As I stomp through the snow into what is the last week of my local shopping challenge, my reflections have been about the highs, with few lows. As a consequence, my life feels no more hectic, but less distracted and enriched with experience and conversation, and some great finds.
There have been no great surprises. There is only one thing I can swear I couldn’t find in a local independent: dummies. This was our only cheat, after the last one was chewed by the dog we refreshed the stock at a Bristol independent. I have not found anywhere to buy DVDs, but I was really impressed that you can hire them from the library for just 50p a night, it’s just a pity they always take me a week and a half to return.
The main question on everyone’s lips is the cost. And yes, in the first weeks I did spend more, but I have learnt well and adjusted to spending less than before. The benefit of not being tempted by offers and just buying what we need presents a definite saving, as does buying in bulk from Horsley Community shop. Butter has cost more, and I seem incapable of using less(I can confirm we have got through over 30 packets), so no I haven’t lost weight due to starvation. Eggs and lemons have cost me less. Some of you have been concerned about loo roll, I have just been buying this in packs of four from the village shop once a week, a little more expensive, but less bulky.
The only food we’ve thrown away in 7 weeks was two parsnips (and they went straight into the compost). By buying little and often we have achieved zero food waste. I have also become the queen of leftovers, this week I used up the last of some cream to make chocolate truffles, and an amazing minestrone soup using tiny bits of vegetables hanging about in the fridge, with some ham stock.
Shopping for myself has fallen by the wayside with Christmas shopping taking priority, although I have eyed an excessive number of clothes and boots I would have liked, and I’m looking forward to trying out some organic brands of make up from Stroud.
So what does the future hold; I won’t be in Morrisons on boxing day, in fact I would like never to use a supermarket again. I will continue to support my locals, and will try not to be tempted by winter sales offers. There is one hiccup in my quest, in the New Year my brother-in-law is taking on a butchery in Chipping Sodbury, so my loyalty will be torn.
So, I encourage you to join me on this, use your independents, we are so privileged to be surrounded by them, they make our towns amazing and vibrant, places worth visiting. They’ll prosper if we use them. It’s a lifestyle choice that I won't be turning back on.