Supermarket Free Lent Days: Days 16-30

I have now gone past the half way point in my quest to shop without supermarkets for Lent. The last couple of weeks have been rather busy and chaotic. There has been a lot going on at home and, having very limited access to a car, means my shopping trips have been infrequent. I’m not sure this is something I can do long term as I’m beginning to realise that supermarkets are so much more convenient (hence their popularity). I’m not sure if they are cheaper as I plan to compare expenses at the end of this project. They certainly feel less expensive but this may be due to my limited choices and the kind of products I have bought.

Over the past 15 days I have shopped in the following places:

– Village Costcutters shop. This is very convenient but also expensive. I’ve struggled to buy supermarket free wine (I promise I’m not an alcoholic!) but this has been one place I’ve been able to buy from.

– Petrol Station. Technically speaking this is a supermarket as it’s a Budgens but it’s been very convenient when passing by to pick up those things I could only get from a supermarket (garlic bread, coconut milk, tomato ketchup).

– Garden Centre. This is usually one of the most expensive places to shop but I was delighted to pick up locally sourced meat here for a good price.

– Market. This week I was able to make it to the twice weekly street market in our nearest town. There were only a few stalls but I was able to buy different cheeses (which I’d been struggling to find), butter, bread and sliced ham.

– Ethical Superstore. I have been itching to try out this online supermarket and was very pleased with the order and delivery service. My goods arrived in one huge cardboard box (pictured), which had rather too much plastic packaging. I could track the delivery and the driver had no problem locating our house (which can sometimes be a problem as we’re off the beaten track). It was pricier as many of the goods are organic/Suma brand. I also made the classic mistake of ordering the wrong quantities for some things.

– I’ve also continued with my veg box, milk delivery and infrequent trips to local towns and their respective green grocers, health food stores and bakeries.

What I’m learning from this experience is that it takes time to locate supermarket-free sources for food. I have had some frustrating experiences (local butcher being closed on a Monday) but have learnt to adapt from my shopping list and meal plan. I have also been pleasantly surprised by some discoveries which I hope I will continue to make use of when Lent is over.