Friday, 6 February 2015

A bit of sensationalism sells

I thought I would have a look at the new tv programme about reducing the family grocery bill.

Eat Well for Less?
(image from

These two chaps, Gregg Wallace and Chris Bavin [never heard of him, but apparently he is an award-winning green-grocer], set out to overhaul a family's shopping habits with the aim of reducing their outgoings.

I should have known.

It wasn't going to be Mr and Mrs Average with two children, spending £100 a week, and getting it down to a more reasonable £60.  Oh no, it was Mr and Mrs Big Spender with 4 children, and they spent, on average, £355 a week.  A week!  They also visited the shops/supermarkets 17 times in an average week......that's spending!  They had some very specific ideas about brands, too.  To give them some credit, they did seem to take on board what was suggested - but it was nothing we didn't already know: scale down the brands, cook from scratch more, and shop with a plan in mind, for example.

So if you start with someone spending so much more than average, getting it down is not going to be that challenging, is it?  Apparently, the average family with four children spends about £105 on a weekly basis.  A challenging programme would have helped Mr and Mrs Average bring that down even further so that we could see some stellar strategies like those from Elaine at Mortgage Free in Three [check this link for a great idea to help with meal planning] and recipes like this one from Frugal Queen.

Sadly, I don't think people who read frugal blogs have anything much to learn from this programme, and I shall not be wasting another hour on it next week.


Bridget said...

We have two adults and five children plus animals and my shopping bill is nowhere near what theirs is. My cleaning stuff included as we do one big shop a week.
My husband and I just kept rolling our eyes!
As you said nothing learnt here either.

SusanM said...

I watched it too. We used to spend a lot more on our groceries several years ago (although not nearly as much as this family) and cut our food bill in half. But I did think last night as I was watching this programme, that I could have saved them even more money! We shop once a week and occasionally top up mid week with some milk. The thought of facing the supermarket 17 times in a week is just too much! And I'm sure she said she didn't have time to cook. It must take up a lot of time to continually visit the shops. Interesting though. Is YFG keeping well? Is she sitting mocks? My son has almost finished his now.

thrift deluxe said...

Yes, the show isn't really for people interested in frugality, it's just entertainment so people can say "oh well, I'm not THAT bad".

It's an idea that has potential I think. I have come a very long way in the past 12 years and would probably have got some benefit from this show in the past, when a proper frugal cooking show would have been too much of a leap.

Janipi said...

I am horrified what some families spend. They must have huge salaries! Lucky them. I don't think these families live in the real world at all.
I worked with a lady who never cooked. She had 2 teenage boys and they lived on microwavable food and takeaways.I didn't enjoy watching the programme. It just made me feel sad.

Frugal Wench said...

I just blogged about this - my wee bit of comedy ;P

Angela said...

I meant to record it to watch later- but forgot. As you so rightly say, they were not an 'average' family to start with. Where do these people get all this money to spend on food in the first place?

We frugal bloggers do not need these programmes,as we are already doing this and more.

saraband said...

Last week's programme made me so cross that I didn't even bother with last night's! Just a lot of over-exaggerated hype for the sake of TV entertainment. Yuk!

Frugal Queen said...

I saw it too. Sadly most people shop without planning or thinking and I hope those watching the programme will be a bit more thoughtful.

Gill - That British Woman said...

I agree not your average family. Who on earth can afford to spend that much?

Meanqueen said...

Nothing in there that was helpful to me, but good for those who haven't a clue. I won't be watching any more.

SusanM said...

I found Saver of Suburbia through your blog and have enjoyed reading her posts. But I can't get on to her blog any more. Has she stopped blogging? Is she ok do you know?

Morgan said...

@SusanM - I had been wondering about Saver lately as she hadn't updated her blog for a while, and she had been posting regularly so I missed her. I haven't any way of getting in touch, and the blog seems to have been removed :( If you are reading, Saver of Suburbia, you are missed and we would be grateful to know that you are OK.

Thanks for all your comments on this post - I am glad I wasn't the only one who thought this about the programme!