How do I cut down on my weekly food bill - its ridiculous the amount Im spening

(42 Posts)
hulahoopsilove Thu 24-Oct-13 11:35:16

there are 3 of us me, hubby and DS age 8. Im doing SW so Im eating alot of fresh veg, fruit, salad stuff plus my DS love vegs and cucumber (go through 2 cucumbers a weeksmile)

Im spending average £80 in supermarket (Morisons, or Asda) then another £20 in local shops (sainsburys) in the week so over £100 a week on 3 of us!!! Crazy dont you think?

SparklyFucker Thu 24-Oct-13 12:13:27

Quality fruit and veg is expensive, I assume you mean things like out of season berries or exotic fruits like pineapples and melons, and bagged salad leaves? Things like apples bananas, grapes, cucumber, frozen peas, carrots, sweetcorn, whole lettuces, radishes, beetroot etc are not very expensive.

Can you give us a btter idea of your weekly breakdown so we can give some targetted ideas?

fuzzpig Thu 24-Oct-13 12:19:52

Agree fresh stuff is expensive. Worth it sometimes as things like fresh exotic fruit/berries really make me and DD happy (there's a reason mum used to call me fruitbat grin)

But it's worth supplementing with frozen fruit (eg for smoothies) and veg to bulk out meals more cheaply. And tinned fruit is good if you get in juice not syrup

Mrspebble Thu 24-Oct-13 12:25:21

Could you cut meat out on two night a week.. Veggie pasta etc.

I would go to a local market and buy seasonal veg or bulk out meals with carrots etc.

Are you wasting food? Could you go for non branded cereal etc. grow rocket leaves at home.

Aldi and lidl do super six deals .. They are brilliant. I also use frozen peppers for hot meals.

Shenanagins Thu 24-Oct-13 12:25:33

Have you tried making soup? It is very cheap and a good way to get your quota of veggies.

Mrsambition Thu 24-Oct-13 12:57:57

Yep that's a lot. I second the frozen fruit & veg options, they are just as good & much cheaper. Try own brands, much cheaper & also just as good. I substitute lots if things and my lot never noticed.

Also reduce the amount if meat your using or the type your buying (we did). I mostly buy sausages, bacon & frying steak each week & occasionally chicken. These are much cheaper & are very versatile.

No junk food it's racks up the bill & leaves no room for temptation if your changing your diet habits.. That's a winner for me.

Freeze lots, meal plan & never throw away food that's left over. Use it the next day! My bill is tiny every week now. Hope that helps smile

hulahoopsilove Thu 24-Oct-13 12:59:53

no Im not buying out of season fruit/produce....its more veg rather than fruit atm... for instance my DS doesnt really like meat but adores veg and as Im on SW diet where veges are super free foods we are getting through loads. Also Ive noticed that with DS and hubby both having packed lunches everyday again this takes a fair amount of the bill up eg. rolls/bread or wraps, yogharts, crisps, veg sticks, choc bar

I buy and get through lots of carrots, brocolli, butternut squash, cauliflower, corgettes a week plus I must admit we do have meat every evening ie chicken (I buy free range rather than the "cheap" supermarket version) and I buy steak mince as again dont want to compremise on chep meat.

I think perhaps I need to: Use what is in my freeze and cupboards, meal plan more and ONLY buy what I need for these meals.

A do buy non-branded cereal already and supermarket own brand a fair bit.

hulahoopsilove Thu 24-Oct-13 13:02:36

gosh so sorry for awful spelling, am rushing!
*cheap meat

I buy lots of different types of veges as DS really does enjoy and eats them all as doesnt really like meat much

ivykaty44 Thu 24-Oct-13 13:03:40

lidl or aldi fruit and veg is usually much cheaper than the larger chains.

take the amount out in cash that you need and take that with you smile if it goes over you will need to put something back.

I freezer & store cupboard eat the last week in the month and avoid the supermarket.

lentils are a good buy with a few veg in the back of the fridge you can make a lovely dhal

AnySunbathingFucker Thu 24-Oct-13 13:04:06

Try Aldi instead?

ivykaty44 Thu 24-Oct-13 13:07:03

yogharts, crisps, stop them - you should only be having crisps once or twice a week at most and same with yogurt, it is high sugar food.

Make a fruit cake instead of the yogurt, crisps and chocolate bar
easy fruit cake yes it has sugar and fat but it is not three items filled with sugar and fat and salt and additives and preservatives

sonlypuppyfat Thu 24-Oct-13 13:08:33

It all depends on how much time you have got to do your shopping.I go all over the place, I mix up Aldi, Farmfoods and Lidl and sometimes Asda I find I have cut down a lot on my food bill and we eat very well homecooked meal everyday and a hot pudding or nice icecream. There is 5 of us two big teenagers I bet I spend a little over £100 I could probably do a lot less but I like a full fridge and cupboard.

ilovemountains Thu 24-Oct-13 13:09:19

I spend more than that, as do most of my.friends. Food prices have gone up massively. So no, what you are spending I don't think is crazy.

ilovemountains Thu 24-Oct-13 13:10:14

Yoghurt is an excellent source of calcium.

PinkBerryGuy Thu 24-Oct-13 13:11:59

I think you should meal plan and go to Lidl, there is 5 of us, 2 adults, 1 12 yr old, 1 9 yr old and a 7 month old and we spend £40 on "big shop" then maybe anoth 5-£10 on emergency milk or bread through the week.

We do meal plan though and buy just what we need. Also, Lidl custard creams, big pack for 35p.... they're bloody gorgeous as well. ; )

littlegem12 Thu 24-Oct-13 13:12:37

Aldi meat is all red tractor so deffo to British standards and cheap.
Second what others have said about freezing and frozen veg very good.
I think every family needs egg an chips night (with fry light on a green day in your case) and jacket potato night atm mrspebble has a good point 2 nights vegetarian is like saving on a weeks worth of meat cost every month.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 24-Oct-13 13:13:34

I don't think that's a lot, we spend proportionately more for 4 of us - our bill is about £140 for a main shop and then a top up of between £15 and £30 depending on what is needed.

If you can't afford it though then obviously you need to cut back somehow.

Can you look at some cheaper cuts of meat? I use chicken thighs and pig cheeks regularly

ivykaty44 Thu 24-Oct-13 13:16:27

watercress in with lettuce in a sandwich is a very good source of calcium and it doesn't have added sugar

hulahoopsilove Thu 24-Oct-13 13:17:05

I am going to go to Aldi tomorrow I think as I dont have a lidl near me. Im going to go through the freezer today also and plan meals with what I have in there, also my cupboard which isnt alot midn you.

As my DS doesnt drink milk, eat cheese and isnt a great meat eater I always give him yogharts as a boost of calcium and protein

If you don't want to compromise on the quality of your meat, perhaps compromise on how often you eat it -- try switching to every other night for a week and see how it goes.

Also the BBC have a good seasonal food calculator so you can see exactly what should be cheapest:

CambridgeBlue Thu 24-Oct-13 13:21:15

I really sympathise with this - there are also 3 of us (but I've got an 11 year old DD) and I am loosely following WW so try to eat as healthily as possible. I budget about £70 a week (that's for a very basic shop with very few 'treats' and all household stuff) but nearly always go over - I know I could probably save if I shopped around but who has the time?!

It seems to me that to tick the magic boxes of cheap, nutritious/diet friendly and something that everyone will eat it is just about impossible! Stuff that's better for you e.g. lean mince is much pricier and the amount I spend on fruit and veg is ridiculous.

I'm always at a loss re lunch boxes too - I don't want to any of us to eat too much high fat/sugar stuff but I don't have time to bake that often and really run out of ideas. I don't think the occasional treat is a problem but I do tend to resort to yoghurts or crisps more often than I should.

hulahoopsilove Thu 24-Oct-13 13:21:50

I always though frozen veg was expensive?

Thanks for advice though really helpful and thought provoking, I do think what I currently spend is alot for 3 of us. Def going to try 2 nights no thinking veg curry (gosh veges again Im obsessed!!) or omlette and jacket pot using leftover cheese etc... and maybe beans and eggs on toast or something

Artandco Thu 24-Oct-13 13:25:53

Yogurt, crisps, choc bar in lunch... That's just snacks to me and not lunch. Sandwich, fruit/ veg, and yogurt should be fine.

We spend that so I don't think it's much especially if getting free range/ organic meat etc

Babelange Thu 24-Oct-13 13:28:15

I think it sounds a lot if you are not including cleaning products, toiletries or alcohol. Goodness, your 8 year old sounds like he has an appetite! Do you given him lots of choice on his plate?

The only thing that helped me was making sure that stocks ran down completely before shopping; literally these days you can open the fridge the day before the shopping comes and find virtually nothing to eat (usually meaning pasta for supper), whereas come shopping day it will be stuffed to the gunnels!

I make one cake/bake/flapjack to last the week and buy the 'on offer' chocolate bars (eg. Rocky Road, Kit Kats) for pack-ups. I never buy 'ordinary' biscuits. Apples & bananas and the odd lemon are regular purchases - I then buy 1 other 'exotic' fruit for a weekend pudding eg. a pineapple, mango, depending on what's in season.

Also, barring a pint of milk or the missing magic ingredient for a certain dish (eg. sour cream, herbs), there should be absolutely no topping up - it's too tempting!

Thatsinteresting Thu 24-Oct-13 13:28:47

Look at your portion control of expensive food. We vegetarian so for us a meat substitute sausage costs a lot (when on offer 6 for £1.50) compared to meat sausages. We're a family of 2 adults and 2 yound dc but 4 sausages will feed us. I cook them, cut into thirds making 12 pieces then put 2 pieces in 6 individual Yorkshire puggings. 2 for each adult, 1 for each child.

SW teaches good healthy eating habits so unless your dh does a very manual job don't let him snd your ds continue with your old eating patterns. Cut out the cridps and chocolate everyday. My dh has sandwiches, a yogurt and 3 pieces of fruit. Dd has 1 piece of fruit, some salad or corn on the cob (Buy frozen, cook that morning), a roll, yougurt and a tiny homemade treat. Chocolate brownies, jam tarts, gingerbread men, cookies and jellies. Just a couple of mouthfuls to round off her meal (I'd rather she didn't have this but I feel bad knowing she's sat with children having crisps and biscuits everyday).

Apples, oranges, bananas, pears, carrots, frozen veg are all cheap. Courgettes are middling and butternut squash is, comparatively, expensive. Give up a whole evening to doing some meal planning. It'll take ages but you'll get better at it and see the results of your bill coming down straight away.

bluebayou Thu 24-Oct-13 13:29:24

Start going to Aldi & Lidl , amazingly inexpensive . , AND good quality .

funnyossity Thu 24-Oct-13 13:31:01

Cambridge Blue did you read the reports this week that perhaps saturated fat isn't as bad as we have been led to believe?

So some cheaper cuts of meat such as belly pork could be a good meal choice, you would have to be careful on portion size but fat is satiating (is that the right word?!)

MrsPnut Thu 24-Oct-13 13:32:52

Frozen veg is brilliant because you don't waste any of it. I usually have in peas, sweetcorn, brussel sprouts, chopped onions, sliced peppers, mixed veg, casserole veg, mashed potato and spinach, and butternut squash.

I also buy frozen garlic, chilli, ginger, parsley, mint and coriander - I can make so many meals with just these frozen ingredients.

kawaii Thu 24-Oct-13 13:39:17

For three of us I struggle to keep it undo £120. That includes everything though.

Cleaning products, no meat except one organic chicken which is about £8 and lots of veg. Plus me and dd are gluten and dairy free so have to buy quite a bit of free from which is very expensive. I hardly buy any fruit as it costs so much now.

I've tried Aldi and don't think the vegetables are great and no free from stuff. But I think you could definitely save on things like nappies, crisps and washing products.

Possibly do a split shop, buy what you can in Aldi then pick up the rest in another supermarket. Of course then the petrol might off set the savings depending on location!

Littleredsquirrel Thu 24-Oct-13 13:40:14

It sounds quite a lot to me. We spend less and we are a family of four. How are your stock cupboards? Once your pantry supplies are in order then shopping is generally cheaper because for example you're not buying a whole jar of cumin just to use one pinch in a recipe.

I have found that value pasta is fine, as are value tinned tomatoes, value fruit juice, value butter, value kidney beans, value chickpeas, cheapest milk. Buy expensive things like cheese when its on offer. Cheese keeps for ages and will also freeze. Shop the offers rather than going in with a set idea of what you must buy. I walk down the middle aisle first and pick up any offers, go straight to the bargain section to pick up anything reduced (sundays are great) and then adjust my meal plan around that.

Frozen veg is great since far less goes to waste and it has far more nutritional value since the nutrients and vitamins are sealed in.

Buy the cheap fruit, (bananas and apples NOT grapes and berries)

Freeze (and USE) EVERY leftover, from a handful of berries going squishy (fine in a crumble), a dry bit of cheese (good in risotto), a black banana (peel freeze and use in banana loaf) to a bit of leftover garlic bread (whizz in food mixer, bung in a bag and use as a topping on pasta bake).

Salad is expensive, can you grow your own leaves on the window sill?

funnyossity Thu 24-Oct-13 13:42:12

OP Just saw you like free-range chicken: we tried Aldi's last week and it was good and I'll get it again. (It was £5-odd and bigger than the last I bought elsewhere for over £7)

Littleredsquirrel Thu 24-Oct-13 13:47:19

try a cheap main meal each week:

pasta bake (cheap as chips even with a handful of chicken thrown in)
risotto (yum - rice, stock handful of chicken and a little boursin cheese)
quiche (three eggs, some milk, a bit of pastry and whatever is leftover in your fridge)

all come in at a couple of quid and will feed all of you.

souperb Thu 24-Oct-13 14:03:28

With the yogurts in packed lunches - are you buying individual portion-sized pots? The larger pots of plain yogurt are often better value. Decant some into a small lock and lock-style container and add apple puree/banana/honey/cinnamon/raisins/smarties etc. to make it a bit more exciting. Anything wrapped up in individual portions is bound to be more expensive than a big box/tub of it, and not only are you being cheap and miserly but you are also saving the whales, man.

Frozen veg is good value and you only use what you need. Or see if you have a good value market, grocer or ethnic supermarket nearby.

What are you buying in your top up shop? I am trying to lose the top up shop as it is my downfall every time - and DH is a thousand times worse. A breadmaker is helping and we don't use much milk as a family now. But fresh stuff doesn't always last and our online delivery often misses something and nearly always breaks eggs.

SunnyL Thu 24-Oct-13 14:15:14

Go to Lidl. We spend £40 a week for 2.5 of us and eat lots of meat, fresh veg and the odd bottle of wine. Avoid brand name goods and go for the imitation stuff. It's just as good and very tasty.

Cat98 Thu 24-Oct-13 14:25:36

We're the same op!
There's me, dh, a 5 year old with a big appetite and a cat.
Our weekly shop (one main shop, one top up) has just REDUCED to about £90 p/w after I made a few changes.

I meal plan, we eat veggie twice a week, I have cut down portion sizes of meat when I cook it as I too prefer to buy British/free range. We were spending more. I don't know how I could get it down any more really. Unless we compromised on meat quality.
That is also including most toiletries/cleaning products/cat litter and things though, not just food.

hulahoopsilove Thu 24-Oct-13 14:39:36

ok Im going to try the frozen veg route and see if anyone notices. I must go through the freezer tonight though, needs defrosting also so I think rest of this week and next week I will meal plan from it and the cupboards and use up everything then start a fresh by meal planning, shopping at Aldi and also doing a couple of meat free days and also making a little extra and freezing - I will report back in a month lol to say how much Ive saved each week smile quite looking forward to it actually!!!!!!!!!!

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 24-Oct-13 14:48:08

If you buy a the mirror today it has a £5 off £40 spend voucher, plus some half price vouchers.

Aldi is brilliant for veg, there's lots of stew type veggies on it at the moment. I cut & freeze veg when it's cheap. Even courgettes freeze really well.

KitWillDoodle Thu 24-Oct-13 14:50:19

Have friends that swear by meal planning, I have sat down to do it a couple of times and, quite frankly, couldn't be bothered! Couple of things I've done that have made a difference, frozen broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts. Also I try not to buy bags of lettuce leaves, the amount of half used bags I was throwing out was shameful! We have an egg and beans night every now and again and actually have a good old laugh about how very 70's it feels. Also veggie risottos I find are a great way to go without meat every now and again. Ooh, another winner, massive batch of 'hidden' vegetable pasta sauce, bang, portioned in the freezer, god send on a night when you can't think straight about cooking! But def think trying some frozen veg might be a start.

funnyossity Thu 24-Oct-13 14:52:04

I also shop at a local Tesco and I find it cheaper than Aldi when they have special offers on. So packs of apples are 2 for 1 this week and last week I stocked up when their baking supplies were 3 for 2. Those things are predictable too, the baking section does it every October for the christmas cake bakers I guess!

I've stopped getting much fruit and veg at Aldi as I ended up throwing some of it away, maybe that's just my local store. I do look over the weekly offers but am wary now. The fairtrade bananas have always been ok.

CambridgeBlue Thu 24-Oct-13 15:20:08

Thanks funny I hadn't seen that - I love belly pork so I will believe it's good for me smile

Littleredsquirrel Thu 24-Oct-13 15:20:30

Post a list of what you have in your cupboards and freezer Hula and we'll help you use it up effectively and also help you to get a good stock cupboard list set up so that can buy the things you need when they are on offer.

Special offers are your friend!

dementedma Sun 27-Oct-13 21:23:31

Agree to meal planning. It makes a big difference and stops lot of waste. I take out the weekly budget in cash and keep it in an envelope along with the receipts from any spend, so I can see where it has gone.Topping up with the debit card is fatal!
Aldi is great for cheap household and cleaning products. They also do the best Greek yoghurt, nice inexpensive wine, good cold meats, and nice brioche thingies.

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