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DH wants to cut down on food bill but compromise needed on organic food?

(10 Posts)
Welsummer Fri 25-Sep-09 13:26:19

Our food bill seems huge, easily £120 a week for 4 of us (DD is 3 and DS is 1)

I shop online (mainly Sainsburys but DH insists on alternating with Asda and Tesco too. He thinks we need to stop the organic food purchases (fruit/veg/dairy/bread/cereal/occ. meat)but I feel opposed to this. I do sneak to Waitrose sometimes which I get told off for! We're on one wage too.

We all have huge appetites and grow a fair amount ourselves (potato excess at the moment!) plus we have 6 chickens (selling excess eggs too). I try to make use of leftovers as much as possible and plan meals but DH has quite bizarre work patterns being on-call so I can over cater or not have enough. I also need to make sure that meals don't take ages to cook as I object to spending too long in the kitchen if DS is having a fussy day plus it needs to be easy for him to eat with fingers (starting to use a spoon).

What would you do? Which supermarkets? Should I continue with a veg box (used Riverford in the past) I want to eat healthy, cheaply, seasonally and ethically but not by spending all my time in the I asking for too much????

Thanks in advance. smile

theyoungvisiter Fri 25-Sep-09 13:35:40

Depending on where you live, shop around for organic veg suppliers. You can often get it much more cheaply from small suppliers or farmers markets / farmshops.

Perhaps you can work out how much you would save by switching to non-organic produce and see whether DH thinks it's truly worth it. It may only be a fiver or a tenner a week - and you might be able to save that in other ways. For eg my Dh used to buy sandwiches at work, but when I went on mat leave I now get up early and make his sandwiches for him - saving about £15-20 a week shock

You could also try saving money on non-food items by buying in bulk or at cheaper ahops.

theyoungvisiter Fri 25-Sep-09 13:40:00

Oh, also if you are specifically trying to save your food bill, you might also want to look at what you grow - for eg, potatoes are easy to grow and taste much nicer, I agree, but ultimately don't save much money as they are so cheap to buy.

Growing high cost things like basil, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries etc are a bigger saving.

Takver Sat 26-Sep-09 19:09:05

Can you get together with others and form a buying co-op then get stuff in bulk from Suma, Essential or one of the other organic wholesalers? We buy pretty much all organic, only 3 of us but DD is older (7) - we also have chickens, we usually grow all our veg but have recently moved so only have salad stuff atm. We don't use a supermarket as there isn't one in our town, so other stuff is mainly from the local wholefood shop. Our spending is:

large Veg box £9 p/w, £39 p/m
Suma order approx £70 p/m excluding dogfood
Wholefood shop card £80 p/m
Butcher (we eat meat approx once a week) and Spar (biscuits & beer) approx £40 p/m

which I reckon adds up to a bit under £60 a week. I would say that we don't consciously try to save money, (other than not buying too many buns from the w/f shop), but we do tend to get stuff like yoghurt when it is on half price, and we don't eat much meat, which I think does make a difference.

giantkatestacks Sat 26-Sep-09 19:11:34

Theres a list somewhere [racks brain] that tells you exactly what you should be buying organic as higher levels of pesticide and what really isnt worth it.

Off the top of my head things to buy are: milk, dairy generally, meat (though not lamb) and apples, pears etc...

giantkatestacks Sat 26-Sep-09 19:12:52

here you go

theyoungvisiter Sat 26-Sep-09 19:32:53

Oh no!!! I wish I hadn't read that - I looooooooooooooove peaches and you can rarely, if ever, get them organic.


giantkatestacks Sat 26-Sep-09 19:43:03


Its quite enlightening though isnt it - I should print it out though - atm we tend to buy stuff we dont need to (mushrooms and onions) and not stuff we do (cucumber and potatoes).

applepudding Mon 05-Oct-09 21:36:41

Welsummer - you seem to have the same disagreement with your DH as I do. Mine is always telling me to stop buying organic as its too expensive.

What I have done is make sure that I make all our meals myself, rather than buying any ready made meals, or sauces. I plan the week's meals in advance, and bulk out meat with vegetables, e.g. in a casserole, or in cottage pie. When I have cooked something like a casserole I portion it out into containers ready for freezing straight away. My DH does shift work and often comes back either late evening saying he isn't hungry, so I will leave his meal in a freezer box saying for him to re-heat it if he is hungry, or put it in the freezer if he isn't.

In between the days when we have casserole or bolognese type meals I cook pasta a lot, which is cheap and quick.

The things I buy which aren't organic are things like apples when the organic apples have travelled from South Africa but the non-organic ones are British.

Welsummer Wed 07-Oct-09 22:48:09

Thanks for all the advice.

Applepudding, glad it isn't just me with a DH disagreeing about organic v. non-organic though my DH has been a little quieter recently given he spent £1000 on a motorbike trip for himself for a family time for us....angry

I am trying to cut down on the spending but it is certainly requiring some serious easy to just re-order online the same old things!

We don't eat much meat and I do add heaps of veggies to bulk meals out. I have realised that I do tend to over cater and give us all huge portions which isn't really good for the waistline. The children are good at eating just what they need but I must have it ingrained to "eat it all up".....

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