Local shopping experiment

As you can see from it’s seperate page on my blog, I love my hometown: Leigh-on-Sea.  I have been lucky enough to live here for 3 years now (I was born close by and then grew up in the surrounding area, but I decided to put down roots in this small seaside town).  However, although I have lived here for a few years, I have been terribly lazy when it has come to utilising the shops on my doorstep.  It’s not that I didn’t want to, more time stopped me from doing so.  Instead, I visited the big bad chain store – Tesco!

However, listening to LBC recently  (yep I am getting old!), there was an interesting debate taking place regarding the cost of healthy food these days.  People arguing it’s cheaper to eat ready meals than cooking dinner from scratch.  In some cases this may be true, and I do believe it’s particualarly true for singletons; however, there are ways around the problem.  Cooking food in bulk and freezing it for example. 

The other interesting point was regarding the cost of food in supermarkets compared to the local greengrocer, butcher etc.  Now, I am so lucky that I live literally around the corner from my high street.  And it is a magical high street.  Anyone who visits Leigh will know that it’s full of beautiful independant shops and still has real bakeries, greengrocers, fishmongers and butchers.  It’s a delight.  I often visit to buy gifts as the boutiques are just gorgeous, however, I have been naughty and not really exploited the food shops to date.

So, inspired by LBC, this weekend I decided to investigate.  A. to see what variety is available.  B. to see if the local shops really are more expensive.

Now, I think my findings were really quite interesting.  I went out to buy ingrediants for the sunday roast. 

Broccoli: 99p (same as Tesco)

Carrotts 86p per kilo (Tesco, 80p per kilo)

Cauliflower: 98p (Tesco, 89p each)

Maris Piper Potatoes 98p per kilo (Tesco 97p per kilo when buying 2.5kg bag)

Beef (1kg Brisket): £8.10 (£1 more than tesco, 79p cheaper than Waitrose

French Baguette: £1.50 (60p more than Waitrose, but it was lovely and from a Deli!)

So, it seems that I’m not lucky enough to live in an area where fruit, veg, meat are cheaper than the supermarkets, but it was only by pennies.  And, what certainly was an improvement on the big bad chain store was the atmosphere in the shops.  People talked to each other.  I had a number of chats with shop keepers.  I could imagine becoming a “regular”.  I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, even though it cost a few pence more.  But you know what, I also saved the approximately 30 minutes it would take to drive there and back from the supermarket and the cost of the fuel.  Therefore, I would conclude it works out about event, don’t you think?

What also was nice, was that I could browse some local shops for some birthday present ideas – thinking about the year ahead.  And I felt a sense of pride in supporting my local high street – at a time when it’s all doom and gloom on the news regarding shops closing everywhere, I feel this is important.

So, moving forward, whenever possible I’m going to don my basket (which I love and makes me feel so country housewife) and will do my shopping local.  I will have to do a monthly shop for the big stuff (drinks, washing powder etc) as my shoulders won’t take the weight (and somethings unfortunately bought in bulk will still prove cheaper elsewhere), but overall I love the high street. 

Bring forth the shopping revolution!

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