“I shop at expensive convenience stores and I don’t cook from scratch”
Here I share the SHOCKING truth about where Skint Dad actually shops and it will seriously alarm you.
You’ve been waiting for this – waiting to call me out as not being the thriftiest person of all time! The secrets are finally revealed!
Firstly, let me apologise as it all sounds a bit clickbaity!
It almost reads like the the opening of a daily newspaper whose stories are sometimes a bit of a fail, and are followed by scathing trolls who rip the person in the story to pieces. If that’s what you want to do here, there is a comments section at the bottom so please go ahead 🙂
In any case, some of you might be a bit taken aback by what I have to say here. Some of you may breathe a sigh of relief that I don’t spend my life eating baked beans from the can and I’m guessing many of you actually do exactly the same as me.
Just want to say this upfront: we need to remember that it’s ok to be different.
Hello, I’m skint
Let me just put this out there once and for all – I’m skint but I’m not broke!
Let’s see how others define it. The first dictionary definition online of broke is:
- having completely run out of money
he went broke owing two million pounds
Whereas the definition of skint is:
adjective BRITISH informal
- (of a person) having little or no money available.
I’m a bit skint just now
So I’m skint but you have to see that I have some money.
I have a little money in my savings account. The kids get money transferred into their saving’s accounts monthly. I can access my savings to spend but I choose not to. I begrudgingly choose not to go out for lunch with family at the drop of a hat as I don’t want to spend money that’s been put aside for other things. I don’t have the money available to do this and do that all the time. I’m just a bit skint every now and then.
I find that I am pulled up quite often on our shopping habits where I’m seen by people that know me as Skint Dad, and for what I’ve got in my basket. I have to say it’s very odd being spotted on the high street or in a shop, but it’s genuinely nice to meet people in real life who read what I’ve been up to and are following our journey.
However there are times when it leaves me red faced.
Last Christmas, I did a very large shop in a supermarket and needed to get a taxi back (there is no way we could have got it all on the bus!).
The taxi driver (who recognised me as Skint Dad) made a slightly snide comment about the amount of beer we had bought and I found myself making excuses that it was on offer, it was going to last us for ages and we had friends coming round for a party.
I felt the need to excuse and defend myself for spending money rather than just owning the decision and replying, “yes, thank you. I did!”
Spending less, without living without
I live by the idea that I want to spend less in life but not live without. This means that we may not always get the ‘cheapest’ but we always aim the get the ‘best value’ for our circumstances.
So with all this in mind, let me start dishing the dirt on how we spend our money on groceries!
We shop at expensive convenience stores
There is a shop just round the corner from us. It’s a convenience store and we shop there regularly! I like the store and the staff are always friendly.
Apart from being quite small to get around, I prefer going there to the Tesco’s Express which is slightly further up the road or a larger supermarket which is further away.
We don’t have a car so it’s not easy for us to pop along to the supermarket and pick up this and that. If we run out of something, we would need to plan the trip and make sure we’re getting a few bits at the same time but not too much that we can’t carry back by hand or get on the bus.
There are times when making that supermarket trip is pointless. Say we only need milk, or bread, or something random that we’ve run out of. It would work out more expensive to pay nearly £5 for a bus fare to head to a supermarket than walk to the shop around the corner and spend 20p or even 50p extra on a tin of tomatoes.
The store round the corner may be more expensive on some items but we don’t always buy them there. At the same time, some items work out cheaper or the same price as a supermarket – plus we don’t need to pay for travel. And actually, the Tesco Express up the road is MORE expensive than the smaller convenience store as it doesn’t carry a full range of the cheaper items (if any) so you nearly always have to buy branded.
As an added bonus, the convenience store also do a loyalty scheme so I can collect points as well, but….
We don’t obsess about collecting loyalty points
I think loyalty card programmes run at supermarkets and retailers are great. I’m the first to say that I have a wallet full of the little plastic cards.
However, I don’t go out of my way to shop at one in particular to earn points – they are just an added bonus. If I get get my shopping more conveniently and cheaper elsewhere then I don’t worry about the points I could have got.
If I earn the points then that’s wonderful and I‘ll spend them but, for me, they are not going to make or break my shopping decisions.
We shop at Waitrose!
I mean why not? Waitrose produce is lovely but it is very expensive.
There is a Waitrose in the town Naomi works in and she will pop there from time to time to have a look at their reduced items. Sometimes they do a better deal and sales than other supermarkets so, if we are near one, we’ll go in there.
I am proud to say that I’m not middle class, I’m Lidl class. I mean lets face it; I’m never really going to be in a Waitrose spending who-knows-how-much on my weekly shop although there was that one time…
I buy branded products
There are some things that I don’t like from the store’s own range. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve eaten and used my fair share of them and will eat them again. I don’t judge anyone who eats them and if you choose to (whether through preference or cost) then that’s fine.
I’ve tried and tested various brands at their different prices and there are so many things we will ALWAYS buy cheaply, as they taste no different and the quality is fine.
I don’t like the cheapest of bread (and neither does my youngest) but Naomi is fine with it. I think cheaper bread dries out quickly and doesn’t toast very well – that’s just my opinion. So, I try to buy Hovis. I like the brand, it seems softer than the others but is by no means the most expensive.
And some say it’s cheaper to make bread myself? But…..
We don’t always cook from scratch
I mean who really has time for that??
We both are working and have children to contend with. Yes, we’ll make our own sauce bases as they are super easy but we haven’t made our own bread since 2013! We unfortunately don’t have the time.
Yes it does work out slightly cheaper but, I will be using my time to do this which costs more to me. There needs to be a balance between time, effort and cost.
To me, there are times when saving time is more valuable than saving money.
Also, when it comes to things like snack bars for lunches, we often used to make them from scratch – problem was they were delicious and we ate them all. This meant having to cook a second batch, which then started to work out more expensive than if we just bought them pre-made.
I know we should probably have a little more self-control but that’s just what happens in my household.
You can make it cheaper than me
What I do is trial and error based on what my family likes. I don’t say it’s the perfect thing to do, it’s just how we do it. Perhaps you can make a dish cheaper than me – FANTASTIC! I am genuinely in awe of people who manage to cut back and make great savings.
However, have you considered that maybe I can make something else cheaper than you?
For every person that went to Tenerife, someone else went to Eleven-erife.
Competition is very natural and I salute you if you’re been able to cut your bills down.
However, each is to their own depending on where they bought products in the first place, and how recipes and ingredients work for the individual. Everyone is in a different situation and we all need to be aware of that.
If you’re found a way to make something cheaper then rather than just saying you can get a higher saving, please do let me know the details as I’m all for cutting down on our food shop.
I don’t always buy from the reduced aisle
So shoot me! We don’t buy from the whoops section, the yellow sticker items or pick up products that are going out of date – well not always anyway.
I will always go and have a browse of what’s reduced to see what’s there, but very often I won’t buy anything because:
- there’s no room in the freezer
- we already have something to cook that night out of the freezer that will waste
- I don’t like the food that’s been reduced (and the kids won’t eat it)
- I could buy it cheaper if I branded down
And, when it comes down to it, I think back to the fact I’m skint not broke. There are loads of people out there who are worse off than me, and worse off than you. They may need that food more than me so I think it’s good karma to give everyone a fair share at getting a deal, rather than taking it all myself.
I want to point out that this way of shopping works for ME. This may not work for you. You may have a car to get to the supermarket more easily. You may have food intolerances which means you can’t shop in more mainstream places.
Not everyone has the same budget or the same circumstances. We are all at different parts of our journey.
For us, we want to cut back so we can save on our day to day expenses. Some of you may be the same. Others may be closer to the breadline and need to cut back to survive. Some of you have plenty of cash and just want to shave pennies off for extra spending money for your two week summer holiday.
Say you spend £100 a week at the supermarket but want to knock £20 off that amount. To do that is probably quite easy and if you really wanted to, you could knock off £50 but maybe you don’t want to be that tight – and that’s okay!
We are all different but we all have the same overall goal – to reduce our supermarket spend, for whatever reason that may be.
What are your thoughts on this?
Ricky Willis is the original Skint Dad. A money-making enthusiast, father, and husband to Naomi. He is always looking for unique ways to earn a little extra.