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please help with my shopping bill. desperate housewife!!

(43 Posts)
bumbleandbumble Tue 10-Jun-14 13:20:56

I only have maybe £50 a week for a family of four...most times less.
Please help me save on shopping...I just cant seem to do it. Maybe just food, but not when I add loo roll,washing powder,shampoo etc.

What are your top tips? Who really has the cheapest prices?

Note..I have no car, a broken oven that I cant afford to fix, and I can barely afford my oyster card, so I cant go too far to the big bulk discount shops.

WipsGlitter Tue 10-Jun-14 13:24:31

Do you meal plan?
Go down a brand, so if you eat finest, go to regular, or to basics. I had to get stuff last week and only went for basics stuff - spaghetti 20p, pasta 25p, soup 20p, mixed tinned veg 17p etc. If you really plan and it was short term you could really save some money.

Go for own brand washing stuff or what's of offer, check the labels on the shelves for price per litre or gram or whatever.

If it's something you use a lot and there's a multibuy get it.

annielostit Tue 10-Jun-14 13:53:24

Its hard when you have to stretch a budget but with a little care it can be done.

Do you have the discount supermarkets near you - aldi/lidl.
I find no difference in the wash capsule to persil and the dishwasher tabs, but loads cheaper. The 9 pack of toilet rolls I find good value and the shower wash.
Food wise, you need to make things from scratch and stretch what you can buy.

A 500g pack of mince can do 2 days dinner 200g for a pasta- onion carrot tomatoes herbs/puree and lots of 20p pasta.make a cottage pie with the 300g mince left. A chicken can be roasted and use the breast with veggies and roasties, then strip the legs and bones to mix into a savoury rice dish or soup. Can you see where Im going?

The 3 for £10 can also be useful at the main supermarkets as is looking on the reduced shelves.
Hope this helps a little.x

Grumpyoldblonde Tue 10-Jun-14 13:54:55

Hi, I agree that value or basics pasta is just fine, same with biscuits, tinned tomatoes and many more items.
It would be helpful if you gave us an idea of what shops you can use, Savers is often great for household stuff as is B & M and Wilkinsons.
Also give an idea of what kind of things you and your family like to eat, no good us advising on cheaper meat cuts if you are all vegetarians!
As for shampoo, basics all the way, you wash it straight off, conditioner I won't scrimp on, same with facial wash, cheapy cheap, moisturiser a little more.
Really cheap loo paper is for me a false economy apart from Sainsbury basics 6 for £1.98 (not the thin 4 pack) but the 6 pack is great quality.

PeterParkerSays Tue 10-Jun-14 14:14:32

HomeBargains, if you have one in walking / bus distance have good cheap tissues, in the navy blue boxes, and good loo roll in 18 roll packs with a carrying handle. They're also good for dried pasta and porridge oats for a cheap breakfast.

Farm Foods are good for bread, which they have on offer, and frozen veg. They don't just sell ready meals.

I would also see if you can get a slow cooker, either as a birthday present if your birthday's come up, or cheap off Facebook or gumtree. It costs little to run, can be run off a timer so they can cook whilst you're at work / on the school run without burning and make nice meals out of cheap cuts. Have stew one day and add more liquid for soup the next. It would reduce your reliance on your hob.

What's wrong with your oven? Can you use it at all, is the grill separate? We may be able to give you some other ideas if we know what cooking options you have.

Also, do you get money weekly - can you make it £100 for a fortnight for 4 people, rather than £50 for one week, for example, which would allow you to bulk buy larger size packs e.g. freezer packs of meat, to spread out over the fortnight?

bumbleandbumble Tue 10-Jun-14 20:37:16

My oven is completely broken. Won't turn on....so lots of bake ahead things dont work. Can't roast whole chicken, make lasagna or pie's or my own granola/cereal bars.

I get money weekly, its never a lot. I have Savers, and Lidl. We do eat meat but not a lot as we are so poor at the moment.

I am already using Lidl washing up and loo roll...but my other problem is a very sensitive child with exczema, who can't tolerate any cheap shampoo or conditioner or sun cream, or many washing powders on offer.

I have two toddlers, so I also struggle with them always wanting snacks. Any ideas? Its also hard to buy bulk as I have to carry the stuff home with a pushchair and screaming children.

Rikalaily Tue 10-Jun-14 20:46:38

You can do whole chickens/lasagne etc in a slowcooker, do you have one? If you don't ask on local free to you/freecycle sites or facebook selling pages where you could pick one up cheap.

CremeEggThief Tue 10-Jun-14 20:50:20

Try to spread your cleaning stuff and toiletries out, so that you only have to get one of these per week or so.

Isn't plain water meant to be better for eczema sufferers than shower gel or bubble bath? Could you restrict proper hair washing to once or twice a week? And baths every two or three nights?

Would the supermarket own brand non-bio powders be worth a try? I can get approximately 15 washes out of the £1.50 box.

Snacks: apples, bananas, carrot sticks, oat cakes, cheese cubes, wholemeal toast with peanut butter, marmite and jam, hard boiled eggs, home made muffins and cakes occasionally, all spring to mind.

Also, come and join us on the frugal thread. You would be more than welcome smile.

bluepostdepot Tue 10-Jun-14 20:53:18

Hi OP, depending on where you live , your income and age of your DCs you may be eligible for this-

www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/united-kingdom/eat-sleep-learn-play

Might be worth looking into as they may be able to provide you with a new cooker.

Passthecake30 Tue 10-Jun-14 22:30:02

Can you get any of the creams on prescription? My dd gets oilatum, acqueos, double base and hydrocortisone. Not sun lotion or shampoo however, but I've never asked

littlegreengloworm Tue 10-Jun-14 22:38:55

Bulk out dinners like mince with lots of lentils and carrots

The Xxl deals are great in lidl but understand they are heavy like the huge bag of rice

Silcox base is cheap from chemists and good for excema - maybe ask pharmacist for generic products that will be cheaper than e45 etc

Eggs are really filling

Google microwave sponge cakes

I would definitely contact a charity about a cooker

serin Tue 10-Jun-14 23:55:13

Asda's own brand 1 litre white bubble bath really helps my ds's eczema.

Sounds mad but it works even better than oilatum for him. It's about 70p.

Can't imagine life without an oven though sad

helensburgh Wed 11-Jun-14 00:07:51

Lentils and other pulses can bulk out

Asda have £1 delivery slots

Soups are filling

Malt loaf firvsbackd

Rascalls3 Wed 11-Jun-14 00:12:37

Have a look at A Girl Called Jack website. Really inspirational. She had to feed herself and her small boy on £10 per week and has a lot of fab recipes, many child friendly. Most of the ones I have tried can be cooked on the hob.
I have recently returned to using washing powder ( I was using liquid tabs) and have found you can get away with 1/3 to 1/2 the manufacturer's recommended quantity. I don't use fabric conditioner. Try and use the bare minimum shampoo/conditioner etc rather than buying the cheapest brand if they don't agree with your son. We use quite a lot of the value/ basic ranges and find them to be more than adequate.
Wish I could be more helpful.

annielostit Wed 11-Jun-14 06:48:26

For the skin problem use non bio washing powders and no softener, oh has eczema and dermatologist advices this.x

deepbluetr Wed 11-Jun-14 06:57:31

I visit supermarkets in the evening- I was in ASDA on Friday last week around 9pm and the bargains were amazing.

I bought

bags of salad- 1p
5Kg potatoes -10p
coleslaw- 1p
bags carrots- 10p
5 pork chops- 20p
4 lamb chops 10p

I put the meat straight in the freezer whan I get home.

I also buy basics baby shampoo, detergent etc. Much cheaper than branded varieties.

lilacclery Wed 11-Jun-14 08:40:23

check out this blog, an Irish mother who had to feed her family for €70 a week, also has young children so family friendly meals
wholesomeireland.com/

JaneParker Wed 11-Jun-14 09:08:49

You could try not using shampoos and conditioners. There is good information on line about the pros and cons and if you don't use them then you won't have to buy them and you mention they are one of your more expensive items.

We just drink tap water don't buy things like milk, tea, coffee, squash, alcohol, fruit juice.That saves quite a bit and is much better for you too!

Have you tried on line searches to fix the oven? It may just need a fuse changed although don't do anything to it that might electrocute you!
Freecycle often has completely free ovens although you might need to collect it.

CremeEggThief Wed 11-Jun-14 09:18:12

Just a thought- if you rent, your landlord is liable for the cost of fixing or replacing your oven.

Revised Wed 11-Jun-14 09:31:05

I dilute shampoo and shower gel etc before I let DC or DH near it. Ditto washing up liquid. It should be perfectly possible for them to realise that you only really need a tiny bit but they use loads. We can get through a whole shower gel a week shock

Agree with Rascalls too. I buy Lidl washing liquid but you don't need to use anywhere near as much as they (or other manufacturers) recommend.

For snacks, I just stopped buying them. There's usually fruit available but I don't have to buy that much because often they decide that if there's "only" apples they're not that hungry after all. Other than that there's toast. An added bonus there is that DS's teenage skin has really cleared up. And I don't buy drinks except tea and milk

And meal planning is amazing. Hard to understand exactly why it works TBH (far less waste I suppose) but the savings I made when I started were huge.

if you have lidl nearby use it. the meats are cheaper there. as abovea big pack of mince is a couple of £, passata is 29p, buy onions, carrots and peppers (if you have a market nearby might work out cheaper than lidl. have you already got dried herbs and spices? if so easy to add flavour, plenty of mixed herbs or/and dried garlic to the passata and cook for as long s possible on slow heat to improve the flavour. I grate my carrots, onions and if I have them in courgettes into the pan and sautee them off for 20 minutes, the grated veg improve the flavour and make it locely and thick, you can have that without the mince and its still filling and delicious.

I look to see what meats are on offer and meal plan around those. The sausgaes are ok in lidl, so you can do sausage casserole on the hob, brown of sausages, add tin of lentils, beans, sliced carrots, mushrooms, onion etc. you can buy a packet mix for the sauce or again my favourite passata but adding a tin of chopped tomatoes and a stock pot or a cube, serve with mash or rice. if you can addd chorizo or salami it gives it a really rich flavour and best with rice.

I spend approx. £70 a week t aldi for 5 of us, including packed lunches for 3 and my boys are teens so adult size portions. that includes cleaning and laundry products and most toiletries, usually a 4 pack of beer and a bottle of wine and a lot of lemonade and juice cartons, so I reckon with careful shopping you could easily get that down to £50 in lidl.

specialsubject Wed 11-Jun-14 10:40:01

if you are in a Tesco delivery area and can be at home midweek, you can get a delivery for £1 as long as you spend £25. They aren't the cheapest for everything but for own brand staples such as tinned tomatoes, beans of various varieties, bread (good seeded wholemeal for £1 a big loaf), pasta, rice (big bags) etc etc they are the same as Aldi.

bumbleandbumble Wed 11-Jun-14 20:07:57

thanks everyone. I have to pack lunches in september and I am dreading it... suggestions please.

My landlord is a family member who doesnt live in the country...in exchange for extraordinarily low rent, we have to fix everything ourselves. The oven is actually really expensive smeg (we didnt buy it) and apparently they dont make the parts anymore and its expensive to fix?? I am really upset about it...anyone with oven fixing guys that dont cost a fortune...please let me know.

I stopped the delivery, because my card is always negative and its hard to keep track when they actually put the charges through..cash only is easier and what I get given from my husbands work.

I appreciate the cooking suggestions...I already make 101 varieties of pasta sauces and stews with rice...
I don't know why I cant get my lidl bills down, I suppose I like to get the nicer things?

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 11-Jun-14 20:19:16

Do you know exactly whats wrong with the oven? I have a halogen oven & I love it.

CremeEggThief Wed 11-Jun-14 21:20:09

If your DC are going to school, all Infants children will be entitled to a free school meal from September.

How annoying about the oven!

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