Friday 5 April 2013

Slow Living Experiment #2. Shopping

Don’t get too excited.  It’s not clothes shopping. 

I wish.

No. Food shopping, I’m afraid.

I know.  Tune out now if you don’t want to be bored to tears.  Or stay tuned in if you want to save a few bob for clothes shopping.

Got your attention?  Thought so.

Easy, this one.  So simple.  But like all the easy and as plain as the nose on your face things, easy does not necessarily translate into simple. 

A little recap now if I may, or if you have just found me, a little low down.  We are a family of 6.  Two parents and four boys, one of whom is still in nappies.

I feel I must mention nappies as these can work out to be very expensive so whenever Baby Week comes to town, I stock up.  Two packs (44 in a pack) for €10 is a great deal.  I haven’t bought nappies for 6 months as I am still working from the supply under the stairs.  I would use one pack every two weeks.

Another large expense for some people would be meat.

Our lads are still firmly wedged in the “I’m not eating that” play zone so humungous Sunday dinners and the like are a little bit down the line still.  We would get by on chicken fillets, a small roast, loin of pork for stir-fry, lean mince, and whenever it is on offer, a leg of lamb.
All of these are freezer friendly so some weeks I wouldn’t need to buy a lot of meat.

Cleaning products.  I have heard that these can work out pricey too but as I buy three to five cleaning products, only, I can’t help you with that one.  Sorry. (Wash up liquid, floor and toilet cleaner and not every week.  My house is not dirty. I just don’t waste my time scrupulously cleaning when it is going to get wrecked again 5 minutes later.  Same train of thought with the money)

And I just know someone is going to mention shampoo and toiletries.  Again, I buy these when they are half price or there is a buy one get one free offer.  It helps if you buy the same brand regularly and know the cost, that way you won’t get fooled by some of these freebies.  

Having said all of that, our shopping trolley can still contain a large amount of stuff.  Stuff that is not necessarily necessary and other stuff that is downright sinful such as chocolaty treats and the like.

Our shopping amounts to anything from €108 (a very good week) to €168.  This does not include a mid-week dash for extra stuff. 

I go in with a list each and every time but rarely stick to it.  My first mistake, I know.

Except a month ago when I Tried Very Hard and managed to Stick To It.

I also happened to be very tired one Sunday morning after a class reunion.  I could not muster the energy to go supermarket shopping and I didn’t bother going at all that week. 

Guess what?

We survived.

We more than survived on what was in the freezer and presses.

It can be done folks. It can be done.

I know there will be some alarm when you realise there is only a single 1kilo bag of twisty pasta, three frozen loaves and just four bottles of shampoo in the house.  Get the panic out of the way, do a fruit and veg list plus everything needed for the school lunches and just buy those.  

Last weekend my grocery bill cost €58 only.  So that left €142 for me.  Ching ching. 

Except it wasn’t.  I forgot it was a National Holiday weekend and before you could say “let’s go to the pound shop for treats, lads!” it was all gone. 

But, the point is, I still managed to save €142.

Try it.  Have a quick look in your freezer and your cupboard.  Make a menu for the week around those items and compile your shopping list.  Keep it simple and don’t go shopping on an empty stomach.  Everyone knows that’s the best way to fire non-essentials into your trolley just because you’re a bit peckish.

Let me know how you get on. 

This weekend I will not be going to the supermarket mainly because I have the princely sum of €16 and loose change in my bank account and my children’s allowance isn’t due in for another week.

Good thing I have that leg of lamb, lean mince and some pork in the freezer, eh?

If anyone wants to donate a box of fruit and veg, yes please.  You could throw in a box of chocolates too if you want…………………

And a bottle of wine.




  1. Well done! We have a very tight budget and I have managed over the last few years to get the shopping down to about €80 a week for 2 adults, a 5yr old and a 2yr old. That includes cleaning stuff (I also use very little), toiletries (again same as you), and nappies for the youngest (I love baby week :D ). I do a stocktake once a month of everything in my cupboards/freezer and just stock up on what we NEED. I have a regular weekly list that I stick to (this is the key thing for keeping to a budget!) and I keep about €10-20 aside for reduced items however I only buy things that we would normally use! Because my cupboards are always well stocked (I buy things in amount that will last 6wks) I dont really have to meal plan I can cook what we fancy - shop from my own store if you like.

    1. Thanks for your reply. I also find shopping when you are not hungry helps. It's also a good idea to do it alone - leave the kids in the car. Oh, wait...........better not.