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Saving money on food?

(19 Posts)
lizzieoak Mon 20-Mar-17 02:30:55

I'm not sure how much I'm spending on food - frankly I'm afraid to look. But I do know we are always short of money & I never go out and never go on holiday. The mortgage is as huge as ever.

So I've decided that no more lunches out when I'm at work. That could save about £1500 a year. Cut way back on coffees from the cafe.

I went to the warehouse and bought a huge bag of oats and made my own granola last night. We're vegetarian (so our protein is cheap) & I like to cook. Lately I'm so shattered from long hours at work I've been doing a little convenience food (Jamie Oliver pre-made risotto - nowhere near as good as mine,
Sorry Jamie).

I bought cat food from the warehouse, pasta, hug bags of rice (the rice would have cost 20 times the amount if I'd bought a small pack).

Any other ideas? I told the teenager we're going to menu plan for evenings and stick to it! I've been throwing out vegetables a bit, so no more impulses there.

RiverdaleJughead Mon 20-Mar-17 02:35:10

Frozen veg( it has just as many nutrients as fresh

RiverdaleJughead Mon 20-Mar-17 02:36:00

Take a big flask of coffee to work , or just some instant stuff and ask for a hot water . Go to Aldi/Lidl,

lizzieoak Mon 20-Mar-17 02:41:12

Thanks. I do a little frozen veg, but have a tiny freezer (& it's full of fruit, chappatis, parathas, homemade cookie dough, frozen chopped tomatoes - it's hard to cram in any more!).

We do have a kettle at work so I've started making herbal tea, but think I need a cheap jar of instant. Good idea, thanks!

I'm hoping meal-planning helps. And I don't mind doing all the cooking (just me and one kid left at home now), but I've asked him to choose some of the meals (handed him Anna Jones book to choose from), as deciding what to cook is just one more damn thing to do.

drinkyourmilk Mon 20-Mar-17 03:01:32

I've found that making double and either having it again the next night or for lunches a couple of days helps saves money and energy. Plus loads of stuff is far tastier the following day.
I'm also rubbish with meal planning- so even if I plan and shop accordingly I end up wasting food as I don't want to cook what I have on a particular day. I shop every couple days and stick to a budget- so eat better and waste less.

lizzieoak Mon 20-Mar-17 04:12:49

That's a good idea for dinners. I do mix more cookie batter than I need and freeze two cookies' worth in baggies to save the effort and then thaw overnight and bake in the morning.

I've tried meal-planning before, but sort of lost he habit of it after a bit. This time I really want to stick to it more. It doesn't help that I'm shattered by the time I get home from work so cook whatever comes to mind rather than looking at what veg is a bit tired and going from there. So better habits I guess from now on.

user1473069303 Tue 21-Mar-17 14:18:25

Freeze pureed ginger and garlic, if those are ingredients that you use a lot of. I find that saves me a bit of time during the week.

JustSpeakSense Tue 21-Mar-17 14:28:40

I'm another who overspends on food, so watching this thread for tips.

I find it's the mid week 'top up' shops that push my grocery bill up. If I am really organised and do a complete online shop once a week I save a lot.

I don't find shopping at Aldi helps me because I still need to shop somewhere else again (and this leads to more spending or more 'top ups')

JustSpeakSense Tue 21-Mar-17 14:29:17

*shopping at Aldi doesn't help me

AtleastitsnotMonday Wed 22-Mar-17 11:58:11

Make soup with leftover veg to take for lunch.
Fritata is also great for using bits and bob left in the fridge, can be eaten for evening meal then cold for lunch next day.
I meal plan 6 days out of 7. Then you have a night to allow for change in plans (invited out, made too much night before and needs using up etc).

LittlePinkPiggy Tue 04-Apr-17 14:24:55

Meal planning and using up leftovers is the key for me. Also, I look through my cupboard, fridge and freezer each week and base my meal plan around what I actually have/need to use up. Casseroles and stews are a great way of using up items which are lingering in the fridge. I put the meal plan on the kitchen notice board and each night I check to see if I need to get anything out of the freezer for the next day. It is so easy to work this way.

Packed lunches for work - never, ever ready made.

The cheapest cleaning products available and definitely own brands. I rarely put two detergent tablets in the washing machine - even though the instructions tell me to. I have found that you only need two if the clothes are absolutely caked in dirt - which they seldom are.

All of my clothes - apart from bras and knickers - come from charity shops and I've picked up some amazing bargains over the years. I look for the better brands which I normally wouldn't spend money on such as Fat Face or The White Stuff.

I don't buy Christmas presents for any of the in-laws, nor my folks and siblings - only my three grown up children, the partner of one of them and my best pal of 15 years so that is currently 5 gifts. When I asked the in-laws etc if they were OK with not buying presents anymore they ALL breathed a sigh of relief.

A lot of my furniture items have been purchased through Ebay or are hand-me-downs from friends and family.

I don't buy expensive cosmetics.

goingmadinthecountry Wed 05-Apr-17 10:46:47

I find meal planning actually helps when I'm tired - I don't have to think, and I know we'll have the ingredients. It's just so boring! The older you get, the less spontaneity there is in life. I'm more of a petulant child than I should be, given three of my children are officially grown up.

My best purchase is my Bodum cafetiere travel mug - interchangeable lids. One is a plunger and the other is a regular lid. I can make coffee (Lidl "finest") wherever I am, and the coffee stays hot for ages.

Liking the idea of freezing small batches of cookie dough.

elephantcuddles Thu 13-Apr-17 03:30:18

Goingmad, something you said really stuck out to me. You said the older you get, the less spontaneity there is in life. Can you elaborate a little? I am early 30s and I'm already noticing that I'm less impulsive and less spontaneous. My spending habits now are completely different than they were even 3 years ago. It is kind of boring, I guess...but safer too.

When I was say, 25ish, I would spend my money on things that were not well thought out. I would indulge myself too much and think "oh well" even though I was broke. I have money now, but I'm also more strict with myself. I rarely indulge myself.

goingmadinthecountry Thu 13-Apr-17 19:46:42

Elephant, didn't mean to sound miserable! My money's pretty much mapped out (4 children, 2 at university) and work (teaching) is what it is. I was lucky to have a fair few years where my parents were in France and Dh was working abroad a fair bit so spontaneous trips were the norm.
Now I'm a grown up (53) i don't want to decide what I want to eat next Tuesday. I know it saves money and time, but sometimes (tonight) pasta with tomato sauce is the last thing I want to make or eat! So we're not having it. I don't resort to takeaways and always cook, but I am a bit childish I admit.

elephantcuddles Thu 13-Apr-17 20:07:15

You didn't sound miserable! Haha.
I see what you mean. I guess I'm similar in some ways. I do try to be frugal but sometimes you get sick of the same staples.

AdoraBell Thu 13-Apr-17 23:43:44

Another vote for making double and meal planning. Do you buy a lot of branded items? If so try changing for supermarket own brand. Definitely do this with cleaning products.

gaylemcfedries Tue 25-Apr-17 19:16:10

Unkept child
Ok so my adorable boy crushed on a girl that isnt getting cared for properly ( hat to cover hair ) boys shoes trousers tried suggestions to mum about maybe trying girly things but maybe ive over stepped the mark ( I have boys)

kennycat Tue 25-Apr-17 20:55:33

I know you said you only had a small freezer OP but it might help in the long run if you bought an extra freezer, you can get small chest freezers.
I freeze literally everything. There is almost nothing on earth that won't freeze and that saves a lot of waste, and you can make use of bogof offers or yellow sticker sped items.
On the down side it does mean that you end up with a freezer like mine that is full of little bits of all sorts. Occasionally my meal loan says ' random freezer junk meal' which sometimes turns out amazingly and sometimes doesn't. Luckily my family all eat whatever I put in front of them. I've trained them well!
Always nice to find a little slice of cake hiding somewhere in the freezer too. I often don't bother mentioning that to any other family members tho!

timealone Tue 25-Apr-17 23:32:58

I've just started a big drive to reduce what I spend on food too. I also have decided no buying lunch at work, or going to the vending machine. I take things like leftovers, cheese or peanut butter sandwiches, soup, pitta bread and houmous, or grab a potato and can of beans and cook it in the microwave at work!

I'm vegetarian too. Do you have a slow cooker? You can do things like lentil dhal or beans (I usually cook black beans) in there. It's a super cheap meal and can be ready when you get in in the evening.

I went to Aldi for the other day. I was impressed - it has improved a lot since a few years ago. I added up what I would have spent on the same items at Sainsburys and found I had saved ~20%. The downside is that shopping in person rather than online means you are susceptible to impulse buying.

The one thing I could save more money on is biscuits, chocolate etc.

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