The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

How to save money in 2008: July review. Frugal living – cool or cruel

Japanese anemone“Do you think that people will revert after the credit crunch?”
Danny mused this evening. “If you won the lottery, what would you do now? You know you can easily shave pounds a week off your food bill with a bit of ducking and diving. Would you continue your challenge or just purr into Newmarket and buy the freshest and best?”

A question that has had me thinking seriously for the last 24 hours. Our save money challenge 2008 has taught me such a lot. Largely the difference between want and need.

We are shaving our over the counter costs. If we had more money, why spend more? As my mum said this afternoon as she fingered the wide range of liquid soap.
“Any saving means more money for other things and ideally for fun.”

It’s now cool to shop in the cheapest outlets. In the Independent Newspaper this Saturday Janet Street Porter was featured shopping in Netto. I propped the page immediately beside my home smoked bacon and toast.

She made some very pertinent points. Although Netto sells few UK ingredients most are flown in from abroad. Organic is not part of their language. If you worry about air miles and your carbon footprint, Netto is probably not for you. Most people that I’ve seen shopping in Netto are on tight budgets and have to keep costs to a minimum. Netto is a godsend. Similarly the marked down food section of Tesco.

So many people are switching and going to the cheaper supermarkets such as Asda and Netto that the next tier up is now fighting back. The price war has people like me singing as I shop. Sainsburys, Morrisons and Tesco are slashing prices.

This afternoon I bought half a duck from Tesco for £2.14. I had been searching for chicken wings and drew a blank. The duck was a far better option. They were also pushing their organic veg today – two items for £2.00. Even Waitrose were selling three for the price of two across a wide range of vegetables.

So for the first time in two years we celebrated these bargains, took time out from the computers and had a barbecue. We feasted beside the wild life pond and lingered in the warm still air until midnight. The Min Pins snoozed under the garden table, hoping for scraps. Then we dressed the bed in crisp clean sheets that had dried quickly in the sun this afternoon.

Savings this month have been 35%. Largely down to eating far less meat, buying food and household goods on offer and cutting food waste to a minimum. Frugal living does not necessary mean compromising on quality. It’s more a shift in mindset. How can I have a well rounded life for the minimum cost?

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Mary

    That™s a great idea – cutting the chicken in half. Roast chicken is such a joy and cold chicken never so good.

    Hi Pamela

    I reckon that you’re right. Prices are effected by what’s available locally. More competition lower prices. Interesting that Asda provides a free bus service.

    Hi Natasha

    Thanks very much for this link. We love wild rabbit and unless we are given one we have to go without as they are not available locally. Good point about game – it’s free range and delicious.

  2. Natasha I find their duck a great price (sept-feb) and also wild rabbit at £3.50 each (easily the size of a small chicken), guinea fowl at £6.95 and pigeon breasts at 95p!! Affordable game is a great alternative to standard meat and free range too! We also mail order in fish from graig farm and get all our meat from sheepdrove farm (monthly and freeze). Great organic produce – we spend £120 a month for 3 and need no other meat…it often lasts us 6 weeks and last month we were able to skip due to surplus. Go organic and savour every mouthful. I recommend it.

  3. My local Co-op is quite a nice place to shop and I used to prefer it to Quik Save (as it was before Somerfield bought them out) but most people round here shop at both, topping up their shopping with items not available at Somerfield from the Co-op. Also Somerfield have a free delivery service which allows you to pick your own shopping and have it delivered later which is ideal for older folk or families without a car. It seems to me that with the loss of Safeway, Quik Save and now Somerfield that we have less choice about where we shop and less control over the prices we pay. Maybe I’ll have to try out the free bus service to Asda on a Friday.

  4. mary (how does my garden grow)

    Yes we too have cut down the meat content of our meals which has slashed our food bills. When we buy a chicken – always free range organic – we’ve started to cut it in half and freeze the other half for later. No more salad,sandwiches, fricassee etc etc during the week as we fight to keep up with the leftover

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