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to ask how i can cut our food cost?

(101 Posts)
pimsandlemonade Thu 19-May-16 10:28:06

I've seen posts about people managing with a food shop under £100 per week and I just want to know how?? What's the secret?
Do you only buy unbranded value stuff? Offers?

Our food shop is about £200 per week, i usually go to Tesco twice a week, roughly £100 per shop, sometimes less, sometimes more. I don't buy any ready meals, make all meals from scratch but i do mainly Tesco finest or organic. We are 3 adults, 1 pre-schooler , 1 baby.
I'm open to ideas how to cut the cost but without compromising much on the quality.

SukeyTakeItOffAgain Thu 19-May-16 10:31:51

You know the answer already, don't you?

Stop buying Tesco organic or finest range. And if you really want to cut your grocery bill you'd head to your nearest Lidl or Aldi if you wanted the convenience of a supermarket, or you'd trawl round town centres looking for bargains in greengrocers' and butchers' shops.

Are you regular meat/fish eaters? If you are, stop and it will cut £££s off your food bill.

All depends if you actually want to though. You must know already that £200 pw for a family of 5, with two small children, is ludicrous.

Pinkheart5915 Thu 19-May-16 10:33:52

Me, dh and 8 months old ds spend £90 a week on shopping we use local butchers and farm shop I only use a supermarket normally waitrose for wash stuff, deodorant, shampoo, flour, sugar etc.

Most of our meals are home made. I do a lot of batch cooking. Make my own bread, the bread maker is my new favourite toy I'm sure the novelty will wear off.

Do you meal plan?
Have you tried ordering your shopping online and only getting what you need for your meal plan?

TheCrumpettyTree Thu 19-May-16 10:36:56

That's a ridiculous amount to spend.

Stop buying organic and finest, meal plan and go to Lidl or shop online so you're not tempted. Unbranded doesn't mean poor quality. We spend £90 a week for four of us.

28DegreesIsTooHot Thu 19-May-16 10:38:26

I save money in the weeks when I meal plan and reduce meat/increase veg.
I'm not brand loyal and will buy things on offer.
Reduce snack type foods too.

DownUnderBound Thu 19-May-16 10:39:06

Lidls/aldi. Meat free monday (everyone loves pasta surely) omlette nights. All bita from fridge & big pack of eggs, 2 quid for the whole nights dinner.

Bambooshoots14 Thu 19-May-16 10:41:25

Online shopping usually saves me money as I only buy what I need

You don't need finest/ organic

oldjacksscrote Thu 19-May-16 10:45:18

Shop online, you can keep an eye on the trolley total and look for cheaper alternatives. Usually when you sign up as a new customer you'll receive money off your first shop. Last year I had £20 off £100 waitrose, £12 off £60 at Tesco and £18 off £70 at Sainsburys.

EssentialHummus Thu 19-May-16 10:46:20

These threads are always great advertisements for Lidl and Aldi! grin

Try Lidl/Aldi grin - I can do a week's shop here for half what I'd spend at Sainsbury's

Batch cook and freeze - saves you time, but you also benefit from buying and making in bulk

One (or more) meat-free meals a week

One (or more) cheap meals a week - omelette, jacket potato with cheese/beans/tuna, dhal

Check your spending on particular items - things like microwave rice are hugely expensive compared to ordinary rice.

See if there's a good butcher nearby who does family packs - I use these guys

Two of us here, and we spend £50 all in (including lots of treats).

TheCrumpettyTree Thu 19-May-16 10:48:52

Look for things that are on offer, and look in the reduced section. Occasionally there are some proper bargains.

DeathMetalMum Thu 19-May-16 10:57:21

Family of four here 2 adults and two dc 5&3, we spend around £50-60 a week without much effort. That's for everything (except an odd bread or milk top up from the local shop).
Meal plan, use what is in your cupboards/freezer and only buy what you really need.
Is there a reason you need to go to the supermarket twice a week? Also I'd shop around a bit more, aldi, lid, morrisons, asda even some things will be cheaper in sainsbury's or Waitress, you'll quickly work out what's cheapest where. I mainly shop in aldi with a trip to tesco to pick up what they don't have, but every few weeks I nip into asda to pick up certain things from there as I know they are much cheaper. Doesn't cost any more petrol as they are all close by.

If you really want to cut the bill look in the reduced section and freeze for a later date, can often find some brilliant meat bargains.

moggle Thu 19-May-16 11:00:20

Meal planning and shopping online have reduced our total. And that isn't just dinner meal planning but also what am I going to take to work for lunch, etc. But we could reduce much further if we wanted. We spend about £40-60 on a tesco shop every week and usually a trip to waitrose (which is supposedly just for fruit and veg to get us through the weekend but ends up being loads more) adds another £20 or £30. If I was even better organised we could get it down more and that is still with buying Tesco brand and some branded stuff, not the basic range. (our total doesn't include DD nappies though).

Making bread in a bread maker isn't really cheaper than buying loaves in plastic bags but is cheaper than equivalent nice crusty bread :-D Ours was used religiously for a year and then slowly retired. Lives on top of the fridge now.

dodobookends Thu 19-May-16 11:00:30

When you are in the supermarket you stop and look at the price of every item. Every time. If you need some apples, then choose the ones with the most in the bag, or on special offer, or the lowest price. Check the price per kilo and see whether loose ones might work out cheaper.

When buying non-perishables like coffee and you see it is on offer that week, buy loads at the cheaper price. Then you have enough to last you until it is on special offer the next time.

Buy whichever types of veg that are on offer, and then go to the meat/fish aisle. Adapt your menu ideas as you go, and always compare the price of different cuts. Wanted steak? Never mind, pork chops are on offer, get those instead. Wait until steak is on offer and get it then.

If you're really keen, then turn up at the supermarket at about 6.30-7pm, which is when they put out the reduced stuff. I got a massive joint of pork loin for £1.99 the other day, and it is now reclining in the freezer. I also got a bag of carrots, pak choi, organic mushrooms, rhubarb, lettuce, a loaf and a giant bunch of flowers all 19p each. Just happened to be in there at the right time when they brought it all out.

Laus13 Thu 19-May-16 11:02:22

I have to recommend the musclefood website. I love it and have saved so much money buying my meat from there.
It's great quality, packaged well and priced equal or lower than aldi/Lidl but better quality.
They do lots of deals too. If you've a big enough freezer go for it!

blueberryporridge Thu 19-May-16 11:07:27

I buy some Tesco organic stuff and still manage a week's shopping for two (hungry) children and me for around £80-90 per week. This is includes lunches/packed lunches and also household supplies like cleaning materials, soap powder etc, a lot of which are higher-cost makes which I buy for ethical reasons, and pull-ups for my DS at night-time. It also includes some gluten free things (pasta and flour) as I am gluten-intolerant. if I didn't have to buy these, my shopping bill would definitely be less.

We are vegetarian which does bring the cost down compared with meat eaters a bit but I think we eat well and I don't skimp in terms of quality.

I am very focused on the organic stuff I buy - eg milk, cheese, yoghurt and eggs for animal welfare and health reasons; the vegetables and fruit, which are most susceptible to pesticide residues (eg leaf vegetables, grains, pasta, lentils and flour etc). I always buy organic tinned tomatoes and organic beans. For other things, I will buy the organic variety if there is not a lot of difference in price but will buy the conventional one if there is a big difference.

I no longer buy everything at Tesco - eg organic free range eggs are much, much cheaper at Lidl as are fruit juice (not organic), pull-ups, nice-quality toilet roll etc, so I tend to go there once a month or so and stock up on the things there which are cheaper.

I also buy some organic stuff from our local health food shop if it is cheaper - again,I go there once a month on average and stock up on specific things. I buy some things from M&S too - they often have good quality cheese on special offer, for example.

I have definitely been able to to cut my food bill a lot while still buying good quality stuff, including a fair bit of organic food - it just takes a bit of shopping around and planning. I also buy very few ready meals and cook most things from scratch apart from the occasional ready-made stir-fry sauce or curry sauce (but using easy, quick recipes as I don't have that much time for cooking).

Also, the freezer is my friend. I try to make double quantities of anything I am cooking and freeze one batch, which saves time and money (and makes you less likely to buy a ready meal).

Keeping an eye out for stuff which has been marked down as it is near its sell-by date also saves me a lot of money - it either goes straight in the freezer or I use it to cook a meal/meals which I then freeze.

Hope some of this gives you ideas!

loobypas Thu 19-May-16 11:08:29

I shop at Waitrose, feed a family of two adults, four very hungry teenagers and only spend around £120 a week on food. I keep an eye on specials for the week, keep on top of my picks (20% off 10 things every time I buy them, got basics such as loo roll, whole chickens etc), pop in at 8.30am as the reductions are brilliant then and most of all I cook from scratch all the time. We eat really well and have all sorts of treats.

I don't buy chicken portions but butcher the whole chicken myself, I always have a look at the meat counter and only buy what I need and I try to eat as seasonal as I can.

pimsandlemonade Thu 19-May-16 11:59:59

Thank you all for suggestions!
We used to do Ocado online but moved and they don't deliver here , I could do Tesco online but the shop is literally 2 min from the house so feels silly to order (although who's business is it anyway).

We do have Aldi close by and if we do steak I always buy from there plus tissues and a few other things, i could try to get morefrom there, but if I'm already at Tesco it's easier just to get everything from one place.

Re. Meal planning, in danger of sounding completely stupid but could someone explain it to me. I do have an idea what i will cook for the next 2-3 days and then buy those ingredients, I don't randomly stuff things in the trolley, however I don't make a written menu and only stick to that either.

I don't buy lots of snack foods, in fact hardly any but i buy fruit and drinks (sparkling water, fresh juices, lemonade for adults sometimes).

I'm not keen to stop buying organic completely, for example apples i only buy organic as my son eats them without peeling, milk, eggs, vegetables when possible i also like to have organic.
We are definitely meat eaters, fish too, but less so. I don't think that's about to change but 1 meat free meal a week sounds a great idea!!

SukeyTakeItOffAgain Thu 19-May-16 12:05:11

Re meat free Mondays or the equivalent, if you do eat some meat, there is no way ANYONE needs to eat it 6 days a week, let alone every day.

It's bad for your health and it's extremely bad for the planet.

I'm not a preachy vegetarian by the way, I just don't eat much meat!

FluffyPersian Thu 19-May-16 12:06:53

Another vote for Lidl here.

It's just 2 adults at the moment, but we reduced our food bill by approximately 50% when we shop there and there really isn't a reduction of quality on 90% of the things. Their meat is fantatsic as is their fruit / veg.

TheCrumpettyTree Thu 19-May-16 12:14:59

Ok, meal planning. I hate it. I really do, but it really does save money as you only buy what you need.

DH and I sit (in front of the tv when the DC are in bed) once a week and plan what we're going to eat for every evening for the week. This varies as the DC get fed at nursery or maybe one of us will be out, so we never have a full week of us all being in for dinner. So for example we'll say, on Monday we'll have macaroni cheese, Tuesday let's have cottage pie, weds we'll eat something quick as I'm out or something. We think about household items or have we enough nappies, get all the ingredients and that's it.

I hate planning what I'll eat as I'd rather not think about it but it saves time and money, and I am not taking two small DC round the supermarket.

wulfy1010 Thu 19-May-16 12:19:50

I was spending too much on groceries. What helped me was setting a budget. I have it on my phone. I allocate a certain amount each month and then take off what I spend, as I spend it. I stop after checkout and update it.
Check the budget before I go shopping. I often decide that I can make dinner fro the freezer when I see my balance grin

londonmummy1966 Thu 19-May-16 12:20:46

I find that the M&S multibuy offers are surprisingly good value and they are always across a number of items so you don't end up having to buy 2 of the same thing. They have a 3 for £10 on meat and fish every week which always includes a whole chicken and a pack of mince. This buys us enough for 5/6 main meals if you bulk it out with lots of veg/lentils/barley etc. Then the chicken carcass makes stock for a vegetable soup with a loaf of french bread for a weekend lunch. They also do regular "spend £35 and get £5 off" vouchers. So my main shop this week cost £37 although if I hadn't gone for offers and reduced items it would have been more like £55.
I'm not a great fan of meal planning as I can pop into the shops on an almost daily basis so can pick up reduced veg and work around what is in the fridge etc.

I buy a lot of our fruit at a local market type stall by the tube station - again it has to be a daily buy as it goes off quickly but if you buy only as you need its fine.

I do freeze but it tends to be "building block" items like bolognaise or tomato sauce and veg I've bought reduced. I also freeze mashed potato so if I'm in a hurry I can take out and defrost a pot of bog and a pot of mash, chuck in some diced veg and a tin of baked beans and have a shepherds pie or similar in the oven in 5 minutes - cheaper and healthier than a ready meal.

Also I freeze things like tomato sauce and fruit puree in large ice cubes. A quick topping for a pizza using left over pitta bread or wraps as a base. If there's a pack of scotch pancakes reduced then I'll heat them in the oven and serve with defrosted puree - a quick cheap and healthy(ish) pudding.

araiba Thu 19-May-16 12:22:02

you could probably eat out for less

WorraLiberty Thu 19-May-16 12:27:10

How did I reach the age of 47 without ever having peeled an apple? confused

As others have said, cut down on organic and finest.

If you think you're all eating overly huge portion sizes, perhaps revisit that too.

pimsandlemonade Thu 19-May-16 12:27:15

Today for example i have 4 chicken breasts in the fridge expiring today, but made lasagne yesterday and there's enough left over for tonight. What would you do?

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