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Really struggle with food shopping...

(53 Posts)
daisydee43 Sun 22-Sep-13 13:50:55

Hi in our house there is me, dh, dd1.5, 1 cat and each week I try and get food for under £100 but I always fall short, it now really depresses me- am I asking for too much without having to buy crap?

We shop in asda, rarely spend more than £4 an eve meal and have very few luxuries. I order online so I can tweak it and tbh fuel would cost more than delivery does and food
arrives on a tues morning as i work Monday and don't ever have time to do it at wknd. I write a meal plan and follow a strict list so am I going wrong somewhere?

EasyToEatTiger Sat 28-Sep-13 19:18:56

If you have a freezer, it's worth making a HUGE pan of tomato sauce - onions, carrots, celery, anything else and toms. You can use it for pasta, to add to mince, as a base for lentil soup...
I think supermarkets are very expensive to buy fresh fruit and veg. If you have a greengrocer, use them. Also a local butcher will sell you what you want. Make soup with anything left over. Stock cubes are brilliant if you don't make your own stock.

enormouse Sat 28-Sep-13 15:14:12

Breakfasts tend to be - porridge, cornflakes, toast or granola and yoghurt for me. Egg free pancakes at the weekends.

For lunches I usually do - soups 2 or 3 days a week. A big pot will last 2 lunches.
If you're unconfident cooking soups are easy, essentially veg and stock cooked together and blended. Then I'll get 3 packs of paninis or subs (asda 3 for £1.50 or lidls) which will last another 2 days. DP will do scrambled eggs occasionally for lunch for him and DS. Other days we will have left overs from the night before or toasties or jacket potatoes.

I'll try and do 1 fish dinner, 1 meat (mince or lamb) and 1 chicken a week, 2 or 3 veggie. generally DP will do something involving sausages or bacon on his nights. Also like to do homemade pizzas or something thrown together from the store cupboards. I have a breadmaker to cut costs too.

I don't really do puddings except on weekends when I might do a crumble or rice pudding. I try and keep the feezer and storecupboards well stocked and things run out in turns (storecupboard, bread, freezer etc).

Snacks are fruit and plain digestives. I sometimes make flapjacks or crispie cakes. Ds has fruit pots, fromage frais, breadsticks and raw veg and dips. He and DP eat for England but seem satisfied on this diet.

enormouse Sat 28-Sep-13 14:38:14

Hi OP, I have a similar family set up to you (me, DP, DS (23 months)). I'm also 6 months pg. Dp and I are both students so we have to streamline a lot. I've got our shop down to £40 at asda and £20 at lidl per fortnight including nappies, cleaning products etc. I'll update how it's broken down after my asda shop arrives. Oh and £10 top ups.

claretandamberforever Sat 28-Sep-13 12:42:13

Whoops Daisy, sorry pet, just saw that you actually do all the above already - derrrr xxx

claretandamberforever Sat 28-Sep-13 12:35:59

Daisy Dee, I budget £100 per week for 3 adults and 1 child, and never spend that much so I am sure you can get it down.

This is what I do; (well, plan to do until I fall off the budgeteering wagon)

Write down 31 meals onto a spreadsheet (some can be repeated - example, sunday roast x 4). (If you get to a point where you are stuck, you can ask on here for ideas but someone on there put Risotto, which my lot would never eat and similarly I buy shop-made cornish pasties, which some on here would never entertain, so it's personal to your preferences). My meal plan is full of heavy carbs and stodge, but I have three blokes in the house and this is how they like to eat.

Then in the next columns write everything I need to buy to make those meals.

You could either do a 4 week menu plan, But I just use the 31 meals to chop and change to suit our circumstances (i.e. there's no point in making a meal from scratch if we're out all evening so need something quick that I can microwave)

So on my shopping list I write down all the stuff I need, but then go through the cupboards and cross anything off the list that I already have got in.
Then I write down breakfasts
write down stuff I need for packed lunches
write down stuff I need for laundry
stuff I need for cleaning
any toiletries

Definitely do a Tesco shop online if you can. Delivery is only about £3-4 and they are always sending e-mails and coupons for money off, or £5 off your next shop. You're then not tempted to chuck extra stuff into your trolley.

Do you have any discount stores where you can get items cheaper than supermarket? I don't buy cake bars / chocolate bars / treats / school pop in my main supermarket shop if I can help it, I go to Home Bargains. £20 can get you massive carrier bags of sugar-laden crap that then lasts all month (if you hide it). Or yes, baking your own treats would cost less, but I never have the time.

There's a frugal thread over on the credit crunch board which I am evangelically posting upon now...

bacon Sat 28-Sep-13 12:02:20

If your doing a full packed lunch x5 days a week for hubby who like mine is well into fitness & works hard long hours then I cannot see when anyones weekly shop could be £35????

My OH packed lunch is x2 rounds of wholemeal bread sarnies with loads of salads, tuna/ham/cheese, 55p tinned spicy sardines, 16p yogurt, 25p homemade cake, 30p apple 15p tangerine, 25p nuts = approx £2.40 x 5 = £12 per week then x2 childrens lunch is smaller (no crisps) say £1.20 each = £12pw my lunch say £3pw then weekend lunches (cheaper) = total £30pw. For drinks weak hi-juice squash & water.

So I am very confused how some of the figures used here include a healthy wholesome lunch 7 days a week?

sharond101 Tue 24-Sep-13 22:00:57

Lunches are soup or sandwiches. We do ham and mustard, chicken and cranberry sauce/coleslaw or peanut butter The chicken I get from a whole cooked chicken (usually a marked down from Asda or Morrisons or Aldi when near use by date. I roast and freeze in small portions.) The ham is Aldi 300g for £1.79. Snacks are fruit or crisps(69p noughts and crosses Home Bargains) or biscuits (9 taxi biscuits B&M) or homemade scones (so cheap to make and freeze well). We always have full cupboards and full freezer as I capitalise on special offers when I see them. In fact it is often laughed at how much food I have in. I use money saving expert site regularly and get links to vouchers or good deals. We eat really well and it has become a way of life to us. I have worked out when the local supermarkets mark down their produce. Last week in Asda I got a pack of extra lean pork mince, pack of chicken thighs, 2 packs of braising steak, pack of turkey mince and a Hovis wholemeal loaf for £2.10. This will make the basis of around 15 dinners!!

redmayneslips Tue 24-Sep-13 16:22:21

That's very impressive Sharond101 thanks for posting all of that. Can you tell me please what you make for lunch? And do provide snacks?

Would you literally JUST buy the exact bare ingredients you need per meal for the week? What if something unexpected happened or someone called to visit? Would you be able to offer them a sandwich or biscuit or cup with a coffee / tea?

I would like to get our food shopping bills down but have a sort of fear of 'running out' of stuff. I can't imagine having nothing in the cupboards at the end of the week every week, but I know I buy too much on a 'you never know' basis. I really try not to waste food though and we mostly use everything up. I do have a few 'emergency' jars in the cupboard though and they could be YEARS out of date blush

sharond101 Mon 23-Sep-13 22:20:39

Evening meal per head as requested,

Turkey enchiladas
Turkey mince (special offer £1.29 per pack) (aldi)
2 peppers (from pack of 3) 69p (aldi)
1 red onion 13p (asda)
tortillas 89p (aldi)
tinned tomatoes (39p) (Aldi)
red pesto 99p (Aldi) (2 spoons from jar so lots left)
Total = £4.38 provides 4 portions so £1.09 each

Chicken kebabs
chicken breast 50p (£3.99 bag in Aldi contains 7 or 8)
1/2 red pepper leftover from above
1/4 red onion 6p
tsp honey from storecupboad (Asda smartprice 99p jar)
tsp ketchup (Asda smartprice 21p)
grated ginger 12p
tsp soy sauce from storecupboard (aldi 79p)
Total 56p + storecupboard ingredients

Turkey mince as aboove
courgette 20p (Asda)
onion 13p (Asda)
sweetcorn 33p (Aldi)
fajita mix 69p (Asda)
nachos 39p (Asda)
Total = £3.03 provides 4 portions so 76p each

Steak pie
Braising steak (Asda reduced to £1.65 500g pack)
onion 13p
2 carrots 21p
plain flour from store cupboard
puff pastry 69p
Total = £2.68 made 3 portions so 89p each

Pasta pesto
pasta shapes (39p Aldi) used third of the bag
red pesto remainder from above approx 1/3rd of jar
brocolli 69p (Aldi)
chorizo ring £1.49 (Aldi) used half of it
Total = £2.57 can make 6 portions so 43p each

tuna baked potatoes
2 large baking potatoes 39p each (fruitmongers)
tin tuna chunks 59p (Aldi)
jar of mayonnaise 69p (Asda smartprice) used 3 tbsps
leftover vegetables from rest of week or sweetcorn 33p
Total £2.39 so £1.20 each

daisydee43 Mon 23-Sep-13 12:58:25

Ok so with a bit of advice from here I've got my shopping to £73 but will have a tweak later to see if I can knock a bit off

Toowittoowoo Mon 23-Sep-13 10:18:21

You could try costing your meals? It is outstanding dull and very time consuming but it does help get your head around where the money is going. All you would need to do is write down the list of ingredients you need for a meal and then go on the asda website and she how much it comes to.

This really helped me and I was really surprised quite how expensive some of the meals where. Fahijtas, for example, are the most expensive meal that we cook which I wasn't aware of as they are full of ingredients that are really expensive in the supermarket - peppers, lettuce, shop bought wraps, meat. I love them so I am still cooking them but I try to plan it for a week that I can go to the market or remember to buy the wraps when they are on special offer and put them in the freezer. Homemade pizza however, which is bloody delicious, isone of the cheapest meals that we cook as I make the dough from scratch as well as the tomato sauce etc. Anything that is that kind of effort I make 4 times as much and freeze because I don't have time to made dough every week.

If your evening meals aren't the main overspend for youthenyou might need to do this breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Then look for cheaper alternatives to your usual e.g. porridge instead of cereal/toast, buy apples instead of strawberries?

Any chance you can make your own snacks? It really does save a lot of money but I appreciate that it can be time consuming. Especially with the bad weather coming can you make it an activity with your DD? Flapjacks are quite easy and filling?

Also I would add - if you work full time don't try to take on all of these suggestions at once or you'll end up confused and frazzled. Take one idea at a time and don't try to do too much in one go until you confident.

ivykaty44 Mon 23-Sep-13 09:11:58

i make similar to this don't worry if you don't have tahini as I don't sometimes and it doesn't matter. I then bake jacket potato and sweet potato and serve with a large green salad, tomato and cucumber and the dip spread over the baked potato.

A tin of chickpeas is 37p so get two to make the dip and a bag of baking potato and sweet potato will be about £3, you will not need all the potatoes and can use them another night with a different filling - baked beans possibly

Weegiemum Mon 23-Sep-13 08:48:09

We usually shop in Asda and it comes in at about £80-£100 per week for 5 of us - myself, dh, dd1(13), ds(11), dd2(9). Without wine!

This week we are having
1. Home made chicken pie, mash, broccoli, carrots
2. Meatballs and spaghetti
3. Veggie enchiladas
4. Homemade chicken nuggets with potato wedges and salad
5. Chicken tikka with veggie curry, rice and chapattis.
6. Baked potatoes with fillings
7. Roast dinner.

I buy veg frozen usually as it's cheaper, make my own pastry, we eat veggie twice a week (could do more), dh takes leftovers for lunch, dc have packed lunches (sandwich, salad eg cucumber sticks, biscuit, yoghurt, piece of fruit). We drink water or squash, and bake for lunches/snacks. This week we'll (each dc helps to cook once a week) freeze extra meatballs, extra tomato sauce and veggie curry. Breakfast is usually weetabix with milk or fruit/yoghurt/toast.

The things I don't compromise on are fairtrade bananas, coffee and sugar.

ivykaty44 Mon 23-Sep-13 08:29:47

dahl is a good stable meal each week that would cost around £1 per week. You buy the red lentils in a large pack from the world food section of the supermarket (not the health food section as they are twice the price) then add an onion, stock and tomato puree. If you buy a two kilo bag this is going to cost you no more than £3 but will stay in your cupboard for around 8 weeks, 8 onions would cost around £1 and a three tubes of tomato puree about £1.20, stock £1 and curry spice £1 so you are looking at £ 7.20 for around 8 meals - just store cupboard food cooked once a week. I wouldn't eat dalh every day but cook each week with food I already have in the cupboards

daisydee43 Mon 23-Sep-13 08:17:54

Sharon- wow £30! I can't imagine getting it that low, how can you cook an eve meal for £1.25?

Blondie1984 Sun 22-Sep-13 23:16:41

Can your OH cook? If so, could he help show you some of the basics? Or what about a friend?
You could also consider your local further/adult education college - quite often they will have a course that teaches you how to get the hang of things-whereabouts do you live?

ICameOnTheJitney Sun 22-Sep-13 23:05:44

I knew you were buying ready meals and desserts! You've just got to stop that...all the processed food is bad for you and expensive!

sharond101 Sun 22-Sep-13 22:29:36

I shop for DS 16mo, DH,dog and myself and spend £30 per week. I shop at ALdi and top up in Asda. We cook from scratch every night and eat really well. I buy in bulk when and offer is on and batch cook. I buy biscuits and crisps from B&M bargains as they are much cheaper than elsewhere. I buy toilet rolls and kitchen rolls in Home Bargains. I always visit the reduced to clear section in the supermarket. I try and stick to a budget of £1.25 per head for the main component of our main meal of the day. It often falls below that. All of these are included in the £30 per week.

daisydee43 Sun 22-Sep-13 20:40:43

Dingit - like the poundland idea

Yes my oven is working wink

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 22-Sep-13 20:02:34

I don't have an issue with how much you are spending but I have an issue with what you are buying. Can you buy something like Delia's cookery course and read each section before trying out a recipe. Is your oven working properly?

dingit Sun 22-Sep-13 19:52:42

If you get time, go to poundland and stock up on crisps and biscuits etc. ( Iceland is good too). Yes I know that they are not necessary, but most normal households have a certain amount of 'treats'. ( although many people on here will swear they don't!)

daisydee43 Sun 22-Sep-13 19:49:03

Hum friend - some good ideas- yes I do buy ready meals, will look at a cheaper option, the milkshakes only work out bit more expensive than whole milk so not too worried

Ruprekt Sun 22-Sep-13 19:44:27

I think you could cut back loads on your shopping if you want to save money.

Cut out the biscuits, cake bars, sweets and coke. Imho these should be occasional and not every week.

ArbitraryUsername Sun 22-Sep-13 19:42:01

I usually cook so that there will be leftovers, then DH takes the leftovers with him to work for lunch the next day. It generally means he gets a big lunch. It might not help if you're buying food that's already portioned out though. It does save us loads of money though.

Do you think you'd be able to commit to a cookery class of some sort? It sounds like something that would really help you.

Have a look for a cookbook aimed at students. They will have basic recipes that are cheap.

The only way I can see that you would keep getting food posioning is that you aren't cooking the meat long enough. Which is easy to do when you are just finished work and you are hungry and tired.

Start with the basics and build it up!

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