Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Frugal without compromise.

Frugality isn't about a one size fits all. For some it will be spending as little as possible and the overriding motivation for any purchase will be price regardless of quality. Now I make no judgements on this, spending is and should be a matter of personal choice. What one person regards as a frivolous spend will be another persons essential, and that is as it should be.  

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Personally one area where quality is important to me is food. Frugal food shopping for me is about getting good quality food at the best price I can and then ensuring that I make the best use of that food and avoid wasting any.

I like as much of our diet as possible to be organic. One way in which I am trying to achieve this as frugally as I can, is by getting my allotment and growing as much of our vegetables as possible. While that's in it's early days I continue to buy most of our fruit and veg. Where and when I can I will choose organic, though I will compromise on the organic label where I can get a good quality, preferably locally grown alternative more cheaply or where the cost of the organic version is prohibitive. 

One area I am loathe to compromise on however is meat. It is not so much the routine injection of antibiotics and growth hormones that leads me to take this stand (though I am not happy about them), but the standard of animal welfare. If an animal is going to give up it's life to feed me I want to know that it lived a good and happy life and was well cared for. 

I buy most of my meat from a local organic farm and have done for the past seven or eight years. I tend to do a monthly shop there and freeze most of my purchases.

Here's today's buys...

...total cost £42.70

For that I got:
  • 4 Aberdeen Angus 1/4lb Burgers. (These will do two meals.)
  • 2 Pork leg steaks. (Eaten as they are they will only provide one meal, but I will wrap them separately and they will be used in stir fries, curries or pasta dishes and so will provide us with two meals.)
  • Beef skirt. (Again this will be divided into two small portions and will be sliced thinly to use in fajitas or stir fries so will give me two meals.)
  • Mutton cannon. (This is basically a loin of mutton and will provide at least two casseroles so another two meals.)
  • Two sandwich steaks. (1 meal)
  • A shoulder of mutton. ( This will be served as a roast, with some leftover for sandwiches and the bones and any scraps being made into a scotch broth - so for the two of us I will get at least four meals.)  
  • A pack of traditional pork sausages. (Enough for two meals.)
  • A smaller pack of beef sausages. ( One meal.)
  • A pack of Saddleback sausage meat,. (Two meals.)
  • A smaller pack of black pudding and pork sausage meat. (One meal.)
  • 2 Rump steaks. (These are 8oz steaks and were bought as a special treat meal for us. They also accounted for almost 1/4 of the bill coming in at £9.49 for the two, but I justify this as a comparable meal in a restaurant would cost at least £15 each and as I have said it is for a special meal and isn't a regular purchase - so only one meal from these.)
So that works out at a total of 20 meals for two, or 40 individual meals for a cost of only £42.70 - just over £1 per portion for top quality organic meat.

It meets my definition of frugal while not compromising on quality.

Linda xxx


  1. Wow that is a bargain. If I were to buy the same organic meat here I would have a small fraction of what you purchased. Hence I do not buy organic meat though I would love to.

  2. I so agree with you. I won't compromise on food quality and welfare either. We grow a lot of veggies ourselves, as well as soft fruit, herbs, salads. But I do buy in as well, locally grown stuff wherever possible, and organic too. I try to buy British when it comes to apples, but so hard to buy them all year round. As for meat, like you I won't buy cheap meat, not just because I cannot stand fat, but because at that price you do wonder about how it lived its life. Some of the reports you see on television are alarming and sad to say the very least. So I like to know where my meat has come from, how it lived. Same with eggs too I might add.
    It's an expensive way to shop and not one that's an option for a lot of people. Thirty years ago and more, I couldn't have afforded to be so picky even had the choice been there, but now, with the two of us, I can. And do. It's not just a matter of easing my conscience, though how the animal lived matters a great deal. It's also a matter of taste, quality of product.

    1. I have to agree wholeheartedly Maggie. Like you it was not something I could have afforded to do in the past, but while I can afford to (and it's easier now there are only two) I will continue to buy quality food, preferably local.


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