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AIBU to be confused when people say it's cheaper to cook from scratch?

(614 Posts)
Blueskiesandcherrypies Sun 23-Mar-14 19:16:00

(Sorry another 'weekly food shop post'....)

I just don't think it is! I struggle to get our weekly food shop below £140pw. That's for me, DH, ds9, dd7 and dd1 (and soon to be newborn ds). We all love our food, though I tear my hair out every week planning meals everyone will enjoy rather than refuse and sulk about tolerate, and cook from scratch (just things like spag Bol, curry, carbonara, puff pastry 'pizza', roasts...) but I often think blimey if I could just chuck a few ready meals in the trolley and loads of bits from the frozen section (burgers, nuggets, kievs!!) we'd be quids in! But then we wouldn't be eating so healthily and I wouldn't know exactly what we're all putting in our mouths.

Weekly food shop includes packed lunches, loads of fruit for snacks, cat food, household bits, nappies.... but not alcohol, that comes out of DH's 'own' pocket rather than our joint account even if it's wine for me. We never have leftovers so can't stretch a meal over 2 days (DCs have growing appetites).

I am green with envy when I see people saying they can feed a family of four for £50 a week!!

And ok, before you ask, I have been shopping at ocado lately but I haven't seen a huge price diff than when I used sainsburys.

Please help me see where I'm going wrong!

EatShitDerek Sun 23-Mar-14 19:21:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 23-Mar-14 19:22:46

I think maybe the initial meal costs more but you can't bulk out and get left overs to make 1 or two other meals with ready meals.

So it does work out cheaper. Ultimately it's better for you which although indirectly, it does save you money.

Nuffieldnurseshome Sun 23-Mar-14 19:23:57

I also far prefer to cook from scratch, however I do fail to see how it is necessarily cheaper when you can by foe example a boldness bake, cottage pie or lasagne for 4 for £4 in Sainsbo's!!

And that's taking into account that I am vegetarian and a reasonably competent cook!!

ICanSeeTheSun Sun 23-Mar-14 19:24:29

Watching this thread with interest.

Blueskiesandcherrypies Sun 23-Mar-14 19:25:16

Yes, the magic chicken! My jaw nearly hit the floor when I read one posters comments about how she uses the leftovers from the roast chicken for curry (mon), stew (tues), stir fry (weds)..... jeeeez!!! Leftovers, I buy a large chicken still get a chorus of 'is there any more chicken?' !!

nkf Sun 23-Mar-14 19:25:18

Seriously? I think you are managing brilliantly. You are feeding a lot of people and an animal for that. And you are including household goods. A lot of people on those £50 a week threads have toddlers. Very different. Or they are vegetarian.

BuzzardBird Sun 23-Mar-14 19:25:50

But you are shopping at the most expensive supermarkets? Why are you not using Aldi or lidl, like the rest of the budget testing country?

BackforGood Sun 23-Mar-14 19:26:54

My bill went down considerably when I stopped buying biscuits / biscuit bar type things and crisps.... didn't think I bought many, but it seemed to help.

My bill is massively cheaper because I now shop in Aldi rather than Sainsburys, to the extent that when I had to go into Sainsburys the other week, and though I'd just get a few things while I was in there, I couldn't bring myself to pay the extra 40-50p on every single item.

It helps we no longer buy nappies, and we don't have pets.

Waltonswatcher1 Sun 23-Mar-14 19:27:07

My bill is far worse - hope that cheers you up !

CountessOfRule Sun 23-Mar-14 19:27:31

It's cheaper to cook the equivalent from scratch - but equivalent pasta sauce isn't a cheap jar, but the more expensive fresh gourmet/Finest ones, or farmers' market ones.

You can buy a family size lasagne for £3 but it will contain lots of salt and sugar, dubious meat, cheap white sauce, etc. A home made one could have leaner, kinder meat, fresh vegetables, etc.

ScottishInSwitzerland Sun 23-Mar-14 19:28:14

Aldi gets a good name here. Try there?

Or local butcher for bulk buying, local market for fruit and veg

The latter depends a lot on where you live. My sil lives in kent and they get tonnes of fruit and veg for v cheap at the market but when I lived in Scotland we didn't have much of a market other than a farmers market once a moth which was gorgeous stuff and v expensive
And where I live now in Switzerland the market stalls are very expensive as they are all organic etc

EverythingsDozy Sun 23-Mar-14 19:28:30

If I get a chicken it does one meal like a roast dinner, I use the leftover chicken for a curry the next day then use the leftover curry the day after to make homemade curried samosas smile delicious!!

Blueskiesandcherrypies Sun 23-Mar-14 19:30:35

Thanks nkf!

Buzzard, I have tried Aldi and I really tried to like it. Got home, put shopping away, opened chicken breasts (just bought at aldi) and they STANK the kitchen out and went straight in the bin. DH made a cup of coffee (aldi own brand) and it was truly disgusting. Sent DCs to school with aldis version of peperamis and both came home with one bite taken out of them, apparently gross. So loads of it had to be replaced and the whole thing seemed like false economy?!

horsetowater Sun 23-Mar-14 19:30:47

Cooking from scratch is only cheaper if you use the 'basic' ingredients and cook the bejeesus out of them and add loads of extras.

Take pasta sauce. You can buy a ready made for £1 but you'd be hard pressed to get a good tin of toms for less than 50p, add the onion, oil, seasoning and it's not THAT much cheaper. Use two tins of 20p tomatoes from Lidl and you have to add puree and extra onions and cook it for about an hour which will waste fuel.

I think people just lie when they say they do a weekly shop for £50.

Also there is nothing wrong with frozen food at all. Check the ingredients for additives but a frozen chicken breast will be no different from the fresh version.

And forget the main supermarkets, Lidl Aldi and now Morrisons are the only ones that offer anything near value for money.

There's a point where you just have to commit to a higher weekly food budget to maintain your standards. Either that or you drop standards. Talk to DH and see what he thinks.

WilsonFrickett Sun 23-Mar-14 19:30:56

If you do eat meat, find a local butcher and buy and freeze their special offers. I don't buy any meat from the supermarket now apart from free range chicken thighs - also the cheapest way to eat chicken if you're not into they mythical mn chook!

extrasleepneeded Sun 23-Mar-14 19:32:06

YANBU I feel the same I've asked on the feed a family for £50 threads for a bit of a break down as just cant work out how anyone can do it I must spend at least £30 a week on fresh fruit

ICanSeeTheSun Sun 23-Mar-14 19:33:16

Do you plate up the correct portions.

I can see how anybody can still be hungry if correct portions are served.

Titsalinabumsquash Sun 23-Mar-14 19:33:20

I manage to do it cheaper but I have access to a good butcher who does cheap deals on bulk buys, so I can p!a a round whatever he has cheap that week, if he's got a fab deal on 5kg of steak mince then I'll do burgers/bolognese/cottage pie etc. if he's doing 2 large gammon slippers for £8 I'll do wraps, omelette, stir fry.. You get the gist.

I also have access to a market with cheap, good quality veg and fruit and I buy Aldi value pasta/rice/tinned goods to bulk out our meals.

I have was given an electric soup maker so any veg at all, even a few carrots a stalk bit of broccoli get chucked in and it does it thing of an evening to make veggie soup for the week.

I make bread from scratch cheaper buy buying flour in huge quantities for cheap at a wholesaler, I use Aldi for washing tablets and dishwasher stuff.

Doing this I can feed 5 big appetites for £80 a week and the gerbils and we all eat a lot of meat (hearty roast on a Sunday) we have fresh soup and bread, lots of cakes and biscuits I bake and we easily get 5 a day.

I am at home in the day a fair bit thought and have a chest freezer alongside our regular freezer so I can bulk cook things for later use so some weeks I only need to buy fruit and veg which is usually £10.

I know I can only do all this because I have the places near by. If I was just using a supermarket it would be ££££.

LoveBeingCantThinkOfAName Sun 23-Mar-14 19:33:35

Well I only have 2 dc but dont have to do packed lunches so school dinners dont add into shopping bill.

Have you seen the ocardo voucher thread?

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 23-Mar-14 19:34:41

We spend not much less than you and only feed 2 adults. You are doing well

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 23-Mar-14 19:34:53

Can I have that samosa recipe please dozy

AnnaLegovah Sun 23-Mar-14 19:35:20


Blueskiesandcherrypies Sun 23-Mar-14 19:35:23

Horsetowater, I did kind of have that conversation with DH. I said that if we swap to ready made lasagnes and kievs etc we could cut down a lot on the bill, he said 'no way, I don't want to eat like that, I love the meals you make' but sadly there was no 'and here's an extra £50 quid a week to cover it'! I'll talk to him again smile

horsetowater Sun 23-Mar-14 19:36:31

We've recently come out of a 'lean' period and it was really depressing to eat substandard food for so long. Nobody should have to do this - and it's why I advocate people buying from Lidl and Aldi, because we have to vote with our feet to get the other supermarkets to reduce their prices. This is already starting to happen with Morrison's.

Nobody should have to lower their standards and eat shite because the supermarkets want more profit. It's food and is what sustains us and it shouldn't be treated as a luxury. Good food is essential to our health. Bad food is just insulting.

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