Frugal food shopping – which supermarket to use?

Hello Friends,

I usually shop at our local ‘Big Four’ supermarket which is about a mile away.  Living in the country, we don’t have a lot of choice locally and I’ve often wondered if prices are adjusted to reflect the lack of competition.  I buy my meat from one of the three butchers in town, and my fruit and veg off the market.

I buy very little processed food.  There are times when I’m tired or late and I’ll give in and buy a pizza or something to put in the freezer if the girls are around, but mostly I cook from scratch and buy raw ingredients.  I buy the cheapest own brand label groceries I can get away with.  So we have the basic range loo rolls but the next brand up for tea bags.

Quite a few of my friends swear by Lidl and Aldi.  I used to shop at Lidl when we lived in Chesterfield, and I was always happy with what I bought there.  I’d not been there for years, and yesterday after work I decided to have another visit.  Our nearest Lidl is about 8 miles away, so I worked out what it would cost me in fuel so I knew how much I would have to save.

I bought things like soap, loo rolls, pasta etc. and most things (but not all) were cheaper than my usual supermarket.  However, when I got home, I found I had only just covered my fuel costs with the savings.  The drive was also horrible and busy, as the shop isn’t that far from the M1 and everyone was rushing to get home – it took an hour of my time just in driving.

My conclusions?  If I lived closer to a Lidl or an Aldi I would definitely shop there in preference to the big supermarkets.  If I’m passing I will call in, but I will probably stick with the local supermarket rather than make a special trip due to the fuel costs involved and the limited time I have outside work.

Where do you do your food shopping?  If you live in the country, do you find yourself making long journeys to supermarkets or other shops?

Until next time, Tawney x


Frugal food shopping – which supermarket to use? — 3 Comments

  1. The local village store is just great for sausages, bacon and – especially – ham. The ham is “real” ham, not mangled and pushed into shape like the supermarkets. I don’t think it is really more expensive than the supermarket when you consider the hassle of getting there and the fact that it tastes so much better.

  2. I alternate. I do a big monthly shop at Aldi or Lidl (also going to collect the dog food to make the extra mileage worthwhile) buying tins, cleaning stuff, etc.

    My veg comes from the local market and we have started to buy our meat in bulk, direct from the farm. A huge saving but you do need the space.

    Then I go to a more local supermarket during the month to top up – though I try to go to Iceland for bread and milk as I’m not distracted like I am in the big four where I always end up buying things I didn’t want!

  3. I mainly use Booths, a local chain. I don’t generally buy the cheapest or basic ranges and I’ve found that shopping around doesn’t really save me money because I just notice all the things I don’t see usually and end up splurging!

    Booths isn’t the cheapest, but they’re small stores and there’s no music, which is a massive bonus.