Here I continue with my financial journey:
If you are not a poor Londoner, let me shock you a little. Do you see these products on the photos? The breads, the apple turnovers and the cherry pie? They were all heavily discounted. Do you know why? Because the day I bought them was the last day they were allowed to be sold.
If products with an expiry date don’t get sold the shop selling them will make a massive loss.
As it happens, most food products are heavily processed and have a high quantity of preservatives. This is due to the need for transportation time and return for profit among other things. Long story short, if you are worrying about the quality of what you are eating, let me tell you this: If you are eating these kind of foods, and unless you are growing your own food you most likely do, whether you buy them on their first day of shelf life or the last, you’ll get the same amount of preservatives in your system.
This was something I didn’t know when I first moved to London. I saw people buying these expiring-on-the-day products in the supermarket and wasn’t comfortable with the idea. These people didn’t look like homeless. Sometimes I’d buy those things as well, enough to eat on that day or maybe the day after. But that was that.
Then I saw a friend who was an accountant buying ‘expired’ foods. He put them in the fridge or the freezer and ate them at a later date.
Then I saw an architect doing the same thing, and his girlfriend too. Years later I had a live-in landlord who knew a thing or two about saving money and had managed to retire with his wife at age 55. He was regularly on the hunt for such last minute discounts.
Over the months and years in London, I saw people from all walks of life and nationalities buy meat, vegetables, ready meals and so much more on the expiry day, at a fraction of the original cost, and save tons of money by doing just that. They froze the food and problem solved. I wouldn’t call it the healthiest, but it is definitely the city’s cheapest.
I remember my live in landlord even went to extra lengths and cut the butter in portions and put it in the freezer. Technically they had fresh butter for a very long time. In case you didn’t know, hotels and restaurants do just the same, with butter and other essentials. They find the cheapest of everything and find ways and tricks to present it as the best. They’ll never tell you and you’ll never know. It’s all about presentation, presentation, presentation. So why not do it yourself and profit from it?
As for me, I love saving my money when I can, but I don’t go out of my way to find discounted and about to expire food items. The other day I happened to be coming from the cinema and ventured into the supermarket hoping they would have sausage roll for a late hot snack before my walk home. There were no sausage rolls available and they were about to close when I found the breads and the apple turnovers.
As I’m honest with myself, and I know I’m going to eat something sweet at least twice a day, and if I’m stressed I’ll eat way more than just two pieces of cake daily, I thought I’d grab those great offers for the turnovers. Then a day or so later found the cherry pie. Why not? Since I’ll eat it, I might as well be kind to my pocket.
The Mediterranean bread, I was very lucky because it was delicious, full of olives, onion and sun dried tomatoes. I cut it in slices and had it just like that on its own for breakfast. As for the sourdough bread, I cut it in slices as well, and had it with sweet and savoury toppings. They last me for nearly two weeks.
April has been rather hectic. But don’t worry, I’ll be alright with my food intake. I had normal food with plenty of vegetables and plenty of fruit too. In case you are wondering about the bananas, and they look too brown and overripe to you, you are right. They are. But if you haven’t tried so far, try overripe banana with lemon. Mash one banana with a fork and mix the juice of half a lemon. I just squeeze it with my hand over the plate, I don’t bother for juicers and whatnot. Banana-lemon mash is my go to treat when I have leftover bananas.
That’s all for now. A little inside on cheap London, busy life, saving money and trying to balance crappy food habits.
Have a lovely week 😊