This post is written mostly for those moving to the UK from American however budgeting ideas are easy to implement no matter where you live. For those of you who are just mildly curious about how US prices in the grocery aisle compare……read on.
One of the aspects of moving to a new county and calculating your expenses is setting a grocery budget. A grocery budget is a daunting task even in the US. Budgeting is made more difficult these days by the ever rising prices of food.
Here is the UK some foods are much, much cheaper and some are much more expensive. I take the more expensive items and cut back on the recipes I use them in or replace them altogether.
Items that are cheaper in the UK
Milk and Butter (and many more grass fed and organic options)
Cheeses – (oh my! The cheese is cheaper and better here. There are more varieties available than you could ever imagine)
Eggs – You can pick up free range eggs much cheaper than the US but don’t look for them in the refrigerated section they are not washed here so they are shelf stable. Cool
Chocolate – Plain dark chocolate for baking is the cheapest so …. again get baking
Rolled Oats – (a very inexpensive way to eat breakfast, they are called porridge oats here)
Plain Corn chips (store brand for a bag of plain corn chips are about .45 pence as well)
Flour (all purpose, unbleached is…..hold on to your hat .45 pence for a store brand of about a US 5 lb bag) That almost makes me angry. I paid $3 for that amount in the states. If you don’t cook from scratch start learning. That is too good of a deal to pass up. My friend, Shaye Elliot, published a really great cookbook to jump start a whole food, from scratch kitchen. Here is a link to her new book http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Elliott-Homestead-Traditional-whole-foods/dp/1484076230
Items that are more expensive
Dried Beans (Whaaa. I still can’t see why canned beans are cheaper here) I buy them in bulk and they aren’t as costly that way. Cook up a crock pot of black beans then freeze them in 2 cup containers. Use them mashed with butter and sea salt as a tex-mex side dish or add whole beans to taco meat for stretching the budget and cutting down on red meat.
Beef (Ground beef is called beef mince here and roast are called joints even if there is no bone in them. Beef is expensive because lamb is the primary meat product raised here.)
Chicken (whole chicken is about the same but cut boneless chicken breast are really expensive)
Prepared packaged foods (crackers, snacks, granola bars and such forget them or get on Pintrest and get some recipes)
Processed foods (even pasta sauce is much more expensive than the ingredients for pasta sauce)
Some ways to stretch the beef mince: I have recently found that lentils can double the amount of beef mince that I use in taco meat and pasta sauce. Much better for you anyway. Lentils take on the taste of whatever they are cooked in. Wonderful.
Check out Tesco’s website to see actual store prices. http://www.tesco.com/groceries/
Remember to take into account the current exchange rate. Today the US is about $1.70 to the Pound. So a half gallon milk that only cost a pound is about $1.70. That is still much cheaper than the US at $2.50 – $3.50 a half gallon.
More another day……..