You or may not have noticed that I haven’t written a post in a couple of weeks. Well, I’ve a very good reason for not making to the laptop – I’ve been moving house. And regardless of my best intentions and foolish optimism, I forgot that moving house is ridiculously stressful and time consuming and it leaves you too knackered to do pretty much anything other than drink tea and survive on custard creams until it’s all over.
But now that everything we own has been transported and is currently hiding in boxes waiting to be unpacked, I am looking at ways to avoid said unpacking and one of these ways is to think about how I’m going to manage my new food shopping at the new address. At our old flat, we were surrounded by local versions of big name supermarkets – great in terms of convenience, not so much in price. However, at the new house, these are few and far between. So if you, like me, are re-considering the whole logistical operation of getting food to your home and how much it really costs, what should we be looking at?
Up until now, I’ve managed on one large shop a month, delivered via an online grocery site from one of the main supermarkets, which is then topped up by visits to smaller local branches in order to stock up on essentials (and sometimes non-essentials). The main benefit of this was convenience – I could place my order in the evening, therefore not having it take up time in the working day, and I could manage this part of my shopping budget at a glance, taking off items at the end that I thought I could do without if the bill was a bit on the large side.
However, the disadvantages were many – not being able to hand-pick my own fruit, vegetables and meat. I think anyone who cooks can appreciate that this is quite a big sacrifice – I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to throw away almost half an onion because the outer skins were starting to go rotten only 1 day after I had them delivered.
Another niggle was price – yes I could manage my total spend, but we all know supermarket prices fluctuate considerably depending on where exactly you’re purchasing that produce – doing a direct price comparison between larger branches and online prices would be a bit of a faff, but there were many occasions when I’m sure I was being charged more for a product I could get for less at a superstore.
And I’ve already mentioned the additional costs of toping up shopping using local and metro branches – the lack of budget ranges in stock, the inflated prices etc etc – I’ve always been too afraid to work out the exact cost of my food expenditure each month, but I’m certain I’ve been paying a high price for convenience.
So what are my alternatives now that I’ve moved? Well, for one, I have a car. And I have a decent-sized supermarket five minutes’ drive away. I feel an experiment coming on… Let’s see if it’s more economical to sacrifice a bit more time and do my supermarket shopping the traditional way. Having a garden might also mean I can wave goodbye to those old onions too (depending on the greenness of my fingers, obviously). So if you’re planning a move, or have recently arrived in a new area, take the opportunity to re-evaluate your food shopping – food for thought indeed.