I’ve always found it really interesting to see on people’s food blogs what they’ve bought and how much it cost them so I thought I would do a UK vegan point of view and post my buys that we got earlier today. As I posted about before we got our organic vegetable box so I spent a lot less in the supermarket than usual. There were only 2 things that I didn’t buy that I needed, one being crisps for Jim’s school lunch when he starts again on Tuesday which I totally forgot to put on the list and the other was a bottle of organic vanilla which the health food shop I went to today didn’t stock but my usual shop does so I will get that next week.
This is what I bought in Sainsburys (one of the UK’s 3 main supermarket chains):
Some organic Tropical juice boxes for Jim’s lunches, 2 loaves of organic brown bread (the lady was just marking down the price on the stuff that’s sell by date was today so I got them reduced, as I keep my bread in the freezer it makes no difference to me), a bag of organic yeast extract flavour rice cakes for Piggle (good way to get more B12 into the baby), organic bananas, 12 Alpro yogurts (they didn’t have the organic ones and Jim doesn’t like the organic ones anyway as they have ‘bits’ in them…), organic vanilla soya milk (Jim has this for breakfast and I discovered this morning that Piggle likes it too), 3 plain soya milks (I thought I had bought 2 but apparently when I put them in the trolley and took them out to pay for them I was being one of those annoying people who yell at their kids in supermarkets so I didn’t notice the extra one), chocolate soya milk (again for breakfasts), organic sunflower oil (not on my list but when I saw how little I was buying I decided to buy this expensive stuff), organic sugar, organic plain yogurt (Jim has this with maple syrup for pudding), organic cucumber, organic carrots, red pepper, lemon, organic chickpeas, organic pasta sauce (again not on the list but always handy to have in the cupboard), organic baked beans, organic pasta, organic cyder vinegar, an organic loaf of nice bread to have with our soup this evening (plus I had some for lunch) and a packet of very non-organic cheap biscuits as I couldn’t find any organic ones or other vegan ones so I’ve decided to try and bake biscuits myself for the boys and these are just to tide us over until I get around to it.
The sum total of all this was £29.57 (around $56) including the not pictured 7 cans of cat food, all in all I thought it was pretty reasonable considering that almost all of it was organic.
We then went on to the health food store for the bits we couldn’t get in the supermarket.
Some strong cheddar Sheese (I wanted cheese slices for Jim’s sandwiches but they didn’t have them so I got Sheese for a change as we normally have Cheezly), organic egg free mayonnaise, organic chocolate puddings, organic vanilla puddings, carob peanuts, carob raisins, 3 Soyage puddings (for Piggle in flavours I’d never seen before, it’s sort of like yogurt but more puddingy, Piggle likes it, Jim doesn’t), silken tofu (I didn’t need this but I hardly ever see it anywhere so I got some when I did see it), vegan parmesan, organic banana soya milk (breakfast again and Jim’s favourites), chocolate beans and chocolate mini eggs.
That lot set me back £15.62 (around $29) which I didn’t think was too bad either, I have been known to spend £30 a week in the health food shop. As I said before though they didn’t have the vanilla which I think is almost £5.
So, my total for food this week including the vegetable box is £53.19 (around $101). I still need to try and find ways to cut that down but buying organic and the prices of everything rising all the time it’s pretty hard to do. I’d be happy with £50 a week really, the majority of my budget after rent and bills goes on food and I guess that’s just the way it is….
I decided when I moved that I wanted to buy as much organic as I could, finding the vegetable box has really helped with that plan and hopefully I can make good use of what we get and find a routine for planning menus around it. My rule is that if there is an organic option available for what I want to buy then I get it, unless it’s way more expensive than the non-organic, if there isn’t an organic option then I get the regular one, I don’t have time to drag 2 kids around 3 shops to try and find things. I saw in this health food shop some brown rice syrup for 99p a jar and I’ve been paying over £2 a jar for the organic stuff, but as I don’t use it that often I will stick with the expensive stuff, whereas I paid £2.99 for a jar of organic maple syrup that lasted a week so I’ve gone back to non-organic on that as I can’t afford to keep Jim in the organic stuff for his yogurt and if I use it to bake it works out costing us too much.
I don’t buy organic soya milk (except the flavoured stuff) or margerine as over here (don’t know if it’s the same in the US) organic products can’t be fortified. As I want to get B12 and calcium into the boys any way that I can I use the non-organic products and they also both have a multi-vitamin each day, Jim’s is a chewable one and Piggle has a liquid one that I add to his yogurts and puddings twice a day. I also take a multi-vitamin just to make sure that I’m getting what I need but I do try and make sure we eat a varied diet and I have a chart on my wall that shows which vitamins come from which food.
I have a pretty decent store cupboard so I shouldn’t need to buy too much each week if I keep it stocked and plan my meals well. Getting the organic fruit with the vegetable box will cut the money I spend on the bananas from the supermarket but it’s actually more than I normally spend on fruit, my thinking though is that we don’t eat enough fruit so buying it in this way will hopefully get us eating more and what we don’t get through I can freeze for jam or puddings.
I read an interesting article about the rise in food prices and the final line of the piece was something along the lines of that consumers ‘need to think like vegans, who don’t eat pasta’ to keep food bills low.
If there’s anyone out there reading this, how are you coping with the rising costs of food and what are your rules for buying organic?