Shopping when single, after having been in a long relationship, can be tricky. It’s all to do with habits and routines. We all know how hard it is to break them and bring in new ones. Shopping is an example of this.
After a long time I was slowly getting better at eating and food shopping again. Except I couldn’t break the habit of shopping for 2. Result: wasted food and wasted money. I kept telling myself I was alone now but I couldn’t stop myself and I reasoned I could easily eat what I bought. I couldn’t.
I have listed below my approach to shopping at that time.
STEP 1 – “POPPING” TO THE SHOPS…
I was starting to think about shopping a bit more and buying small amounts more often (when you live in London you have to anyway because it is really unlikely that you have a car). My fridge was looking good again. Yes, “popping to the shop” often can be seen as time-wasting (long queues and decision-making etc…) but expressing an interest in food and healthy-eating again, was positive.
STEP 2 – QUANTITY
I bought the same things each week, which is quite boring, but for the most part, I was using it all up. I did improve my project management skills by having to plan for the whole week ahead what I would eat though. This is because food packaging has never been designed for single people. THIS IS THE TRUTH! Neither are the marketing offers. (Although thankfully it’s not as scary shopping for 1 here, as it is in America. As I’ve mentioned before- have you seen the size of the food over there?! It’s huge!)
Therefore I suggest you plan/write your list, head out and look hard for the smaller packages, the smaller offers… When you buy a box of peaches because it is cheaper, you will waste it (or eat peaches all week and get sick of them). Instead stick to buying one lemon. It might not be fairly priced but at least you know you will definitely use up what you buy. Or if you buy 4 avocados and not individual ones because the singular avocados are more expensive, then make sure you eat avocado soup one day, an avocado sandwich on the second, avocado smoothie on the third and so on and so forth… I have just learnt a good trick with avocados from my super-smart Spanish friend. When you buy more, pick the harder ones and wrap one or two in newspaper and they will be ripped faster. However ultimately I recommend buying only one of what you need (same story when buying tomatoes, peppers or even cucumbers).
STEP 3 – 2-4-1
I had to organise my whole week ahead or at least know kind-of when I am at home so I could adjust the quantity of my shopping basket. When it was “just” for me and even if something was on sale 2-for-1, I resisted. My economist heart was bleeding (and my friends are laughing out loud because they know how true this is) but for the sake of my purse I had too, also hate wasting food.
I did love the fact that when I got to the till the assistant usually told me that I can get another pack as part of a deal, as I felt like they were looking out for me but I always explained that unfortunately I wouldn’t use it, not mentioning the reason was because I was SINGLE. (By the way now I do pick it up, if it is not too heavy, and simply give it to the neighbour but this is another story.)
STEP 4 – 21st CENTURY GIRL
And when I had enough of carrying heavy bags on the way home finally I caught up with the 21st century and discovered home delivery! No more heavy bags! Victory! Who needs a man? Buying fresh food online is risky a bit but most of the time it was ok. Also fresh food could be bought on the way home from work. My first online food shop took me hours and I had to/ have to, plan to be at home at some point for the delivery but it is worth it once in a month.
In spite of my new shopping habits now that I was single my fridge jumped between looking full and being empty due to my social life picking up. Having a social life is quite expensive however Boots was helping a lot to keep my costs down with their £3.79 offer. (I know all the prices in Tesco, Sainsbury, M&S, and Pret etc. for a quick sandwich meal deal.)
And finally the last thing is being prepared when unexpectedly you need some food at home (and you don’t do flat sharing and you can’t steal borrow). I have some items I always have at home just in-case: cheese and biscuits, rice crackers, long-lasting almond milk, porridge, chicken in the freezer, rice, and pesto. Job done! Of course cooking is a different story….it starts when you get bored of tin soups and sandwiches.
(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)
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