How To Get Through The Cost Of Living Crisis

At the insistence of the management and to avoid a clash with the invaluable and long running ‘we hate the Tory government’ commentary I have started this discussion to ask whether people have noticed the big rise in food costs etc, if it has changed their spending habits and if they have any tips on mitigating inflationary pressures which are likely to be with us for some time.

I’d prefer politics is kept out of the discussion but would welcome views on whether governments or businesses should do more to help or will the public just have to accept that in times of war and with climate change having a greater affect on our lives ‘it is what it is’?


When Covid hit us, our Mairie organised for a Mobile Shop to “serve” our village. (Sylvie normally serves folk door-to-door who live too far from “civilisation”.)
Anyway, we order stuff on Sunday night and here, in our village, it’s Thursday afternoon when about a dozen of us gather in the main carpark to collect our goodies.

Most of the fresh stuff… eggs, veg etc … is local and thus no-chemicals (which is great).
Other than that, she will seek out what we want and our favourite brands.
Frozen veg (if I must) is bought every few months.
Meat comes from the local butcher every 2 months.
Thus, after 2 years, I know what my regular bits and bobs cost me… and I can cope at the moment.
(However, one does need a freezer and the money to buy in quantity… not everyone will be this lucky.)

Hmm… went to our nearest town yesterday, as OH urgently needed some DIY stuff… and I (stupidly) decided to pop into the supermarket.
No idea how the trolley got so full, but I waved my card and the cashier had to gently point out that I’d spent more than the sans-contact limit.
Seems my idle wandering up the aisles cost me 101€.
More than double my weekly spend with Sylvie… and when I look at what I’ve bought… yes, it’s all correct… but do I really need it ??? No… of course not!

Moral of the story… stick with Sylvie and my regular orders… and don’t let me loose in a supermarket as I’m clearly incapable of resisting “offers”.

If prices rise (or perhaps I should say “as and when” prices rise) I’ll look even closer at what we spend on everything. Already NOT using electric oven more than once a week.
Water is being used carefully. Gas-hob consumption is halved due to more cold meals (but that won’t work in winter…)
Also… we no longer buy paper tissues or paper towels… that has helped the planet and saves money.
I do have a rough plan of the weekly meals, in my head, which involves using everything up, with no wastage… and that saves money too.

I’m not sure if you are referring to UK or France Tim, but as far as I am concerned in France there have been little if any price rises at the supermarket over the last couple of months or so. At that time I started to save my weekly receipts and check them after each weekly shop, and that is what I have found. Of course road fuel has gone up considerably but, as I do very little mileage these days, it doesn’t really affect me.

Some examples between 15th of March and the 17th of May:
Chocolate biscuits €1.07 - €1.07
Cafe Moulu €1.39 - €1.39
Sardines €0.58 - €0.56
Dog croquettes € 5.69 - €6.49
Rhubarb Jam €1.16 - €1.24
Marmalade €0.92 - €0.94
Lemonade €0.76 - €0.77
Water €0.18 - €0.18
Surgical necessity €11.45 - €11.45
Ice Cream €1.84 - €1.84
Butter €1.85 - €2.01
Bananas €1.80 - €1.80
5 veg €2.21 - €2.50
Thus an increase of €1.34

I am at a loss to understand the hysteria I see across the Channel, although I do admit that my electricity costs aren’t factured in. Taking just 2 months Feb/Apr '21/'22 = €374/439 = + €65 = 17%

But we have received €200 from the government to offset this and we are getting considerable help to the tune of around 90% of my wife’s home health assistance.

Brexit perhaps?


(However, one does need a freezer and the money to buy in quantity… not everyone will be this lucky.)

We only have the small freezer at the top of the fridge, used for weekly bread, ice cream, ice (for my T&T) and perhaps 1 item of meat not immediately needed. I have found long ago that a large chest freezer is more trouble than it is worth, constantly digging down to get to the oldest stuff, and I wouldn’t trust such weight on our floor anyway. :wink: :grinning:

Also I never go into a supermarket without a carefully prepared list. If it ain’t on the list, it doesn’t go in the trolley. :rofl: The list is in order of my circulation and I can whisk round inside 10 minutes depending on how many aimless souls get in my way. :roll_eyes:

PS. I forgot tonic for my T&T, gone up 1cent. :cry:


The freezer earns its keep and it’s carefully organized.
I cook when things are cheap and freeze for later. Fruit gluts are frozen for jam-making during the winter months… or for enjoying as and when. Vegetable gifts are enjoyed, with any excess frozen for later…
Like you, we do enjoy icecream…
another favourite is having lemon-cubes available whenever … marvellous.
I don’t think we could cope as well without the freezer… but every household is different.


I suppose it it is an upright version with easy to get at sliding trays, then I might concede the point, but the last time I had a chest freezer was in 1980 and it was very difficult to organise. But each to their own, as you say. :smiley:

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I found that we saved quite a bit during the first 18 months of Covid as we weren’t doing much (anything!). So that provides a buffer.

Which was used up as unfortunately our fuel tank was far emptier than we thought. We fill once a year, and hugely bad timing! I need to work out how to get our jauge to function!

Our main expense is energy, as we have the gîte as well as our house. And we put our prices up in Jan by a couple of % - which now doesn’t account for extra energy costs.

And yes, our shop has gone up. A centime here and there adds up. Also our cinema tickets are €5.50, not €4.50 - a big leap. Other things are noticeable. A restaurant we go to has stopped doing pichets of house wine, so you have to get a bottle. Which they will cork for you to take the rest home, but vastly more expensive. Nice for them tho’ as the mark-ip is 300%.

And gardening prices have risen. We grow most of our own stuff, but tomato plants were 1.40€, not €1.10

Our biggest concern is that this will mean that the strides made to get people to support higher quality animal welfare, and less industrialised products will go out the window. Just before the 2008 financial crash in the UK the various campaigns had meant that the gap had closed hugely between free range eggs and battery eggs, and battery chicken business were rushing to convert. Then the crash happened and everything stopped. France is already way behind on this, so it is a concern.

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Here really as that is where our weekly spend is.

You’ve done well if you’ve not noticed any increase in prices as the cost of basic stuff such as butter, coffee and meat has gone up considerably recently and there are now shortages of mustard and cooking oils.

Well as you can see the butter has gone up, though not the coffee and I don’t buy a lot of meat. That is at the butcher’s not the supermarket. I buy Beef Bourgignon for a slow cooked stew now and again but mainly in there it is a couple of slices of pate en croute (2 main meals for 2 with steamed fresh veg), a single slice of thick jambon blanc and, most important of all because I can’t get the quality at the supermarket, a large wedge of Cantal cheese. But, as the only consumer of that, it lasts me at least a couple of weeks. The bill there is usually between €25 and€35 but not every week and I know it is expensive but I don’t think it has gone up in the last few months.

I laugh at myself in the supermarket though get no funny looks from the cashiers as I only buy single veg items there. 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 parsnip, 1 apple, 1 tomato, 1 red pepper,1 lemon and 1 piece of caullie, white cabbage or broccoli. I absolutely refuse to fiddle about with those silly little bags and get my smaller spuds from the Thursday market, where they are much nicer anyway. :joy:

It’s a man thing David. I’m exactly the same, whereas the OH can go i to the supermarket for two or three things whilst we’re in town, and come out with a full trolley.

Ha ha, back in the day when Fran was still able to shop, though not drive, I drove her there and settled down in the seat to read my Kindle for an hour or more. She fainted there once and one of the cashiers came running out to get me. After that they used to watch her like a hawk and if she so much as sat down on a pallet of something or other just for a bit of a rest, they would go into a right tizzy. I used to joke that she was barred from even going in within an hour of closing. Not true, but I’m sure they got a bit twitchy now and then.

My comment is based on the UK as I haven’t been to France for a while but definitely severe price increases over here
However I do notice a different set of priorities in younger people The girls I work with think nothing of having a full face makeup done for a night out yet it would cost little more to buy the products and do it themselves 20 times, same for hair and nails , this would be fine but they then moan about being hard up


In the uk the price of oil for the boiler has risen enormously. Just before lockdown we paid about 40p per litre and during lockdown that went down to an incredible 22p per litre at it’s lowest. A few months ago we paid 66p a litre and just a few weeks ago it was 101p a litre. We didn’t buy at that price and are eeking out what we have left.
Izzy x

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UK energy prices have seen rapid and extreme fluctuations, as pointed out regarding heating oil above. Also food prices have been very low for some time, and any increases (to more reasonable levels) also seem to have caught people by surprise. And finally the press seem keen to amplify any story (witness the crazy situation over fuel last year) in a way that induces panic in the public.

FWIW food seems quite a bit more expensive in French supermarkets than British ones, as has always been the case.

Talking of which, I’m very happy to go shopping sans list, buying based on price and availability (I always choose the specific pieces of meat to cook, never just pick up a pack). We do write a list so we don’t miss out the odds and ends, but it’s unnecessary for the food side.

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We get the much despised Pub which can often tell me which supermarket to go to, eg Label Rouge chicken on promo, which goes into our chest freezer.
We need the large freezer for our frozen fruit, chicken stock from when we have finished with the chicken and tomato sauce etc.
Sticking to a list is good, but sometimes you see something on offer which it would be foolish not to take advantage of.
I know that there was an initial cost but our Ninja saves on electricity and it makes the best roast chicken and grills Haloumi superbly and uses less electricity.


I love my air fryer for that,much less electricity than the oven for one


Too hot still for “hot food”, but when we do have such… I hate putting it on cold plates. Thus I would put the oven on low to warm them.
Now I am getting OH ready to accept hot food on cold plates if I’m only using the hob… :rofl: :wink:

Either hot water, or the microwave. We have a plate warming setting, but only need to use it to half to get sufficiently warm plates. One and a half minutes does the job.

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For hot water I would either have to switch on the kettle or the oil boiler…
Nope, we’ve been in some resto’s where the plates have been cold… it just made us eat our food a little faster… :wink:

I can see how oil for heating would be a problem because I can see the rising price of road diesel, but happily since coming to live here in '99 we have first been on wood (apart from the first few months on electric) and then completely on air to air heat pumps which also double as air conditioners when required in summer.

Best move we ever made. I keep a sharp eye on the electricity cost each week and in the depths of winter using heat it went up to about €33, but this week is down to €11. In spite of the very warm weather I have not used the aircon. Outside doors and windows open (and internal ones firmly chocked after one slammed the other day as if there had been an explosion) keep a nice airflow thoughout. Fran needs heat so is not disturbed by hot weather and I make full use of the swimming pond when needed.

About 10 seconds under the hot water tap to warm plates or if cooking in the oven, on top of it. We only have a mini oven with a large wooden chopping board on it which warms the plates nicely without danger. I bought a single electric hot plate last year so leftovers can be warmed through with a little veg oil but most cooking is steamed in a steamer which I thought when I bought it was a slow cooker. :rofl:

Do you not have hot water on all the time?