I once searched the same topic when I first came here last September. After the honeymoon period of tourist mode was over, the budget was getting tighter, it was only right to find an alternative to do grocery shopping other than in the famous supermarket like Tesco and Sainsbury, or even the higher level one like Mark and Spencer and Waitrose. Once we settled with our flat, the searching for the most reasonable place for grocery shopping became urgent since daily needs and most of our money would be spent there.
The term ‘the best’ here refers to several variables such as price, quality, and availability of the product. We are quite lucky to live in area where we could get the best of those variables in easily accessible places.
When it comes to price, Lidl is obviously on the top of the list. It’s the cheapest among any other supermarkets. When you need fresh vegetables, onion, garlic, fruit, mushroom, Lidl is a better place, even compared to traditional market. With such price, the quality is as well good.
You can get garlic at the same amount with lesser price in Lidl. For example, one pack of garlic in an asian store at traditional market is £1, in Lidl with exactly same amount, even bigger, it costs only 0.62 pence. I paid £1 for two large onions in traditional market, but only spent 0.53 pence for a bag of onion (contain 6-7 pieces of medium onion).
When you go to other supermarkets, the cheapest box of cornflake costs around £2-2,5, in Lidl, assuming you are not fanatic about one brand, with the same thing for cereal, it costs only 50-80 pence. The difference matters (a lot to me).
They even have a pack of rice for only 45 pence. Bless this place of budget saver.
So, Lidl wins for the price and quality.
How about availability and variations?
For these two, Lidl has a rival named ASDA. When it comes to price, Lidl is only slightly cheaper than Asda. The difference is only 5-10 pence for the same item. Asda is better when it comes to variation of products. They have better much selections of spices, frozen food, kind of milk, pastries, and donuts. Another plus point from Asda, they have Halal section on their store. Although they are quite pricey, but the variation leaves you with many choices. You can find lots of halal certified frozen food in Asda. Other than food, you could find home appliances too in big Asda store with pretty good price.
Our microwave was not working well last week and had it repaired costs more than having a new one, we went to Asda to buy new microwave for only £35. Compared to the items we saw in the kitchen appliances store, which cost twice than Asda, it is safe to say that it’s really a good deal.
I always do grocery shopping on Monday. Although lots of promo are offered on weekend, but, doing it on Monday is more preferable. Just like what I did back in Jakarta. Tip Top on weekend is one of the scariest place to be, so does Lidl, Tesco and Asda. Maybe not as scary as Tip Top, but still.
The nearest Asda branch from our place located in a weekend market yard where lots of asian stores and halal butchers are around. So, every Monday spent taking turn between Asda-asian store and Lidl.
When we need wider variation of products, Tesco is our choice. I bought some products like jam and honey in Tesco. When you’re too lazy to visit asian store, Tesco has almost everything that you need from asian store with a slightly higher price. I am talking about a proper Tesco here, not the Tesco express. Just like Asda, Tesco also provides halal section on their store. But, for the variety of products, Asda still has them better. Asda even has packed lamb meat. Something that is quite hard to find.
When Tesco and Sainsbury is more known since they are usually located in touristy area, Lidl and Asda are less famous because most of their stores located in the residential area.
Unlike the doctor, I am quite meticulous about the price, even for the last two pennies behind. For me, every penny matters. Doing the grocery shopping on Monday is also more preferable since I am doing it alone. When its been done as family trip on weekend, I am too scared of disobeying the budget that has been set, because mostly, the shopping goes without the list. Things that we do not (really) need could make it until the cashier desk and finally more pounds are going out of wallet.
I am currently reading a book about an English woman who did an experiment to experience one year without spending other than the compulsory bills and basic daily needs. It’s been quite enjoyable reading and one of her item is about limited grocery shopping budget. The first thing that she did was switching her grocery place from Sainsbury to… Lidl😁.
She only bought what she really used, ate and consumed. She could only do her next grocery when her fridge is almost empty. She also restrained herself from eating out, buying coffee, or even buying lunch/dinner while she has gathering with her friends.
This book is quite relatable for me because for some parts, I have done what she did. But, I am still far too relaxed about buying this and that. My heart is always be the weakest when it goes to bread. My love for bread still wins over the budget saving.
I am planning to be more careful in selecting things that pass the temptation to enter my basket for next month. I can be so firm about things, but can be too scarily relax about food. So, let’s see.
May the force be with me.