Save money: stay out of shops
This week, we have all been ill. There have been aches, fever, an outbreak of chicken pox and some vomiting (and when Tiny Tartan blows he does it with epic grandeur). Normal service has been entirely suspended. I have not been to the supermarket once – I was too ill and Tiny Tartan was too obviously infectious. I had visions of Morrisons Security in biohazard suits escorting us rapidly from the premises…
Anyway, here’s what the past week has taught me about saving money.
I only spend money if I actually go into the shops.
(I didn’t say it was going to be earth-shattering.)
We spent £17 less than usual. Obviously, this is because we didn’t actually buy much and just used up what was already in the house. But, let’s be honest, it’s also because even on a tight budget, list in hand, I go off-list as soon as I walk into a supermarket. So it stands to reason that if I just never go into a shop again, I will never spend any money. We will, obviously, starve, so it’s not really a long term strategy, but still…
Readers, I have decided to try a little experiment: I can’t completely stay out of the shops but I am going to cut down on the number of visits to them I make. Here is how. (Disclaimer: I may still be slightly delirious from being ill.)
- Plan our meals monthly not weekly. STAY WITH ME HERE!!! If I plan just four Big Productions a month and five packed lunches and snacks as well as another 3 make-at-the-time meals to fill the days when we are eating neither a Big Production nor an Encore, it should be easy enough to plan a whole month’s meals. Shouldn’t it?
At the start of next month, meal plan at the ready, do a mahoosive store-cupboard shop online to Click &Collect. Yes, paying a fiver for the privilege of not going into a shop is not thrifty. But Click & Collect is free. And keeps me out of the aisles.
- Arrange to have milk delivered. It is cheaper to buy milk in the supermarket but it’s also cheaper to stay out of the supermarket. At the moment, fresh milk is the main reason I go into the shops so often.
- Start using the bread-maker during the week instead of buying fresh. Next to milk, bread is the thing I am most likely to pop into the shops for every few days. I already have the machine (it’s eleven years old, was the cheapest one on the market at the time, and is still going strong) so I might as well use it more. And embrace wraps with a long shelf-life, oatcakes, toasties with bread that’s been in for a few days, etc. for Tiny Tartan and my lunch at home.
- Buy fruit and vegetables fortnightly, first with my big Click & Collect shop and then mid-month from Aldi. Less choice = less likely to go off-list while I am in there. As long as I keep the fruit somewhere cool and the veg in the fridge, it will last a fortnight.
So, in theory at least, that means I only actually go into a shop once a month instead of several times a week. Smart plan or doomed enterprise – what do you reckon?