Reducing Our Food Bill?

(51 Posts)
mrskhw Mon 14-Aug-17 10:23:31

Hi All,

I left my full time job last year and as such have reduced our household income by about 25%.

As such, I'm keen to cut costs on our shopping bill as I personally feel that we spend a fortune on it. We easily spend £100 on a big shop at the weekend and then maybe a couple of £20 shops during the week for the basics such as milk, bread, fruit and vegetables.

We are a family of 4. My husband and daughter (5) both take packed lunches to work and school. My daughter can get free school meals but has refused to eat them since Easter!! Then there's myself and our other daughter (2) who are at home full time.

Am I being unrealistic to think that we can get our shopping bill down to under £100 per week taking all that into consideration? If not, how do I do this?

OP’s posts: |
Rainybo Mon 14-Aug-17 10:30:17

Yes, if you're spending £140 a week-ish, you could get it down a bit, although food costs are rising.

Batch cooking is good, so filling your freezer with pies/lasagnes etc. You can try moving down brands to supermarket own to see if you like any just the same.

I have a few meat-free meals a week, I don't know if that would work for you?

I spend about £200 a calendar month for me and two DDs, and a DP who comes for tea regularly.

foreverblessedbee Mon 14-Aug-17 10:34:13

I'm going to watch this thread with interest op! It's the bane of my life trying g to reduce money spent on food in this house!! We are 2 adults and 3 forever hungry boys age 9, 7 and 3 - plus 2 cats🐱🐱
I shop at Aldi wherever poss, not really fussed about brands aside from heinz beans☺ and find aldi quality for most things perfectly adequate. Fruit from there doesn't seem to have a long life though once at home I find. Will be interested to see a thread with all the top tips☺

wobblywonderwoman Mon 14-Aug-17 10:34:46

I would really try to get your did to avail of the free dinner for autumn and winter at least.

We are a family of four and get everything for about 70 a week. Maybe another 10 max for milk midweek (I just bring enough money for milk)

I freeze bread so that saves going out again. Cook two roast chickens and make curries and potion - so no waste.

Mince - make large batches and freeze. Bulk out with carrots, lentils or peppers and courgettes.

Pasta and pesto once a week.

We often have steak too.

Cleaning products - I tend to use aldi almat for washing and dissolve this for washing floors or cleaning bathrooms. It works really well. Bleach for toilets - I clean a lot and I don't spend a fortune.

For hand soap, I use large bottles of bubble bath and dispense into hand pumps (ceramic ones)

foreverblessedbee Mon 14-Aug-17 10:35:29

Rainybo that is amazing-200 pound per calendar month?! Wow

wobblywonderwoman Mon 14-Aug-17 10:37:40

Portion not potion (I have plastic tuberware and freeze) I bake a good bit too. Make my own scones, soda bread. I usually get the muktipacks of popcorn for snacks or aldi version of cherrios in a cup when they watch TV.

Rainybo Mon 14-Aug-17 10:45:58

Foreverblessedbee - I have anxiety and channelling my busy brain into meal planning is a useful distraction activity for me, with positive outcomes!

I do a lot of bulking out with lentils etc and I am very careful with portion sizes. I do expect it to go up though in the coming months....


Rainybo Mon 14-Aug-17 10:47:07

Oh and magic chicken!

I can get 3-4 meals from a roast chicken.

mayhew Mon 14-Aug-17 10:49:26

Adding extra vegetables is good for health and cuts bills. Keep them seasonal. Chop them fine for fussy eaters.
Eg :mince base with lentils, celery, carrots. Double the volume, I cook whole green lentils with a stock cube. This goes in shepherds pie, bolognese sauce.
:Curry Skinless chicken thighs, onions, carrots, chick peas, huge bag of spinach
: Similar with paprika, peppers, chopped potatoes, Spanish casserole
: use up potatoes, peas etc in a big thick Spanish omelette
: strong cheddar is often on offer, with a long shelf life and is ideal for pimping leftovers and making snacks.

The biggest cost saver is meal planning and avoiding waste.

mammymammyIRL Mon 14-Aug-17 10:53:45

A quiche once a week using up leftover odds & ends from fridge & pack of shortcrust pastry & tub of cottage cheese mixed with the eggs rather than grated cheese on top is a great cheap meal in our house. Admittedly we've our own hens so eggs are free but still a cheap meal & holds a couple of days in fridge. Tinned salmon is a great filling for it too.

mrskhw Mon 14-Aug-17 11:07:25

Thank you all.

My husband did say we need to get better at meal planning.

Batch cooking is a great idea. Often we buy a pack of mince but it's too much for the 4 of us so the rest goes in the fridge to be used the next day (with good intentions) to then only throw it away!

We shop at either Morrisons or Asda so there is definitely potential to try Aldi.

OP’s posts: |
mrskhw Mon 14-Aug-17 11:09:28

Oh and we have started growing our own tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and potatoes this year as we eat them in abundance smile

OP’s posts: |
DancesWithOtters Mon 14-Aug-17 11:17:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ferriswheel Mon 14-Aug-17 11:23:26

Newly single mum. Income reduced by more than 75% in the last few months. Very little extra money at the moment.

My learning curve...

Get rid of the top up shop. I try really hard to just not go to the shops. This means doing without until the next shop and bulk buying storing extra.

That free school dinner thing. I'd show her the pound coins laid out on the table. Or I'd be mean. I don't know but I'd do my best to get that malarky stopped.

Home Bargains does cheap par baked baguettes. That and a bowl of soup is a decent meal.

Frozen fruit.

Picnics everywhere.

Aldi/lidl own biscuits.

Freeze milk.

Get extra freezer for bulk buying bargains if you can.

Once or twice a week have a leftovers day, rather than nutritionally balanced plan.

ferriswheel Mon 14-Aug-17 11:25:02

Yes for double the volume with lentils.

Also baking, free kid activity.

fleshmarketclose Mon 14-Aug-17 11:30:06

We have a couple of meat free days every week. I have a loose meal plan but shop the offers mostly tbh. I do a Morrisons online shop and amend throughout the week so that I get repeated "flash sales" screens and adjust my menu accordingly. I also go to Iceland once a week and buy anything there that is cheaper than Morrisons and take it off my order. Iceland eggs and bread products are cheap and good and their pizzas make a quick and easy meal occasionally. I don't buy their frozen meat but vegetables are good and I buy their fresh chickens when they have been reduced on sell by date and put them in the freezer. Biscuits and crisps are cheap there and so are cereal if you buy the ones on offer that week rather than always buying certain sort.

mrskhw Mon 14-Aug-17 11:31:15

Yes ferriswheel, the free school dinner that she doesn't have drives me mad. My sister in law said the exact same thing as you about it.

DancesWithOtters, Yep £140 a week! It's a lot isn't it? My husband thinks I'm being unrealistic to think that we can get it under £100.

OP’s posts: |
inlectorecumbit Mon 14-Aug-17 11:34:30

Jesus-we are a family of 4 adults and we spend less than £100 per week on food and we eat well. Ooops and that includes lunches

mrskhw Mon 14-Aug-17 11:38:39

inlectorecumbit, We're obviously buying the wrong things! smile

OP’s posts: |
Blackbutler86 Mon 14-Aug-17 11:47:20

Have you heard of Amazon Fresh? If you are in the delivery area for it I can't recommended it highly enough, I can do a week shop on there for around £40 to £55 whereas at Tesco I would spend £70 -£80. You do need a prime membership which is £7.99 a month and then delivery is free over £40 spend but the offers on there are amazing so it is worth it! For instance today my shop was meant to be £65.41 and then when the discounts from the offers got taken off it was £52.91. They even have a choice of a free item to choose from each shop and a 'deal of the week', I got a whole large chicken for £2 recently which sorted out my dp for dinners and lunch for a while (I'm vegan so we eat completely differently). I picked a bag of salad leaves as my freebie today but there was a choice of things like 2L of milk or bread.

Kickhiminthenuts Mon 14-Aug-17 11:56:10

Lidl and aldi are your friend here, don't go in buying Heinz ketchup though. Buy theirs.
Cook from scratch, don't buy the big mince, buy a small one and chuck in red lentils / porridge oats and lots of veg. Genuinely, you won't miss it.
Get a whizzy chopper to chop veg tiny if your kids are fussy.
Slow cookers are good as well as you can get cheaper cuts for stews etc
I try and make sure we've have at least 2 cheap meals a week so pasta, omelette, jacket potatoes. That sort of thing.

TomFun Mon 14-Aug-17 11:56:26

I've started getting a lot of cleaning products, toiletries and stuff like foil and baking paper from Poundland.

Can you buy meat in bulk anywhere that is a bit cheaper? A meat lorry visits my area once a week and I got two big packs of sausages and a big pack of bacon for £10 all in the other day. Should be able to get quite a few meals out of that lot. I'm going to get my freezer down and do a monthly meat shop.

I find it far cheaper to buy my fruit and veg from the green grocer if I can.

I do a jacket potato night once a week with leftover chilli from the freezer or beans and cheese. Pasta dish with no meat once a week. Agree about quiche, I sometimes do that with new potatoes, salad, crunchy bread.

Unfortunately food bills really are going up. It can pay to shop around, but obviously it's not always convenient when juggling work, family, etc.

Kickhiminthenuts Mon 14-Aug-17 12:05:56

Oh veg risotto is another of my cheap dinners. Just whatever I've got in the fridge can tinned toms, stock. Done.
I've also started cutting chicken breasts in half, so I'll buy 2 and slice them width ways. They cook better too. Depending how much meat you like, the kids would be ok with that though.
I also add sweet potato and squash to everything, soup, curry anything!

mayhew Mon 14-Aug-17 12:18:24

It sounds like you have a lot of food waste. You might as well throw £10 notes in the bin!

FoofFighter Mon 14-Aug-17 12:27:32

Can you post a typical weeks shopping and a typical weeks meals? Might help advise where you can cut down/swap

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