Food Spending is ridiculous and I can't seem to reduce this.

(164 Posts)
spababe Sun 19-Oct-14 11:26:28

Ok so I cut back last month and had to have a big shop on 1st Oct but so far this month I have spent £400 on groceries and have £30 to last me until the end of the month. I also have spent £80 on school lunches.
I vary my shops between Lidl and Tesco online (where I can track what I spend as I order)
I have 2 teenage sons and DH so 4 of us but the milk bill alone is £30 a month as they get through 4 pints a day.
We do not eat meat or much processed food. We live rurally so no takeaways.
I do meal plan.
I do have quite a bit in the freezer to get us through the next week but then we will have to survive on the last £30 through half term - tricky.
It's ridiculous really but I have no idea how to reduce this.

OP’s posts: |
OttiliaVonBCup Sun 19-Oct-14 11:30:54

Why do they drink quite so much milk?
They might be thirsty then tap water is perfectly acceptable.

spababe Sun 19-Oct-14 11:34:20

They like milk to drink plus they have porridge for breakfast. They do not drink fizzy drinks or squash only milk and water so I think that's acceptable.

OP’s posts: |
capsium Sun 19-Oct-14 11:35:58

So 3 weeks?

Hmm. Powdered milk.

A tub makes up nearly 6 pints and costs £1.88.

JubJubBirds Sun 19-Oct-14 11:36:24

...I cant even begin to process the rest of your post because I cant get over the 4pints of milk a day thing!

Could they swap to water for drinks? If you're happy for them to keep that up though then that's fair enough.

capsium Sun 19-Oct-14 11:37:50

Make up in advance and refrigerate. It it was we used as students. I think with only £30 to last you extreme measures are called for.

InfinitySeven Sun 19-Oct-14 11:38:04

Don't let them drink that much milk!

It'll be a nightmare for when they go to uni or have to budget for themselves. DP drinks 12 pints a week and that's more than enough. It feels like I'm always buying milk.

You can easily cut down there. They could make porridge with water or drink more water. Either way, I'd tell them they have to make it last.

You haven't really said what else you buy, so it's difficult to advise. What does your shopping list look like? What meals do you typically make?


JubJubBirds Sun 19-Oct-14 11:38:09

Can you give us some examples of typical meals?

Assuming you have porridge or cereal or toast for breakfast? What about lunch and dinner?

capsium Sun 19-Oct-14 11:39:51

What sort of things do you eat?

Veg soups / stews can be cheap.

smashboxmashbox Sun 19-Oct-14 11:41:47

Powdered milk - Make the milk up on the QT and mix it half and half or 1/3 2/3 - they will never notice.

Teenagers are bottomless pits though and graze and snack all the time.

Can you post a week's meals?

I use a lot of pasta, vast amounts of rice and spuds and veggies to bulk out everything.

smashboxmashbox Sun 19-Oct-14 11:43:15

Squash would be a lot cheaper than that amount of milk.

Charitybelle Sun 19-Oct-14 11:43:18

No advice, sorry, just wanted to commiserate as we have a similar problem. I don't actually think you're spending that much for a family of four, but it's hard to reduce.

smashboxmashbox Sun 19-Oct-14 11:44:52

Depends too on what the shop includes - eg does it include cleaning stuff and wine?

(and obv water would be the cheapest drink of all)

ihatethecold Sun 19-Oct-14 11:46:00

I would stop shopping at tesco's.
They are so overpriced.
Get your meat from Aldi.
Fruit and veg of the market if possible.
Give the kids packed lunch every other day.
Make soup and stews as mentioned above.

SpottyTeacakes Sun 19-Oct-14 11:46:54

My two dc are only little but that's more than my whole months budget. Ignoring the milk that's still £370 on less than three weeks food.

I can imagine your dc eat loads. What snacks do they have? I find snacks really add up so we can probably suggest much cheaper alternatives.

SpottyTeacakes Sun 19-Oct-14 11:48:30

I do all my shopping at tesco btw as it's either that or waitrose!

OttiliaVonBCup Sun 19-Oct-14 11:50:35

I commented on the milk because it seems you think the amount you spend of it was too high.

So I thought that was the point of this whole exercise, trying to trip some here and there.


Floralnomad Sun 19-Oct-14 11:52:47

Milk is only £1 for 4 pints ,so although an issue this month that doesn't put a big dent in the overall bill IYSWIM . Can you give an example shopping list or meal plan OP

smashboxmashbox Sun 19-Oct-14 11:54:28

OP says they don't eat meat.

If I was non-meat eating my meal plan for a week for me, DS, and DD (no partner) would look like this :

Breakfast - Cornflakes/weetabix/toast every day.

Tea/coffee in the morning.

Lunches (packed for all of us)
1 piece of fruit each (pineapple, apples, grapes, pears etc depending on offers and always from Lidl)
One "wrapped" biscuit
Sandwiches (ham salad, coronation chicken, tuna) or cold pasta (chicken or bacon)
Bag of crisps
Squeezy yog for kids, ordinary for me

Then dinners - this week

Monday - chicken curry but could easily be veggie done in slow cooker with a pataks mix

Tuesday - home made pizza with sweetcorn and ham and some value garlic bread (30p ish per baguette)

Wednesday - butternut squash soup with rolls

Thursday - chicken pasta with sweetcorn and salad and a garlic bread

Friday - veggie stir fry

Any left overs I take to lunch in work the next day

Saturday - lunch - kids like pot noodle so shoot me
Tea - chicken fillets with bacon and cheese and potatoes and roast veg

Sunday - roast gammon with potatoes and veg
Sunday tea - french toast and diy if you're hungry after that

My grocery bill never tops more than £45 a week

smashboxmashbox Sun 19-Oct-14 11:54:59

Forgot to leave out the meat smile

but you can see what i mean smile

spababe Sun 19-Oct-14 11:56:07

I don't think we would drink powdered milk but I could use it for cooking as I also put milk in soup and use for cheese sauces

Breakfast - porridge, toast, fruit and fat free yoghurt (50p a large tub)

Lunch - school lunches, Lidl homebake baguettes with cheese, quorn burgers, jacket potatoes although I am struggling to justify putting the oven on for these with beans and cheese, sandwich with quorn (home made bread) home made soup, leftovers from previous nights dinner, omlette, chowder.

Dinner - pizza, fish fingers, mash and beans, pasta with cheese (kids - one very fussy) vegetable risotto, pasta with veg and sauce, salmon with veg, fish pie, veg & bean chilli, quorn sausage casserole, roasted veg with quorn pie, toad in the hole with quorn sausages, veg lasagne, pasta bake, veg moussaka

Snacks - low fat yoghurt, baked bean pastys (!), choc mousse, lots of fruit - apples, bananas, pears etc, one child eats choc digestives

OP’s posts: |
smashboxmashbox Sun 19-Oct-14 11:57:54

Why do they need fruit and a fat free yoghurt after porridge and toast? Seriously make them eat more porridge

There's a lot of quorn in that menu and it isn't really much cheaper than meat so you're maybe not saving as much as I thought you would be on that iyswim?

spababe Sun 19-Oct-14 11:59:24

Both DS do food tech so bill includes ingredients typically £5-10 a week
Bill includes cleaning stuff, loo rolls, etc but very little wine (can't afford)
I work from home and hubby works from home or takes sandwiches on the days he goes into the office

All tips are thought about and appreciated btw

OP’s posts: |
smashboxmashbox Sun 19-Oct-14 11:59:53

Also, sorry to nitpick, but why do they need a home bake baguette and cheese? I'd just make a roll and cheese or a plain old toastie with flat white sliced loaf. Those baguettes are expensive and you have to put the oven on to cook them.

Notmadeofrib Sun 19-Oct-14 12:00:37

Non meat eating smashbox - that's a lot of meat and fish!

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