Home grown headache

Thanks to the lovely Dc over at Frugal in Norfolk, I have gathered more accurate knowledge on the points system within rationing. It seems I was way off beforehand. I bought four cans of chopped tomatoes with 2 of my “points”, but in reality, just one can would be 6 points! Full details can be found on Frugal in Norfolk’s Rations page here. I shall be implementing proper points rationing on Monday, including soap rations. Yes, I’m committing to rationing 100 per cent. I still believe it will aid my quest to live frugally.

Another thing Dc made me think about was imported food. Bananas were removed from my shopping basket, as I know they were non-existent during the war years. But it led me to think about where the rest of my produce was coming from. After trying to decipher a few labels, I was very surprised to learn that my frozen bag of sweetcorn has come all the way from Hungary!

In a realm where “packaged in the UK” doesn’t necessarily mean “grown in the UK”, it’s a minefield. Not to mention the illusive definition of organic. One solution to this problem is to venture back to the farmer’s market. Hampshire Farmer’s Market is wonderful, as I have mentioned before. I can get the majority of my foodstuffs (including rationed goods) there, just using the supermarket from UK milk and sugar. This is a more time consuming way of doing groceries. But I think the benefits of supporting local business, as well as the environment, outweighs this. Plus, food that has travelled less tastes better, there’s no two ways about it.

However, I am conflicted because the whole exercise is to help me stick to a budget and spend less. Farmer’s markets are more expensive than popping in to the local supermarket. I think I will go to the market this weekend and see what I can get for the money I have. Original rationing was all about home grown and supporting British farming. I would like to repeat these values today. I’ll let you know how I get on next week. What do you think is best? Lots at the supermarket, or some at the farmer’s market? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Just like bread and butter . . .

. . . You can’t have one without the other. The white flag is raised and I hang my head in a manner suitably defeatist. I cannot survive without the supermarkets. The experiment was a worthy exercise and I will never do the entirety of my weekly shop at the supermarket again. But I have learnt that it’s not possible to cut them out entirely and my reasoning is threefold.

1)      Dietary requirements.

Health food shops are expensive. The cheapest and most convenient place for me to purchase my gluten-free goodies is at the supermarket. I can get certain things at Fuzzi (a gorgeous shop in Winchester that I will post about soon) but not everything. The supermarkets are increasingly making more “free from” products available, a move I wholeheartedly support.



2)      Reduced items

There’s no denying the fact I’m a student with a strict income. I make my money and I have a certain amount to spend on food each week. Getting the most for that money is a skill I am proud to have. I do take advantage of offers, especially when they are things I regularly consume. Dented cans really can be a lifesaver near the end of the month/week before payday (oh we’ve all been there!).


3)      Store cupboard essentials.

Cans are worth mentioning in this point too. You can’t get canned products at market, neither can you get things like tissues, toilet roll, soap, shower gel, rice, nuts or chickpeas. These staples are found at their best price at the supermarket.

Of course, there are certain things I could buy at different places if I had the money to do so. But purposefully making life difficult for myself doesn’t seem to be the way forward. I wish I could pop to local shops and have everything provided, but sadly, the fact of the matter is that supermarkets have replaced them. A local grocer is a rare beast. However, I will never buy fresh produce from a supermarket again. The farmer’s market and the farm shop supply me with all the fresh food I could ever want at a reasonable price, and it allows me to shop seasonably. That is their best skill, providing produce for good rates. Today’s best buy of two packs of organic beef mince for £5 proves this fact. But for store cupboard essentials, the supermarkets unfortunately reign supreme.