Strategy

28 Feb
The start of my challenge is getting closer. I’m getting rid of the last perishables from my pantry, and then I’ll be figuratively locking it and throwing away the key for the next month. Tomorrow night, I’ll be spending up to one pound on food for Thursday, 1 March 2012.

But if I want to make it through the month without dying from boredom of eating the same thing every day, I’ll have to plan longer-term than that. I’ll need a strategy.

Discounts, first of all. Things are priced down at my local supermarket from 20:00 on. It’s probably wise to see what’s available. If there’s anything there that’s cheap enough (within budget and at most as expensive as I can make it myself, if at all possible), I’ll allow myself to buy it- unless something else is more critical.

Also, as you know, I’ll be starting with an empty pantry. I won’t be able to buy many different things on any given day, so to build up that pantry I’ll be needing to buy mostly things that will give last me more than the day itself. From *that* perspective, a 13p bottle of vinegar is excellent value; it will likely last all month. Such choices will give me more possibilities later on. In addition, I’ll be needing to make the most of each ingredient- The humble potato can be chipped, mashed, boiled, roasted, crisped and liquefied in soups. Different preparation methods will give for different flavours, which is just what this month will need.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – or is it? Not every meal deserves the same budget. I typically won’t have much time to prepare or enjoy breakfast, so some of the budget might be better spent to improve the quality of supper.

Needs should normally go before wants. Some ingredients might cost a pound or more, which means I won’t be able to buy them without saving for them. In fact, anything costing more than the price of a meal is “expensive” and better provide for more than one meal! I typically won’t be able to buy more than one “expensive” ingredient per day, so these ingredients should be planned wisely to have maximum impact on the variation that the pantry offers. Each day, based on needs, planned meals and the current contents of the pantry, one such item should be chosen.

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2 Responses to “Strategy”

  1. Ciaran McHale February 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    The “True Food” cooperative (www.truefood.coop) has a shop in Grove Road, Emmer Green, and runs once-a-week markets in other parts of Reading. True Food uses “loose goods” bins for selling about 50 or 60 different items: sugar, pasta, rice, porridge oats, and so on. These items are sold by weight. (You can bring your own container into which to put loose goods, or you can use a paper bag provided buy True Food.) So, you could buy, say, 10p worth of sugar or porridge oats if you felt that would do you for a day (or three). In that way, you could get at least some of your staple food items in small enough quantities so you don’t have to blow your £1/day budget. They also sell eggs at £1.72 for 6, if I remember correctly, but I’m reasonably sure that you can buy single eggs too.

    • kleinebre February 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      Thanks Ciaran, I wasn’t aware of that. Gladly there’s one that’s at a walkable distance. A big walkable distance, but still (Remember, driving to save money is cheating!) and at a convenient enough time, so I’ll actually be able to visit that. I’ve looked into the car pool thing as well – I might still be on time to arrange that, and catching a ride might actually get me slightly nearer so that at least it’s only a one-way big walk. I might have an incentive this month to get that bicycle fixed.

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