Thursday, 4 October 2012

Tesco syndrome

The Tesco Syndrome
6 weeks ago I went into Tesco to return a dented tin of tomatoes which cost me 29p (45c) and also to buy 3 things – decaffeinated coffee, a stain removal bar and some wheat free rolls, for which I thought I had a money off voucher.
I got my 29p/45cents back but managed to spend £40.50/$60 while I was there.  It went as follows:
·         Half a salmon that was on offer at half price
·         A dress that was in the sale for £7/$10.50
·         2 heads of broccoli – because they were on a buy one get one half price offer
·         Peaches – they were a bargain at 5 for 59p/90c but this was more than neutralised by the other impulse buys, and actually Lidl had 9 for £1/$1.50
·         I cannot remember what else I bought.  I go into Tesco and I get hypnotised, rarely getting out without spending £40/$60.  I try to avoid going there but every so often there is something I need that the other supermarkets don’t stock

1.       We have a freezer full of lovely, delicious trout.
2.       I have enough dresses and don’t really wear them. This one looked like a corporate bank or shop uniform and was uncomfortable.  Why didn’t I try it on?
3.       I have unpicked Kale and spinach in the garden and 2 packets of broccoli in the freezer.
4.       It turns out my voucher for wheat free rolls was for a different brand and I narrowly escaped without buying another wheat free product that I did not need.
5.       Then I went to the cafĂ© and spent another £3.50/$4.75.  if I hadn’t gone to Tesco I would have cooked my own baked potato with baked beans, using the potatoes from the garden and bargain baked beans with home grown salad for a total of 50p/75c.  what’s more the Tesco one was not very nice and the salad was tasteless.
6.       I could have spent the time out in the garden instead of in Tesco.

Inflation of our needs, wants and desires
Our food bill had crept to £200/$300 per month for two of us when this happened.

Probably not excessive to a lot of people but I know I can feed us for a lot less – a maximum £100/$150 a month even taking inflationary food prices into account. 
Not all food has gone up actually, though some has, and bananas have gone down.  It depends what you want to buy and I suspect much though not all of the food price inflation is really inflation of our needs, wants and desires as the good old book Your Money or Your life calls it.

So how do you reduce the food bill?
many (all?) of us buy bagged salad and rocket (arugula) instead of a loose lettuce, vine tomatoes instead of ordinary tomatoes and fancy mash from the chill cabinet  or ‘specially selected’ baking potatoes instead of an ordinary bag of spuds. 
You can still get a sack of spuds for £5-7/$7.50-10.50 and it makes an awful lot of mashed potato, chips or baked potatoes. 
You can make a lot of soup with a humble £1/$1.50 bag of lentils, a few spuds, stock cube and an onion.   Or you can buy a 1 litre carton of ready-made lentil soup – no doubt special, luxury soup in some way – for £2.50/$3.75.
 And rocket is just about the easiest thing to grow.

Marrows Free to Good Home please help yourself.
The other day on the way home, I passed this sign at the side of the road.  Next to it was a veritable mountain of marrows.
I gratefully gave two of them a good home but once I got them home, they were getting ignored and I couldn’t quite bear to cut into them.  In fact they were in danger of never being used.

After the Tesco debacle that had to change. 
The left over curry and pasta sauce in the fridge were duly transformed into stuffed marrow, marrow soup and marrow and potato curry and we had several effectively free and very tasty meals as a result.  I was inspired and back on track!

The leftover tub
This is a plastic tub that you keep in the freezer.  All those little bits of things that go off in the fridge get put into the tub and frozen instead.  Not stuff off people’s plates, just the bits left in the saucepan etc.  This idea came from the Tightwad Gazette many years ago and we have used it ever since. 
When the tub is full, I make a curry or stuff pasties with whatever is in it, plus a few herbs and spices.
No matter what goes in there it is always delicious. 
However, the recent tub had been full for ages and because it was full, little bits of leftovers were going off in the fridge again.

So Hubby made leftover curry which was yummy and I made leftover pasties, with the remaining curry, adding some grated cheese and a slice of tomato to each pasty.

And Tesco?
Well to be fair I was impulse buying in other supermarkets too, Tesco just tempted me more.  For the last 6 weeks I have had a rule of one impulse buy of up to 50p/75c per shopping trip, and stuck to it.  What fun I have had spending that 50p/75c.

And the dress went back and was exchanged for 2 large packs of nappies (2 for 1 offer) as a gift for a new baby.

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