How much is £20 worth? Live Below the Line

Apr 28, 2013

So the shops have been hit, the £20 note has been broken, and there’s a few quid still in the purse for the “renewals” later in the week. My eldest son (5 years old) has never been SO excited to see a pile of shopping as I laid it out to photograph, and then we set it out in days! Needless to say, I went ALONE to the shops – 3 little boys’ worth of pester power in the bakery department would have broken the strongest mind!
I came away with some further observations as I took the menu planner spreadsheet I’ve been working on for the past five weeks or so. Firstly, I had to surmount the growing terror inside that I might have mis-calculated and that we would be tummy-rumbling for the week, at which point I’d have had a visit from the grandparents with a food parcel – “will SOMEBODY think of the children”, to quote the Simpsons.
However, once I’d managed Aldi (I’m sorry to appear above my station but what is WITH those customers?!) and still had money in the purse I knew the plan was starting to come together. I also had a result; I thought Basics Tuna was £0.75 according to the price-check I’d done on-line last night, so imagine my joy when I found tuna for £0.49 in Aldi, and even more when the price had gone up to £0.80 in Sainsbury’s overnight. That jar of coffee is still looking within grasp, I’m thinking!
Next stop Sainsbury’s…..
As expected, a much more relaxed and pleasant affair, although a mixed-bag in terms of pricing and stock availability. I have the luxury of a car, and I know one item which I shall need for tea tomorrow and which wasn’t in-stock today (Basics Beef Mince, would you believe?!) I can call for on my way past the store to collect my youngest son from nursery. If I had to walk or use public transport, what additional decisions would I have had to make in the light of not being able to get the meat at the cost I need to complete the meal within the £4.00 complete day’s food allowance…..?
And don’t get me started on carrots! I usually buy Basics Carrots at £0.65-ish for 1 ½ kg. Not being able to afford £0.65 this week, and only needing one carrot, I had guesstimated £0.20 max for a “loose” carrot. What I hadn’t appreciated was the insane pricing disparity, particularly as I had always believed packaged were more expensive than loose. The bag of Basics equated to £0.46/ kg. The loose carrots are £0.90/kg. Admittedly, with Basics, they are all shapes, sizes, blah, blah. However, it meant that the ONE carrot I needed for the week cost me £0.22!!!!
You will see from the menus which I shall post for each day that FRESH fruit and vegetables barely feature. I am blessed with children who LOVE tinned fruit (well, all fruit for that matter); therefore I have used tinned fruit and tinned vegetables as a good method of portion control, and minimising waste. My usual shopping trolley brims with fresh fruit and vegetables – it is simply NOT AFFORDABLE on £1 per head unless you can drop-on the “Aldi 6”, the reduced counter, or offers. However, to have any chance of not visiting the shops every other day, I did not find it achievable.
Finally, for those friends who know Wendy without coffee, there were a few prices down (and up, needless to say!), but I think I can still just about squeeze to the Morrison’s Savers Coffee for £0.47. In the interest of the environment, I shall pop-in as I pass the door between the pre-school and nursery collection in the morning….

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