Today I spent £10.77 in Tesco. I did cave in and buy the nappies as I would only really use one reusable a day, and didn't fancy either washing one nappy by itself, or waiting for 7 yukky nappies to build up in the nappy bucket over a week!
I completed my £100 grocery challenge with 16p to spare. I am amazed that I did so, and that I have always had enough food and drink to feed my family.
However, I realise that I am incredibly fortunate in that this was a choice for me to undertake this challenge. I am fortunate in that I already had well stocked cupboards and freezers before I took the challenge, and I thank God every day for his blessings in this respect.
I have learnt a lot along this journey.
- I have learnt that the more you plan, the better your spending is. What I should have done right at the outset was to plan my month of meals etc and only buy what I needed. When I did that first shop I was buying extra things such as vinegar and sugar for making chutney (which I've not done) and other store cupboard bits which I have not used.
- Necessity is the author of creativity (or some such quotation). Hubby has commented on the fact that our meals have been more varied during this time as I have had to do more thinking about how to use what we have.
- I have noticed how much I buy out of habit, without really looking to see if there were any cheaper alternatives. For example, buying Tesco value chilled fruit juice has been as much of a hit as Tropicana. The children seem to prefer Tesco value fromage frais to petit filous (probably due to the sugar content!). It has been a time of trying things out at a cheaper level for everyday items and seeing what works and what doesn't.
- It is so much quicker to do a food shop when you only have £10 to spend. I am in and out in 15-20minutes. And it takes less time to put away, which leaves me with more time for fun things like reading to my kiddies, or playing on the swings.
- I haven't been buying biscuits, instead I have been doing more baking. I was doing this anyway, but sometimes it was just easier to bung a packet of kitkats in the trolley than it was to think about making chocolate brownies, for example.
- I don't think that, for us, £100 a month is a sustainable amount to spend on food. I was able to do this 'one off' because I was so prepared already. Having said that, I am going to reduce what I spend in the supermarkets so there is more flexible cash around. I know that this requires more meticulous planning, but better that than spending unnecessary money.
- Just because my food shopping bill has been dramatically reduced, my bank balance is only slightly higher than normal for this time in the month. Having more 'spare' cash means that I have been a little more lax in other areas of spending. For example, I spent a lot (for me!) on clothes for the children and myself. I have also been spending in preparation for Ruth's birthday, and with gifts and gift components and things.
I am glad that I have done the challenge, and will probably do this a couple of times a year. I think also, that I will do a £21 Challenge once a month, to keep me on my toes and to keep me mindful of my spending.