As regular readers will know already, I’ve recently been made redundant. Although it’s never nice to lose your job, we’re lucky that the Minted finances are relatively sound for the immediate future. However, it does mean the family is somewhat less Minted than it was.
Jane took the news of a 15% cut in the monthly budget in her stride so I decided to make an effort with a cost reduction exercise of my own. Some friends of mine are always bragging about their German supermarket deals: dirt cheap yet delicious prosecco, lobster etc. So on the way home from my last day, a cardboard box in the boot with what felt like the last of my worldly possessions ie a collection of superfluous frequent-flyer cards and an old Nespresso, I stopped at Lidl.
Car parking was easy and I managed to grab a trolley which didn’t need a £1 coin to unlock (useful as I only had Amex). So far so good, I thought. I squared my shoulders, negotiated the revolving doors and hit the aisles.
This was where the problems started. Yards and yards of freezer cabinets and shelving. Unknown brands and unfamiliar products. What to buy? What did we need? This was the first time I’d been in (a) any Lidl store and (b) any other supermarket in many years without a hand-written shopping list from Jane. I realised I didn’t have a handle on what things normally cost so I couldn’t tell whether the Lidl prices were any cheaper.
I was getting quite upset in the vegetable section until I spotted the avocados. It was like seeing a friendly face. They had to be better value here. I chose a ripe-looking one and moved on to consider the asparagus near to where a Lidl assistant was stacking shelves. I asked her where the lobster was located.
“Don’t do fish here,” she replied, eyeing the lone avocado in my trolley and my pinstripe suit with suspicion. “You’ll have to go to Wimbledon.”
This was a blow as I’d been hoping to hit a seam of cut-price luxuries. It wasn’t to be. But, after 20 minutes, I’d managed to add some tinned fish, a loaf of lookalike Seed Sensations, a free-range chicken and some lemons to my shop.
What a haul! I thought I’d done well even if Jane voiced some doubts on whether it added up to a family dinner. It certainly didn’t go to waste. Dear Daughter swiped the avocado from under my nose while I was waiting for my sourdough to toast and nobody noticed the seeded batch was different to Hovis with the right amount of peanut butter. The sardines have disappeared and the chicken is in the freezer. All good. Just not sure what I’m going to do with those 24 lemons.
See the SMM guide to saving on shopping here.