April 6th 2009 06:36
Location: All around the UK
Chains: Main ones are Sainsbury's and Tesco
This is kind of a continuation on my first budget London post aimed primarily at those that are planning on staying and living in London for an extended period of time.
As is the same in most countries, if you are living somewhere and want to stick to a low budget, the best way to do this is to eat at home, and the best way to do this is to stock up with supplies at your local supermarket. As previously mentioned in my last post, the most popular chains of supermarkets are Tesco and Sainsburys, although there are many other chains out there that could also be mentioned, for this post Iíll focus specifically on these two.
Now I know that the idea of saving by visiting the supermarket might seem obvious and possibly not even worthy of a mention in its own post, Iíve been told never to assume anything in regards to what people do and do not know so Iím posting it anyway.
When I first arrived in London, I met up with my best mate who had already been living there for about a year. One of the first things he introduced me to as a new semi-permanent resident of London, was the savings that could be made at the local Sainsburyís. Basically, his theory was that you could go into Sainsburyís and end up averaging a spending total amount of around £1 per item on exit. Why? Because of the great specials that these particular supermarkets have to offer.
These major chains of supermarkets are located in most populated areas around London, including a number of inner city Ďmetroí locations, which make them extremely convenient. But as comes with convenience, you often pay a little bit more if you visit the city locations compared to the exact same stores in the more suburban areas.
You will ALWAYS go into a Sainsburyís or a Tesco and find items on special, and the savings that you generally make from these are significant (and the deals a lot better than the ones we ever find back home in Australia). From muli-buys or pound deals, you can often find enough variety in the deals to save a fortune on a weeks worth of meals.
The other great convenience that these supermarkets have is their selection of quick and easy meals. Iím not just talking about TV dinners here (although they do have plenty of good frozen foods in this category such as the £1 cottage and shepherds pies that are actually pretty tasty), but more the likes of crumbed chicken kievs and marinated roasts. These items are DAMN tasty and are usually part of some sort of multi-buy deal, which can provide a cheap and quick meal for any time of the week. Of course, they probably arenít the best and most nutritional meal for you but hey, if youíre only in London for a few months, enjoy it while you can.
Now, if you read the previous post, you would know that these stores are the perfect place for that quick sandwich snack so I wonít go on about them again (go the ham, cheese and pickle!), but apart from the cheap sandwich options, they also have ready to go salads that are quite good. To be perfectly honest though, they arenít great and I donít recommend them the same way as the sandwiches (some actually do taste half decent though and usually hit the spot). Out of these salads I preferred the pasta ones that they have at both chains (especially the chicken varieties), but they also have lettuce based and fruit based salads as well on offer.
Overall, if you are looking to stay in London for an extended period, or have the luxury of easy access to your own kitchen, I have to say that a visit to your local Sainsburyís or Tesco has to be a must for any budget visit to London.
Enjoy and happy eating!