Life (and shopping!) is all about choices – Live Below the Line

Apr 5, 2013

In preparing the menus for our Live Below the Line challenge, I have learnt a lot about myself and my shopping psyche.  Having 3 small children I visit the supermarket probably 2 or 3 times a week to buy bread & milk, although I can often spend a minimum of £15-20 a visit.

“What on earth am I spending our money on?”  I’ve been asking myself!

Life (and shopping!) is all about choices

I must point out at this stage that not included in the £1 per day per head of Live Below the Line are any toiletries, washing powder, toilet rolls, etc., etc.  I presume living in the real world on £1 per day one prioritises food over shampoo and conditioner….

However, even these things don’t in and of themselves account for the additional spend I make every time I visit the shops.

What I have come to recognise in my buying rituals is the power of disposable income.

Because I visit the supermarket regularly, I see offers come in, BOGOFs, ½ price, buy 2 for £-reduced, and so on, and I can choose to purchase now because I have the spare cash to do so.  I am also an avid voucher user.

And THAT I think is what disposable income gives you – CHOICES.

I can choose whether to stock-up now taking advantage of offers on things I know I’ll use in the future.

I can choose to put my Voucher Sort voucher towards something because I can afford to pay the balance.

I can choose whether to buy Weetabix or Basics Wheat Biscuits, Heinz Baked Beans or Basics Baked Beans.  The difference in price is almost 2-fold.  There is definitely a difference in taste, but is it 2-fold as “un-tasty”?

I can choose whether to buy-up the cabinet of on-date meat and put it in my freezer for later consumption, likewise fruit and vegetables.

I can choose to buy the bigger pack where the price per gram is sometimes almost ½ the price per gram of the smaller pack.

On Live Below the Line I can’t do any of the above.  We have to start from an empty store cupboard and buy everything we will eat for the 5 days from our £20 total.   I know for some readers this is how you always shop.  It has NEVER been the case for me, who has the cash to grab a bargain and can always think of a use-up recipe for the on-date food.

The interesting revelation in preparing for the challenge is that the more money you have, the more economically you can shop, and therefore the further your £ goes.

On another note, I’ve drafted out menus for the 5 days, but they will have to be refined before the challenge as this week the price of one of the items rose from £0.30 to £0.33 and another item from £0.37 to £0.39; that may only be 2 or 3 pence per item but we don’t need many items to increase by a few pence each to not be able to afford to buy them. It’ll be interesting to see how many other items on the menu need to be altered before 29th April …..