A good deal to know about shopping locally #ThriftyLiving

Sheena Grant’s year of thrifty living

I’ve made a bit of a discovery and it’s so good I don’t really know if I should share it.

Just as a House of Lords European Union Committee report suggested the super market bogof (buy one, get one free) was really little more than a ruse to pass food waste from the store to the household (surely not), I was doing something I should have done long ago.

I was shopping locally.

Like many, I had assumed that buying from independent shops was bound to be more expensive than running the gauntlet of all those bogof deals (which

often have a use-by date so close that consumption would actually be impossible without stomach-churning gluttony or an unfeasibly large family).

And anyway, I reasoned, venturing through the door of your average deli was akin to joining the ranks of the bourgeois. I wasn’t sure I was ready ? or qualified ? for that. Whatever next? I’d be making my own houmous or growing my son’s hair and changing his name to Tarquin.

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But prejudice is always wrong, so I took a deep breath and ventured a few miles down the road to my local organic farm shop, selling direct to the

customer.

I couldn’t believe the good value I found. Organic eggs for £1 a half-dozen and bags of fresh veg for half the price they would cost in the super market ? and all produced seasonally and locally, with no environmentally-costly transport.

It was a revelation and got me thinking: not just about the pennies we could all save by shopping in this way, but also about the value these kinds of outlets bring to our communities.

Last week, I spent an hour or so with a woman who is trying to stem the creeping homogenisation of our high streets by rallying support for independent retailers with a monthly “cash mob”, whereby people descend on a nominated shop and spend a few pounds; not frivolously, but by buying

something they needed to purchase anyway. It’s a win-win idea, if my experience is anything to go.

Who knows? I may even be ready for the deli soon.

Share your money-saving tips on twitter, using #ThriftyLiving, email sheena.grant@eadt.co.uk or write to me at 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN