Food buying – what you need vs what you want

At the moment we’re facing a challenge to our frugal food-buying policy. For the last few months, we have been doing one food shop per week at the Tesco near my husband’s work, timed to take advantage of price-reduced meat and vegetables. The rest of the week, we may have bought some supplementary eggs, but that was about it.

Last Saturday, a Sainsbury’s local opened right behind our house. It takes just a couple of minutes to walk there, and it’s both cheaper than other corner shops/convenience shops in the area, and with a better selection of fresh items. However, it’s not as cheap as going to a bigger supermarket, and so although it’s potentially a good source of reduced items, it should only really be used in a pinch.

Last night, we went to Sainsbury’s to get an idea of what’s available, and what time they start making big reductions. A good idea in principle, but in practice we came home with a large bag of crisps at full price, four chocolate eclairs (very cheap – 10p – but very unhealthy when you’re aiming for a primal diet), beer (for the husband) and a bag of carrots (very cheap – 24p – but we already had a full bag of carrots at home). So at the moment I’m concerned that we might end up buying more things we don’t need and telling ourselves it’s a virtue as they are discounted.

I don’t know if we can go fully cold turkey and avoid the shop altogether, as we may then miss out on some real savings. But we need a strategy to stop making unnecessary purchases. Do you have a strategy to recommend?

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