I find shopping for groceries extremely relaxing. I love the planning, writing out a list of what I need, heading to the shop I put my headphones on and listen to a relaxing playlist or maybe the latest podcast.

It doesn’t sound glamorous or even fun, and a lot of people dread doing the weekly shopping for a myriad of reasons. I just love it though.

My biggest problem is that I can be lazy. Especially this week. I just finished 7 days work in a row and I have a chest infection. Either one of those things would make me want to relax for the weekend and not do anything except wrap up and Wath Netflix but life has to go on. Work again Monday and I need to get out of the house at least once a day for a bit of fresh air. So why not do the shopping.

Just because you’ve done something wrong in the past, doesn’t mean you can’t advocate against it now!

Tesco is a large supermarket chain here in Ireland and the UK. It has everything you need in one place and is usually reasonably priced to be fair. It truly is convenient.

I have always shopped there because I could get everything in one place.

I decided to try a little experiment with my most recent shop. Ok, my girlfriend get the credit seeing as it was completely her idea. But I am writing the post so I’ll take a little credit! 😇

Out with the old?

Instead of my usual trip to Tesco, I went to a different shop, Lidl. Lidl is a German chain of supermarkets that are low cost, generic brands. They usually aren’t as well stocked as the likes of Tesco BUT it has 90% of your weekly shop.

So let’s give Lidl a go as it is closer we thought. There we go, saving petrol money already. I initially was only going to get the meat items there as they are infamously cheaper but I ended up getting most of my list at Lidl. Only smaller items were out of stock. I can pick those up in Tesco which is only a bit further up the road.

Worth the switch?

I always cringe at the checkout when paying for the weekly shop. A few items like toiletries and meat can really push up the price. I was pleasantly surprised when the total came up on the till and I was practically bouncing out of the store.

Of course we need numbers! How much did I actually save. While watching a movie with my girlfriend with all the great ideas, I geekily went online shopping on the Tesco website and looked for all the same items using the Lidl receipt.

Naturally there weren’t huge differences with most items, some actually being cheaper in Tesco. The biggest gaps were with toiletries and meat.

Let’s take a look at each item in my quickly thrown together table below:

Shopping list comparison

Comparison of prices

WOW! I knew I saved some money but I didn’t think €46.81 in a single week of shopping. It doesn’t sound like a lot but think of it as a savings rate of nearly 42%

Groceries are a necessary expense and they make up a significant chunk of your yearly expenses when you are calculating your financial independence number. It makes sense that we optimise our expenses in these areas where it is necessary to spend.

The real savings!

€46.81 saved on a weekly shop adds up to €187.24 for the month.

Naturally, this gets added to our ever growing stash in the Vanguard S&P 500 (VUSA), assuming our usual 7% annualised returns rate after inflation.

In 10 years, just by moving my weekly shopping trip 2 minutes down the road, I will have an extra €32,027.73 in my portfolio.

In 30 years, it would be €218,968.31 but I’ll be “retired” by then. Instead let’s look at it as equating to a €2,434.12 reduction in our yearly expenses. That knocks about a year off the amount of time I need to reach financial independence.

What next?

To be honest, I am feeling giddy having gone through the numbers. I am going to look around even further for way to reduce my necessary expenses. It is easier to get rid of the discretionary spending. The real challenge is being more frugal with the money you have to part with year in/year out! Maybe there is an even better shop lurking around the corner….

I am going to try tackle the housing expenses soon but for now, I challenge you to try knock off greater than 10% off your next grocery bill by changing shops, finding deals and going off brand. Comment below with how you get on and good luck!

I am Steve, the author and owner of Fire-ishwhere I try to share my story and help people towards Financial Independence with small tips and tricks that add up. Follow me on Twitter at @fire_ish and on Pinterest. I am trying to grow my readership so if you enjoyed this post, please share it!

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