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Food shopping - driving me to drink

(49 Posts)
LaCiccolina Sat 20-Oct-12 19:54:56

We shop on Ocado by the week. We stopped in tescos because we ended up getting stuff we fancied than stuff we needed. I do that less online it seems. Im really struggling still though to get the weekly shop to £100 and a bit. Its a flipping bad week if its £150. It worries me as they price check like they all do so Im less willing to believe they are inordinately expensive than others anymore.

DH says the 'normal' 4 person family spends £89(!) a week. HOW? Im plainly doing it all wrong. Ive thought about some questions which might help me work out where Im going wrong and wondered if anyone else had some bright ideas? This is the last major bill I need to get under control. And well Im struggling!

Do you shop online or IRL? I prefer online as per above and that they deliver quite well usually. Im not fussed who really, just DH picked Ocado and I havent altered it.
One stop shop or multiple? One stop shop for me, dont you waste petrol shooting all over to Aldi/Lidl/Asda/Sainsburys to get stuff?
Mostly fresh / mostly frozen? Mostly fresh - Is this why? Do others focus on frozen more???
Roast on sunday? Yes usually chicken, if Im feeling fancy, lamb or pork. Avoid beef now often as rather dear.....
Cheap end or 'Finest'? I like the basic brands ends generally but depends I spose on what it is....
How many times meat eaten in the week? DH doesnt think its a meal unless has meat in it. Fish is a starter or in his eyes a treat but not to be eaten very often. Id be happy with either FIsh or meatless but fish is also expensive and Im not cooking twice on anything. I try to focus again on mince and cheaper stuff though. But do others not eat meat much in the week?
Are cleaning products/bog roll etc included in this magical £89 do you reckon? I cant believe they are....willing to be corrected.
Recipe follower? Rarely can afford to. More of a make it up and chuck it in type. Ive got rudimentary cooking skills. No Chef but not beginner.
Wine drinker? Yup but ive switched to boxed coz it seemed cheaper as buy less often. Wine suddenly seems to be £5+ a bottle. DH likes a few beers at weekend. Rarely touch spirits.
Fizzy drinks / desserts? FDs yes, just one pack coke cans usually. Rarely do desserts. Couple of yogurts for kids and jellies etc but I dont keep a stock pile.

I freeze/eat left overs. Generally have to as im a visual cook so usually do too much pasta etc anyway. I eat all areas on the chicken so Im not a Jamie Oliver waster by not turning the bird over type. Winter is easier with casseroles etc. I really just dont get why. Ive even bought a chalkboard so I remember what meals I planned at the start so we eat the right stuff and dont waste anything. Its improved alot since then but still fluctuates.

Or is food really that much more expensive now? Im at a loss.....

Allofaflumble Sun 11-Nov-12 11:49:00

Edit "very good reductions".

Allofaflumble Sun 11-Nov-12 11:47:59

A lot of it depends on just how close these supermarkets are to get to. For instance, my nearest Aldi and Lidl are a 26 mile round trip, hence the 4/6 weekly visit.

Tesco is about a 20 mile round trip, Sainsburys about 5 miles and Morrisons around 4.

I absolutely agree though that to shop for everything at Waitrose would be financial suicide for a bigger family.

I have done 3 x weekly Waitrose shops and now need nothing for this week so will make this the Aldi trip at the end of the week.

This should bring my 4 x weekly shop to around £200 which is a lot less than when I was popping in all the different stores. The Co-op does have some very reductions.

BertieBotts Sun 11-Nov-12 10:38:52

I think £25 per person is more average TBH. I've just spent £60 on me and DS but that will probably last us more than a week.

I think you should set him the challenge of doing it - give him a little checklist if he hasn't shopped for the family before (breakfast, lunch (inc work/school lunches), dinner, pudding, snacks (x however many people have snacks x however often they have them), drinks, any cleaning products/toiletries you're running low on.

TobyLerone Sun 11-Nov-12 10:30:35

Oh, and I never ever buy value brands.

TobyLerone Sun 11-Nov-12 10:28:47

I can easily shop for 4 of us (me, DP, teenage DS, preteen DD) for £80 per week. That includes cat food/litter, cleaning products and toiletries.

We never buy crisps, biscuits, fizzy drinks, squash or sweets. I rarely buy much alcohol but that's not due to price -- it's just because we don't drink much.
I cook everything (including bread/cakes/biscuits/pastry) from scratch. I rarely use tinned or jarred stuff, and never ever buy frozen stuff like pies/chicken dippers/burgers.

We eat really really well. We don't eat baked potatoes and lentils all the time grin This week, I don't think I'll shop at all, as I have too many things in the cupboards/freezer (meat and leftovers) to use up. It means I'll have to be a bit more creative but I don't mind that.

QueenofNightmares Sun 11-Nov-12 10:21:46

We're a family of 3, 2 adults 1 9yo and a JRT. We spend about £40 a week. I shop all over the place via walking/taxi.

Start out at Morrisons take money out of the bank and pop in for anything on special offer <Check website before I go> a couple of weeks ago it was pork shoulder half price I brought 3 joints one I split in half for roasting, one I diced and I minced the last one for meatballs.

Then walk onto Tesco for special offers there, Richmond sausages this week.

Into town for B&M and another little shop just like it where I got Tofu for 10p a pack and stir fry sauces for 19p each.

Finally grab a taxi to Aldi <£2.80 cheaper than the bus!> to finish up the shopping and grab a taxi home.

We spent nothing in Morrisons, £15 in Tesco, £8 in town and £30 in Aldi this should last us 2 weeks with £20 put aside for any little things we need.

Dinner today is lasagna made with a 800g pack of mince <Tesco special offer steak mince £2.27> then left over bolognese will be turned into a chilli tomorrow with HM cornbread and value tortilla chips.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sun 11-Nov-12 10:17:37

I meal plan, stick to shopping lists like glue, buy cheaper brands when I can. Can't always as they sometimes contain stuff my DC's can't have.

Can't afford a bread maker. Don't have time to make bread in the oven myself. Do a lot of slow cooked meals as you can buy cheaper cuts of meat that are tougher unless slow cooked. No alcohol. At all.

Where can I save money on my food bill?

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sun 11-Nov-12 10:13:18

And two of mine HAVE to have meat or fish at every meal, due to their restricted diets. Veggie alternatives not an option as they are soy based.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sun 11-Nov-12 10:11:36

<<Thinks back wistfully to the days when I could get two full meals out of a chicken. Now they are at the carcass with forks trying to shred the last bits of meat off the carcass. I can just about make stock from the bones now.>>

I find too that feeding an odd number of people in the household costs more. My shopping bill would not increase if I had one extra person to feed, as you can either buy for 4 or 6. With 5 in the house, you wind up buying extra. I constantly have sandwich bags of 'extra' chicken thighs in the freezer, because one pack isn't quite big enough, yet two is far too many.

If you think £150 for 4 is bad - my shopping, with me, a 14yo, a 10yo that's hit puberty, a very nearly 9yo, and a toddler in nappies, is £200 a week!

(In my defence, one is coeliac so on a GF diet, more expensive in itself, and the toddler is on a Cow's Milk Protein, Nut and Soy free diet due to life threatening allergies.)

My food covers 82% of my income. (Yes, I HAVE worked it out!). No matter what I do, I can't get it any lower than that.

But then, a half loaf of GF/CMPF/NutF/SoyF bread (with half sized slices too, so you need 4 slices to equate to 2 from a normal loaf) costs £2.48 here. I get through one a day.

So just for lunches alone, for two of the DC's, I spend £17.36 a week on bloody special bread that my PCT no longer prescribes.

Marzipanface Sun 11-Nov-12 10:02:23

Don't shop at Ocado. They ARE expensive. We used to shop there but finances changed radically so now we shop at Asda and Lidl. We spend far less. There are three of us at the moment and our monthly groceries bill is about 250-280, doesn't include alcohol but does include cleaning materials and toiletries.

When we shopped at Ocado and Waitrose, our bill would be twice that amount if not more.

Buy value brands. Don't have meat at every meal. Buy reduced items. DH dashes down to Asda just before it closes on Sundays and scoops loads of bread products for 5p each and we freeze them. We use the rolls for lunches and crusty bread to go with soup for two evening meals a week.

Often I pick up reduced fruit and put it in cakes and muffins.

Meal plan and stick to a shopping list.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sun 11-Nov-12 10:00:29

One thing I find wrt shopping bills is that if you have young DC's, your shopping bill will be far less than if your DC's are around 10-ish or above.

Because my 10yo is 5ft1 tall, and eats an adult portion of food. And when he's having a growth spurt, he eats food quicker than I can buy it!

So £89 may do for 2 adults, a toddler not in nappies, and a preschooler, but you'd have a hard job IMO feeding 2 adults and two human dustbins teenagers on that.

Plus even if your DC's are little, that £89 won't include nappies, wipes or formula if you are using it. Which can easily add £18-20 to your shopping each week, depending on brands used.

Yama Sun 11-Nov-12 09:55:48

Yes to:

Meal planning
Batch cooking
Soya mince/Lentils
Mixture of fresh and frozen

No to:
Fizzy drinks, biscuits, crisps, crap.

£89 is more than enough for us - family of 4, one of which is still in nappies. This includes wine, cleaning products and food for packed lunches.

mam29 Sun 11-Nov-12 09:45:51

How many people are there?

is it just you and dh? how many kids and pets?

I find tesco most expensive
detest asda both our local stores are really bad.
sainsburys and c0-op nearest local and flit between 2.

in sainsburys we just buy basics, reductions and offeres or things we cant get at lidls fortunatly opposite.Sainburys nearly always has cheese on offer.

trick is we do lidls 1st then anything cant get in lidls we go sainsburys.

lidls-check out their website as some superdeals start on a thur but mega deals like chocloate at 17p and lean mince at £1.50 we buy in buk.

we have large chest freezer.

local co-op is large and expensive but tehy do best reductions and some good offeres.

we normally get co-op leaflet in local rag and bulk buy deals and pop in 1-2evenings and sunday for reductions especially bread .

we do local butchers for meat hes there every week in van in pub carpark but usually go onec month buy in bulk

so 20sausages i mean proper ones that look like tesco finest variety of falvours for 5quid, 25rashers of bacon for £5 quid, diced beef and steaks. I dont tend to buy poultry or mince from him though.The gammon slipper joints for 36 cook 2hours make own sliced ham which is expensive is nice money saving.

One that most people overlook is morrisions as they dont do online its much harder to compare,I genrally find them quite good for grocery and frozen deals, occasionally they have good reductions evenings only. dont rate their fruit and veg or meat variety although fish is fab strength.

pound shops-we try do those for bog roll, household and no food.

babys nappies-always lidls and value wipes which have shot up in in price.

iceland-rarly go there now as dont find them that cheap things have got saller less weight.

However farmfoods if one nearby is fab. local rag has leaflet with vouchers off so £2.50 odd £25 £5 off £50 and £10 off 100 so spend £125 get £12.50 off 10%. I genrally dont lkike their own brabnd stuff apart from veg but do but birds eye fish/chicken/burgers, macain chips, branded pizzas, wallas icecream and lolllies. milks the cheapest i seen 8pints for £1.80, breads on offer just like iceland bit its hovis not kigsmill but variety and can mix, fairly cheap for cheeses. cartons juice ect, they dont doo booze, some crisp deals, fruit and veg very poor, branded biscuits on good multibuys.

Aldis have visted in past but bit far but soon one to open next to lidls and morrisons so can easily hit all 3.

online i flit between waitrose and ocado find the deals good and love waitrose own brand stuff. like way waitrose is free delivery, fab service and think its fab.

keep overlooking m&s the dine meal for £10 can sometimes be fab sometimes includes whole chicken and bottle of wine may be worth considering for monthly treat.

But I think i need to try 3 for £10 meats in there we prefer rspca freedom or free range poultry and free range eggs so yes priciples do cost there.

we spend £300 a month on avarage for 2adults, 3kids, hamster

shopping around helps me keep costs down
,meal plan like mad
great reduced hunt
be struct keep lists, buy own brand/value or offers only.

good luck wonder where this figure of £89 comes from?

Allofaflumble Fri 09-Nov-12 19:24:26

When you are searching for something - say tea bags, they have a button you can press which shows you to goods lowest to highest in price.

Pourquoimoi Thu 08-Nov-12 21:31:45

What is the low to high price function?

Allofaflumble Thu 08-Nov-12 09:18:43

It's crazy but true but I am spending less by shopping online at Waitrose.

Once every 6 weeks or so we make a trip to Aldi to stock up on tins, pasta, loo rolls, bin bags, washing paraphenalia etc.

Then I shop online spending just over £50 to qualify for free delivery.

I buy my milk locally five x 4pts at a time and freeze.

So my shopping bill has decreased a lot and I am no longer popping into the charity shop nearby and buying stuff I don't really need!

So for two of us and a few pets this is really working out. Oh yes I buy my Earl Grey tea bags in bulk at Asda. A friend gets them for me.

I found I was spending more by shopping around also I don't really have the time and start to just fling stuff in to get the hell out of there. With the low to high price function at Waitrose and the special offers I can really think about what I am buying.
It is working for me.

BustersOfDoom Sat 27-Oct-12 20:00:16

I should add that the site transfers your basket to the shop of your choice and you can then checkout as normal. You don't have to enter it all again!

BustersOfDoom Sat 27-Oct-12 19:53:48

When you do an online shop do it via My Supermarket

You choose which supermarket to shop from - either Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose or Ocado - and it automatically compares the cost of your basket in all the others and highlights where you can save money on specific items by swapping them for a different size or own brand.

Asda is always much cheaper than the others and I only tend to buy branded stuff and fruit & veg. On a £160 'big shop' the difference can be £30 or more.

I also shop at Aldi and the local market and get some great bargains.

ptangyangkipperbang Sat 27-Oct-12 19:43:12

We shop at Ocado and I tend to average £90 week. There are 5 of us. I also meal plan around their meats - usually mince x 2 and chicken fillets for fajitas. We also go veggie a couple of days.
Ocado have lots of special offers too. I keep an eye on the price of fruit and veg as they can be expensive but there are always cheap alternatives. I spend a lot less than in supermarkets as I can't impulse buy!

mizu Sat 27-Oct-12 19:28:51

Family of 4 - DDs are 8 and nearly 7. Spend anything from £65-£90 a week.

We do not drink and rarely eat meat - although my DH would love to eat more.

Shop in Asda or sometimes Sainsburys if i am feeling rich.

We eat fish 2 or 3 times a week, salmon, tuna or prawns with rice or pasta and pesto with salmon or pastrami, jacket potatoes and sometimes i buy beef sausages.
Very samey but we both work and time is limited in the evenings so i need to whip something up quickly.

Would love to spend more and i occasionally walk wistfully around Waitrose wishing i could do the weekly shop there but we are on a budget as saving £500 a month for deposit for a house sad

butterfingerz Thu 25-Oct-12 11:42:22

£80-90 could get our family a decent shop, we're a family of 4 but our kids are 16 months and 4yrs and the baby still breastfeeds alot so not really eating much.

I do shop at Ocado but pop to Sainsbos for a few things.

Here are my amateur money saving tips (I'm not an expert yet):

1) Stock up on frozen veg, you waste less and don't have that worry of it going bad. It tastes no different, sometimes better as its been frozen at its peak. Even Ocado do a great range... they even have useful casserole mixes and roasted mediterranean veggies. We like the mini cubes of frozen chopped spinach that you can swirl into a variety of recipes, its only like £1.50 for a big bag that lasts forever.

2) An alternative to frozen veg is tinned veg, like petit pois and baby carrots that usually come from France as thats how they prefer to eat them. They're very sweet and tender and usually dirt cheap as they've fallen out of fashion over here. Or tins of ratatouille or similar.

3) Use basic/smart price toilet roll, washing up liquid, bleach, cleaners etc. Nobody will care or notice the difference.

4) We don't drink, even if I did, a bottle of wine would last a week! I've heard Aldi is good for wine, I think average of £3 a bottle but they are better quality than the equivalent in the big supermarkets. Can you go Aldi for some things? I've heard their hams, cheeses and deli type products are good. Perhaps things like breakfast cereals which you don't really notice the brand (a cornflake is a cornflake to me). We eat porridge for breakfast which is cheap but really nice and filling. Or go there for basics like bread, rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes, oils, fruit juice, again nobody notices which brand with staples.

I've not tried Aldi much but am going to pop there this weekend to see if I can save some money.

chickydoo Mon 22-Oct-12 19:04:05

Op I spend around £150 a week
There are 6 of us 2 adults 3 teens & an under 10. 4 cats & a few other pets.
I buy everything from Tesco online.
This includes all cleaning stuff & 80% of the toiletries too.
The cats cost me almost £20 a week, I include their food & cat litter too.
4 of the 6 take a pack lunch with them everyday.
We seem to have a fair amount of food in the house most of the time.
The kids eat plenty of the crisp/biscuit/snack stuff, as well as lits of fruit & veg. My Theory is, when it's gone it's gone!
I usually hide a few things when the delivery arrives, so mid week I can put a few new bits in to the cupboards.
£150 is quite a bit to spend, but we never eat out and haven't had a take away for years.

trinitybleu Sun 21-Oct-12 12:19:53

Aldi washing powder is great, and the dishwasher tabs. Now they stock Coke, I have no need to shop anywhere else.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 21-Oct-12 11:45:04

Just shop at aldi but don't tell the family.

Non branded cleaners are the thing people are least likely to swap according to moneysavingexpert but bring the biggest savings. Eg aldi bio powder beat surf, daz and persil when which? Tested it. Ariel was compareable but £30 a year more based on 3 washes a week.

parsnipcake Sun 21-Oct-12 10:02:36

I go to aldi once a week for things that are considerably cheaper than ocado - cereal, bread, salami and sliced meat, chocolate, some fruit and veg mainly. We also love their bacon and steak ( which I slice after cooking so it goes further). I spend about £50. Then I do an ocado for about £100. There are 2 adults, 4 teens and a baby. I meal plan and have a rule of £8 of meat in a meal - I just serve more potatoes or rice etc if the portion seems small. I can't abide big supermarkets and always end up with loads of crap in my trolley. I think aldi specially selected easily matches waitrose for quality.

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