skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains – an update

by jenn on May 14, 2012

It’s beenfour weeks since Tom and I started our newest challenge – skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains. It is an initiative from Tricia at Little Eco Footprints and I first discovered it over at A Fresh Legacy. Kyrstie and her family did the challenge for a month and have decided to continue to skip the supermarket long term. Tricia’s family have committed to do it for all of 2012! You can find out more information here:

So how are we going?

I am SO grateful that we did a big staples shop at Aldi before we started so our pantry was packed full of stock, pasta, tinned tomatoes, milk, coconut milk and cream etc. This really has helped to make what we are doing so much more achievable as we are able to shop from our pantry.

Less than one week after starting Tom went on a fishing and camping trip with the boys. Our camping gear is still extremely modest, and going in at this time of year with the weather as unpredictable as it has been, we realised there were a few things that we needed pronto. So the night before, a mad dash to kmart and coles saw Tom decked out with some dunlop volleys, a hooded flanno, a fleece jumper and a couple of snacks for the 8km hike in and out of camp. I was tempted to grab the other things we needed, since we were there already, but Tom was adamant that this was an exception and that we could wait until the following day to go to our local businesses, and so we did.

We continued to get our fruit, veg and fish from the co-op. We started taking the ‘weird’ cuts of meat out of our freezer and found recipes to suit them (who would have thought that lamb neck was so tasty?). We’ve been using the breadmaker again (now that is dangerous!). We have made do or gone without. I didn’t get around to making muffins or muesli bars, possibly for the better as I ate way to much sugar free ANZAC slice a couple of weeks ago when I baked so it could have been a bit messy!

Some things were definately more expensive. The small bottlo vs Dan Murphy’s, the produce store vs Woolies for dog food. I slipped up and bought a pair of apple earphones on Friday at Kmart for the Mother’s Day Classic fun run yesterday and then was bummed when I realised I was so close to completing the month.

Some wins were: I found my hankies and actually prefer them to tissues, I found an awesome designer dress in St Vinnies that is very breast feeding friendly, as well as another long sleeved shirt and I have found vinegar to be quite a good mildew remover.

So will we continue? Yes and no. Our plan is to continue to ditch Coles, Woolworths, Kmart, Target et al. I was just typing the exception being woolies for ecostore products such as laundry soak (for washing nappies) and dishwashing liquid, but the truth is that I can buy them from Go Vita or the health food store in Blackheath. I think it’s best just to avoid them, except for emergent situations. We will do a monthly bulk shop at Aldi, to stock up on canned and tetrapacked staples, nuts, toilet paper etc. I’m planning to start  making our own laundry liquid, soaps, and cleaners so hopefully will be able to get all the ingredients from local stores. If I can’t then I’ll add those to the special exceptions at woolies list.

Overall, we’ve felt like we had great success with this challenge and look forward to seeing how we can continue to support local business and become more self reliant as the weeks go by. There were loads of times in the beginning when we said ‘lets just run into K-… oh hang on…’ and then made do with what we had. That makes me happy :)

Have you ever done a similar challenge? Do you skip supermarkets, shopping centres and  super chains as a matter of course? Do you have any super, natural, do it yourself home cleaning remedies that you can share with me?