I started the challenge, and outlined a few ideas of how I might achieve it here.
I detailed progress in Week 1 here, Week 2 here and Week 3 here.
Now it's time for the conclusion.
It's safe to say that I didn't once achieve my £50 target. Here's why:
- my family likes meat, and meat is expensive. If it isn't expensive, you start to wonder whether it's fair on the farmer or whether the animals were treated well. Where possible I buy organic and free-range meat. That makes it even more expensive, but I feel strongly about it so the only way to cut down on the meat bill is to cut down on meat eating.
- We all have home-made lunches. The cost of Hubby's lunches has dropped considerably since he started taking a packed lunch (although he's occasionally admitted to "topping up" at the canteen at work!). C could be having a free school-dinner (all Foundation and KS1 in England are entitled) but for some reason prefers to have a home packed lunch. Bug either eats at home or has a packed lunch, and I always eat at home. The costs of packed lunch items probably adds about £10 to the weekly bill, if not more.
- We're food snobs. Lets face it, we like freshly made granary loaves, nice continental meat selections, artisan cheeses, real ales and local ciders, olives and balsamic vinegar. I make home made casseroles, lasagnes, cakes and so on, and really enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. I'm certain that we would spend a lot less on our shopping if I bought a cheap sliced white loaf, mild cheddar, value meat and chips and cheap packaged cakes... but we like it our way.
I do think it's been a worth while exercise, because its shown me what is important to me when it comes to buying food - and it isn't the cost. I do think I'll continue buying little and often, which allows me to pop to the local market and pick up a few things, to visit the butcher and to pick up a bargain when I spot one, without worrying that I'll end up chucking out excess.