Need to cut my shopping bill- give me ideas and recipes please!

(45 Posts)
flipflopper Tue 21-May-13 13:15:24

This week I have spent £150 on my online shop at Tesco. I thought online would work out cheaper, but it doesn't seem to have done.

There are 5 of us- youngest is 8m old, so am buying nappies, wipes, extra food just for her.

I know I am spending too much on food, I love food and cooking nice things, I will buy little extra things that bump up the cost if it is needed for a recipe. I would like to try and spend less next week and I want to cook simple, cheaper meals. Must be with meat, unfortunately, as ds very fussy and a non veg eater!

I also seem to spend a fortune on packed lunch stuff, I cant believe how much money I am spending out!

HeySoulSister Tue 21-May-13 13:25:17

Why does it 'have' to be meat tho? You are prob over spending on that alone

Locketjuice Tue 21-May-13 13:30:14

No help but I have meat everynight don't like a dinner without it blush

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 21-May-13 13:30:56

Why is the baby having its own food too? Do you meal plan before you shop? This has been the best way to cut down on cost for me. Also if you have a picky eater, I wouldn't pander to it. Here the food gets served and if you are hungry you eat it, if not, well there's nothing else coming your way.

How about

Roast ham dinner
Potato and ham gratin
Corn quasillas
Toad in the hole with veg
Mushroom risotto
Jacket potatoes
Homemade butternut squash soup with crusty bread.

HeySoulSister Tue 21-May-13 13:32:47

Your dc seem to rule the roost op! grin

And you are paying the price, literally

Downfall Tue 21-May-13 13:33:20

I feed 4 big eaters on £100 pw at Tesco, and many posters would manage much cheaper. If you search or go to credit crunch topic there are lots of ideas.

Quick hits to cut costs are buy value for all dried goods, strict portion control on the meat, gradually increase the pad out ingredients so DC get used to it.

Go through your ingredients cupboard and plan two weeks of meals based around what you've got. Then plan to eat ordinary meals x 5 nights, more indulgent menu x2 nights.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 21-May-13 13:34:05

Just seen your meat post and if you really want to cut down you either need to think of ways of making the meat last, like roast chicken one night followed by chicken pie or stir fry or get over the meat thing entirely and try to have at least 2 meat free days.

What are you putting in your packed lunches too.

Oh and shop at Lidl. You'll be amazed how much you'll save smile

Going meat free doesn't necessarily mean cheaper but you can use cheaper cuts of meat and probably less meat too. What about cheese? That's the killer for me - my dd is dairy intolerant so she needs meat.

We use more chicken drumsticks, lamb mince and cheap cuts of beef to keep costs down.

Also bulk out meals eg curries with sweet potato and chickpeas.

Do you buy a lot of snacks! Drinks?

lucamom Tue 21-May-13 13:38:24

If you must have meat, make dishes where the meat is stretched, to cut down on cost and improve the nutrient value/reduce the fat etc of a dish.

Make cottage pie with load of veg - soften leeks/carrots/onions/celery, add mince (but half what you'd normally use) and make the pie as you normally would with extra mash on top. Can also add beans.

Same for things like bolognese & chilli, add extra veg and pulses to make either double the amount or to use less meat.

wasabipeanut Tue 21-May-13 13:38:50

I have shaved approx a third off my shop by doing most at Aldi. We had one open recently and the fresh stuff which I always used to get at Sainsburys (meat, veg, fruit etc) is as good if not better quality. It's been a bit if a revelation.

I also stopped buying cleaning stuff, washing detergent etc. from Sainsburys - so expensive. Now get huge box of Formil washing powder - it is brilliant and actually cleans clothes unlike the Method stuff I used to use that cost 4 times as much. I get lots of cleaning stuff from Wilkinsons, 99p store. Both stick Astonish cleaning products which are cheap and brilliant.

Stop shopping in Tesco!

olivertheoctopus Tue 21-May-13 13:44:18

Meal planning is the way forward. You work out what you need, buy what you need and cook what you need. We have at least one meat free night a week plus maybe two chicken, two fish/seafood and then red meat. We don't buy much in the way of snack food for either us or the kids because I am a greedy cow and it's best not to have stuff in the house. I bulk out all mince based dishes with grated carrot or lentils.

Also are you buying branded stuff? I tend to go own brand wherever poss. Also, if you look on the Money Saving Expert website they explain this 'down-shifting' thing so if you always buy Tesco Finest, shift down to the next best range etc etc

Agree with bulking out. I buy big packs of mince when on offer and make batches of spag Bol/chilli etc.

Have you tried going down a brand?

We get part baked bread instead of garlic bread as it's really cheap.

These threads always says 'shop at Aldi' but our nearest is over an hour away! I'd really like to try it though. We only have a choice of tesco or sainsburys (and even those are 30-40 minutes away).

flipflopper Tue 21-May-13 14:07:50

Thankyou for replies, I am def going to meal plan. I need to write it down, I just do my shopping as I go, no list really, so I'm not thinking about what Ive already got in.
I probably do pander to what the children want, ds will not touch a vegetable, unfortunately, I try not to make a big deal of it, but I do make things which I know he will eat at least some of it. It all just goes on the plate even if I know he wont eat it.
Dh is a quarry worker, hard physical job, so he wants MEAT when he comes in!

The baby doesn't have her own food as such just extras like fruit pots, yogurts, snacky stuff.

I like the meal ideas, will make some of those. I thought of omelettes for a meat free meal, ds likes those.

The only supermarkets here are morrisons and Sainsbury, aldi/ lidl half an hour away, so not really practical unless I am passing. I thought online woud be easier as I hate shopping, but evidently not!

flipflopper Tue 21-May-13 14:09:20

I don't really buy many brands, mostly supermarket own brand, or even value. I think the fact I haven't got a meal plan means that I just chuck stuff in the basket not knowing what Im going to be making!

It's definitely the meal planning then!

You need to do breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks if it's going to work.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 21-May-13 15:16:14

If you are spending a load on snacks for the baby try cheese straws, your other DC should like them too. There are some other good snacks here smile

I meal plan, which saves a lot. Although I always plan for 6 days as invariably the shop and meal plan will still leave me with a rogue carrot, or half a pound of mince, a few unused rashers, the remaining potatoes etc. so I wing it on the last day to minimise waste later on.
But other things I have done is stop having and meat in the day. I save meat for family tea time, lunches are omelette, homemade soup, hummus, dhal, salad, beans/egg on toast.
I have also split my shops to help me to understand where my money is going. I stock up on nappies wipes, washing powder, loo roll, black bags and household stuff with a 50 budget at the start of the month. Then I know that what I spend is the cost of food.

I also (though I appreciate not everyone is as neurotic as me) then divide my food shops, so I can see where I may be able to cut back. So I will know that of a 30 pound shop, 6pound , or 20% will go on fruit and veg, 12 pound on meat, 4 on snacks etc. it helped me to realise what I was eating and how much money I was wasting. In my case I spent fortunes ,relatively, on drinks. Pop, juices, cartons, squash, etc were taking the same cost as my fruit and veg! It was an eye opener.

flipflopper Tue 21-May-13 20:08:12

wow pp, I am very impressed! Do you actually do your shops separately? Don't know if I could be bothered to do that, but it does make sense!
I could do a shop in home bargains once a month. I do pop in there occasionaly, but I end up buying all sorts of crap I don't need while im in there.
Does your weekly shop cost £30?

FlossieFlossington Tue 21-May-13 22:16:41

Dried pulses are the way ahead. Give this Borlotti beans & savoy cabbage with rosemary breadcrumbs recipe a go

CheerfulYank Tue 21-May-13 22:23:14

Marking me place smile

Yes. Separate shops. But only one shop a week, on the third week I shop for two Weeks food, so that fourth week is home goods.
My weekly shop is descending, dependent on what I've needed at home shop. I have 250 a month total, if on the house spend I need loo roll, washing powder, liquid, nappies, toothpaste and cleaning stuff, im usually taken to about 60-70, meaning I will spend 70 on food the first week, maybe 60 the next an 50 on the final.
But if an unexpected household cost means I spend closer to the 90 mark, then I have to budget accordingly with food.
The three for ten pound meat is what I buy, which isn't morally right, and pulses my friend. Bacon and chorizo both make vegetarian dishes meaty. And eggs come free (well the chickens provide them, grudgingly)

MaryIngalls Wed 22-May-13 09:38:20

OP, do you have cupboards full of half used packets and unopened tins that have been in there forever? A fridge full of stuff which will go manky unless used up? If so include those in your meal plan - in other ways meal plan in such a way as to start using those up. That will cut down the cost of the immediate weekly shop - not a long term solution I know but this is another way to cut down waste.

flipflopper Wed 22-May-13 12:51:28

Yes, I do have cupboards full of stuff. I found some lentils that went out of date in 2007 (will they be ok??) and I have just chucked away a carton of strawberries, what a waste.
I am writing a list of recipes and ingredients, and am determined to spend and waste less, and ds will just have to suffer.

This morning I have made a batch of savoury muffins and a batch of blueberry muffins (using week old blueberries from the bottom of the fridge) and put half in the freezer.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 22-May-13 13:02:05

What do you/ your family like to eat?

Big meat/no veg eaters often like things like spag bol which can contain lots of hidden cheap bulking veg in the sauce. The same sauce can be bulk cooked and used for cottage pie, and lasagne.

Pizza with thinly shredded meat on top can taste very meaty but doesn't use very much.

I find having a few really cheap/ go to store cupboard meals balances out the weekly food cost. Pasta, pesto, chicken and green beans is a favourite at present,

MaryIngalls Wed 22-May-13 13:18:19

Lentils - if they're dried ones, I would use them. If tins, would probably throw them.

flipflopper Wed 22-May-13 14:03:49

Thanks, I will add pizza to my list.

Yes, they are dried lentils, I only seem to use them in baby food, I have prob had those for 8 yrs, since ds was a baby!

I have got lentil curry on my list.

This one is good and freezes well

flipflopper Wed 22-May-13 22:10:11

ooh thankyou, that looks a nice recipe

Anifrangapani Wed 22-May-13 22:23:00

We have started making the value added foods - chutneys, jams, marinaded olives, cakes, biscuits and bread and growing soft fruits and salad leaves.

We have so many fruit trees dotted around the garden and in the community orchard that we can last a year on a seasons harvest.

Jars are at a premium.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 23-May-13 22:00:19

Is there a home bargains near to you? They are great for cleaning stuff. Have you got a market for things like fruit and veg, fish, cheese and bacon?

You'll have to let us know how much your next shop is and how you get on with your meal planning?

Watching with interest as I need help with meal plans big time! There's only me and DH and the dog (who's food costs next to nowt anyway!) and our shopping bill is about £70 a week!

flanbase Sun 26-May-13 20:20:55

For packed lunches I spend very little - I do cheese sandwiches, then slices of carrot/cucumber, some dried fruit (check for chemicals) & a yogurt. They drink water at school.

sashh Mon 27-May-13 01:41:43

Use 'my' - it is just like using tesco but it will compare your prices with those at other supermarkets. It also tells you when you can swap to something cheaper so if you order toilet rolls, but this week one is on special offer it will tell you there is a cheaper option.

Once you have shopped your order is sent to tesco and pay in the normal way.

If part of your shop would be cheaper at,say, ASDA there is an option to split the order between supermarkets.

I have saved loads doing this.

MyShoofly Mon 27-May-13 02:24:09

marking my spot because I also need to slash and burn our current food budget.

Marking my place too!

gabsid Mon 27-May-13 11:14:52

Someone may have said that but I like to bulk out spag bol, chilli con carne or sheperds pie with soya mince or lentils - its cheaper and healthier, especially as lamb mince can be very fatty.

That usually leaves me enough food for 2 meals to freeze or in the fridge to have a couple of days later, e.g. chilli with rice, with baked potatoe and salad or in a wrap.

I do 1 big shop at Lidls per week and 1 at Tesco to get all the stuff they don't have or I don't like at Lidls. This has cut my bill by 1/3 - I kept a tally for a couple of months.

I am following such threads with interest as our income is not great at the moment and I am alway looking for way to economise.

gabsid Mon 27-May-13 11:21:22

Packed lunches - DS wants/gets a sandwich with cheese, ham, chorizo and cucumber, a yoghurt and water to drink. I don't buy little packets of whatever, only as a treat as they are usually unhealty and expensive. I don't put fruit in as he doesn't eat it and it often goes to waste. I give DS some fruit when he gets home.

DS told me last week though that everyone has their lunchbox filled with stuff and packets of buiscits and juice? I wonder how many??

gabsid Mon 27-May-13 11:26:25

spotty - that looks yummy. I do something like that occasionally, but change the ingredients depending on what I have in the fridge, e.g. add carrots, garlic, butternut squash, courgette ...

Also, DS loves home made pizza - I make 3x the Delia Smith pizza dough recipie and freeze half the dough.

gabsid Mon 27-May-13 11:28:49

Baby food - I used to take some of our food, puree it and freeze in square stackable containers, no extra cost and little effort.

chirpchirp Mon 27-May-13 14:01:11

I'm a recent meal planner convert and can't recommend it highly enough. I actually wonder how I got by before. In the last month I have not thrown away ANY food! I've saved loads and now have my weekly food bill down to £40 a month for the three of us. I shop on line but then go and collect it to save on a Saturday delivery charge. I've also lost weight and had so many different foods as I was totally stuck in a rut of the same six dinners permanently on rotation.

I started by going mental in my kitchen and throwing out everything that I didn't use or was out of date and was generally just cluttering up the place. Properly cleaned out the fridge and the freezer and made of list of everything that I was keeping so I knew what I "had in". After that I took a note pad and wrote down all the meals that I know off the bat and could cook with my eyes closed. Then I went a bit daft on pinterest and various receipe website and had a good look through my cook books and wrote down all the receipes I would like to try out. In general I avoided anything that needed a million ingredients as I didn't want to them have to buy them and fill up my lovely uncluttered cupboards!

Now on a Wednesday evening I print off a meal planner -
and sit down with my little book and start planning. I shop at Asda so try and make use of their 3 for £10 offer on meats and fish. Generally that will give me the basis of five dinners and we will have one either none meat or fairly low on meat omlettes/pasta/pizza/salad/baked potatoes etc. Depending on how late in the month is it DH might get a steak if the pennies allow it. For the most part I use value brand on first try and if it tastes good it stays. If not I move up on level (thank you Mr Martin Lewis for the tip!)

I used to spend ages wondering around Asda on a saturday aimlessly throwing stuff in my trolley that would often get thrown in the bin a week later and I hated it. Meal planning is the way forward!

chirpchirp Mon 27-May-13 14:02:46

Erm, that should say £40 a week!!!

chirpchirp Mon 27-May-13 14:21:45

Also just thought! The other step is to put the meal plan straight on the fridge once shop is ordered. That way it doesn't get mis placed and I can check the use by dates on the food as I'm unpacking it to see if anything needs to get thrown in the freezer.

WilsonFrickett Mon 27-May-13 19:20:59

Do you have a freezer? If so, take advantage of offers and build them into your meal plan. For eg, lots of places have '3 for £10' offers on meat, so buy the offer, put it in the freezer, don't think about it this week - because you've already planned your meals for this week, right? Then next week, you go 'oh, I've got those packs of chicken thighs' (or whatever) and plan what you need to put with them to eat them.

Meal planning is great, I don't do it as fully as others as I like to have more flexibility, but I have a decent freezer for the first time ever now and I really, really use it well for offers and 'sell by date' bargains.

ChoudeBruxelles Mon 27-May-13 19:25:08

Change where you shop. Aldi and lidl are both good. I do big shop at the beginning of the month at aldi - get all store cupboard and washing stuff there for the month.

I just fill in the bits I can't get there at sainsburys.

Wishihadabs Mon 27-May-13 19:38:33

Don't be afraid to have a leftovers night. We did this for the first time last week. It was great, cleared out the freezer and didn't cost a penny.

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