cant cook basic foods then you’ll never be able to survive on a low income and be healthy, if you cant cook then learn, start by learning to make a basic tomato sauce which you can use to make soup or pasta, lasagne, tuna pasta bake and lots more. Check youtube for simple recipes.

9, Go to the market,not the farmers market, I’m talking old school weekly parish market or the modern equivalent! I know we are all short of time but if you take time to shop around rather than doing all of it in one big store you’ll find your money goes further.

10, Buy in bulk online, we rarely do online shopping anymore. I got fed up of late or absent deliveries, green bananas and battered boxes. However if theres a very good deal I’ll order a bulk load to last a few months, e.g a 10kg sack of rice on special at Asda or 10l of apple cider vinegar from Amazon.

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