With 1 day to go, I have finally done my weekly shop for the Live Below the Line challenge.
I have been planning this for the last couple of weeks, doing Supermarket price comparisons and earmarking the lowest, ready to spend a morning driving round and picking up all the bargains! However, on second thoughts, how relevant would these methods be to those who really do live below the line? I decided to challenge myself and try and buy everything I needed within walking distance of my home. So off I set, with my shopping bag in one hand and £5 in the other, to see if this would be possible.
The small country town of Holmfirth is about 25 minutes away from where I live, and has several small businesses, including bakers, butchers, a discount store, a Coop, recently a Lidl, and a market – but would their prices be low enough for me to be able to eke out my £5? Fortunately I don’t like tea, coffee or alcohol, but I definitely have a craving for sweet things – particularly chocolate!
My first port of call was to the Saturday market, hoping that as it was nearly the end of the day, there may be some bargains to be found on the fruit and veg stall. When I found that it wasn’t there at all, my heart sank! This was not a good time for the fruit and veg man to go on holiday!
I then ventured to the bakery, where I discovered that they had a half price bread section of yesterdays bread – it felt like I had hit the jackpot! However, the prices were still too much for me to afford. As I was leaving, I saw a bin liner full of bread rolls, fruit scones, olive and sunflower breads. I asked the lady behind the counter what this bread was for….and she replied “for the pigs” – she then went on to say “if you want any, just help yourself”. This was two day old baking, that was going to be fed to the pigs. I had absolutely no idea that there was so much perfectly edible bread going to waste, when there are so many people struggling to pay for food on a daily basis. I took a modest sized sunflower loaf and a bread roll, but felt that I should still make a small donation of 20p.
I then carried on to Andrews the greengrocers. Looking at the produce I knew that I wouldn’t be able to afford very much, and thought that maybe I should wait until I got to Lidl. However, I asked Andrew, the greengrocer if he had any damaged or old stock that he could let me have at cheaper prices. I was surprised to find that he is not actually allowed to sell goods that are not up to a required standard – even if sold at a lower price. The stock that he can’t sell, that is out of date, or damaged, generally has to be thrown away. How sad to see so much food wasted, when there are many people who would be glad to have even that. Andrew proceeded to fill 2 bags with a mixture of fruit and veg, and I had to stop him from giving me more! Saying that, a lot of the fruit and vegetables had clearly passed their best and anyone who knows me will know that I rarely eat anything a day past it’s best before date, so this will still be a challenge! I gave the greengrocer a donation of £1.50 for the two bags of ‘goodies’.
So far, so good – although I will officially be eating food that should have gone to the pigs – sorry pigs!
It was then on to ‘Premier discounts’ – this shop has probably been open for the last 10 years in Holmfirth and I have never ventured in. It has now become my NBF! Digestive biscuits for 19p – that is less than 1p per biscuit, and well-known brands of ragu and curry sauce for 20p a jar – an absolute bargain! Although perhaps best if I don’t think too much about the date of 2014 stamped on them!
Finally a short walk to the Lidl store to stock up on some much needed staples. This was my first shopping experience in Lidl and I couldn’t believe the low prices. Here’s a run down of my total shop…
I am going to use the remaining 23p to factor in smaller items such as salt, pepper, oil, and spices. I will work out the cost of each item per gram and budget proportionally…sadly probably not enough left for a chocolate bar!
I do like to be active in our small Holmfirth community, and am very keen to support local businesses – many people may think that this is not viable for those on a low income. I hope that I have helped to dispel this myth – the friendliness and helpfulness of the shop owners was amazing, and it was a real eye-opener for me! Food for thought…….?
Now I have the food…it’s time to start planning the menu for the week.
Wish me luck!
P.S. I am putting myself through this challenge to support the great work that Farm Africa do. What I love about Farm Africa is that it is very different to most charities. They don’t give handouts, or quick fixes, they help farmers grow their families out of hunger permanently. Farm Africa believes that Africa has the power to feed itself, they work directly with farmers to help them unleash their potential to feed Africa’s people. They offer pioneering techniques that boost harvests, reduce poverty, sustain natural resources and help end Africa’s need for aid. Please give generously to help put an end to extreme poverty.
What would you spend £5 on?
Are you taking on the challenge this year?
I’d love to hear about your experiences.
comments so far