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can someone help me cut down on my weekly food shop?

(41 Posts)
cheapandchic Tue 27-Nov-12 12:21:56

we are struggling with money and I spend about 100-120 per week on food/nappy/cleaning, etc and I have two young children and husband.

I dont drive. so usually I end up with delivery, organic veg boxes, ocado, sainsbury. I realise that many people recommend aldi or asda but there is no shop near me. There is a Lidl, but its so difficult to get there and back with a toddler and baby and I end up getting just a few things.

Please offer some tips on spending on the weekly shop. I keep thinking I could be saving...

GinAndaDashOfLime Tue 27-Nov-12 12:27:34

I spend £100-£120 a week on my family of 6! Including all food, packed lunches, cleaning products etc for 2 hungry teens, a 4yo and 6 yo, myself, DH ... So yes you definitely are overspending IMO. The very best tip is to menu plan - I do 2 meat free dinners a week to keep costs down. Also everytime you cook from scratch make double and freeze half. Don't buy any brands as the quality is no different - good luck!

GinAndaDashOfLime Tue 27-Nov-12 12:28:44

Oh - and stop buying organic veg / veg boxes etc - and shop online at tesco as its much cheaper than ocado and sainsburys

toddlerama Tue 27-Nov-12 12:29:27

I spend around the same as you but that's all organic Abel and cole with pastured, organic, free range meat. Ie the most expensive options available! Do you cook from scratch?

cheapandchic Tue 27-Nov-12 12:43:06

I cook from scratch every day! I have stopped abel and cole, but it has made no difference. I do vegetarian one a week, but much more for the kids and me lunch.

mignonette Tue 27-Nov-12 12:46:23

Can you get to a local market towards the end of the day and buy really cheap perfectly decent fruit and veg? If you do not drive you can maybe share a cab with a friend living nearby if it is only a mile or so?

Could you share childcare with a friend freeing you both up to go to Lidl/market etc? Then you can buy bulkier stuff?

Also if you double up with a friend/family member on delivery charges for online supermarkets, you can also take advantage of cheaper prices for bulk purchases such as toilet rolls, wash powder etc. Then divide up the items.

YDdraigGoch Tue 27-Nov-12 12:50:00

Can you bulk cook, and put stuff in the freezer? It's usually cheaper to buy in quantity - look for BOGOF deails etc (though I think they are not always as cheap as they sound).

We often buy a big joint of meat which we cook on a Sunday/Monday, which then lasts us for 3 meals for four adult portions. (Roast, cold meat with fry-up, curry, rissoles etc).

Agree you should stop buying organic - Sainsbury's do a good basics range - and there's nothing wrong with funny shaped fruit and veg.

Veggie meals are often cheaper too, as someone above suggested.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 27-Nov-12 13:02:26

1. Start with meal-planning and include plenty of simple things like vegetable broths, omelettes and 'things on toast' or 'things in a jacket potato' for the main meals. Porridge is the cheapest breakfast option. (Use up cupboard and freezer contents in the plan before buying more)
2. Convert your meal plan to a shopping list
3. Either order online and choose one of the cheaper delivery slots or send your DH to get it. If you order online, trim your purchases to meet your budget.

Loyalty pays. I use Sainsbury for all the shopping and pay for it with a Nectar credit card. In the last three months I've amassed £60 in Nectar points by taking advantage of various offers and using the credit card for all purchases. Plus I go on the Nectar website where you can complete questionnaires for extra points etc. That's going to get me a week's free shopping shortly.

I shop at ocado and only buy organic meat although not always organic veg. I shop for 7 people and spend between 50-75 a week.
My advce is plan the week as a whole rather than thinking in terms of 7 different days of food so for example I get one LARGE meat thing every week, say a large joint of pork and then make three main meals from this (all made the day i get it and frozen. The other days do something like pasta, cauliflower cheese etc. Homemade soup, leftovers or cheese sandwiches for lunches.
Dont buy anything that is made for you (no ready made deserts, cakes etc these are massively overpriced and take in some cases a matter of 15 minutes to make.
Also if you run out of something during the week then thats it its gone, no more running to the shop for extra this or that - make do with something else its no good halving your food order if you go for top ups every other day.

LadyKooKoo Tue 27-Nov-12 13:33:32

Upload your most recent shopping list, i am sure we can come up with ways to shave the pounds off it.

SilverSixpence Tue 27-Nov-12 13:34:58

£120 seems a huge amount for a family of 4 - are you buying a lot of preprepared foods e.g. ready meals, cut fruit/veg, etc? Are you choosing the more expensive things in the aisle?

We occasionally order veg from Riverford but it is much cheaper from our local turkish supermarket, if you have something similar near you would be worth doing some shopping there. Otherwise choose supermarket fruit/veg carefully and preferably in season as this will save money. If you need to order, Ocado isn't a bad option as long as you stick to basics and don't get tempted by the posh stuff!

Lentils, beans etc are cheap and filling, and you can make a surprising number of main course meals with them. Meat can be reduced if you are eating it quite frequently.

dashoflime Tue 27-Nov-12 13:48:32

Agree with basics range.
You could also switch to frozen meat and veg rather than fresh. I usually get frozen basics chicken breast, pork chops, peas and mixed veg.
For all other meat, I go back at 8pm and buy reduced. Then I freeze anything I'm not going to use right away.
For fresh veg I get the basics range, which is exactly the same as normal veg only funny sizes/shapes.
I've had organic veg boxes in the past and I don't think they are that good value tbh.

cheapandchic Tue 27-Nov-12 18:01:51

not buying prepared foods at all. but I do buy a quite a few toddler snacks that I think are overpriced but so handy (bear yo-yos, mini raisin boxes, organix gingerbread men or rice cakes)...what do I do to replace these?

I also buy a wine or two, but I only get ones on offer for 5.99. I suppose that might have to go.

I have a thing about organic meat...but am willing to compromise on everything else. Which online shop has the cheapest loo roll,sugar, washing up liquid, clothes wash?

I have a great turkish shop for veg and fruit, but I do find even there its hard for me to stick to my list.

PestoFrostissimos Tue 27-Nov-12 18:09:40

Instead of buying pre-prepared or packaged snacks, make your own!

Things like flapjacks, cookies or muffins. You can bake a whole batch of these for the cost of just 1 or 2 shop-bought ones.

PestoFrostissimos Tue 27-Nov-12 18:10:31

Mini raisin boxs are a particular rip-off.

Buy one bag of raisins and portion them up yourself.

dashoflime Tue 27-Nov-12 20:08:22

Ooh Jelous of your Turkish Green Grocer! Bet your getting some excellent fruit and Veg. Your not in North London by any chance? I used to live off Haringay Green Lanes and ate very well out of Yasser Helim smile Happy Days.
Anyway, toddler snacks
Humous (if you've got Turkish Green Grocers this should be cheap as chips)
Carrot sticks
yy to Raisins decanted from big bag
Cutted Up Apple
Reduced Stuff! Seriously, there are things I only buy reduced nowadays. Go to the supermarket at 8pmish and see how cheaply you can get stuff. This is the source of ALL my pre prepared stuff and the majority of my meat these days.

cheapandchic Wed 28-Nov-12 14:05:52

i cant get to my shops in the evening. husband rarely get home before 8pm.

LadyKooKoo Wed 28-Nov-12 19:46:18

Where are you? I can't think of anywhere that doesn't have 24 hour shops now.

Meal planning will make a difference.

Use meat as a flavouring rather than the main point of your meal. For example, you can make a lovely stir fry for 4-6 with 2 chicken breasts (or, even better, 3-4 chicken thighs --if your DH isn't a freak who refuses to eat anything but breast meat--). Bulk it out with loads of veg (you can use frozen if necessary) and serve with a mound of rice. If you half to amount of meat you serve per person in each meal, you'll see a big difference.

You can easily get 3 meals for a family of 4 out of a roast chicken (or a roast anything). One of them will usually be soup.

And include a couple of tasty veggie dishes each week.

Plan meals so there'll be leftovers for lunch the next day.

Badvocsanta Thu 29-Nov-12 17:43:40

Erm ocado is cheaper than tesco!!

cheapandchic Fri 30-Nov-12 17:24:11

I am in London, but there is no way I am hauling off to the shop on foot in the freezing cold during my only free time (9-10pm).

Ok so I went and compared my ocado shop to a sainsbury shop. I saved 7.00, but another 7 or so if I included sainsbury own nappy and wipes.

But this was buying their 'basics' range. I agree ocado is not worse than any other if you buy name brands...but ocado doesnt have a super cheap line like sainsbury.

my husband hates soup...have no clue why. But I love it. So yes, more big roasts should be an idea. Husband will also complain about non name brand cereals...but until he makes more money...tough!

ok. so no more raisin boxes or kiddie treats. no name brand cereals, wipes, nappy, soap, shampoo, soda. Fruit and veg from turkish local. More big roasts. More vegetarian meals. Less cleaning products. wish me luck. I have never been this broke.

pinkyp Fri 30-Nov-12 17:29:53

I spend £60 approx for my dh & 2 young dc's that includes packed lunches etc. If u get delivered shipping go for offers and switch brand on things like dried pasta / lasenga sheets, spaghetti etc as value ones cost a fraction of the price and taste same. Perhaps by more frozen veg than fresh then u can eat a mixture and won't have to waste any u don't use, perhaps try and have 2/3 cheaper meals a week (pasta bake, pizza baguettes etc.

TrinityRhino Fri 30-Nov-12 17:31:19

shop online at tesco
buy only value brand
bulk cook and freeze

purplewithred Fri 30-Nov-12 17:31:32

Check if asda will deliver to your postcode; use them for branded stuff; buy things that won't go off in the largest sizes and on deal. Meal plan. check out

bangersmashandbeans Fri 30-Nov-12 17:42:12

My little tip is to not do cleaning products or cosmetic type things with your normal shop but go to pound land or wilkinsons - they are so so much cheaper.

cheapandchic Fri 30-Nov-12 17:42:18

how does my supermarket work? do you like it?

Ohhelpohnoitsa Fri 30-Nov-12 17:43:02

the experts always say move down one notch at a time, so if you by taste the difference stuff, move down to standard range, if you buy standard range, move down to basics.

I was was wondering today if those veg shops are any cheaper (worth the extra journey) than supermarkets. Anyone?

WildWorld2004 Fri 30-Nov-12 17:44:42

I use the website mysupermarket. It helps compare supermarkets.

Also the money you save shopping in lidl or aldi & then gettin a taxi might still be cheaper than what you are doing at the moment.

I am just about to do a monthly shop for me & dd. i have estimated that it will be around £100.

Lastly. How about you buy cheap range but dont tell your dh. Put the cereal in an old named brand box or in a plastic tub. A lot of people dont know the difference if they are not told.

Narked Fri 30-Nov-12 17:50:51

How much are you spending on meat/week?
How much are you spending on nappies/toiletries
How much are you soending on snacks?

If you split it up like that ^ you'll see the areas that are the worst overspends. Some of it is probably going to be you learning to stick to a list though. There's nothing that says you can't buy your meat once a month and freeze it and do your other shops from eg Tesco or Lidl.

I get 12 mini boxes of raisins for DD for £1 in the pound shop! I also buy all my cleaning products/washing up liquid and snacky bits in there! So much cheaper.

fossil97 Fri 30-Nov-12 18:16:37

It's hard to say without seeing your menu how much "top end" stuff you are buying. Some people wouldn't dream of not having real butter, or branded coffee, or always keeping the house stocked with wine/crisps/snacks. Others would think all those things a luxury.

Online shopping should be ideal - you will definitely be able to get an Asda or Tesco delivery and there is little noticeable difference in 99% of the items to Waitrose I'm sure. Mysupermarket is the business, IME, and it's better and quicker than supermarket own sites. Plan out your meals, (fortnight better than week), fill up the online trolley for those, see how much money you have left of your budget and then you really have to choose extras accordingly.

People have survived having own brand cereals, non organic milk and cheapo shampoo for whole years gringrin Your DH needs to get with the plan or decide what else to cut out on!

Don't make hard work for yourself as well - no point trailing round a market if you have to pay for the tube and a Starbucks afterwards!

cheapandchic Fri 30-Nov-12 20:11:56

ooh. I like the idea of hiding the fact that things are 'basics'.

in mysupermarket can you shop at two different places?

WildWorld2004 Fri 30-Nov-12 21:15:29

I dont shop on mysupermarket so i am not sure if you can. What i do is use it to compare. It compares 4 supermarkets and it tells you how much you would spend at each one. I fill up my basket & then print out my two nearest supermarkets and then i can work out what products are cheapest and in which supermarket. It does take time but it helps me save money.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 02-Dec-12 22:20:34

once you have inputted your list to my supermarket. it asks you to pay or split your basket. i assume split your basket means shop at 2 supermarkets. you would have to factor in delivery though. tesco do a click & collect thing so you could order online & dh could collect

julieann42 Tue 01-Jan-13 15:20:15

I buy some of the basics cereals and decant into plastic cereal containers..DH and DS ate them up as Normal but had they known they were the cheapest of the cheap they wouldn't have touched them! My DS prefers the basics bread...

I used to live in London, for the stuff we bought I found Tesco to be cheapest and to have the most deals (especially on baby stuff, nappies).

Definitely do the pound shop for cleaning products, soap, shampoo, any household stuff.

I understand your husband works late but what about the weekends? You can save soooo much money by going to fruit/veg markets and there are Lidl all over London now.

For snacks, the DC are better off eating fruit/veg/yogurt anyway.

FundusCrispyPancake Tue 01-Jan-13 15:45:50

I wouldn't buy things like chicken breasts, it is really wasteful. buy a whole chicken then use breasts for one meal, legs/thighs for next then make stock with the carcass and make a third meal with that and the carcass pickings.

If you like to cook with fresh veg the.n the boxes are actually better value than Supermarket veg. So I would continue buying organic and make savings on things like cleaning products. Most of them are unnecessary anyway, you can get things just as clean with elbow grease.

Cloth nappys also save money in the long term, depends how old your dc are and how many.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Tue 01-Jan-13 15:52:42

Not sure if been said already but amazon subscribe and save I'd fab for nappies, wipes, washing powder etc and you can cancel as soon as you get a delivery if you want and still save. I got toothpaste on there yesterday with free delivery.

buildingmycorestrength Tue 01-Jan-13 18:11:46

The main thing that has helped me save money on the weekly shop is asking hubbie do it.

I've been ill for a few months and wasn't coping. Food was major stress, so I asked if he could take over meal planning and online shopping. Amazing difference.

It just isn't as emotionally loaded for him, and he works well with lists and plans and seems to relish the challenge of sticking to a budget (I do NOT).

Takes him about 30 min twice a week while he is watching telly. I just cook the meals.

slev Wed 02-Jan-13 12:29:30

If you do your shopping online, that should actually be easier as you know how much you're spending as you go along so no excuses!

We do two things in our house. Firstly check all the offers before you start shopping and plan your weekly food around these. That way it's not so much a case of crossing your fingers that what you want is on offer, but making sure that what is on offer is what you want, if that makes sense.

Our other thing is to set a weekly budget (£100 in our case for us, DS and two cats - don't laugh, they're the most expensive!). If the Ocado shop comes to more, we go through the trolley before checkout and either downgrade something or simply remove it if we don't need it (you'd be surprised how much you can do without when you give yourself a target). And then on the freaky weeks when we spend under, we'll top up with nappies, cleaning products etc. and put them to one side so that we don't have to get them another week - just keeps the bill the same each week.

But I'd also agree with other posters about the merits of jacket potatoes etc. over expensive meat and fish. We're the same as you and only buy organic, but it ain't cheap - if you don't want to compromise on the quality, just reduce the quantity.

Varya Sun 06-Jan-13 17:49:23

Was amazed to find a product which cost £3.80 in Tesco was £2.00 in Wilkinsons! Just one of many price differences with Wilko always cheaper and this was a branded product too.

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