Groceries – Day 04: Reductions galore

3 Mar
Budget carried over from previous days: 12p
Content of pantry before shopping: 

- Perishable:

   1 banana (might still eat it!)
   almost 1/2 onion
   small piece of ginger (1 meal worth)

- Non-perishable:

   Most of 750 grams of salt
   Well over 1 kg of flour
   600 grams rice + 100 grams of rice ground into rice flour
   10 grams mash
   1 small cup of marmalade
   mixed herbs
   foraged hazelnuts in unknown state

Total budget available for day 4: £ 1.12
Budget used: £ 0.87
Budget left: £ 0.25
Budget available for day 5: £ 1.25

Receipt Day 4: Reductions galore

As was the case yesterday, I set out mostly worried about my five-a-day. As I’ve been doing, I dropped by at the clearance items first. Fresh school milk at 2p a bottle and still 3 good days left in it? Yes please. In fact, I wasn’t aware enough that milk came in smaller bottles than a pint – that too will make it easier to make it a stock item in the future. A bunch of fresh lemon thyme? It’ll last me for the month if I freeze or dry it, and gives me more variation. There wasn’t anything else on the clearance shelves that I was particularly interested in, so I went to the vegetables department first. After being in doubt for a while whether to bring cabbage or Brussel sprouts, and whether to bring a banana or not, it hit me why those clearance shelves occupy so little space. It isn’t just because of tight logistics. But these shelves are being raided all the time, so the space is freed up quickly again. Which means that they can be filled and filled and filled without ever overflowing.

Top Tip

If you’re REALLY looking to make the most out of your pound at the supermarket, don’t just go to the clearance shelves first. Come back a few minutes later to see if there’s anything new that might interest you. As always with clearance items, make sure anything you get is still fit for consumption, especially on items that are both moist and high in protein (dairy, meats, etc). Check the use-by and best-before dates.

When I came back a bit later, there were tomatoes available which looked like they were in pretty good shape, as well as an avocado. There were a few nets of clementines as well – I noticed that although one of the clementines in there was physically smashed, all the other ones actually looked in perfect condition. With reduced milk, tomatoes, avocado, thyme and clementines in my basket, I was happy to be able to get some garlic and chillies for even more variation. A bulb of garlic may cost only 30p, but at a third of the daily budget it’s a bit of an investment. It’ll easily provide a week’s worth of flavour, though.I decided I had enough consumables for the day and stayed 13p under budget. Along with the 12p saved on another day, that gives me 25p extra space next time.

Day 4 groceries - reductions galore

Once home, I discarded the one smashed clementine that was in the net, rinsed the sticky other ones (which indeed were still nice and firm), and popped two bottles of milk in the freezer, keeping one in the fridge for tomorrow.

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7 Responses to “Groceries – Day 04: Reductions galore”

  1. sarah March 4, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    It is better to dry the lemon thyme, it will turn black if you freeze it 😉

    Garlic should be 20-30% cheaper in LIDL as well as many other fruit and veg. Loads of reduced veg after 5-6pm.

    The bottled milk – is it suitable for freezing? Some types of plastic release toxins when heated or frozen.

    You may want to eat the avocado first as it soon will turn brown/black. Avocado+tomatoes+onion+salt+chilli pepper = SALSA

    • kleinebre March 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

      Sarah, right on. The thyme is pitch black by now. It still tastes fresh and delightful though. Now that it’s frozen, it’s probably too late to dry it.

      I should be able to drop by at LIDL after a few days of carpooling – I’m certainly finding it hard to shop for my five a days. Most of my budget is spent on that. I also should be wise and try to save up for the next bag of flour- it was a good investment but a hard one to save up for.

      The milk is packed in HDPE – which means that while I should prevent heating the milk in its bottle, freezing should be no problem. (Of course this also means fridge-defrosting as opposed to microwave defrosting it).

  2. Linda Dave Walker March 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    I hope more people see how you do this and learn how to budget…:)

    • kleinebre March 4, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

      I’m finding it pretty tough to budget my daily needs – it’s very tempting to use all the best stuff for lunch and breakfast, only to find out there’s nothing interesting left to do for supper. Thankfully, the problem exists only for a day at a time.

      I find going on a rock hard day-by-day budget means you MUST make do with what you have. Although this means that in principle I can’t do bulk purchases unless saving up for them first (which is a bit of a problem for items such as eggs), I’m also starting to think that the problems I need to face are only day-long.

      If I’d allow myself to spend 31 pounds at the beginning of the month, and found out halfway the month that all the good stuff was eaten already, I’d have to go through two weeks of serious suffering. I’m starting to think that just maybe, in terms of quality-of-life, the strict day-by-day budget actually makes things easier.

      • sarah March 5, 2012 at 12:17 am #

        It becomes even more interesting now. Would it be easier if you could spend £2 every other day? I was thinking if you could spent more than £1 a day, for example on the reduced items, would you be better off at the end? You may not be able to buy reduced items tomorrow, hence you have to spend more.

        I think if you were going to do it for a year, the strategy should be slightly different. I think it would be quite difficult to stick to £1 a day without buying the reduced items and having other incentives like free breakfast on Fridays. I am not sure if you get enough calories+vitamins+etc. at the moment. Regarding your 5-a-day fruit and veg consumption, I think you mentioned in your previous posts that your daily intake should be about 450 g, is it correct? That’s a lot of fruit and veg. Taking into account that the average fruit price per kilo is about £2, and veg average price is about £1 per kilo,would you be able to buy nearly 500 g a day of either of them…..

  3. sarah March 5, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    Sorry, got it a bit wrong, 400 g of fruit and veg per day ;). This is eqv. to 5 very large apples (80 g), a medium-sized apple is about 50g.

    • kleinebre March 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

      Yes, that’s right. Before starting this thing, I looked it up on the NHS website. I’ve been getting pretty close to those 400 grams so far. Apparently I should increase my carbs intake even further. I probably could have a bit more protein and calories in general, but I do feel a bit more energetic (find it easier to wake up in the morning). I may well be eating healthier now than I was before, but no doubt there’s still some tuning to do. Perhaps sum up all the starch/veg/protein consumed and adjust my intake accordingly? IF it fits within budget of course.

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