Big food shop for 2 people - young, inexperienced and struggling!(20 Posts)
Hi! I'm a rather young member here, and I moved in with my partner 5 months ago. Since then, I've found it difficult to gauge how much food to buy on a weekly basis and a lot of what I buy tends to go to waste, and we end up buying lunch on a meal deal on top of it all.
I'm really hoping for some help here - I have to order food online because neither of us drives, which rules out Aldi and Lidl, and the cost of the big shop I can tell is way over what it needs to be.
Handily, I work right above one of the UK's largest farmers' markets, which means I have butchers, fishmingers, and fresh veg right on my doorstep. I could buy ingredients daily if I really wanted - but again I'm not sure how cost effective that would be.
I love cooking from scratch, so that's not an issue. I would ideally just really like to push the food budget down to £50-60 a week, for 7 dinners, 5 lunches and 7 breakfasts.
Anu advice would be greatly appreciated!
Do you plan the week's meals & make a shopping list based on what is in the plan?
You're very lucky in here you live! I would do a meal plan and initially stock your cupboard with the basics - flour, sugar, herbs and spices and then fill the fridge with what you need for the week. Try to re use left overs for lunch or think of meals you can re versions such as bolognese can become lasagne. If you can make a big batch of popular meals you can freeze those and pull them out at the end of the month when you're skint!
I'm currently emptying the freezer in advance of Christmas.
You could look at recipe books for ideas but I'd just cook what you like and do that when you get bored.
We are a family of four and can do it for £70. I tend to freeze bread for mid week sandwiches or bagels.
Pasta once a week. Often with pesto to save money. I bulk cook cottage pies etc so buy a lot of mince and bulk with veg and freeze in tin foil containers. Take out the night before and defrost in the fridge.
You should be able to do this. When you cook, bulk each meal out with lots of vegetables & maybe pulses so it lasts more than one day. You can freeze the extra portions or eat them the next day.
Regarding delivery you could test out your list at the supermarkets which will deliver and just choose the cheapest.
It's really easily done on that budget.
I would buy things from the butchers as it's better quality, buy in bulk once a month and get them to put into two person portions. So 1/2lb mince bags or pork chops into bags of two.
Perhaps make up a food plan for a week/two weeks. Work out what you both like and make sure you have a veggie option a few times a month. It cuts costs massively. Something like home made lentil soup (lentils, carrots, potatoes and leek/onion with a veg stock) is pennies for a very filling dinner.
Store things like potatoes in the dark (either buy a potato bag or keep loose in a cupboard - not in a plastic bag) and other veg in the fridge - onions can be kept anywhere and anything veggie, not in plastic bags as it makes them sweat.
Stock up on lentils, herbs and pasta and rice. Always bulk out stews with lentils and put the potatoes in with it as they will thicken it up.
Learn how to make basic sauces yourself and keep the basics stocked up.
I'm sure you'll get loads of other help but I spend that amount on three of us and we also have 6 cats.
It's easy with a plan.
I've found it best to work with a fortnight plan as opposed to a week - it's very hard to shop for a weekly shop right on time (then again I'm unorganised at the best of times!).
For a fortnight, I pick ten teas. That gives me leeway to spend four night out of the ten either out with friends/work/parents/takeaway/restaurant/life generally.
Same again with ten lunches
Basic Breakfasts and then a couple of weekend splurges.
Some snacks as well
Go through the cupboards and see what you need food wise and then with household goods. I shop online and bung a load of it in the freezer and do a top up shop maybe two/three times during that fortnight for perishables like fruit and veg/bread etc.
Meal planning helps a lot.
Daily shopping for fresh food may not be the most cost effective option, but it does cut down on food waste, provided you just buy what you need.
I think having a rough idea of what you are going to cook with what you are buying when shopping really helps. So for example if I buy a pack of chicken I'll plan to use half of it in a stir fry, and half in a curry.
Leftovers are your friend. I sometimes do extra pasta for dinner for example and then have it cold for lunch the next day.
Having a freezer also really helps!
PIzza and salad.. £4
cottage pie £4
Extra mince from Cottage pie use to
make Lasagna, with Garlic Bread £3
Chicken roast £6
Extra Chicken have sandwiches £1
Pie and Chip £4/
Buy frozen veg and use as needed £4
Do you have a decent sized freezer?
Any facilities for heating things up at lunchtime at work?
Don’t eat meat or fish every night. Throw in some veggie meals as they are generally cheaper.
Also do some meals that contain meat but don’t focus on the meat, e.g a bit of crispy bacon scatter over a pasta dish etc.
Use seasonal fruit and veg where you can.
Breakfasts, keep simple, freeze bread products if you won’t use them all.
Soup is great for using up leftovers, take for lunch in a flask or heat at work if possible.
Cheaper meal ideas
Pasta bake with peppers, mushrooms, onions and kidney beans
Tuna a chilli fishcakes
Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese
Carrot and kidney bean burgers
I sit and do the meal plan for the week the evening before I've booked my shop. We have the same thing for lunch every day so I top up what we need (bread, sandwich fillings, apples, cereal bars, crisps).
Then I add all the household stuff. The only time it's hard to stick to the budget is when it's one of those weeks where all the cleaning and laundry stuff has run out at the same time and we need nappies.
Treat yourself to a new cookbook to give you some new ideas and the more you cook the better you'll get at pairing recipes within the same week that use the same things.
I don't even think you need to batch cook or bulk things out with lentils to save money. We are a family of 4 and I never batch cook or freeze anything apart from things that come frozen like peas or ice cream.
This best thing is to plan what you are going to eat and then get the things for that. Then you have to stick to it! When I was younger I often used to get extra bits because I had chicken at home but didn't fancy it. We spend about £70 per week for 2 adults and dc aged 8 and 10, that is for breakfasts and dinners and lunch for me and DH.
If you are buying online from Tesco get a clubcard and a Tesco Credit Card. Also get the midweek delivery saver. Using the Tesco credit card to pay for the online shop along with the clubcard gets you 2p in the £ back as vouchers every 3 months plus offers.
I had a free pork roast this week as I had a voucher of £7 off a roast provided it costs more than £7. That was a hot meal, sandwiches the next day and 4 in the freezer.
Wow - I never expected so many responses!! Thank you so much for all the tips and ideas, it has been so useful.
Time to go and make myself a list I think!!
I'll have to have a think about veggie meals as that does sound sensible - I've never really ventured into veggie meals before.
How did your first week of meal planning go?
One of the easiest veggie meals is 5-bean chilli
I use that recipe but substitute the adzuki beans with a can of 5 bean salad. The advantage is it's pretty well store cupboard ingredients - if you decide to eat out then the ingredients wont go off, or if you have the ingredients it is a good quick meal to make.
Another good substitution is in Chilli con carne use turkey leg mince its cheaper and you don't really notice the meat isn't beef.
I'm just beginning now! We were rather skimpy this week and lived off whatever we had in the cupboards and fridge.
I'm planning today and then doing the big shop on Thursday when we get paid.
Ooh - that sounds really nice, I'll have to give it a go! Thank you so much for all of the suggestions!!
My sister likes to shop when the supermarkets discount food. You can get really good deals at the end of the month when people are waiting to be paid.
Definitely do a meal plan for the week, and consider meal prepping! Each week I write down Sunday to Saturday, Lunch 1, Lunch 2, Breakfast, Snacks on the left hand side of a bit of paper. I note any days either one of us is out and then plan accordingly. I order online too, I generally get it delivered on a Sunday morning. Then I spend a few hours cooking up 8 lunches (2 each of 2 different types so we can alternate) and store them in the fridge. Start simple and you can get more creative looking up recipes as you get into it. I generally get all meals, toiletries and some treats for about £50 a week.
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