July 8, 2011

The Weekly Shop: Keeping My Food Allergy Free Bill Under €50

The Goal: a €40 grocery bill!
After speaking with a friend of mine I was motivated to try and reduce my grocery bill yet again. M says that she spends €40 a week on groceries. As I look at her with admiration and respect I note that she’s slender and fit, but definitely not ill or anemic so I reckon that she’s not actually starving herself to keep within her budget. I know that she loves olives and cheese (goats, feta, etc) and so I conclude that she is either a master shopper or she is lying to me! Or maybe she’s misjudging her bill?? The truth is most likely that I’m a rubbish shopper - sigh - either way; a €40 grocery bill for one week is my ultimate goal.

The Prediction: €65
After making a list of what I need and want to buy (the want as opposed to the need could be my problem area!) I ring my bill-calculating-master of a mother to give me a prediction. She says that my list will probably cost me €65 – DAMN IT!!
This time I’m not going to spend all day going from shop to shop. Word on the street is that you never really save much doing that anyway but I do have a couple different brands I like so my shops this week are:

- The Hopsack (H)
- Restore (R)
- Evergreen, Wexford St (E)
- Tesco (T)
- Lidl (L)
- Superquinn (S)
- Nolan’s Food Fare (N)

The Result: I won the battle but I lost the war…. I just barely beat my Mom’s prediction of €65 but I GROSSLY failed on the ultimate goal, un-surprisingly, by spending €61.70 overall.

My List:
- Chickpeas x 1can – T €0.85
- Butternut squash – S €2.29
- Linseeds, whole (500g)– H €2.41
- Carrot x 1 – E €0.17
- Courgette x 1 – E €0.75
- Pear puree x 2pkts – H €3.50
- Oat bran (250g) – R €2.63
- Fresh mint leaves – E €1.99
- Dates (250g)– R €2.32
- Sugar snap peas – E €3.00
- Soya cheese – H €2.15
- Soya yoghurt x 1lrg tub – H €1.69
- Rice milk x 2 – S €4.49
- Brown bread (pan) x 1 – S €1.69
- Vitamin A (A & D tablets) – H €7.15
- Spinach – E €1.99
- Water x 2 (5ltr bottles) – S €3.78
- Lemon x 1 – T €0.45
- Frozen blueberries x 2 (500g) – L €5.98
- Firm tofu (200g) – N €2.30
- Fruit x 7portions – E €? (the four plums were €1.02
- Lettuce – E €?
- Pumpkin seeds (100g) – R €1.16
- Sunflower seeds (250g) – R €1.55
- Potatoes – E €?
- Oat cakes – H €1.99

Where I saved:
- I got raspberries instead of blueberries because I saw a good deal in Lidl.
- I saved a bundle by buying whole linseeds which I can grind at home in my electric coffee grinder. Not only are they a fraction of the cost of pre-ground flax (note: the bags are WAY cheaper than the boxes if you’re buying whole seeds!) and they will keep better too because I can grind them when I want them – woo who!
- Instead of my beloved medjool dates I got plain simple pitted dates. They will serve their purpose without the added €€ even if they aren’t liquid amazing manna from the heavens like their cousin Medjool.

Where I screwed up:
- I totally didn’t need soya cheese.
- Vitamins are expensive! I also didn’t really need them (note: Vit A is no longer available on its own in Ireland so I got Vit A & D). These two items (A & soya cheese) would have saved me €9.30!!!
- I only got the potatoes because Lidl was out of their great value Butternut Squash but then I found the squash for a moderate deal in Superquinn… ah well.
- I got 2 packs of sugar snap peas because I succumbed to a ‘deal’ – note: it is not a deal if you don’t need it
- I definitely could have got more tofu for my money in the Asia Market on Drury St.
- My fruit choices always drive the bill up.
- I also can’t figure out some of the items on the Evergreen bill – something cost €0.48 that I can’t figure and I’m just generally confused about the ‘Open Fruit’ items...

What I have learnt this week: My problem is not so much where I shop. It is what I buy. If you notice, the most expensive items on my list are ‘allergy-specific’ products. I believe that the key to budget food-allergy-free shopping to not substitute with allergy-dedicated products which can often cost the moon. True, if I could eat any fruit or vegetable, etc I could tighten the ropes a lot by buying things bananas, apples, raisins and cabbage instead of apricots, peaches, dates and butternut squash but I think it’s the ‘cheeses’ and ‘yoghurts’ that hike up the bill in the long run... that and also I just buy (and possibly eat!) way too much and have an addiction to ‘nice’ food.


Next time I will plan out an ultimate bargain-budget Food Allergy Free grocery list and see if I’m not crying all week due to lack of taste.

Until next time, Happy Shopping!


Nork said...

Well, you'll be sickened by this, but my brother does his shop for under 30 Euro in Lidl. He eats really healthily (bar a few packets of biscuits for dunking into tea) but bear in mind that he doesn't have to deal with any allergies or intolerances. I, on the other hand will spend 40 Euro on fruit and veg ALONE for the week. Super Valu is the only near by supermarket and boy do their prices add up....yeowza!

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

Thanks for your comment - €30 is envious indeed!! but definitely gives me something to think about. supermarkets have crazy prices...I think that you mentioned before about growing my fresh herbs .. serious measures will be taken! I promise :)

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