I originally blogged about this topic in May 2011 on my old blog – Wholesome Cook. Today I was messing around on the blog and found the old blog post, I’d kind of forgotten about my old blog. So I re-read what I’d written with great interest. As an experiment, I took the original shopping list and ran it through the same online shopping website. The results are very interesting.
So is it true? Is it more expensive to feed a family in August 2013, compared to May 2011? Read on to find out.
“Frugal feeding your family of 4 for €56 per week
Last night on Twitter IrishFoodies & @takeonefamily posed the question, could a family of 4 be fed in Ireland for less than €56 per week? This is a question that is very close to my food budget. At the moment our fuel bill, which includes heating and car fuel for the hubby to/from work is larger than our weekly food bill. As the fuel costs go up we have to scrimp and save on our groceries.
So how do I feed our family on such a low amount?
I shop locally and use our weekly Farmer’s Market for fresh fruit/veg. I’ve struck up a great relationship with our butcher which helps too. He will happily point out the cheaper cuts, draw my attention to a special offer and offers me more value for my money. We have started to grow our own vegetables which helps cut down on the fresh food bill and the frozen/preserved bill as well. We benefit from friends and family also growing their own and keeping hens so it’s rare we have to go out and buy a tray of eggs. I also bake our own treats – cakes, biscuits and cook from scratch where I can as it works out cheaper.
Please don’t see this as a preachy blog-post. Far from it. Feeding a family frugally is hard work. I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it if I was working fulltime although I know of some wonderwomen who do. I have a basic meal plan that I stick to when working out what we will eat for the week and what I have to shop for. This very morning I ran the shopping list through the Tesco online shopping site and it comes to €70 excluding delivery. If you must shop in the supermarket you could cut this bill further by shopping between 7-8pm and picking up special offers on fresh food that won’t be sold the next day such as bread and fruit & veg. You will also notice that the dried/frozen goods will last for at least 2 weeks so you won’t have to buy them every single week. Buying branded goods costs a lot of money if you are supermarket shopping. It’s far cheaper to buy the own-brand supermarket items so bear that in mind if you’re testing the shopping list.
Even if you were to do a “straight shop” with minimal special offers feeding a family of 4 for a week on €70 is good value no matter what way you put it! For anybody who may be interested, here is a copy of a recent meal plan and the self-same one that I used above. Apologies if it’s a little hard to read but if you would like a copy of the original on pdf then drop me an email to: wholesomecook (at) gmail (dot) com.”
My total shop today in August 2013, came to just under €85, compared to just under €70 in May 2011. I’m rounding them to the closest Euro.
What’s interesting is that I’ve specified some pack sizes in my original blog post. When I went searching for the sizes this time, the weights and sizes were smaller. For example, I can’t buy a 250g block of cheddar but I can find a 230g block.
I’m no scientist or researcher but I can definitely say that this amounts to an increase in these particular groceries of approximately 21%. I would also suggest that the increase in grocery cost is more, considering the decrease in pack size.
From a personal point of view, I have noticed the increase in shopping costs.