How to Free yourself from the Supermarket

Supermarket free month

Have you noticed that prices seem to be going up and up continually at the Supermarket ?

Have we become reliant on the concept of the “One-Stop Shop” ?

Are you looking for ways to avoid the often chaotic, bright, flashy, noisy, advertisement-saturated Supermarkets?  You are probably especially conscious of this if you have small children, who are frequently the intended recipients of eye-level advertising.

Here are some ways you can loosen the grip of your Supermarket by supporting your smaller, local retailers and producers.  Perhaps you want to save even more Money by growing or finding your own food ?

  • Shopping in your own Pantry, Fridge and Freezer:

When was the last time you did a stocktake of everything that is in your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer?  Both the refrigerator and freezer seem to hide forgotten leftovers.  These gems can make easy dinners and lunches [depending on how much you find].  They could constitute ingredients of a new dish like a Soup or Curry. Here is a recipe from fellow blogger, The Zero-Waste Chef to help you clear out your refrigerator:  http://zerowastechef.com/2015/05/06/clear-out-the-fridge-frittata/

By taking the Zero Waste challenge, you will save Time shopping; you’ll definitely save Money and you’ll probably lose some weight, too.

Like I said in my post  What does Living Frugally mean & Why should I try it?  you have to harness your creativity.  Challenge yourself each week.  Your Pantry will have packets and tinned items you have forgotten about, which can be used to whip up a quick, cost-effective meal,  e.g. a Pasta Salad with tinned fish.

  • Thrift and Charity stores:

I have found that Charity Stores like The Salvation Army, are stocking products from stores that have either shut down or the product has been discontinued and these are end of line products.  Prices are vastly reduced as they want quick stock turnover.

  • Foraging:  

This is the practice of searching for wild food resources either in the countryside or by the sea.  This involves anything from wild berries to cockles, prawns/shrimp, or rock oysters to edible seaweed and seashore plants like samphire, and edible flowers.  This is going back to our hunter-gatherer days.  [ Note: I totally avoided the use of the term ‘Paleo’ as I think this is a whole different topic ]

  • Grow your own Vegetables:

Once you start your own herb and vegetable patch, you will eventually have an excess of certain produce.  You can process your in-season over-supply crop by pickling it; dehydrating it; or blanching and freezing it for later, or maybe trade your excess produce with family, friends and neighbours for any different produce that they grow or buy.

  • Farmers Markets / Wholesale Produce Markets:

Improve your carbon footprint by purchasing a higher percentage of local foods, which, by definition, haven’t been transported all around the Nation.

If you are lucky enough to have a local Farmers’ Market, it is definitely worth a visit.  You will be able to speak directly to the Producers.   Some even have open days where you can walk around the farm to see exactly how your food is grown, picked, sorted and transported.

Alternatively, form a Group and go to the Wholesale Produce Market and buy whatever is in season.  Because you have to buy in bulk, it is best if you can mix and match produce into smaller boxes and share with your Group.  This can be neighbours; friends or family.  Take it in turns to go shopping so that each person can save time and money.

Farmers Market packaging

  • Specialist shops:

Support your local butcher; bakery; greengrocer; local wholefood shop, etc.  In our town we are lucky enough to have two local butchers whose meat is not only cheaper than the local Supermarkets but also fresher and better quality.

  • Chemist / Pharmacy / Drugstore:

Most of these stores participate in buying groups and seem to sell a lot of items cheaper than the Supermarket, without the hype, and they don’t seem to target children as part of their marketing.  Win / Win!

  • Dollar Shops / Discount Stores:

Most of these stores have either Parallel Import products  [i.e., your favourite brand has been imported from a lower-cost manufacturing country], passing the savings on to you.  Check the country of origin of your favourite products to compare.  These stores also get end-of-run products, or sometimes they are large enough to buy direct from the manufacturer or distributor and sell cheaper than the Supermarkets.  Compare and shop!

  • Freeganism:

Freeganism is the practice where people reclaim society’s wasted food and resources rather than purchasing more themselves.   A lot of Supermarkets and food chains will not sell day-old bread, pastries or fresh food that “doesn’t quite look perfect” but it is still fit to eat.

This is also known as Dumpster Diving.  I have not tried this myself  [ and I certainly would not recommend that children get involved ].  I have observed this practice, done in many countries, on various documentaries.  It does not seem to be an age-or-demographic-based practice.  It is for people in the developed world who are sick of seeing food wasted, and it doesn’t cost them money.  Be aware however, that in some jurisdictions it is regarded as theft.

What do you do to avoid the big supermarkets?

Glenda

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