For the past 18 months or so we have been going to a Discount Warehouse on a monthly basis to stock up on household items such as cleaning & laundry products, which has made a HUGE impact on reducing our spending. We have also taken advantage of shops such as Poundland & 99p Stores for household/gardening products.
The biggest impact, however, has been using our local market to buy our fruit, vegetables & meat. For the past 6-8 weeks we have abandoned our weekly trip to the supermarket in favour of "shopping around", visiting lots of different places in order to get the best deals & supporting our local traders. We tend to spend maybe one day a week going into Doncaster town centre to stock up on our fresh produce & then visiting other shops such as Lidl & Home Bargains to purchase jars, packets etc as & when we need them. Of course, we do still visit our local supermarket but mainly for items such as milk & bread as this is just down the road & convenient when we need just a couple of things.
We went into Doncaster today to visit the market, as we have been doing on a Tuesday for the past month or two. Just to emphasise the value of using a local market I would like to share our purchases for today:
7 bananas = 50p
7 nectarines = £1.00
7 braeburn apples = £1.00
7 oranges = £1.00
Honeydew Melon = £1.30
Punnet Strawberries = £1.50
Punnet Grapes = £1.00
Bag of Mushrooms = £1.00
7 tomatoes = £1.00
Cucumber = 30p
6 large spring onions = 65p
Beef Joint = £5.00
7 Gammon Steaks = £5.00
Tray of Stir Fry Meat & Vegetables = one of 3 trays for £10.00
Tray of Steak & Kidney (split into 2 portions) = one of 3 trays for £10.00
Tray of Beef Stewing Steak (split into 2 portions) = one of 3 trays for £10.00
Tray of Minced Beef (split into 3 portions) = £3.00
10 chicken breasts (split into 3 portions) = £10.00
20 bacon rashers (split into 3 portions) = £4.00
Total spent = £47.25
Total meals = 17 meals' worth of meat
Ok, we still need to think about what will go with our meals, i.e. rice, pasta, sauces, vegetables etc, but it means that I have over 2 weeks' worth of meat in my freezer for less than the cost of a full weekly shop. Please bear in mind that my portion sizes are for 2 adults and 2 toddlers, so they're not as big as those for families with older children.
Shopping this way may not be for everybody - it is a case of going to various places rather than getting everything under one roof, but I think that the extra effort is worth it. We're actually eating better meals in the evenings because of it & the meat that we've been buying is a much better quality than that we had been buying from the supermarket.
I know that there are people who have shopped this way all their lives but this is new to us & we are amazed with the difference it has made to our finances.