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cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:36 pm
by fumanchu
This might be in the wrong forum, I wasn't sure where to put it. Is there anybody in here who only goes to shop for food once every 2-3 months ? Like previous generations who maybe lived on remote farms and only rarely got into town to the store ? - I'm trying to work out if this is possible for us and would welcome ideas and hints :mrgreen:

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:30 pm
by TheGoodEarth
You could easily do that if you were only shopping for canned and dried stuff and if you had a couple of big chest freezers. Do you plan on providing all your own fresh produce including veg, milk, cheese etc?

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:32 pm
by Green Aura
We go every 4-6 weeks. I think I've only managed 2 months once and we bought quite a few top-ups from the local shop so it wasn't much of a saving (although I buy all my milk and a few veg from them).

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, I think - the size of your family, your diet, local resources, what you can produce/forage yourself and how much you can store.

We've got a small walk-in(ish - well one foot :lol: ) pantry which holds loads of dry stores - flour, nuts, dried fruits, preserves, the odd tins - you get the picture - I think it would last us about 3 months if we couldn't top it up. Then we have a medium chest freezer and a small under counter freezer which again probably has enough meat/fish and veg to last a couple of months or so (with a bit of rationing) and then finally the kitchen shelves which have everything currently in use and herbs/spices.

I was quite pleased that we survived all the bad winter quite easily, I don't remember completely running out of anything.

The main thing is to plan what you can store and what needs to be fresh - for a while I was wasting freezer space buying bulk quantities of milk from the supermarket, then realised that was daft. I now use available storage much better and get a walk to the shop for exercise :cheers:

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:44 pm
by fumanchu
Ok ta, so at least you didnt all fall about laughing and you do think its feasible :mrgreen:
I have no local shops nearer than 12 miles, & thats only a wee village postoffice/shop - but do get a milkman, so the milk is sorted. Supermarkets 15 miles so not bad at all.
Only two of us so not feeding an army, and have plenty room for storage.
Garden is full of tatties & kale, with a bit of salad and some onions - so not very inspiring but I can do better next year :cooldude:
No, cant do eggs or cheese or anything, but the daughter is getting hens, she lives 4 miles away so that might turn out ok.
We did ok in that bad snow as well, I was pleased with my wee self, but I want to go further. It's just the actual mechanics of having to decide what to get with my limited money I think, is stumping me. What would you get first ??

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:00 pm
by pitwipe
Take a look at your last couple of supermarket grocery bills if you have them. If they're itemised you'll be able to quickly see where you can bulk buy on things like dry/canned/frozen foods, toiletries, etc. and what quantities you'll need for 3 or 4 months. Also you'll be able to see what you're spending on fresh produce and devise plans to grow your own or substitute for things you can grow/find locally.

Some dry foodstuffs, like flour, have a shelf life that's not huge, so you'll need to check the use-by dates also.

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:10 pm
by fumanchu
I think I will try a combination of these ideas. ee what we buy most of and then try and get 3 months supply. TY :flower:

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:25 pm
by MuddyWitch
Good Luck, our local t£$co only alowws you to buy 10 of nything, despite telling them that we are bulk buying 'cos their nasty hypermarket always gives me a headache. They seem convinced that we are running a local shop & reselling the items at a profit, even when we buy t£$co's own brand!!!


Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:32 pm
by fumanchu
Well, I use Costco for some things, they're great. And I do a lot of online shopping, because we are too decrepit tp haul sacks around these days lol !

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:36 pm
by Gem
There is two of us and we have gotten it down to once a month with milk from the corner shop. Now we have a chest freezer I'm hoping to extend that a bit!!


Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:40 pm
by fumanchu
Oh good - how did you start ? Can you think how you organised the first month ? :mrgreen: that sounds great, theyre's only 2 of us as well.

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:58 pm
by Green Aura
When I first started this I was living on my own so of course it was much simpler.

Muesli for breakfast - so that was oats, almonds and sultanas (purely because they're the cheapest dried fruit). I buy flour in 16kg sacks which the wholefood co-op in Inverness kindly delivers (there are a group of us in the village who put in a bulk order - might be worth considering) along with pulses. A big block of cheese for cooking and a few smaller pieces of good cheese for lunch, oatmeal to make oatcakes, butter, oil, eggs - although I now get duck eggs from a neighbour which are yummy - and enough meat to eat 4-5 times a week. Cooked batches and froze the leftovers in portions. A couple of belly pork joints to make bacon ( a bacon butty for weekend brunch :iconbiggrin: ). A box each of red and white wine - can't beat a glass with dinner - and a small stash of Green and Blacks to stave off the loneliness:lol:

When OH moved up to join me it didn't alter much - just more or less doubled. The problems arrived when my mother moved in - won't eat our wholefood stuff (I think it plays havoc with her dentures :lol: ) so pappy white bread and sugary cereals. Then our daughter moved back in - add to the list strange processed vegan stuff (which she prefers to my cooking :( ) and now we're nearly bankrupt - and need a bigger car to transport it all home!

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:17 pm
by fumanchu
:mrgreen: brilliant help ty ! ..stop feeding them pet and they'll all go away. Stray cats and family, same thing !

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:28 pm
by Green Aura
She brought her cats with her too! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:53 pm
by Gem
Ok I will go through our last shop and how we got through it. Bear in mind that the easiest way to do this is to basically plan a months worth of meals and then throw in a few extra tins and dried packets for the last week if things start looking a bit thin.

Things like toilet roll and veg oil we stock up on in bulk so they dont generally get included in our regular shop.

Broken down into when we eat them -

Week one - Lots of fresh fruit and veg so soups, salads and stir frys. We buy enough for the second week so when the veg starts to turn it gets thrown into meals like lasagne and what not which will keep well in the fridge (at a lower than usual temp) for about a week. Cheese, ham, tinned tuna, cupasoups and bread for lunches as well as various condements which keep well in the fridge. Masses (like 6-7 boxes) of breakfast cereal as the OH will have big bowls as snacks.

Week two - generally left over veg and, towards the end of the week we will have the home made meals. We will occasionally have a ready meal or two (the other half can't seem to break that habit!) or pizzas as a treat.

Week three - I make sure we buy plenty of hardy veg so squashes, potato, sweet potato, carrots etc so plenty of nice veg remaining. This will be used with other dry ingredients to make some nice hot and cold meals as well and maybe a jacket potato as a change.

Week four (this is where it gets a bit boring) we move onto dried and tinned food and generally 'using up' anything thats left over. Neither of us a particularly fussy so we don't mind and there is generally something nice like cheese or veg left to make it a bit more interesting.

This is a really basic run down as a fuller account would get even longer! But throw in a 'naughty drawer' full of occasional treats, plenty of fruit that lasts for various lengths of time and a small amount of supplimentation from the garden and chickens and thats pretty much how we do it. Lots of things that live in the fridge and pantry last pretty well and I keep plenty of ingredients for home cooking/baking in case our meals get a bit boring but generally its just a case of feasting for a few weeks then making do for a few weeks.

We do it this way because I HATE food shopping too regularly and it tends to keep costs down. We have a set food budget for the month, spend most of it at the start and any remainder can be used to buy milk and bread as and when we need it.

Hope that helps!!


Re: cut down supermarket trips ?

Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:17 pm
by fumanchu
That's a superb help, many thanks for all that typing Gem ! I think it must be do-able, with only 2 of us here and we eat very plain simple things. hes diabetic and I'm trying to lose weight, so nowt fancy :) I go to Costco and buy some things there in bulk, and I make my own breadso thats an item less to get.
I will (use this as an excuse to) sit on the couch tonight and work out a menu plan. Many many thanks !
I have to stick to a budget as well, we are on pension credit. And I too hate shopping with a passion :angryfire: