Thrift

Alongside becoming a student, there are certain attendant lifestyle changes, and the bulk of these are fiscal. I’m not talking about Raskolnikov levels here, but there’s going to have be a few changes. The car is the big one, of course, but as significant is changing my eating/shopping habits.

We’ve recently overhauled these things round my gaff. Before, we did what we saw as our best, which was doing a weekly shop in Aldi (c.£35-40 for two people, per week) then supplementing from other shops what we couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get there: meat particularly, but also more standard things towards the end of each week. There’d usually also be a takeaway or two in there, plus snacks to bulk out a packed lunch. Totalled up, that’s maybe £70+ per week on just food.

Obviously, this couldn’t last. Now we’ve instituted a weekly menu: i.e., what we’re going to eat is decided on Saturday and our shopping is done accordingly, and exactly. We make big, big panfuls of deliciousness, so adding to bulk buy economies of scale. So, we’ve now got the weekly food budget down to £40 for everything. This means: occasional trips to the supermarket to take advantage of special offers, but we have to remain strict – juice, tins etc., and no treats; a trip to the veg stall at Wood Green market for salad and our 5 a day; butchers at the market for a big pile of meat; and that’s about it. The range and diversity of our cooking is no less, it’s just all cooked on Saturday or Sunday, tubbed up and labelled and frozen, to come out for lunch or dinner every day.

Besides the saving, there’s also fringe benefits: no cooking every night now, much diminished washing up, and I can even afford to buy meat from my affable Tottenham butcher (with who I’m now on first name terms, which is odd). I also have a pile more time in the evening, which is good, as I’m also taking steps to become generally more organised in my time-management skillz. Good times.

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