Re-prioritise I need help to change my supermarket budget for next year.

(37 Posts)
2006hildy Sun 02-Dec-12 11:20:14

This is what I have spent in the last 32 days on four people. Please crit it, shoot me down. Re-prioritise for me I need help to change my supermarket budget for next year. I could probably do with advice as to where to buy all this stuff too eg market, meat wholesaler ect. I can see now I was definitely spending on what I like rather than what I should. Sometimes you need people to point out the bleeding obvious. I definitely will be reorganising my lifestyle choices. That’s why I started my spreadsheet and hopefully in 12 months time it will look a whole lot more sensible.
meat 98.6
alcohol65.9
drinks59.79
groceries54.64
fruit & veg36.54
biscuits35.34
butter &oil27.59
nuts24.8
sweets22.65
choc20.1
crisps19.23
pizza17.94
puddings14.13
diary13.47
condiments13.33
cheese & eggs12.85
bread9.48

As always cutting back not cutting out.

BIWIshYouAMerryChristmas Sun 02-Dec-12 11:29:12

It's hard to comment without seeing exactly what you're buying every week.

However, the first thing I'd say is that you're spending a huge amount on snacks - I'd cut them down/out immediately!

Do you meal plan? IME that's the easiest and best way to cut down on your spending. You only ever buy what you need, which means that you shouldn't be wasting food and it will save you a huge amount.

What type of meat are you buying? Are you always buying expensive cuts? If so, look at switching to cheaper cuts, like shin of beef for stewing, or pork belly.

The other thing to consider is switching from brands to supermarket own label products. They are just as good. And if you're already buying OL, try moving down a tier - so if you're buying Tesco Finest/Sainsbury's Taste the Difference, drop down to Tesco's/Sainsbury's everyday; or if you're already buying at that level, drop down to Tesco Value/Sainsbury's Basics. Each level you drop down will save you around 33%.

Nearly £20 on crisps! shock

I'd look at what kind of meals you all like eating, then try to think how you can economise those meals (eg bulking out with seasonal veg, freezing whoopsies, etc).

I've not tried it but the mysupermarket website is quite good for comparing all the supermarkets.

I buy a lot of store cupboard ingredients from B+M and Home Bargains. Much cheaper in there!

Give the value ranges a try from each store, you only find which you like through trial and error. In our house we've found Sainsburys basic teabags (80 for 32pish) nice, and Tesco value ketchup in a squeezy bottle (about 21p) DS likes asda smartprice concentrated cordial (22p a bottle). Each time I go I buy a few at a time so we are always stocked up on them. Some stuff is worth spending more on and other things are okay to economise freeing up money for stuff where you get what you pay for.

Have to say it's really interesting to see costs by food groups, I may have to do this in Jan for a month to see where I can change things around.

swanthingafteranother Sun 02-Dec-12 11:45:15

I would get rid of crisps, sweets, puddings, and biscuits. Make a big batch of flapjacks for biscuits/snacks, big block of cheese for snacks, juice can be replaced with water or squash, use the money for real fruit.
Fruit in season, bulk out with dried fruit like apricots (much cheaper) and raisins in homemade puddings.
Carrots, cabbage and peas are a much cheaper way of adding vitamins than out of season fruit.
Frozen forest fruits can be used with homemade sponge or big pots of plain yoghurt for puddings
Fruit crumbles with dried apricots/apples/tinned peaches can replace shop puddings
never buy individual yoghurts
Use money saved to occasionally splurge on other nice things, high quality protein etc.
One gammon ham will go much further than individual slice packs of ham.

I'm extravagant in some ways, but those are my tips for reducing food bills. Packets of crisps are really really not necessary for budget conscious. I found buying an economy pack and keeping in cupboard always backfires as we eat them much faster than if we bought as and when we were desperate! Same with biscuits. Buy if you are desperate but don't have them in the storecupboard!

colditz Sun 02-Dec-12 11:46:01

The only drink y should buy is milk.

No alcohol, no fizz.

Don't buy snacks. Meal components only, plus bread and fruit

swanthingafteranother Sun 02-Dec-12 11:47:53

Shop Pizzas are also a very expensive way of feeding a family.
Also buy big big bags of rice, own brand always. Never Uncle Ben's for example or convenience packs. Have some cheap pasta, some special pasta for when you can't stand the boredom anymore. Make some economies but don't go overboard to extent that you end up buying a takeaway or pizza just in search of flavour excitement.

Gentleness Sun 02-Dec-12 11:48:59

That is a lot on butter and oil! Is some still in stock or do you bake a lot?

I've just moved to a monthly meal plan which I'm finding so much less hassle, waste and cost. I just list say 25 meals for the month, making sure some are based on freezer stock or tins. Then I pick meals from the list based on using up whole packs of whatever so nothing gets wasted. And it means I have an overview of how much meat&fish we eat, which means I can cut down or stretch.

swanthingafteranother Sun 02-Dec-12 11:51:55

I'm also amazed at how little you have spent on bread.
Even expensive bread is a lot cheaper than buying crisps!
How could oil and butter be so much? One bottle of nice olive oil costs £5 max. and that should last a month. One bottle of sunflower costs 1.50 ditto. 6 pats of butter @ 1.50 max is less than 10£.

Morrisons is very cheap btw compared to Tesco or Sainsbury...

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 02-Dec-12 11:57:51

Meal plan.

Shop at Aldi.

2006hildy Sun 02-Dec-12 12:07:59

Hi I should have explained I put my fresh olives into oil and butter category as well as houmous and goose fat.

I have an Autistic son which skews the budget somewhat too he likes certain crisps, pizzas, processed food because they are always the same. Trying to get him to eat homecooked food is virtually impossible. We throw a lot of food away especially when he insists on cooking- can’t stop him he has no idea of quantities ect. We have got a lock on a cupboard now for the stuff he usually goes for.

I have not got the foggiest when it comes to meal planning is there a good idiots guide, website or thread.

I havent read all the other replies but £65 on alcohol a month shock.

Cut out the alcohol and drinks. Diluting juice should be as extravagant as you get.

Meal planning is vital! Im sure someone else could explain it better than me (I have my own system and Im not sure it would make sense to others!)

BIWIshYouAMerryChristmas Sun 02-Dec-12 12:30:20

grin

I knew people would come on here and tell you to knock the alcohol on the head!

Meal planning is easy.

Think about next week - write down days of the week as a heading, and decide what you're going to cook on each day. (Taking into account days when you might be out or working late, for example).

I try and cook two or three meals with meat (different types, e.g. a mince-based meal one night, something with pork another), one meal using chicken of some kind, one vegetarian meal.

Once you've worked out what you're going to cook, then you work out what you need to buy to cook those meals. That's it. Simple!

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 12:35:13

Easy to cut down from that. Crisps, chocolate, nuts etc - they can go. Halve the meat and use veg and pulses. No more shop bought pizza. Puddings? Do you mean from a freezer? They can go. Eat fruit for pudding. Not sure about the drink. Is that about three bottles of wine a week? Or spirits? Seems a bit high to me.

homeaway Sun 02-Dec-12 14:06:02

The more food you can make in the home the cheaper it will be. For you son for snacks things like chocolate brownies will always look the same , would that work ? Parsnip crisps for snacks ? Biscuits cut out with a biscuit cutter so they are all the same shape ?
I buy a lot of basics like bin liners, foil, oil, plastic bags for freezing, dishwasher tablets , fabric softner, oil, butter,milk, pasta, organic fruit and veg from Aldi. Meat and other things I get from the butcher and other supermarkets.
For a meal plan you have to think of the things you eat on a regular basis , so for instance we have one mince based meal a week, so it could be bolognase, lasagna, meatballs, or chili, that works out to four meals with mince. You would then do the same with fish, so fish pie, fish cakes, steamed fish gives you another four meals. Chicken , could be roast chicken, chicken wrapped in ham, chicken curry, breaded chicken... and so on. The money saving expert site has a lot of info on there.
You could also try doing a brand down shift so you try doing your weekly shop but instead of buying branded you buy good value and see if you notice the difference in taste. You will probably find that you can change somethings but not others.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 02-Dec-12 14:16:57

www.amazon.co.uk/Cooks-Co-Goose-Litre-Pack/dp/B0081G1PLS/ref=sr_1_2?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1354457265&sr=1-2 I use this goose fat, it's got a long date on it and works out half the supermarket prices.

According to moneysaving expert the biggest savings to be had off the weekly shop are things like cleaning materials. But, it's the area people are most brand loyal to.

For example, Aldis bio powder with stain removers came out level with Ariel actilift in Which? consumer testings and ahead of Surf, Persil and Daz. Based on 3 washes a week the Aldi one would save you £30 a year compared to Ariel by their calculations.

Or, Tesco daisy powder for the dishwasher lasts me 11 months for £4.69. I got 20 free finish powerball tablets and the only difference is that the teaspoons came out cleaner but for want of soaking the spoons in bleach once a week (that I pour back into the bottle) I can live with that.

Has anyone mentioned Asian supermarkets for oil, rice, lentils, spices etc? much cheaper than the normal supermarkets and from what I have seen on previous threads cheaper than costco too.

Astonish cleaners are a hidden gem too, the pound shops, savers and homebargains often have them. They are cheap, effective, not tested on animals (BUAV) approved and made in England. What more could you want?

swanthingafteranother Sun 02-Dec-12 14:26:36

I know where you are coming from with the food requirements as I have a son with ASD. He for example won't touch homemade pizza. And he loves olives. He hates sloppy, gloopy things like casseroles or soups, but he will eat the meat taken from a casserole of chicken or meat if presented plainly and not mixed up with the rice or pasta.

However, I still think there are economies to be made on the puddings and biscuits front, and it is possible to slowly integrate homecook food in with the shop versions, if he is used to those. Son (10) who usually only eats plain pasta, just ate some homemade lasagne today, scraping off the sauce. He too likes expensive cuts of fish and breaded fish, and hates mince/soup etc. But he has learnt to cope with macaroni cheese with tuna in it for example, partly by making it himself, ditto macaroni with other bits in it, baked in white sauce. And he loves cooking...eg: banana bread he keeps asking to make.
And I suspect I could economise on the fish portions by buying things like larger bit of salmon and slicing it freezing it etc. Fish cakes with tinned salmon also go down well in this house with all three kids, the sort of thing that you can make homemade and tastes sort of shopbought!

I think ASD children often crave minerals and salts and fats, hence their liking for very savoury crispy food. We have olives down to a fine art...we buy the non-fresh pitted kind in jars - 99p a jar in brine?

Humus is another thing that can be made extremely cheaply with tahini, tinned drained rinsed chickpeas (59p a tin round here) and garlic/oil. If you are eating large quantities?

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 14:47:17

Does he have to have crisps just because he likes them? Nobody would suffer if they never ate crisps again.

colditz Sun 02-Dec-12 15:33:47

Sometimes, children with asd will suffer if they don't ever eat crisps again, in that their diet is so limited that they will not maintain a healthy body weight without certain key foods.

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 15:41:45

If he has specific brands that he accepts, I'd target those when they're on special offer. If you check online before hand and buy in bulk from whichever supermarket has an offer on you'll save a lot of money.

Viviennemary Sun 02-Dec-12 15:45:08

It sounded a lot at first. But depends on whether you are eating at home through the week and providing packed lunches and so on. My shopping bills have become chaotic lately. So I might try a system in the NY. £27 on butter and oil sounds expensive. And £25 on nuts is a lot. But food has become a lot more expensive in the last year. And you could probably cut down a bit on biscuits. It doesn't sound too wildly extravagant.

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 16:01:30

For the rest of the shopping, it depends on where you are and what's available nearby.

I'd say as a starting point, what supermarkets can you get to easily? What places nearby stock what you need - as your DS has brand favourites, it's worth checking places like Poundland etc as well as supermarkets. Do you have a greengrocers? Lidl and Aldi can be great for veg, as is Morrisons, but my favourite place for veg is actually a brilliant greengrocer's stall that does cut price mixed veg boxes at the end of the day to shift stock.

The next thing would be what do you all eat? It's easy to say cook non meat 3 nights a week and do stews as they're very cost effective when you use seasonal veg, but if your family won't eat that food it doesn't save money!

Once you have an idea of meals they'll eat, you just balance the cost of the week's food by saying eg if I'm doing two pricey dinners already this week, I'll move this pricey recipe to next week and have a cheaper dinner instead. You group meals together so that ingredients can be used in more than one meal eg if you're making a beef stew and a veggie curry you could buy a large pack of mushrooms and a whole butternut squash that would go in both of them.

Once you know what you want to buy you can work out the best way to do it. It might mean an online shop monthly and weekly top ups from different places or meat from a butchers and a weekly online shop. You'll figure out what works for you.

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 16:02:55

Also your priorities about food eg nice oil, organic meats, branded alcohol etc come into play.

ChristmasTreegles Sun 02-Dec-12 16:19:56

We have four of us in the house, including one 6yo with ASD/ADHD (DS2). We generally spend about £250 (sometimes up to £300) per month or so, mainly because of nappies for DS3 and night time pullups for DS2. We probably spend another £10-20 on alcohol (depending, but just an occasional bottle of wine really).

Mealplanning is definitely important. We do buy some snacks, but only either basics/value brand or on sale. We buy some roast meat packs from the local butcher as it is much cheaper than in the supermarket (and better meat as well!).

We have a huge freezer, so I can take advantage of sale prices on frozen goods. And we have organised a pantry area in our dining room so I can do the same on other grocery items and store them.

I try to keep the expense as low as possible, and we buy a LOT of basics brands - most of them are quite good. We always have one or two meals a week that are "cheap nights" such as beans on toast or breakfast night (cereals, toast, or eggs/toast or eggy bread). And we use leftovers to make another meal whenever possible - such as soup, sweet and sour pork, and so on.

I completely understand about the influence of the child with ASD to the food budget - DS2 has some interesting grin food issues and it does take some adjustments quite often. I have found that regardless of what we do, there is a bit more food waste than I would like sometimes.

Gentleness Sun 02-Dec-12 20:34:54

Mysupermarket is great for finding the best deals on branded crisps and so on. I only ever buy crisps on special offers and we are working on not eating the entire multipack in the first 2 days! If we do, they don't just get replaced anyway. FarmFoods has some good deals on branded crisps too.

Meal planning can work however you want it to. When doing a weekly plan, I started on the basis of 1 fish evening meal, 2-3 meat and 2-3 veggie. I don't count Sundays because we have shared meals/catering at church. Sometimes I start with say a whole chicken (because I know there is a good offer on!) and plan a roast, a pasta meal with the leftovers and a risotto with stock from the carcass, and maybe it'll make one day of sandwiches too. Then because I get parsnips and sweet potatoes to roast with the chicken, I'll plan in a parsnip soup with the rest and orange mash the next week with another meat meal.

Sometimes I decide we're due a treat and get something delicious like lamb steaks (because I see on mysupermarket.co.uk they are on special offer obviously!), in which case the other meat meal is a cheaper sausage&beans casserole or a curry with a minimal amount of Basics chicken (freeze the rest of the pack). The fish is dependent on any offers as well, but I would only have salmon on a week where all the other meals were cheap. Otherwise it is frozen breaded fish & homemade chips & veg, or smoked mackeral (half the pack in a pasta meal or curry and the half made into pate for lunches) or a tin of tuna or salmon made into fish cakes. Veggie meals include soups, really basic pasta bakes, homemade pizza, noodles, curry & rice. I try to balance the carbs over the week as well so we only have pasta 3 times max!

As you get used to doing it, you start having patterns of fitting ingredients together over the week. Say buying a bag of peppers, having a pork goulash with 2 of them, a stirfry&noodles with one, one for homemade pizza and one for lunches. Or seeing spinach on offer and basically having it in nearly every meal to use it all up!

But I definitely find planning the month in advance more useful/frugal - otherwise I forget to plan in what I have in the freezer or in the stock cupboard. I can also plan in to double-cook to freeze meals for the next month or whatever, based on some expensive ingredient on special offer.

Oh - and home-made houmous with tinned chickpeas is pretty cheap! One (25p on offer for Eid) tin makes loads! Fresh olives are a rare treat for us now sadly, but the bottled ones used frugally last ages.

2006hildy Sun 02-Dec-12 22:09:12

Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you, this was just the type of help needed.
Well I couldn’t quite believe it myself so now I am feeling really bad. It’s a good job I have started my spreadsheet to cut down. So now I am going to do damage limitation and keep as much back for freezer, store cupboard and Christmas as possible.
When I have worked out total food expenditure for the whole year it was more like £99 for a week which I was told was high hence the spreadsheet which over the last 32 days of keeping receipts it worked out to around £120. Higher !
I will buy whoopsies, shop at the market and Aldi and Lidl and definitely cut out the empty calorie food and drink. No wonder I didn’t loose any weight this month! Lol
When I used to shop online I could easily stick to my budget so the above paragraph won’t work. So may just have to do that as many people rate Asda for things against Aldi.
From my total expenditure spreadsheet things are definitely getting better because we have not eaten out as much, gone out ect hence the high empty calorie food and drink sections.
It’s just got to get better from a health point of view.
I will have to meal plan, buy cheaper cuts of meat, hubby likes meat.
I don’t buy any value stuff I’ll have to try but don’t mind trying different brands.
As always cutting back not cutting out.
Anybody else?

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