As the person responsible for buying all the food and planing my family’s meals, I am constantly struggling to make the money I am given towards paying for this last each month. I am sure I am not alone when I admit that I find it hard to make my money stretch and I feel that grocery shopping is just so much more expensive now than it ever used to be.
I am the first to admit that I am rubbish at budgeting and have spent most of my life winging my finances, instead of sitting down and making a plan/keeping a book/making a spreadsheet of my in-coming and out-going expenses! However, now as a Mum I have to watch my spending with my housekeeping money because I do not have means of adding to it and when it is gone, it is gone.
As much as I have cut back on my groceries by by swapping branded products for supermarket own (which more often than not taste fine and sometimes even better), there are some things I cannot scrimp on. Call me a food snob but when it comes to ketchup I will only buy Heinz and my OH will not allow me to buy non branded mature cheddar as he likes his strong and tasty! Another food I cannot scrimp on is meat and I will not buy basic ranges of meat. I would rather we all ate vegetarian meals then eat meat that has not been farmed in an animal friendly way, and I will not buy sausages that are more water and fat then actual meat. Thanks to Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and their chicken campaign from a few years ago, I cannot bring myself to buy anything other than free range chicken either, which means that we do not eat it very often as I can only afford it when it is on promotion.
What I should do is visit a butchers to purchase my meat because then I could buy amounts I require rather than pre packed quantities, which might work out cheaper, and I would be buying locally sourced meat. I always buy my Christmas turkey from a local farm butcher and to be honest it is just laziness that stops me from going into town and visiting a butchers. It is just easier to drive to a supermarket where I can buy all my goods in one place and pay for it all with my debit card.
However, it is possibe to buy good quality meat that does not cost the earth or require the use of a car and can be paid by credit/debit card. Country Valley Foods, for example, sells fresh British meat so I know that when I buy from them I am helping to support British farmers and I can find out where the meat was sourced from. Having browsed their site I was genuinely surprised to realise that their meat prices are not really that much more expensive than what I would spend in the supermarket! In fact having sat down and worked out some prices I am very tempted to buy a meat box hamper as I think £50 for such a selection of different meats is good value and would last us for the month, with some careful meal planning! I also have my eye on the rolled brisket which would be perfect for roasting in my slow cooker. Plus, importantly, I know that the meat is responsibly sourced and will taste better as a result.
I guess it really does pay to shop around – even on line – when it comes to family meal budgeting and planning.
Disclaimer : this is a post written on behalf of Country Valley Foods.