Sunday, July 20, 2014

Food in London

Here in London, the exchange rate is not in our favor at the moment.  To know the price of something in dollars, you need to almost double the number you see on the price tag.  I have found that the difference in price is most apparent at the grocery store or at a restaurant.  During the first few weeks of my stay here, I went out to restaurants and bought a lot of take out food.  At home, I almost never do this, but when I was settling in here, it was the easiest option.  Most of the restaurants I went to were chosen based on price and were inexpensive compared to most others in the area.  The typical entrée was over £10 (around $20).  I still find it shocking that a plate of average food could be worth so much.  At take out places, the food is slightly less pricy.  My average lunch can cost around £6 or slightly under $12. 
I quickly found that buying premade food was draining my pocket money, so I decided to stock up on some basic foods from the grocery store.  I never thought groceries could be so expensive before food shopping in London.  The first grocery store I went to was Whole Foods, the closest store to my flat, which could explain the outrageous prices.  Overall everything cost a bit more than I expected it to.  A bit further down the road are Marks & Spencer and Tesco, other grocery stores with more reasonable price points.  Their selections also fit my needs better, and include things that your generic store would carry, as opposed to Whole Foods, which has more exotic choices.
The easiest way to conserve money here is to make your own meals.  It is difficult to estimate how much you need to buy each time you go shopping because the foods here do not contain preservatives and go bad pretty quickly.  Shopping has become a part of the daily routine in order to avoid buying too much, which will end up being a waste of food and money.  It is definitely different from what I’m used to, but because it helps me save my spending money for other things.

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