Sunday, November 19, 2006

Contingency Plans

This is leading to my preparations not just for Xmas, but for the winter months ahead, and a new challenge.
Spending no more than £100 at a time from the supermarket, initially intended to last a month, has already been mentioned in earlier postings and I still find this will last much longer.
Of course more fresh fruit and vegetables are bought during this time, but not a lot else other than what the milkman can bring me.
The supermarket does deliver my order, so I am not weary with the trolley pushing and the loading, and there are still plenty of 'bogofs' and reduced prices on offer if I want them. Booking a time slot is always useful, some days are cheaper than others, but the money-back points system more than covers all the delivery charges. The delivery man will take back the empty bags (from the previous time), and I may now well hide other supermarket packaging in them as I certainly don't want it

My next order I am planning to be delivered the week before Xmas. Already I will be putting some items into the supermarket 'virtual' basket so that I can book my time slot well in advance - I am sure everyone will be virtual shopping that week- then I have time to add or subtract items at will until the day before delivery. By keeping an eye on the final total, some of the pricier products may have to be deleted in favour of a cheaper brand.

There will be no preliminary cheating - my Xmas order will still be confined to the £100, which will include some fruit and vegetables, and I expect to pay no more than £30 to my butcher during that time. Also a maximum of £100 to the milkman (I get eggs, butter, cheese, cream, yoghurts, cottage cheese, potatoes as well as milk). That already totals £230, so let's round it up to £250 beause I will have some basics already bought that I can use, then say it all has to last ten weeks because this makes it easier to divide. As this seems to work out at only £25 a week to feed two (plus guests), it seems obvious that I will need to spend more. But how much more???
This will be purely a challenge to me, but hopefully an eye-opener to anyone who really needs to find a way to cut costs. Quite simply the more thought and time put in, the cheaper a meal can become, but I don't expect anyone to do what I do. Look on it as a way we can find out how to cope only if we HAVE to. Plan G if you like.

In the next post I'll give a run-down of foods I will be ordering. Also the essentials to keep in the fridge, and my choice of what I keep in the freezer.
Tip: Not all foods need to be kept in the kitchen, cans can be stored in boxes under a bed or in a wardrobe if short of shelf-space.
Do let me know how you feel about my suggestion of giving you a daily blow-by-blow account of living on a shoestring? Of course there will be other things I'll be writing about, but at least it will give me a purpose in life.