Monday this week was a mammoth shopping day, necessary things only might I add. It started in the morning with my weekly food shop at Lidl. As our cupboards were pretty empty, I stocked up amongst other things on a few old favourites whilst they were on offer, as they had 6 packs (not the muscle variety unfortunately) of Heinz baked beans and Heinz tomato soup (I don't make my own I'm afraid) which worked out at 50p per can or less. I managed throw in some knee socks for Little Bird for school too, which saved me looking around for some. In addition I managed to finish buying last month's food bank donation, which I was running a bit late with.
I have to say that I never tire of getting to the till in Lidl, with a trolley full of food (albeit a small one today) and finding I've only spent £50 or so. If I'd been in any other supermarket it probably would have been twice that at least.
There were a few things I didn't manage to get and I had a vague idea that I had some vouchers in my purse for money off on a shop at Tesco, so in the afternoon I headed off with Little Bird this time, to a very large Tesco store a bit further out of London from where we live, in the hope of getting a few jobs done in one trip, namely; getting the remainder of my shopping, delivering the food bank donation, getting Little Bird another skirt for school and even maybe look for some shoes for school in a certain shoe store nearby.
In the end the food shopping got done, I managed to get two skirts for Little Bird that I actually liked, I delivered the food bank donation and we bought some footwear for both school and PE from said shoe shop. Result.
My only disappointment was that when I got to the till in Tesco, my vouchers had unfortunately gone out of date, save for one giving me an extra 100 points. What a waste. The extra points will come in very handy though.
In addition to the day's shopping, when I got home later, my Approved Food order that I submitted on Friday had also arrived, which was super efficient of them, so I had another heap of things to unpack and find cupboard space for. My cupboards are now bursting with food, I've got enough meat in the freezer to last a few weeks, enough dog food in the cupboard to last even longer, I've started collecting things together for this month's food bank donation and hopefully, I won't need to do another big food shop for at least a fortnight if not longer.
Subsequently, I have now planned our meals up until the end of September based on the food I bought on Monday and with just a few supplemental items to buy, we can comfortably eat for the entire month on approximately £100 plus top ups of fruit, vegetables, dairy products and bread weekly, and the purchase of a few more things for this month's food bank donation. I have also subsequently reorganised all of my food cupboards so that I knew exactly what I had in them when it came to meal planning.
On subject of food banks, whilst in the US, I heard on the radio that approximately 1 in 4 children there are estimated to live in poverty and don't have enough food to eat. Regular radio adverts encourage people to give to food banks there. I'm surprised we don't have similar adverts here. Maybe we do, but I just haven't heard them.
I did see quite a few signs of poverty in the US, in particular quite a few people politely asking for money on the streets and at road junctions. I'm sure we have a similar number of people here in such circumstances, but laws preventing begging on the streets probably hides this. As they don't have a free public health service in the US as we do here, I dread to think what happens to people who fall ill and can't afford or don't qualify for health insurance. It must be very scary for them. Things like this did make me feel very grateful for what we do have here, although there were also lots of signs of incredible affluence in the US too. It has, however, consolidated my views with regard to making regular donations to the food bank here. Even if one only does something small, it can mean a lot to someone who has very little and is struggling on a daily basis to make ends meet.