With food prices going through the roof and many people feeling the pinch at the supermarket till these days, its challenge time once again for your aspiring frugalist. MSN have set me an assault course of food-related tasks over the next month to test my frugal mettle and see if I am a man or a mouse (or should that be a woman or a mousse?).
Over the next four weeks I will attempt to beat the spiralling prices of items such as meat, cereals, bread and dairy products, by adopting a handful of different cunning, and sometimes eccentric, strategies.
When the going gets tough, the tough…go…er…foraging…of course! Week one of my challenge will see me attempt to save money on my grocery bill by learning more about wild foods and introducing them into my diet, whether weeds from my back garden or plants and berries foraged from the wilds of Essex. I will be sampling different foraged food recipes each day and examining how much they help me save on my shopping bill in the process.
The following week will see me travel back in time to the dark days of World War Two and rationing. Will I be able to stomach the dishes prescribed by the government which successfully nourished a nation on a budget and kept them fighting fit, and save cash at the till? It’ll be lashings of brawn and dried egg all round.
Low cost supermarket Aldi recently claimed in a press release to journalists that customers could save a fortune over their lifetimes if they chose to do their weekly shop there. Yet it’s possible that supermarket snobbery may keep some people away from its stores. After recovering from my WW2 rations, I will spend a week living on food from Aldi, and experience first hand how its produce compares in quality and price to that of conventional supermarkets. I have yet to break the news to DJ, who once refused to eat some mozzarella I had purchased out of curiosity from a local Lidl store. Oh dear…!
And last but not least, many of you have suggested that a vegetarian diet could help save me money because meat can be so costly. On the One Show this week Cilla Black admitted that she ate very little meat as a child growing up in Liverpool, (although she still has a fondness for offal). So my final week of the challenge will be spent sampling a vegetarian diet – no more bacon sarnies, sausages or roast dinners for me! – and experiencing what the effects are, if any, on our weekly grocery bill.
Then at the end of the challenge we shall weigh up which diet or shopping strategy saved me the most on my shopping bill. It will be interesting to see what a difference, if any, changing my diet and or shopping habits will make.
Hope you can come along for the gastronomic and financial journey! As usual I’ll look forward to your comments and suggestions.