Shopping for One – 7 thoughts

Back to normal after the jollifications. It’s quite nice to get back to some ordinary food!!

Today I’ll be doing my first weekly shop of 2020. I’ve been ‘husbanding my resources’ since my husband left – but shopping and cooking for one isn’t always easy. I’ve been doing it for nearly a year now, and this is what I’ve learnt!

There are challenges. Pack sizes are generally geared towards families or couples. Buy One Get One Free deals tempt you to buy more than you’d intended. So it’s easy to end up buying more than you need and spending more than you want.

Here are 7 ways to make shopping for one work for you.

  • Plan!! Work out what meals you will be eating for the next week, and only buy the food that you need for those meals. That way you can make sure you’re having a balanced diet, and also getting enough treats, without breaking the bank! A treat is still a treat even if it’s planned for – in fact it’s more of a treat, cos you have the anticipation as well! I look forward to my pizza on a Friday night.
  • Check what’s already in the cupboards and the fridge and freezer before you shop – that way you can make sure you don’t forget anything important, and it means you don’t accidentally buy something you’ve already got plenty of. Also, you’ll notice if things are needing to be used up and you can plan your meals accordingly.
  • Keep an eye out for bargains. It’s only a bargain if you would have been buying it anyway. Buying something you don’t need just because it’s cheap isn’t a bargain – it’s still just something you don’t need.
  • Don’t be tempted by BOGOF deals, or large packets of anything that won’t keep or freeze – unless of course you want to eat the same thing every night for a week.
  • Look at use by dates – and be realistic. Will you use it up in the time available? Can you freeze it? Can you cook it and then freeze it?
  • If you buy a bargain pack of something like mince, portion it up before you put it in the freezer – that way you can defrost enough for one meal, rather than having to defrost the lot.
  • Keep an eye on your waste. If you’re throwing the same thing out again and again, stop buying it!

I keep track of all my spending on food. I have a spreadsheet, and a graph. Every week I enter all the food I’ve bought into my spreadsheet, and I’ve set it up to work out the running total of all my food spends, and the monthly, weekly, daily and per meal average spend. It’s all about control – I know how much I’m spending, and knowledge is power.

My average monthly food bill is currently £80.59. That’s the food, all the food, and nothing but the food, for one person. It doesn’t include toiletries or cleaning materials or anything else that I buy at the supermarket, but it does include any cups of tea or coffee I might buy, lunches out, a takeaway once a month, and pizza on a Friday night. It also includes alcohol.

I could reduce it further – I could forego the monthly takeaway and buy no alcohol – but it would be harder to sustain. You have to have something to look forward to. And it has to be sustainable.

Do you shop for one? Share your hints and tips with us!!

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