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I'd really appreciate a few basic food budgetting ideas please!

(21 Posts)
Helzapoppin Thu 02-Jun-11 12:33:13


I'm just looking for a few ideas to help with managing the food budget. I cook every day, normally from scratch for DH, DD (2) and myself. We don't eat out very often and I make packed lunches for DH and myself to take to work. DD eats the same food as us. We have DC2 on the way in August so the budget is going to get tighter! At the moment, food prices seem to be going up again and I feel like I'm struggling to keep up.

We tend to spend about 80-100 pounds each week on food and the odd bottle of wine, including a Sainsburys delivery, some meat from the farm shop (3-4 'meaty' meals each week) and the odd top up from our local Co-op and the weekly market (veg and fruit really well priced, fish and cheese okay, artisan bread extortionate!). I don't feel that that is excessive, given that we all enjoy our food and eat well but some ideas about how to shave a little off the spend and make the food go further would be greatly appreciated.


MaryMungo Thu 02-Jun-11 13:00:42

Well, if you have a taste for Artisan bread, give this recipe a try. You bung it together on the weekend, then enjoy til it runs out.

If you find you buy a bottle of wine regularly, you can get save by buying a few bottles all at once for a discount. Sainsbury's gives 5% off for six. This only works if consumption doesn't go up with availibility.

And then there's the old stand-bys of "less meat, more veg", "try your local Aldi's/Lidl's/etc", which are old stand-by because they work quite well. If you don't want to do these things, maybe see where else money is being frittered away in the budget as opposed to reducing the food spend- changing gas/electric/phone supplier, reducing telly package, take-aways or coffees out, things like that. You'll find is a good resource.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Thu 02-Jun-11 14:17:31

Buy pulses rice etc in bulk from an asian/continental supermarket. You can cook beans/chickpeas in big batches and freeze them ready to chuck in things.

I make all our bread. Can't stand shop bread now...blurgh. Its really quick when yet get used to it. For everyday loaves i use chappati flour (like a light wholemeal, bulk bought) with occasional white batches for pizza or a change.

Aworryingtrend Thu 02-Jun-11 15:36:13

Do you meal plan? When I started doing this our shopping bills instantly fell by a third, every week.

MumsieNonna Thu 02-Jun-11 16:32:23

I don't have a Lidl or Aldi near me and use Tesco. I head straight for the cheapo cabinets where I can pick up bargain fruit&veg, cheese and sometimes fish or meat near its sell-by date and usually at half price, which I freeze. Then I write a weekly menu and keep a list of what's lurking in the freezer. We don't eat much meat because if I can't afford responsibly farmed I prefer to go without. I buy free range eggs from the local farm (£2.40 a doz). I grow my own veg and salads in summer - spinach, lettuce and chard are very easy to grow. Plus soft fruit (bushes £1 each in Poundstretcher about five years ago) which I freeze until I have time to make cordials, ice cream or jam later on. I make my own bread using a breadmaker I bought on eBay and add seeds and nuts or olives.

I forage for damsons, sloes, blackberries and quinces in the autumn and make jams and pickles (they make nice Christmas gifts). I cook a lot of Middle Eastern (especially Turkish), Indian and peasant Spanish or Italian dishes that include tinned tomatoes, pulses, brown rice, bulgher wheat, polenta and pasta.

Ground coffee is Tesco own brand @ £2.79. Their muesli is under a quid. I bulk buy their organic milk and freeze it until needed. Vino is always bought on offer like 3 for price of 2. I take advantage of the Tesco points and cash vouchers and coupons too.

If I go to the seaside I will take a cold bag and seek out local fish shops and stock up. Smoked mackerel is cheap, freezes well and makes yummy fishcakes. Offcuts of mixed fish are great for fish pie. I would love to shop locally but the quality in my village is just not consistent and the prices are often two or three times those of Tesco. I have noticed our weekly bill has gone from about £65 for the two of us to £80-ish (not including vino wine) over the last nine months.

couldtryharder Sat 04-Jun-11 11:09:39

We try to have veggie meals at least 3 times a week (even though we are meat eaters) and make the most of any left overs - have them a second time or turn them into something else. Also try to make meals with 'storecupboard' foods, like a nice chuncky soup with canellini beans and chorizo. Spanish style tortilla with onions, potatoes, peppers etc. Agree with aworrying that planning is the key, then you don't end up buying stuff that you don't need.

thighslapper Sat 04-Jun-11 11:18:16

do you meal plan?

balia Sat 04-Jun-11 11:18:46

You've got lots of room to cut that budget - as a comparison, I spend £100 - £120 pw and feed 3 adults, a teenager, a four year old, my veggie DS at the weekends and 3 cats! That includes toiletries and make-up, cleaning products, everything. You need to decide how much you want to save and work to it. My Supermarket is a great comparison website for online shopping. My biggest saving is a slow cooker - you can use cheaper cuts of meat and lots of beans/pulses - it all comes out tasting delicious. Do double and freeze. And definitely meal plan - build in 'left over' meals, like risotto.

thighslapper Sat 04-Jun-11 11:41:21

I spend between £50-£70 per week. (me, DH & Ds)

meal plan and stick to it.
no alcohol, maybe you could buy a bottle once a month?
We have a "something on toast" for tea night.
Use slow cooker
I never buy what i call mimicky things, drinks cartons, stuff like that for packed lunches.
Mine have a good quality water bottle each, they have either water or i buy a large double concentrated juice bottle and make up drinks like that.
I double cook everything and always freeze half. That is then my "free meal" one night the following week.

carat Sat 04-Jun-11 15:06:38

World Food Aisle in supermarket for jumbo bags of lentils, beans, rice.

For meat options buy minced beef and lamb, from which you can make meatballs, chilli, ragu, burgers, cottage/ lamb pie.

Buy a whole chicken and roast it. From this you get a roast dinner, leftovers for chicken and leek pie and boil the carcass for stock to use in soup/ risotto. Chicken breasts are too expensive

Good quality sausages (85%+ pork) are £5 for two packs - that's 12 sausages! Bangers and mash, english breakfast, add tinned toms and red lentils, sausage stew.

Should really only cost you about £60-£70pw.

fatlazymummy Sat 04-Jun-11 15:24:51

Don't be afraid to try the supermarket basic brands, especially things such as fruit and veg [often just irregular shapes and sizes], biscuits, some tinned things are great [kidney beans, sweetcorn]. I actually prefer some basic brand things.
Really it's worth trying anything once as it's only a small amount to waste if you don't like it.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 04-Jun-11 15:29:53

I have stopped doing a weekly food shop. I go to the supermarket for cereals and juices and then do a local shop, buying just what I need for that day or the next from the butchers and grocers. I save a fortune and my bin is emptier.

I know it's not food, but I used to buy my cleaning products, toothpaste, loo and kitchen rolls from the supermarket, but have found they are a lot cheaper in my local chemist.

Lovecooking Sat 04-Jun-11 15:30:25

shop late at the local market I get FABULOUS bargains late in the day.

lilolilmanchester Sat 04-Jun-11 18:30:29

Wow, that is a huge amount for 2 adults and a toddler. Would be useful to see a typical week's shopping list - e.g. if you can copy & past from your Sainsbury's order and remember what you've bought from elsewhere?

belledechocchipcookie Sat 04-Jun-11 18:39:20

Goodness, there's 2 of us (ds and I) and I spend about £30 a week on organic veg, fruit, meat, fish, dairy, bread (unless I sneek into Waitrose after the school run blush

A whole chicken lasts a few days: roast chicken on day 1, then chicken wraps, then chicken curry/stir fry/sweet and sour chicken.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 04-Jun-11 18:40:27

I do my food shopping in Marks and Spencers as I have a 20% discount card, and they have some really good deals at the minute. I would be spending £80 a week for a family of four full price, and that includes washing powder, toilet rolls, soft drinks, four childrens meals for my daughter to take to the childminder and some treats like lemon drizzle cake and crisps.

At the moment they are doing three different meats for £10. Today I got two salmon fillets, 4 aberdeen angus burgers, and some chicken goujons made with fillet, but they have lots of other choices and traditional joints etc. In particular there is a big selection of bbq things.

I also do baked potatoes with various fillings one night a week, a pasta bake one night and maybe a basic curry another.

I buy all my cleaning products from either semi chem or b and m, and they are loads cheaper, especially if you aren't brand loyal.

nannynick Sat 04-Jun-11 18:40:42

Chicken - buy a whole one, cut it up yourself into the pieces. I did it this week and made a nice chicken thai curry from the breasts, a nice casserole and a nice stock.
Video: How to cut up a raw whole chicken

Tsil Sat 04-Jun-11 18:45:16

Meal plan and stick to it, we cut our bill from £70 - £80 pw for 2 down to £40 - £55 and we only buy meat/eggs from our local butcher which is much better quality than the supermarket and often cheaper.

CSLewis Sun 05-Jun-11 12:53:57

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh, can I have your recipe for home-made bread using chapatti flour? I bought some, made drop scones and found I needed to almost double the liquid. Do you use a bread-machine? Thanks smile

Helzapoppin Sun 05-Jun-11 21:09:07

Thanks so much for all your ideas. I've found them really useful.
I've put some into action already, having made a lovely chorizo, pepper and tomato stew in the slow cooker on Friday, bought a big chicken to roast and make a leftover meal , soup and sandwiches with this week (was £12, but is a mammouth bird!) and written a comprehensive meal plan. I was surprised by how many 'meals worth' of food we already have in the house and it should see me through 'til Friday (fingers crossed!).
Tempted to ask for a bread machine for my next birthday - I love home made bread!

Thanks again smile

VeronicaCake Mon 06-Jun-11 15:08:56

We spend £50-£60 a week on DH, DD and myself but we normally have at least one lunch or dinner out in a cafe at the weekend.

I spend about £100 on a bulk order from Sainsburys once every 4-6 weeks and take full advantage of special offers on things like fruit juice, dried fruit, breakfast cereal, tinned toms, pasta, frozen veg and fruit, bread (which I freeze) etc. I also buy herbs and spices in big bags, rice in 10kg sacks and pulses in 2kg bags from an Indian shop near my office. Then each week I spend a further £10-15 on veg at the local greengrocers, £10 or so in Co-op on things like milk and then another £10 on tasty cheese and fancy stuff at our local deli.

Keep an eye out for anyone locally selling eggs from their chickens, they will definitely be cheaper than the supermarket.

Planning ahead and cooking over two nights works well for us. So tomorrow night we'll have halloumi brochettes and a rice and lentil pilaff and the night after DD will have the left over pillaff with some broccoli and a cheese omelette and then the next night the remaining cooked broccoli will be used as part of a pasta sauce with some blue cheese...

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