Day 19- 1940s Experiment 2013

Working hard on cleaning up at the old house..

Working hard on cleaning up at the old house..

I’m sitting here trying to get through a stack of paperwork and panicking like crazy that I’ll not get everything done. I’m striving to get all the big things done to leave a relatively week at the end of June to do lunch with a few friends, say my good-byes and maybe have time to drive to some favourite places with the kids that have meant something to us during the last 9 years here in beautiful Nova Scotia.

I checked my bank account this morning and gulped. I need to

Clearing out the house!

Clearing out the house!

find a job smartish when we return to the UK and I’ll be implementing strict frugality to stretch those pennies further.

My question to you is..

“What is your average weekly grocery bill (UK residents).. and for how many people (not including alcohol, beauty or household cleaning products)

I need to try and work out in my head what living expenses I can expect when we finally touch down in blighty…

Thank you so much and it’s been BRILLIANT reading all the topics being discussed to do with food, WWII rationing and just life in general!!!

C xxx

32 thoughts on “Day 19- 1940s Experiment 2013

  1. Your best bet would be to pull up my supermarket or asda online. That way you can do a virtual shop of items you would buy and get a good idea. It isnt cheap over here any more though, hope it isnt to much of a shock.
    Good luck

  2. With the help of locally caught Rabbits, pigeons etc I manage to feed my half a dozen small dogs for roughly £5, without these resources it would probably be more like £10. We do a lot of foraging in the countryside around us to help things along and with what we grow (mainly tomatoes and runnerbeans) and what my neighbours share with us. I would say for two adults we spend about £50 on foodstuffs. I am a fairly frugal shopper! We make our own bread as even horrible supermarket stuff is in excess of a £1 a loaf! Things like regular washing detergent I use a largish box a month which costs around £6 (I always try to by on special offers). I think you will find things here very expensive. Fruit and veg in supermarkets astound me. I store apples etc so I always have some free fruit. Hope all goes well and your job hunting is successful. Sharon xx

  3. Hi Carolyn, For my family of two adults, both with big appetites and active jobs, we spend about £30 per week but this does include cleaning products, bathroom/beauty products and treats for two large dogs. It includes all our meals as we rarely eat out/have takeaways and we both take homemade lunches every day. I know I could get it lower than that though, probably down to £20 if we cut out all non-essentials. I hope that helps. Good Luck.

  4. We’re a family of 5 (I’m the only vegan and there are three kids 3,6 and 8).

    I spend approximately (per month)
    Supermarkets: £200
    Online grocery (amazon subscriptions are my bulk-buy shop): £100
    Greengrocer: £100
    So about £400 a month or £100 a week.

    It took me a while to locate the good deals on Amazon, but I’d say this is what it’s settled to for now. It includes treats like beer.

  5. You absolutely need to read Frugal Queen’s blog : . She is a genius and you will find exactly what you must know about living within your means in Britain. And don’t worry about making it in time ; we always do in the end, don’t we ? xxx

  6. No such thing as an average spend is there ? depends on family size, pets etc.,
    I live and shop extremely frugally – check:
    I NEVER pay full price for anything, I shop close to closing time when lots of items are reduced in price – especially fruit, vegetables, bread etc., I get the best organic bread for 10p a loaf ! There’s loads of ways to reduce your spending, just google ‘frugal’
    I live very well thank you on very little outlay.
    I grow whatever I can, easier than some people may think. I forage for food, i.e. free food growing in lanes, fields etc., make soup with nettles, store and freeze berries, apples etc., which are there for the taking ! bake my own bread from flour bought in bulk
    If you are on a tight budget, you CAN do it, it’s just a matter of rethinking how you spend.
    Also I don’t spend a fortune on loads of different cleaning products, it’s just not necessary.
    I use bleach and a general all purpose lemon cleaner which can be bought for only 25p here ! These two do all the cleaning you need.
    I use soapy water with vinegar added to clean windows, I re-use and recycle as a way of life. I use washing liquid which can be bought from our £1 shops here, it does exactly the same job as the more expensive products at a fraction of the price.
    You will find our £1 shops a godsend !!
    You CAN do it
    good luck

  7. We are a family of 5 (myself a vegetarian) and I spend about £75 per week but this includes household items, toiletries and cat food. I have managed to do it for less but I started to get a few complaints about the lack of food – my family have large appetites. I find Aldi to be a godsend. They do a ‘Super six’ on fruit/veg every week were each item is about 50p. The washing up I get is 69p, bread varies from 60p upwards. The fresh meat is British too. However they do not sell meat substitutes which I buy from Asda. I am going to be looking into the ethnic stores too, you can get bags of dry pulses, nuts, spices etc for cheaper than in the supermarkets.

  8. I suppose it is about £75 – £80 for three adults, I shop all over the place, Lidl, Asda, Tesco or Sainsburys, depending how flush I am. This is for everything, cleaners and etc. We buy meat, three items for ten pound in Tescos and split the packs to make them last through the week. I don’t buy ready meals, pasta is good and cheap. I think if you do have time, look on the websites, Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda deliver to your home, so it is all on there. They all do basic lines too. We are down south, I don’t know how costs compare across the country. The bargains are there if you look, I’m sure the 1940’s diet will work out ok,

  9. Look up the website Cheap Family Recipes. They reacon you can feed 2 adults and 2 tenagers for £100 a month. This pricing was 2010 but I’v done it for £1 a day per person. Aldi and Lild are very cheap and Asda not bad. Tesco has pulses in bulk in some stores. Good luck.

  10. Oh, and Approved Foods website is good for certain items. Somethings are passed their best before date, you can pick and choose. £5.25 for delivery but you save loads if you by in bulk. You could share with family & friends.

  11. We keep ours to between £75-£100 per week for a family of 7 including 2 adults and 1 mid- teen. That is everything, but we do make our own cleaning products and home school, so that includes paper and printer ink, plus some disposable nappies for when I’m falling behind in washing the real ones. Once out fruit and veg garden is more established we hope to lower the bill further, but prices are high here. Another comparison for you – school dinners are around £2 for primary age, most fast food places do meals for £6-£7 as ‘value’ and a loaf of bread is usually over £1 for a name brand. That said, most shops sell past ‘display date’ or BBF date items for less….yesterday we struck lucky with Asfa selling their fresh bread off at 2p per loaf – we now have a months supply in the freezer! There are also Food Banks if you get really stuck. Make sure you get your Single adult discount for Council tax, check your tax code a d report it if it’s wrong

    • I just did a conversion and in Canadian dollars you are spending about $118 to $157 a week. The $157 is about what I spend but that is just for two people. I am an extremely frugal shopper but I have noticed a difference already just by following “rationing”. We use less. I would like to compare prices. Could you please give me the name of a grocery story in Britain that has online flyers.

  12. First of all take breather, don’t worry as we have a very good support system in this country and until you find yourself a job you will very definitely not starve!
    Secondly, although prices have risen I have to say that there are really good bargains to be had buying in bulk, buy one get one free(fondly known as BOGOFF!) and seasonal specials. As someone has mentioned £1 shops really are brilliant for everything from shampoo to superglue! Poundstretchers, Wilkinsons, 98p shops(!!) etc etc
    Car boot sales are fab for buying plants to grow your own veg and also for containers to grow them in! The local council will be able to supply you with compost very cheaply or sometimes free.
    Whatever you do don’t panic m’dear xx

  13. Keep ticking things off the list Carolyn, it’s the only way and take a few moments to do some calming breathing.

    I’m London based which is hideously expensive. I went up to Leeds last year and went to the big market in central Leeds. I was really shocked at the price difference. The price of meat at the various butchers was up to 40% less than down south.

    For fruit and veg, find a local market as they can be very good. Aldi’s and Lidl’s are also very good. Meat I always get from the local family butcher or Waitrose because of provenance issues and we have a couple of good fishmongers locally. I suppose I spend about £50-60 per week on food for 2 adults and 1 child.

    All my cleaning products are eco friendly, so they are a bit pricier, but I like to be planet friendly. I got a great book on eco friendly cleaning and I’m starting to make some of my own cleaning products now which is budget friendly.

    Moving country is always daunting (been there, done that throughout my life), but you are going to be fine. You’re resourceful, organised and motivated!

  14. Shades of the past! My husband has been away and yesterday when he came home he was looking mighty fine in his uniform. From his khaki green duffle bag he pulled out a chocolate bar and said with a leer “I haven’t got any silk stockings but how about some candy?” Of course I was tempted but since I peed myself laughing the mood was kinda broken.

    But you know – over 43,000 British war brides came to Canada after WW2 and I get it. Our boys are pretty good looking and then you throw in a chocolate bar…..Rationing is HARD.

  15. Well I started this with you Carolyn focussing purely on the eating side…but I’m really begining to get deeply interested in the other aspects, such as being thrifty, and even enviro friendly. I have been doing handwashing as I don’t generally build up enough washing to need to do machine loads.
    I’m actually looking for a mangle as I’d love to try living a non convenience lifestyle, even if only as my only experiment. I don’t use the food processor or other equipement now. Just used a spoon and a sieve to cream a soup for work lunches the next couple of days. Fascinating, what I saw as a simple and thrifty exercise became long and tiring. Nearly an hour of forcing the contents of the pot through a sieve.
    Has anyone else done or is doing similar?

  16. Yes I read Nella Last’s War, quite moving I thought. What a life, was suprised when her son moved to Australia, I read a couple of interviews done here with her son in more recent times, I think he has passed away now though.
    I think the whole life experience is what I’m really trying to head for. The rationing with the more manual lifestyle appeals to me.

    Easy to say when you can put your hand on treats if you really want to. But I do want to take the whole experience to the next level.

    And I have loved making bread myself, really really satisfying. I am planning to make the next christmas a totally self made celebration, I’m wrapped up (pardon the pun,) in the planning of it even now

  17. I use approved food, I can get £250 worth of shopping for £70, I buy in bulk and only shop every 6 months. foods past the best before date are perfectly safe to eat, in the forces in germany we often bought items from the stocks held after the berlin blockade that were 10yrs past their date. For the small amount of cleaning stuff I buy I get coupons from supersavvy me and use them with the half price or 2 for 1 offers at the supermarkets.

    • Hi Eileen- can you explain about “Approved Food”… is it a chain of stores or do you order their stuff online? I went to the website but couldn’t find this out… I was in a rush so didn’t have lots of time to poke around but I’d be grateful if you could clarify

      C xxx

      • Hi C, I was interested myself as I’d not heard of Approved Food. I found it online, you have to order it online to be delivered. I have to say though I have found basics cheaper locally. I think you would need to watch the site and swoop on bargains! Xx

  18. I spend about £80 per week and that is for two adults, a teenager and a small dog. We very rarely eat out and I make packed lunches for everyone out of all that. The bill includes cleaning stuff though. I shop at Aldi, which is a budget supermarket, but I love it there. The fruit and veg are really cheap and so are all the basics. Since I make most things from scratch I don’t need anything but the basics. The great thing about Aldi is that they’ve kept the prices down by cutting back on choice. There is only ever one line of baked beans, tinned tomatoes, or cornflakes, and that is their own brand anyway. They provide virtually no customer services, not even toilets. The thing they haven’t cut back on, however, is quality. I would definitely recommend you to find your nearest Aldi and start shopping there. They’ve expanded hugely in the last few years and where Iive there are three stores, all within 10 minutes drive from here! Of course, I dread to think what the poor farmers get out of a contract with Aldi, but maybe it’s no as bad as deals with Tesco.

  19. Caroyn go to they are an online store that sell food that is coming up to or past its best before date.They have a lot on there but not fresh food, tins packets etc. they sell things individually or in bulk ie say 10 pkts parsley sauce for 99p. they also sometimes have catering pack sizes. I buy things like tomatoe paste in catering sizes and freeze it in tblsp portions. If you have a corner to store stuff and are not fussy in wanting a certain brand you can save a lot of money. I buy all my cooking sauces, and tablesauces from there as well as some tinned fruit and veg. I then buy my meat on offer and freeze it in small portions so I don’t have to shop.

  20. Another ten days gone by and down another two pounds which makes 7 in about 20 days. I am quite pleased. I am having quite a bit of trouble sticking to the rationing and points system concerning fruit. I love fruit and normally have at least 3 servings of fresh fruit a day including berries. Of course during the war people really had to stick with seasonal produce. Strawberries and asparagus are just coming in to season now. Of course the seasonal choices depends on how northerly you are.

  21. We are a family of 5, 2 adults, 3 kids aged 11, 8 and 5. My husband came off nights last year and now hardly has overtime aswell so we are struggling too! We roughly spend between 50-70 a week on food and cleaning stuff etc. I make most of our food from scratch, dont buy convenience meals and have a take away probably once a month if that! I have 3 chickens so dont buy eggs, I mainly shop at aldi and sainsburys (their basic stuff, and my wheat free stuff)! I do buy fish fingers (child of the 70s) and the odd pizza for kids. I make my own bread most of the time and try to grow what i can (last year a washout, only got parsnips!) We have made lots of rationing recipes and loved them all. I like home bargains shop for cleaning and toiletries, you can even buy vim still! Prices are alot higher but just shop around for bargains.

  22. First of all, an early Welcome Back to England … in my household there are two adults and excluding cleaning supplies and pet food we spend around £25 – £30 per week on our food shop. We pretty much live off Morrisons Savers range while shelling out a little every so often for some good meat cuts, and bits and bobs from Home Bargains (TJ Morris group), but even cleaning supplies only cost around £6 per week including Persil brand laundry products (damn those allergies!) … the key to keeping the costs down is to browse supermarkets’ (and in some cases small shops’) websites and do some price comparisons. Have a rummage through the “Nearly sell-by-date / someone’s battered this tin in” sections in supermarkets – I’m still surprised by some of the deals I find! Also, if you’ll be moving near a market town or a farm, it would be a good idea to have a mooch and enquire about any deals respectively. Good luck!

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