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HELP! Need to spend less on the weekly shop!!

(53 Posts)
mrswhits Tue 19-Feb-19 08:14:53

We are a family of 4, 2 adults, a 2 year old and a 8 month old and I spend around £200 a week on the food shop 😑

This doesn't even include cleaning products as I don't need to buy those and any laundry stuff that I do need to buy I get from amazon.

My husband and I decided this morning that we will not be buying any alcohol for during the week anymore, so that should cut out a bit... maybe £30. And I also decided that I will cut down on the amount of convenient (but still healthy and organic) snacks I buy for the kids and instead prepare fruit etc for them that will maybe cut out £20. But that still leaves us at £150!!!!

I meal plan.... kind of.... but my husband and I do like meat and like good quality meat. We have meat every night, although I will have fish if my husband is having pork. I cook from scratch most nights of the week but my husband does not eat veg (it's basically a phobia he has, we are looking into hypnosis to have it sorted) so the quantities of meat are increased to make sure the meal is big enough without veg. For example, if I make a curry, I will have to use 3 chicken breasts rather than 2 so that there is enough food for him.

Usually the £200 does include most lunches for my husband and myself, but this week for example I have completely run out of food and it's only just got to a week today! I had to give my husband one slice of cheese on toast for breakfast because I have run out of bread and cheese!!

My eldest child doesn't even eat here 3 days a week as she is fed all her meals at nursery, and most days I don't eat lunch.

We can not afford to be spending like this, we looked at our finances this morning and realised how screwed we are since I have been on 2 lots of maternity leave back to back.

Does anyone have any suggestions how I can get this bill down to £100 a week max??

OP’s posts: |
Butterymuffin Tue 19-Feb-19 08:18:56

Can't he have extra carb instead of more meat to fill him up? More rice or an extra jacket potato would be cheaper.

What meat free meals could you eat? Bit of a challenge for your husband but omelettes, scrambled eggs?

SuperLoudPoppingAction Tue 19-Feb-19 08:21:16

It can't be good for your kidneys to eat that much protein.
But what about different, cheaper meats such as lamb shanks?
It's hard for me to help much as we are vegetarian and it's hard to think how I would provide food for somebody who doesn't eat vegetables.
But pasta and potatoes are fairly cheap.
We get bags of potatoes from our dairy for £6 for 20kg.

Calzone Tue 19-Feb-19 08:23:59

You need to meal plan better.

7 breakfasts
7 lunches
7 dinners

You need to commit to at least 3 veggie meals a week. Soup and a nice loaf is adequate for a meal a week and enough for lunches too.

I would do porridge every day for breakfast with fruit and syrup.

Lunches Soup x 3
Sandwiches x 2
Leftovers x2


Sausages and mash with baked beans
Leek and potato soup with bread
Jacket potatoes, cheese and beans/tuna mayo/salad
Lentil dhal, chicken curry and rice
Bean burritos with salsa
Roast chicken dinner
Spicy chicken rice

user1493413286 Tue 19-Feb-19 08:26:08

Do you buy your meat from the supermarket? We buy chicken from musclefood; it’s cheaper and you get more of it for your money.
Asda and Tesco also do their own version of a lot of the kids stuff so rather than organix crisps I buy the Asda ones and same with the bars.
Do you buy a lot of branded stuff?
I find that online shopping means that I spend less as I don’t just pick stuff up that I don’t really need.

noraclavicle Tue 19-Feb-19 08:31:52

Chicken thighs rather than breasts will cut that particular cost down - considerably tastier, more moist and a lot cheaper!

burritofan Tue 19-Feb-19 08:34:44

Why do you have fish when your husband has pork? Economies of scale will make a difference; cheaper to buy lots of pork (or lots of fish) and freeze some/make double batches of whatever you're cooking, than buy a little bit of pork and a little bit of fish.

Sorting out the fussy eating will make an immediate difference to the bills – reduce meat to 1–2 times a week and plan to batch cook/use leftovers for lunches.

Will he eat pulses? Chickpea pasta, black bean soup, falafel, etc, are all filling and have protein, but best dressed up/accompanied by veg.

wobblywindows Tue 19-Feb-19 08:38:47

If you are buying chicken breasts you are not really "cooking from scratch" - buying a whole chicken (= 2 breasts + 2 more meals) is cheaper & twice as much meat. I can understand the veggie thing - my mum forced us to eat soya mince and I won't touch the stuff now (or much else she served up). But kids will copy what the adults eat or refuse, just so you know. My grandson won't eat tomoatoes, because his mum refuses to have them in sandwiches. Need to see a til receipt to advise further.

mrswhits Tue 19-Feb-19 08:41:41

These are all great suggestions, just wanted to answer a few of the questions.

We buy our food from Tesco/Sainsbury's, the meat included. I don't like the meat from Tesco so that comes from Sainsbury's but Tesco often have deals on other things we use so I do an online shop from there every so often.

My husband eats meat, potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, eggs and a few different fruits. He tries anything I make for him, however he cannot stand the texture of most foods. He has tried most of his adult life to introduce new foods but simply can't stomach it.

The veggie meals I could cope with for lunch, and often my husband will have things like macaroni cheese as his packed lunch, but soup for dinner just doesn't fill me with joy 😑

The reason I have fish instead of pork is that I hate pork and my husband hates fish, so if he wants pork I have fish and vice versa.

I am quite good at buying in bulk and freezing, but I do often end up with a full freezer and nothing to eat 😩

I buy a lot of branded products. Defo need to cut down on those.

OP’s posts: |
summerlovingliz Tue 19-Feb-19 08:46:29

You need to try out Aldi.. you'll be amazed at quality and price

SauvingnonBlanketyBlanc Tue 19-Feb-19 08:47:16

We're a family of 3 and spend 60 per week on average.Mainly fresh things,odd frozen bits such as peas and chips.We shop at Asda or Aldi

PuppyMonkey Tue 19-Feb-19 08:47:17

You need to shop at Aldi. Cue lots of people saying “ew, it’s not as nice as Sainsbury’s, the fruit goes off, cliche cliche, bollocks.” Ignore them, get over yourself and just shop at Aldi.

Flibbertyjib Tue 19-Feb-19 09:10:21

Aldi and Lidl meat is actually very good quality.
I buy a large beef mince for bolognese and grate carrots and celery into it, 2 or 3 tins of tomatoes, mushrooms diced finely and cook this for a good hour or 2 on low. Then we use this for pasta bolognese 1 night, bolognese in jacket potatoes/sweet pots and then we add a tin of mixed beans and some chilli powder and have it with rice as chilli or you could have tacos or burritos with this.
Shove some diced beef and mushrooms/stock in a slow cooker and serve this with crusty bread. This is relatively cheap too.
Chicken thighs in curries are great and if you have somewhere that sells meat in bulk in your area I can buy a huge tray of chicken thighs for £10 and this will do about 6 meals.
Stop buying all branded my partner was a brand snob and after I started sneaking in unbranded he didnt even notice.
Instead of buying kids yoghurts I buy a large natural yoghurt and mix fruit and a drizzle of honey for the kids.

Imperfectsusan Tue 19-Feb-19 09:27:26

I think aldi steak mince is better than Tesco.

Your husband has to take some responsibility for the household finances in terms of his diet.

Sparklfairy Tue 19-Feb-19 10:04:02

Fill the poor lamb up with extra bread/rice/potatoes NOT meat. He's fussy, plain and simple. Loads of us would prefer an extra chicken breast ffs. Amazing how these fussy people develop 'phobias' of veg but never meat or junk.

And food doesn't always have to 'Fill you with joy'. It's just food. One soup one evening a week won't kill you, and the money you save will astonish you.

niknac1 Tue 19-Feb-19 10:23:03

It can be done but you won’t get branded goods and shop at Lidl or Aldi, to get the discount you need to change your habits

burritofan Tue 19-Feb-19 10:29:49

Joyous soups, none of which your husband will like but will reduce the food bill. He/you have to make a choice between high food expenditure or eating some vegetables and pulses – really, he ought to be taking on the cooking and the mental load of the meal planning as he's the one causing the issue. Ditch the pork/fish nights & don't have either, tbh; cooking two separate meals is expensive and faffy.

Tortilla Soup. Broth is diced onion, garlic, chilli, red pepper, fried til soft then add tin chopped toms (basics no-brand), tin black beans, lots chicken stock, simmer and season. Should be a fairly thin soup. Pour this over a bowl of crushed tortilla chips & top with grated cheddar or crumbled feta, chopped avocado, fresh coriander & fresh chopped tomato/red onion/radish/whatever you fancy.

Black Bean Soup. As above but without the tin of tomatoes, double the black beans and flavour the soup with cumin, oregano, coriander. Whizz with a stick blender til it's creamy. Top with the tortilla chips & everything else; sour cream is nice.

Starry Chickpea Soup. Fry onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne. Add tin chopped toms, tin chickpeas, stock, little pasta – stars! Or orzo or macaroni. Stir in spinach when it's nearly done. Top with Parmesan and lemon juice.

Batch-cooking black beans means you can easily do tacos, quesadillas, taquitos, etc, in the week without too much hassle. Lemony risotto with peas & broad beans from the freezer & some rocket is quick, cheap, easy, dense and filling, and makes good leftovers. (Husband can pick out the veg.) A couple of tins of chickpeas = falafel & hummus, stuffed into pita breads with option of adding salad leaves & chopped red cabbage. Bulk out chilli with lots of black beans (nicer than kidney imo) & make huge batches to freeze (flattened in ziplock bags you can get far more in the freezer); ditto bolognaise sauce.

And at least one night a week we just do beans on toast/baked potato & egg mayo/oven chips, fried eggs & peas/avocado toast topped with feta & hot sauce/pizza; not every night has to be organic from-scratch artisan meat feast. For breakfasts, porridge topped with Greek yoghurt and stewed apple is very filling & replaces some of the protein you'll lose when you cut out the enormous amount of meat.

Imperfectsusan Tue 19-Feb-19 10:30:41

Amazing how these fussy people develop 'phobias' of veg but never meat or junk.

Ain't it the truth!

bumblingalongway Tue 19-Feb-19 10:40:51

Can you blend veg into sauces like chilli and bolognese, bulks them out AND gets veg into your toddler DH.

dirtyfries Tue 19-Feb-19 10:59:39

Gnocchi with bacon lardons & garlic bread
mushroom stroganoff (could add beef?)
chilli con carne
jacket potatoes
Jamie olivers baked rice
fresh soups (lot's of protein options, chicken curry soup etc)
tortellini from aldi
sausages and mash

These are some of our go to 'cheap & easy meals. Try an eat veggie 3x a week, this could be pasta/rice dishes.
Cut the protein & up the carbs if DH is still hungry

Lunches for us are houmous & veggies, crisps, rice cakes & PB, soups, babybels, salads & chicken etc

We're a family of 2 adults. Cater for my DB 2x a week. Spend approx £40 a week on food excluding alcohol (admittedly we don't do breakfast)

CeciCC Tue 19-Feb-19 11:01:27

Hi Op. I think you need to be more organised and have meal plans and check your freezer everyday. Changing where you shop may help, but I don't think is the only solution. I shop at my closest supermarket which is 'expensive' Waitrose and my weekly shop for 4 people (3 adults and an almost adult) is around 100 a week.

PalmTree101 Tue 19-Feb-19 11:10:10

Amazing how these fussy people develop 'phobias' of veg but never meat or junk

So true!

I think your DH should come up with some bright ideas himself, or suggest other areas he can cut down on to compensate for his chicken haul.

What’s he like if you hide veg eg grate it into bolognaise sauces? What’s he like if you mix lentils in? Is he ok if he doesn’t know?

Can he cook? If not why not? Is he better eating foods he has cooked?

He can’t object to pasta pesto or pasta with tomatoe sauce surely?

His diet must be pretty lacking in nutrients anyway - so eg can he have a cheap supermarket oven pizza whilst you and the child have a nice healthy veggie meal?

Is he better with mixed up food or separate food? He does sounds like a toddler in his eating habits.

I do think a lot of the food change suggestions are going to need to come from him.

PalmTree101 Tue 19-Feb-19 11:15:33

I will also say that not all meals need to fill you with joy. It is good for our purses and waistlines to get used to eating a few plainer and more utilitarian meals a week.

I buy a lot of branded products. Defo need to cut down on those

So I never thought I was a brand snob, except I realised after watching eat well for less/dumb people can’t shop or cook - that there were lots of brands I was buying out of habit and I could swap.

Now the only branded things I have are ketchup, beans, coffee and tea and tbh I could probably swap the tea. I don’t always buy the absolute cheapest item but I’m not brand loyal.

Ricekrispie22 Tue 19-Feb-19 12:24:43

Do your DC eat what you eat? Making two separate meals every night would be more expensive than making one large family meal.
Also, are you buying special baby cereal? Don’t! Porridge, puffed rice, shredded wheat, weetabix and toast are all alright!
Do you have a coffee machine? Coffee pods all add up.
My lunches are usually things liked tinned sardines on toast, scrambled egg on toast, tuna mayo jacket potato, soup and a roll etc..
We usually eat ate last a couple of evening meals which cost less than £1 per portion. Here are some of them:
Ham and pea frittata The leftovers are good for lunch the next day.
Fried rice
Tuna and sweet corn burgers
Bolognese pasta bake
Tuna pasta bake made with tomato soup
Spaghetti cowboy pie
Chicken pie
Spicy beef pasta bake

AtleastitsnotMonday Tue 19-Feb-19 14:23:29

I think I would look at reducing meat content. Do you eat any pork? Things such as chorizo and smoked bacon are great for making dishes taste really meaty but you don’t need loads.j

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