The news this week has been all about how prices are rising and wages are not keeping pace. Since we try to live on a fixed income we have certainly noticed rising food prices since the start of the year and have done various things to accommodate them. However, this is the first month when I thought that if I don't make some bigger changes we are going to go over-budget.
The first thing we do is we never buy fish. Just as well as the price has risen by over 10%, that and some other things like most meat are just out of reach of the budget. I have also changed the menu this month, researching what provides the best value for money. A long time ago, when we were first married we switched to only eating vegan as it was much cheaper. We can't do that now because of food allergies but we still only eat meat twice a week and that is mainly because MasterShoestring loves it and he can't eat lots of other things.
I have stopped buying special dairy free milk and just make sure MasterShoestring gets enough calcioun from other things e.g.) baked beans. The special milk was £1.50 a litre, a tim of baked beans can be had for 28p, so a big difference there. We have also switched to the basics brand for most things or make it ourselves e.g.) ice cream and lollies.
I have also been watching out for specials as Tesco and some other places now have weekly offers same as Aldi and Lidl. The cheap supermarkets are over 10 miles away from us so it isn't worth making a 20 mile round trip every week but I do look at what is on offer closer to home and got a pineapple for 49p at Tesco this week.
We are growing a bigger garden this year and so far that is paying off and has provided us with salad every day since the start of May. The strawberries are coming now and the blackcurrants are turning black. Looks like the apple harvest will be good this year too. We are also drinking more tea and less coffee and I'm making bread with ordinary flour rather than bread flour. I checked and the percentage protein difference is only a couple of percent and so far no-one has noticed any difference in the loaves. I think the loaf is very slightly denser but if you give it two provings it seems to be fine.
When school breaks up I'll have MasterShoestring's lunch money to use to stock up on basics for the future as I think that food prices will continue to rise. What are they doing near you ?