6 Aug 2011

a year as a minimalist / / part two

So, part two of my five part series in a build up to my 'Year as a Minimalist' challenge. Part two is about... my weekly grocery shop.

The main questions here are:
1. What do I need to live on in a week?
2. For snacking, can I make do with cheaper snacks? Both in terms of calories and price?
3. What things can I buy on offer?
4. What are my essential spends - things can be bought in advance?

In order to work these things out, I kept ALL my receipts from my weekly spends during my second year. (That sounds pretty sad doesn't it...) and it enabled me to work out what type of things I regularly buy. I worked out that I usually do a grocery shop every four days or so; so as to maintain freshness of produce. The first of these two shops usually involve me buying my 'essentials' i.e. vegetables, meat, bread. But it's the second shop where I spend a bit more - usually on bits and bobs that I don't really need, per se, such as expensive fruit juices, that bar of Galaxy...

Having identified these facts, I can now try and combat them by taking a shopping list with me every time I go for a grocery shop.

To tackle question two - making do with cheaper snacks. Well, this one is easy - just buy fruit. In the summer, berries are usually on offer so summer snacking is simple but winter snacking? Not so simple. I guess I'd just have to see what is on offer at the time - tying in with question three.

To identify what I can buy on offer, this involves a little bit of research on my part. Waitrose do a weekly 'weekend magazine' which is free and it can give an indication of what is on offer. However, they also do a mini A5 leaflet with current offers as well as future offers on it so I will have to start looking out for these.

And finally, things bought in advance. Now, this might sound contradictory to the whole concept but it isn't, trust me! Firstly, things that can keep include shampoo, conditioner, soaps, toilet roll, etc. Now, if you notice that you recently opened your last bottle of shampoo, or are onto your last roll of toilet roll, it might be a good time to buy another two bottles of shampoo or another multipack of toilet roll if they happen to be on offer. If your desired brand isn't, it might be worth considering a switch to a brand that is on offer...temporarily of course unless you desperately want that brand. As a student, for me, anything goes when it comes to loo roll as all that happens to it is that it gets flushed down a toilet so I tend to buy the cheapest. With shampoo, however, I stick by my beloved 'Aussie' brand as it has been the best for my hair (trust me, I've tried Head and Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Tresemme, L'oreal... you name it, I'll have tried it) and I'd ideally like to keep my hair healthy :)

Any other suggestions as to how I can minimise my weekly spend will be appreciated too! I'm on a strict budget next year as my student loan is considerably less than last year and I get almost a third less than I did in first year!

This concludes part two; part three coming soon!

1 comment

  1. I know I'm almost a year late with this comment but I wanted to share with you my bulk buying practise....

    Every Christmas my Partner & I are given gift cards to supermarkets, chemists etc & we buy our yearly NON perishables (shampoo, shaving cream, soaps, dish washing liquid etc) before the New Year....Then the ONLY items we need to buy during the week are grocery items such as chicken, fish & veggies....!!

    To get the best value from our gift cards, I shop around for the best deals on the non perishables we prefer to use however, if there is a cheaper brand, we buy that instead....!!

    Cheers from Australia
    Tamarah :o)