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I am interested in how many people are trying to cut their food bills

(90 Posts)
itati Mon 14-Jul-08 10:03:01

I went to a farm shop yesterday and spent between £14-15. I got
20 eggs
2 bramleys
1 red onion
a head of broccoli
2 large mushrooms
half a dozen regular mushrooms
a plant
bottle of proper apple juice

I felt like I got a good deal.

I then went to Waitrose to see what they had reduced. I spent £50.11 and got lots of good quality meat, 2 lots of sugar, milk, cheese, ham, a paper, mini ready meal, 2 shapers chocolate bras, cat food, 2 lots of mash.

That would have cost a lot more at full price and if I had bought on line anywhere or gone into store I know I would have spent double.

My problem is working out how to spend less without buying low quality produce.

McDreamy Mon 14-Jul-08 10:04:26

Do you menu plan?

brightwell Mon 14-Jul-08 10:06:07

I'm cutting down on the shopping bills by not buying rubbish, so no biscuit's, crisps, sweets. It helps if the dc don't come with me.

Jackstini Mon 14-Jul-08 10:06:57

Try coming down 1 level from what you usually buy on each item.
e.g if you usually buy regular, try Smartprice, if you usually buy Finest, try regular.
Most of them will taste fine and your bills will start dropping. If there is anything you don't like, at least you tried!
Try Aldi or Lidl too. Over in Germany Aldi carparks are full of Audis, Mercs and BMWs - it is just a normal supermarket to them.
I usually stock my freezer up from reduced items and store cupboards on BOGOFS

PeachyBAHons Mon 14-Jul-08 10:11:39

Shapers chocolate bras??? wink LOL

I'm finding internet shopping is helping, we have temporarily skipped riverford but will reinstate when ds4 ready for weaning as organic stuff not so available here as elsewhere

Making stuff from semi-sctratch as well- I'm doing a chicken pie this week as kids favouriyte, but bought puff pastry and then roast leftovers etc

rebelmum1 Mon 14-Jul-08 10:18:58

Shop at your local butcher, mines reasonable and his fresh home made burgers are only 40p each, my green grocer is much cheaper than supermarket. Supermarkets are a swizz if you ask me.

rebelmum1 Mon 14-Jul-08 10:19:33

Oh and the butcher does a lovely roast chicken, good quality, ideal as a ready meal.

rebelmum1 Mon 14-Jul-08 10:20:25

You spent 65 quid and you didn't buy any alcohol or cleaning products..

rebelmum1 Mon 14-Jul-08 10:21:24

You'd have had to have bought a lot of meat for it to be good value

itati Mon 14-Jul-08 10:21:29

LOL PeachyBAHonours! Oops.

I would love to menu plan but find when I look through my many recipes I have to buy so much just to make something as I rarely have everything I need to make the meal, and it all seems to take so long I get disheartened. Planning 0on making a better effort in Sept 2009 when DS2 is in school.

I rarely buy biccies for hubby and I and make them for the kids. I bake a lot and everything is cooked from scratch except for the odd bit of pastry, mini meaol for Dh's lunch.

Do you all read the labels to see what is in the product as half the time I don't know what something is so assume it is bad and put it back.

blithedance Mon 14-Jul-08 10:24:23

Yes I was wondering about the bra's...

I suspect the only way to cut down/cut back is to be good old-fashionedly TIGHT. Imagine you are your mother when she had a young family.

Only buy exactly what you need.
Don't buy treats or pre-made food
Don't be a snob about quality
Use up everything and don't waste food.

I realised I was getting a bit precious in travelling to different supermarkets to get the best price of Yeo Valley organic childrens yogurts.... WHAAAT?

My mum's speciality was store-cupboard puddings - eg. a round of pastry spread with jam and baked = jam tart for all the family to have with custard.

rebelmum1 Mon 14-Jul-08 10:26:56

itati stop buying recipe books from celebrity chefs, you need good basic seasonal food, build in leftovers and plan properly to get food to go further. For example

Sun roast chicken and mediterranean veg
Mon Risotto or chicken caesar salad
Tues Kedgeree
Wed pasta and bacon with salad
Thurs shepherds pie
Fri omlette and new pots and salad
Sat rice salad - tuna peppers, toms onion any left over veg

MummyToOneForNow Mon 14-Jul-08 10:28:43

Menu planning only helps so far - I am trying to roughly plan but when we shop we look for what is reduced or on special offer then work our meals around that e.g. if cauliflowers are cheap we'll be having cauliflower cheese. We use quite a lot of lentils in veggie shepherds pie /lasagne which always does for more than one meal.

blithedance Mon 14-Jul-08 10:29:56

x- posted there. This has been discussed a lot before. I do a 2-week menu plan of fairly straightforward food - mix of meat-and-two veg, casseroles, stir fries, sausage/pie meals and a few of my specialities. Otherwise I can never think what to cook and never have the right ingredients.

Every fortnight we have basically the same meals, so store-cupboards have gradually built up the right ingredients like risotto rice or mango chutney, and these get used up and replaced.

thebecster Mon 14-Jul-08 10:32:22

I spent £55 on this weeks shop, including wine, beer, cleaning products, lunches & dinners for 5 days. And every dinner has meat in because DH would flip otherwise...

I use Asda online, and buy Smartprice on everything where possible. The quality isn't hugely different, or at least not different enough for me to feel it's worth the extra cash when cash is tight.

I went to Lidl a few weeks ago, then sat down with a calculator and worked out cost per unit on everything compared with my Asda receipt from the week before and Asda came out the same or only 2p or 3p more on everything I usually buy. (Yep, very uncool way to spend an evening! But I'm being tight so that I can spend more time with my son & less time working, so I am unashamed of my penury ) The only thing we go up to Lidl for now is pharmacy stuff - their hayfever tablets, flu tablets etc. are miles cheaper, but everything else you have to watch whether it really is or not. Sometimes they've put lots of signs up saying that something's cheap but when you get your calculator out, it's not that cheap after all...

itati Mon 14-Jul-08 10:39:01

rebelmum1 - how did you know I had books from Mr and Mrs Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, Delia, Mary Berry, Nigella, Mrs Beeton, etc etc. I have over 50 books and another 5 notebooks filled with torn out of magazines recipes.

I can't use my mother's example as I never had one but I have started being a bit tight and not being embarrassed about buying reduced food. I would never buy low quality meat though for my children and just feel strongly they have had to have good food without any crap in it. TBH I don't think I am a snob. I am just trying to feed my kids the best I can without compromising on quality. A friend of mine got breast cancer at 29 and she is convinced it is because her mum brought her up on ready meals and stuff from the chippy. I have no idea how true that is as I am not a doctor, but we have a lot of cancer in my family and I am just trying my best. Life would be so much easier if I wasn't as fussy.

Kewcumber Mon 14-Jul-08 10:39:18

buy cheaper cuts of meat eg mince, chicken thighs, belly pork, shoulder of lamb - you can still even buy organic if you do this and reduce price.

For example - shoulder of lamb us delicious slow cooked in the oven and a big one will last ages - loads of meat on it and make Shepherds pie with let overs.

Stop shopping in Waitrose unless you buy organic as I do think their organic meat is best (unless you have a good local buthcer)

Use less meat - use beans/lentils to pad out a stew. Veggie measl can be very cheap - pasta + tomato sauce plus cheese YUM

AS someone said stop reading pncy cook book and get an old "Good Housekeeping" one.

Kewcumber Mon 14-Jul-08 10:40:57

if recipes have an ingredient you don;t have - leave it out or substitute with something you do have. Its not The Bible, you are allowed to change recipes!

chrysantheMum Mon 14-Jul-08 10:41:41

if you have a freezer - look in it!! and meal plan round what you find in there!

originally thought -" bum, wil have to do a big shop" looked in freezer...wahey! estimate i need to spend about £12 this week on fruit and veg.

plus loo roll too grin

itati Mon 14-Jul-08 10:42:10

I have started buying chicken thighs and legs as they are organic and surprisingly cheap. Delicious too. I go to Waitrose as I think the food is nicer and I spend less that in Asda , Tesco or Sainsbury's. Unfortunately we have no local butcher but I have just found a fairly local farm shop for all sorts of other things.

Kewcumber Mon 14-Jul-08 10:42:15

I certainly wouldn;t buy cat food in Waitrose.

My cat eats IAMS and tesco do it on offer for about £10/11 about once every couple of months - I stock up on about 5 bags then. Waitrose is about £13.50 for the same.

itati Mon 14-Jul-08 10:42:55

Kewcumber - I have started doing that where I can as I get more confident. I love to cook but wish I had a bit more money left for other things!

chrysantheMum Mon 14-Jul-08 10:44:00

my cat has 12 packs of tinned cat food - cheapest i can find - usually costs about £3.50 i think? lasts nearly a month grin

Kewcumber Mon 14-Jul-08 10:44:12

I would only buy meat in Waitrose - all their packaged tinned stuff is no differnt to anyone else (IMVHO) even their organic milk goes off very very quickly - Tesco lasts much longer.

Kewcumber Mon 14-Jul-08 10:45:20

Ah so you're not an experienced/confident cook? If not then I'd recipe plan for a week - and come on here and ask opinions about the stuff you don't have - almost everything caqn be left out or subsituted.

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