Not only that, but whilst spending below the UK household monthly average food bill. Oh, and while maintaining a healthy weight and sustaining a physically active lifestyle including 5 workout a week.
And no. This isn’t your ‘best job on the planet’ job advert where you get sold on a do nothing but lay on your back in the tropical sun whilst being fed grapes by mermaids. This thing here includes a healthy amount of effort as it should.
I recently took an abrupt U turn from the highway to heart attack and towards healthier habits, like switching off meat and flicking on a more organic plant based whole foods diet, and whilst doing so obliterated my cholesterol levels and regained my health. But something else significant happened whilst I was at it and which captured my attention. Not only did I now have perfect blood readings and am more fit (and handsome!) than ever before. My monthly food and drinks bill was down. And I mean big time.
And ain’t that strange I found myself wondering. Shouldn’t a tons better quality and far more healthy diet make me spend a ton more too? Isn’t health and deliciousness reserved to Nobleman alone leaving the rest of us folk in the gutters munching on Burger King? This really made me think long and hard. And soon lead to my obsessive personality traits taking over as I transformed once again from Dr Healthy to Mr Kill Bill. It was the grocery bill I was now after with murder in my eyes!
To kick off the whole war against my food bill I took a quick virtual ride to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) website to load on ammo. Learning quickly that the average British household spends ca £260 every month on groceries. On average this spend would amount to £3,085 per annum and £30,857 over 10 years. Pretty close to the average UK annual salary. 12 months a slave out of every ten years just to fuel up!
How much was my new diet costing me? And what were everyone else eating then?
Pretty confident I could eat and drink both healthier and cheaper than the average household I took another dive into the data. The average British guy, as by now I’ve learned, despite of his well-intended beliefs or completely delusional mind, was consuming 3,119 calories which is 619 calories more than the NHS recommendation, whilst the average British lady was munching on 2,392 calories which is 392 calories more than is enough. The all-time favourite sources of extra sand in the fuel tank were carefully sourced – according to the ONS – by the average household from fats (up 13.6% since 2018), cakes (up 8%), cheese (up 12%) and alcohol (up 8%).
I sat down to run the numbers. My spend on 3 home-made organic predominantly plant based whole food meals per day plus 3 snacks whereby I get there or about the NHS recommended amount of ca 2,000 calories and the required nutrients was ca £4 per person per day for our 2 person household. This amounts to exactly £240 monthly spend on food alone. That’s £20 less than the average UK household.
Interestingly according to the ONS the average household in the UK spends £72.33 per month on alcohol, which amounts to £868 per annum and when calculated over 10 years £8,680. I looked at my bills again. It was on slightly less, and namely £51.99 per month on average, or £623.88 per annum and £6,238.80 over 10 years. Here too I wasn’t doing too badly against the average. But I’m no average I thought to myself. There must be room for improvement here too!
A quick look on the web again and I found the cost of a self-brewed pint should not be more than just a few pennies per pint depending on the type of beer that was brewed. With a pint in the average London pub costing around £5 this would translate over time to significant savings. Not to mention I would be in control of the quality and purity of my organic beer production.
Back to the numbers I run. The answers were mind blowing.
Savings on alcohol were easiest to calculate:
Brewing 40 pints of beer shouldn’t cost me much more than £10. The price of 2 pints of lager in a pub on the high street. If my household consumes say 4 pints per week, this would mean ca £0.88 per week, or £3.52 per month. Which means practically obliterating my alcohol bill and the saving of £48.47 per month, or £581.64 per year and over 10 years £5,816.40. Needless to say I immediately bought the River Cottage Handbook on Booze and ordered the necessary kit. No more industrial grade beer and cider in this house. From now on it’s the Sabbatilife boutique delicacies only!
Savings on food were just as much intriguing.
By giving up fish and dairy entirely, which predominantly means a reduction from a serving of fish once a week to zero, and going full PBWF, I could save more than just my arteries and namely £46 per month, or £552 per annum, and over 10 years £5,520.
If I could also expand my back yard victory garden, from its current production levels of organic spices and veggies to say ranges of produce worth at least £10 per week – which should be relatively simple – I would be saving an additional ca £40 per month or £480 per annum, which amounts to £4,800 over 10 years. Yup, you guessed it, off I went to plant some seeds and since the days spring has sprung and the season is on!
These monthly savings will put my monthly cost of food and alcohol at £157 which is £155 less than the average spend per household on these items, all whilst I live in London which famously is not only the most expensive city in the UK but one of the most expensive cities on the planet, and whilst eating organic PBWF diet and washing it all down with organic pints of DIY lager, bringing my overall savings over 10 years to £16,136.
Once these annual savings are proportionately invested each month of each year in cheap Vanguard index funds, and with the average S&P 500 8% historical rate of return, this sum would at least in theory translate over 10 years to £28,346 and with compound interest over 22 years, which is when I will qualify to state pension at the age of 65, it would already amount to £106,010.80.
Cheers to that !!
My next challenge – and which I’m already exploring full on – is to kill this bill even further and bring the daily cost down from £4 to £3 per person per day. Indeed there is still huge room for improvement and which I can not let go unchallenged. This little garden of Eden project health, will be continuously under construction. Our current victory garden is modest in size and at the moment is mainly providing us spices and so can accommodate a ton more. It will play a major role moving forward. Equally our home brew is only just getting started. We haven’t even designed our Sabbatilife Boutique logo yet! But more on that another time.
And yes my friends. The extra £134 in savings is already on direct debit to my Vanguard account. And already now this one Dr Healthy is cruising again on the highway like a Lord to Organic Town. (Obviously not after drinking his home-made organic lager!). And laughing… Uncontrollably laughing all the way to the bank baby. £106,010 pounds wealthier!
Just in case you were wondering, here’s an example of what a day on £4 looks like:
Breakfast for 2:
Organic oatmeal 70g
Water 1/2 l
Goji berries 10g
Oat milk 1/2 l
Chia seeds 8g
Calories per serving 330
Cost per serving: 70p
Lunch. Hummus, Salad, Chapatti – 4 servings.
– Organic chickpeas 200g
– 1/2 onion
– 2 cloves garlic
– Tahini 140g
– Olive oil extra virgin 10g
– Lemon juice 20g
– Salt 1 teaspoon
– Soda carb 1 teaspoon
– Cumin 1/2 teaspoon
Cost per serving of hummus ready to be served ~70p.
Calories per serving ~180.
– Organic whole meal flour 250g
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– Electricity for fryingCost per 1 chapatti ~5 p.
Calories per chapatti ~ 80
(We made 11 chapattis all together from 250g flour)
Salad for 2.
– 2 small carrots
– 1/2 red onion
– 1 serving baby spinach
– 1/2 lemon
– salt and pepper
– seed mix for salad
Cost per serving: ~£1
Calories per serving ~80
Kale bake and salad and tahini leftovers from lunch:
Price per serving 30p
Calories per serving 150 calories
Freshly squeezed organic orange juice
Cost per serving 30p
Calories per serving 55
Banana. Cost £0.13. Calories ca 100.
Peach. Cost £0.10. Calories 70.
Pint of home brewed lager. Cost £.22. Calories 200.
Coffee & tea /pea protein powder /Other energy boosters: £0.5.
Calories in a tablespoon of peanut butter (before lifting weights) 120. Calories in a serving of vegan protein powder (after lifting weights) 159. Calories in home-made carrot cake 200.