Food bills and sharing(11 Posts)
How much does everyone pay for food? We are two adults and 2yo DTs, plus an au pair couple. This week we have spent £450 on food over 3 supermarket trips, though hopefully the final shop will keep us going for about 5 days.
We don't have extravagant tastes, though we like a few treats - nice fruit, good crisps and a bottle of wine!
Also, the au pair couple are quite active and have massive appetites, and we find all the good stuff is gone within a couple of days. Literally within two days they could eat 6 bananas, 3 mangoes, a head of brocolli, 500g of lean mince, a bag of cashew nuts etc. And this would just be for the daytime as we eat evening meals together. also; if they will be absent from the house at a mealtime they pack up food to take with them.
Of course I don't want them to go hungry but it's bothering me that when I go to get something fresh for the boys there is often nothing left! I wanted them to have avo-toast and mango for breakfast today but it was all gone. They got half a banana each (last banana!) and peanut butter on toast, which is fine but could be better.
The last thing I want is the au pairs (who do a wonderful job) to feel like they are being deprived, but at the same time I'd like the boys to share the good food and maybe even cut down our food bill. Any ideas gratefully recieved! Thanks!
Three mangos in two days. Is simply taking the piss.
I would give them a food budget for breakfast and daytime meals, plus a cupboard to put it in.
You cook evening meals.
£8 per person per day is very generous but better than you are spending now!
Sympathies OP, my previous au pair was a bit like this. He would just demolish things without thinking of others. In his case it was mainly proteins, like chicken breast or steak or eggs when huge amounts would disappear in one or two meals. I remember one night he came back from going out and ate the entire contents of a 500g yoghurt tub.
I did say something to him when he made himself three chicken breast one evening after we already had cooked a big lunch and told him that they were intended for the week ahead.
Not sure about food budgets and cupboard space. We don't do that as our fridge is not big enough to give up an entire shelf for the au pair. £8 a day as previously suggested sounds very generous for lunches and snacks, surely they will be able to live off less than that? Maybe I am just tight but if I was at home I could easily eat well on less than that.
If you have the space in your kitchen maybe provide £40 per week so that they can make their own lunches and buy their own fruit?
Our au pairs have their own kitchen, so eat meals in their flat apart from Sunday dinner. I top up a Sainsbury's gift card with £35/week max (most haven't spent that amount apart from our French au pair who did).
They are always welcome though to eat from our fridge too, we have a star system, so if something is intended for an evening meal, I put a black marker pen star on it and it can't be eaten. I also request that they don't finish off staples e.g.. milk, cheese, eggs etc. Or if they do, it needs to be replaced the same day.
I used to have an au pair couple and every week I would ask them for a shopping list. They generally only ate what they put on the list.
Even then our food bill was only £100/week for four of us plus the couple!
Are you able to buy when on offer? Find a cheaper butcher?
Three mangos in two days. Is simply taking the piss.
huh?! Why is that?
I am sorry, but the OP's list for a couple sounds very reasonable. What do people eat?
OP, maybe you need to separate things that you need, and label a bit clearly. My DH or my kids take anything they want from the fridge when they are hungry, unless they know I need it (and clearly a birthday cake is out of bound).
I don't consider fruits as treat, they are just basic food.
Either everybody eats together, and the fridge and cupboard are strictly out of bound apart from a "snack" section, or you need to make clearer what they are entitled to (and they can buy the rest themselves)
It's perfectly reasonable to want to have enough supplies for your own meals!
I would struggle to feed myself with £40 a week, I don't have time to go to the market to buy cheaper veg and fruits for example (and i don't even include the wine in that). Food is expensive.
I got the impression they didn't have to feed themselves for £40 a week as the OP
did a cooked dinner for all every day. So perhaps she was hoping that £40 would be enough for lunches and breakfasts?
With any job there are perks and it sounds as though for your au pairs the abundance of food is part of the perks of the job. If it's not working for you you have to find a different system and talk to them about it.
I think you have to be clear.
We had a male au pair last year who was big on exercising. He would demolish alot of food. Didn't think about fact that treat things such a smoked salmon were for everyone and he should have some but not the whole packet in one sitting.
I think it's good to explain the line between treat things and basics - e.g. the mangoes, avocados, nice crisps, you expect everyone in the house to get a share of, so please only have your share. Things like rice, pasta, eggs, cheese, bread, "ordinary" veg such as carrots, broccoli etc - go for your life and have as much as you want. They are things you can cheaply stock up on.
Meat i keep in the freezer and defrost whatever I want to cook the next night. So they know that thing is ear marker for dinner, but they can take something else out and defrost to cook for their lunch and that's fine - current au pair batch cooks her lunches for a few days which is sensible. She is the first one who will actually bother to cook proper food for her lunches!
I think if people want massive quantities of protein and eshew "filler" foods such as pasta and vegetables there comes a point when they might need to buy somethings themselves. Or if they want convenience foods for every lunch rather than cooking.
You can get value chicken or something and say that's the lunch chicken and that would be quite reasonable.
But equally if I see the au pair has bought something reasonable themselves for lunch- one liked cuppa soups for instance, one liked noodles, a couple likes quorn products - I will add them to my shopping in future so they don't have to be buying that. I always say is there anything you want me to buy, and buy more of the things I can see they like - their choice of cereal, extra jam if they like jam, that sort of thing.
So I think that you may just have to grab groceries every day in an attempt to ration the amount of food they it. By the sounds of it it is just as much for their own good as it is for the good of your budget. That's an obscene amount of food to eat.
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