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Re-prioritise I need help to change my supermarket budget for next year.

(37 Posts)
2006hildy Sun 02-Dec-12 11:20:14

This is what I have spent in the last 32 days on four people. Please crit it, shoot me down. Re-prioritise for me I need help to change my supermarket budget for next year. I could probably do with advice as to where to buy all this stuff too eg market, meat wholesaler ect. I can see now I was definitely spending on what I like rather than what I should. Sometimes you need people to point out the bleeding obvious. I definitely will be reorganising my lifestyle choices. That’s why I started my spreadsheet and hopefully in 12 months time it will look a whole lot more sensible.
meat 98.6
fruit & veg36.54
butter &oil27.59
cheese & eggs12.85

As always cutting back not cutting out.

HiccupHaddockHorrendous Tue 12-Feb-13 18:17:10

For various reasons (snow being the main one), I only went to the supermarket once last month. I was able to buy bread and milk locally but apart from that we just worked our way through the fridge, freezer and store cupboard.

Each day, I kept thinking there couldn't possibly be anything else I could chuck together to make a meal and each day I'd find something else lurking at the back of the fridge/freezer/cupboard!!

It was quite an eye-opener. I realised that I can create a meal out of random ingredients when I have to and also, I threw out a lot less than normal because I wasn't constantly topping up with new food bargains.

I had a big food delivery last weekend and whilst the fridge/freezer/cupboards are still full over a week later, I seem to have slipped back into my old ways of not being able to think of what to make for tea each night.

So, I am stopping myself from shopping as often as I usually do in an attempt to save money and waste less. If I run out of a couple of things, I normally pop to the shop and come out with half a dozen extra things because they were a bargain or because they caught my attention, whereas, when I ran out of cheese last month, I just opened one of the 10 tins of tuna that I had stashed in the cupboard and had that in a sandwich instead.

MrsHoarder Sat 09-Feb-13 20:23:33

If you have an impluse problem when in the shops (no need to have a whole freezer of whoopies) then try ordering your food online so you have to stick to the list. You can alternate this with Weeks of going to aldi, but you need to chill a bit about what you buy. There will be loo roll to buy next week too

2006hildy Sat 09-Feb-13 19:55:02

This is my plan and actually has not worked out so far as I am not strict on myself.

I have far too much "stock" everywhere. Spent £652 in January for a family of four! Included alcohol, toiletries, everything. Too many bargains -especially expensive meat. February is going to be eating out of freezer and cupboards month with a low spend attitude for fresh stuff.

Loosely Meal plan around the meat in the freezer which is bought on special offer or whoopsies.

Make best use of Aldi Super Six and Lidl weekend offers as they are over the road from each other.

Use to order months worth of cheaper food compared to Aldi and Lidl and will always look for deals especially, cheese, shampoo, conditioner, coffee, Wash Tablets, Clothes softener, Toilet Rolls, Kitchen Rolls, Tooth Paste if they are a Savvy buy.

Used to use Costco for toilet paper and washing powder but cheaper in Aldi or Asda.

Will batch cook especially Spag Bol and use the freezer for everything I can't keep fresh any longer.

Use a list for fresh stuff such as bread, milk, veg, fruit, lunch.

I also use as many coupons as I can, and if I can combine them with special offers,

The more you shop the more you are likely to spend due to impulse buys - this is definitely me and have found I spend more on "offers" so trying to stick to my regime of : Aldi Super Six and Lidl weekend offers, Use

If there are any other tips to keep costs down do let us all know, thanks.

AdoraJingleBells Wed 05-Dec-12 11:14:11

I found a good portion calculator on

I was quite surprised at the difference between OH's expectations (he's not in a job where he uses tons of energy) and what an adult actually needs.

If DS can't accept meals like the soups and stews suggested could you cut back gradually by slicing chicken so that you use 4 breasts/thighs for a family meal, fe, instead of 6?

ivykaty44 Tue 04-Dec-12 18:03:32

Up your lentil soup, tuscan bean soup, black eye bean chilli (use black eye beans instead of mince meat your dahl intake and chickpea curry intake and this alone will reduce your meat bill. Google any of theabove and there are plenty of recipes - beans and lentils are both very very healthy and cheaper than meat by half

You can make big pots of all three of the above and eat at lunch heated up or evening meal - meaning your ds can eat something he is comfortable with and you will still reduce your budget without effecting your ds.

ChristmasTreegles Tue 04-Dec-12 13:22:40

Another way to cut back on meat costs is to make stews/soups or casseroles. The meat is in smaller pieces and it can be bulked up with veg with nobody noticing the difference.

If you're going to change brands, such as crisps, try to start by putting the crisps in a bowl when he eats them now, so that when the brand changes, he won't have the bag as a tip-off. Sounds ridiculous, but DS2 notices the branding/logo immediately (he fascinated with them), so that's when he sees a change.

The biggest down side to shopping around and comparing prices is that you're very aware of all the prices of things you generally buy in the supermarket, so when they mark up the price, you notice it immediately. Annoys me to no end to see how the prices have gone up recently! hmm

educatingarti Tue 04-Dec-12 13:01:53

I changed to Aldi a while back. I've found it really great for most things. Their washing tablets and dishwasher tablets are just as good as branded versions. They have things like their version of "not from concentrate" orange juice which is about £1 cheaper than Tropicana. I think it isn't quite as sweet to the taste but perfectly good. Medium free range eggs are 99p. The only thing I bought and have really hated so far is their "quixo" stock cubes. Some of their stuff does taste different to named and other supermarket brands (eg baked beans and ketchup) - not worse in my opinion, just different - but your ASD son may find this hard - you can only try I guess.

If it were me I would get what you can in Aldi each week (you won't be able to get everything) and even without special offers if will prove a lot cheaper than buying similar stuff from another supermarket. You will need to be very restrained about the special home and garden and clothing etc offers in the central isles as if you aren't careful you can end up spending on these when you didn't plan to - though some stuff is very good value there too! Shopping in Aldi takes a bit of getting used to as they price things in big banners acrosst he top of shelves rather than by each item and the stores really aren't as light and bright and inviting as some other supermarkets, but I think the savigns are so worth it and you do get used to it after a few months. Now I wouldn't want to do my main shop elsewhere.
You could maybe do an online shop from say Asda for the rest of the things you need.

Cut out nearly all crisps, biscuits cakes and sweets for the adults (occasional small treat allowed) and as much as possible for your children given that your ASD son may not tolerate this too much and your other child may want them given that his brother is getting them. Substitute with fruit and yoghurt for deserts. It may be that even if your ASD son will only eat brand name crisps, your other child will eat the Aldi version so you can still save here.

I think I'd go bananas if I tried to find every single bargain from many different sources, but doing as much as possible of my shop in Aldi gives me really significant reductions. Obviously if you see or hear about a fantastic bargain you can still go for that.

You say your husband "likes meat". Look up online what the healthy portion size of meat is and how often a week is healthy to eat say red meat etc. Show this to your DH and tell him suggest he will should keep within these guidelines. If he doesn't have issues like ASD he should be able to see the sense in it and adapt to the change. If he makes a fuss, he can try doing the budgeting, shopping and cooking!

swanthingafteranother Tue 04-Dec-12 12:43:12

I think that if it were as simple as that, we would be all be shopping there wink
The whole point is that supermarkets tend to have some items which lose them money, and some that make large profits. They count on people getting confused and buying everything from same place hmm So some people will use Aldi/Lidl for some items but be aware that not everything from there is priced competitively.

Another tip someone gave me (a lady of 55, single working mother of three who used her freezer a lot) was the minute you see something on special offer, stock up on it. So it could be tins of tomatoes, sacks of onions, roasting joints. She said she spent a portion of Sats batching cooking for freezer too. Now that is counsel of perfection but if you go to some local(often ethnic) veg shops on high street you can often find large sacks of onions for example which work out a great deal cheaper than any supermarket, as long as you have a cool place to keep them. Bread from my corner shop (Polish bread that is) is much cheaper than from Morrisons, but Morrisons would be much cheaper for just about everything else, except veg. Just an example. A butcher can fill your freezer often more cheaply than any supermarket meat offers because you are cutting out middleman. But all this takes a bit of effort, and it may be that time is money in your case.

2006hildy Tue 04-Dec-12 11:31:45

Rationing improved the nation’s health looks like a bit of rationing on my food budget will dramatically improve my family’s health too. I ‘m so pleased I have done my spreadsheet so that it shows us where I have gone wrong. I can’t wait. Writing it all down for a month has already set me on the path to better financial management.
Where is the best nutritional guide as to how much a family of four should really be eating?
What’s the best website for telling you what is the best seasonal food?
Next where to find all the bargains to reduce my budget as well? I think I really need to find a good butcher that delivers. Is there one national chain that is really good. It just feels like a complicated minefield shopping at different places with special offers ect. I like to keep things simple. Does that mean I should trust the market and Aldi and Lidl.
I want help getting what I need as cheaply as possible.
As always cutting back not cutting out.

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 22:36:08

I was a bit surprised at the fruit and veg cost.

Gentleness Sun 02-Dec-12 22:28:20

Portion size - I forgot to mention that. We are cutting down on that, partly for cost and partly for health and partly because I was just making it up before I started checking out nutritional guides!

ivykaty44 Sun 02-Dec-12 22:18:26

489 total

111 on sweets, chocolate, crisps, biccies and pudding

36 spent on fruit and vegetables

could you up the fruit and vegetables spend to fill up on as they are cheaper than the sweets, chocolate etc?

Thus then reducing the sweets and choc etc spending

2006hildy Sun 02-Dec-12 22:09:12

Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you, this was just the type of help needed.
Well I couldn’t quite believe it myself so now I am feeling really bad. It’s a good job I have started my spreadsheet to cut down. So now I am going to do damage limitation and keep as much back for freezer, store cupboard and Christmas as possible.
When I have worked out total food expenditure for the whole year it was more like £99 for a week which I was told was high hence the spreadsheet which over the last 32 days of keeping receipts it worked out to around £120. Higher !
I will buy whoopsies, shop at the market and Aldi and Lidl and definitely cut out the empty calorie food and drink. No wonder I didn’t loose any weight this month! Lol
When I used to shop online I could easily stick to my budget so the above paragraph won’t work. So may just have to do that as many people rate Asda for things against Aldi.
From my total expenditure spreadsheet things are definitely getting better because we have not eaten out as much, gone out ect hence the high empty calorie food and drink sections.
It’s just got to get better from a health point of view.
I will have to meal plan, buy cheaper cuts of meat, hubby likes meat.
I don’t buy any value stuff I’ll have to try but don’t mind trying different brands.
As always cutting back not cutting out.
Anybody else?

Gentleness Sun 02-Dec-12 20:34:54

Mysupermarket is great for finding the best deals on branded crisps and so on. I only ever buy crisps on special offers and we are working on not eating the entire multipack in the first 2 days! If we do, they don't just get replaced anyway. FarmFoods has some good deals on branded crisps too.

Meal planning can work however you want it to. When doing a weekly plan, I started on the basis of 1 fish evening meal, 2-3 meat and 2-3 veggie. I don't count Sundays because we have shared meals/catering at church. Sometimes I start with say a whole chicken (because I know there is a good offer on!) and plan a roast, a pasta meal with the leftovers and a risotto with stock from the carcass, and maybe it'll make one day of sandwiches too. Then because I get parsnips and sweet potatoes to roast with the chicken, I'll plan in a parsnip soup with the rest and orange mash the next week with another meat meal.

Sometimes I decide we're due a treat and get something delicious like lamb steaks (because I see on they are on special offer obviously!), in which case the other meat meal is a cheaper sausage&beans casserole or a curry with a minimal amount of Basics chicken (freeze the rest of the pack). The fish is dependent on any offers as well, but I would only have salmon on a week where all the other meals were cheap. Otherwise it is frozen breaded fish & homemade chips & veg, or smoked mackeral (half the pack in a pasta meal or curry and the half made into pate for lunches) or a tin of tuna or salmon made into fish cakes. Veggie meals include soups, really basic pasta bakes, homemade pizza, noodles, curry & rice. I try to balance the carbs over the week as well so we only have pasta 3 times max!

As you get used to doing it, you start having patterns of fitting ingredients together over the week. Say buying a bag of peppers, having a pork goulash with 2 of them, a stirfry&noodles with one, one for homemade pizza and one for lunches. Or seeing spinach on offer and basically having it in nearly every meal to use it all up!

But I definitely find planning the month in advance more useful/frugal - otherwise I forget to plan in what I have in the freezer or in the stock cupboard. I can also plan in to double-cook to freeze meals for the next month or whatever, based on some expensive ingredient on special offer.

Oh - and home-made houmous with tinned chickpeas is pretty cheap! One (25p on offer for Eid) tin makes loads! Fresh olives are a rare treat for us now sadly, but the bottled ones used frugally last ages.

ChristmasTreegles Sun 02-Dec-12 16:19:56

We have four of us in the house, including one 6yo with ASD/ADHD (DS2). We generally spend about £250 (sometimes up to £300) per month or so, mainly because of nappies for DS3 and night time pullups for DS2. We probably spend another £10-20 on alcohol (depending, but just an occasional bottle of wine really).

Mealplanning is definitely important. We do buy some snacks, but only either basics/value brand or on sale. We buy some roast meat packs from the local butcher as it is much cheaper than in the supermarket (and better meat as well!).

We have a huge freezer, so I can take advantage of sale prices on frozen goods. And we have organised a pantry area in our dining room so I can do the same on other grocery items and store them.

I try to keep the expense as low as possible, and we buy a LOT of basics brands - most of them are quite good. We always have one or two meals a week that are "cheap nights" such as beans on toast or breakfast night (cereals, toast, or eggs/toast or eggy bread). And we use leftovers to make another meal whenever possible - such as soup, sweet and sour pork, and so on.

I completely understand about the influence of the child with ASD to the food budget - DS2 has some interesting grin food issues and it does take some adjustments quite often. I have found that regardless of what we do, there is a bit more food waste than I would like sometimes.

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 16:02:55

Also your priorities about food eg nice oil, organic meats, branded alcohol etc come into play.

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 16:01:30

For the rest of the shopping, it depends on where you are and what's available nearby.

I'd say as a starting point, what supermarkets can you get to easily? What places nearby stock what you need - as your DS has brand favourites, it's worth checking places like Poundland etc as well as supermarkets. Do you have a greengrocers? Lidl and Aldi can be great for veg, as is Morrisons, but my favourite place for veg is actually a brilliant greengrocer's stall that does cut price mixed veg boxes at the end of the day to shift stock.

The next thing would be what do you all eat? It's easy to say cook non meat 3 nights a week and do stews as they're very cost effective when you use seasonal veg, but if your family won't eat that food it doesn't save money!

Once you have an idea of meals they'll eat, you just balance the cost of the week's food by saying eg if I'm doing two pricey dinners already this week, I'll move this pricey recipe to next week and have a cheaper dinner instead. You group meals together so that ingredients can be used in more than one meal eg if you're making a beef stew and a veggie curry you could buy a large pack of mushrooms and a whole butternut squash that would go in both of them.

Once you know what you want to buy you can work out the best way to do it. It might mean an online shop monthly and weekly top ups from different places or meat from a butchers and a weekly online shop. You'll figure out what works for you.

Viviennemary Sun 02-Dec-12 15:45:08

It sounded a lot at first. But depends on whether you are eating at home through the week and providing packed lunches and so on. My shopping bills have become chaotic lately. So I might try a system in the NY. £27 on butter and oil sounds expensive. And £25 on nuts is a lot. But food has become a lot more expensive in the last year. And you could probably cut down a bit on biscuits. It doesn't sound too wildly extravagant.

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 15:41:45

If he has specific brands that he accepts, I'd target those when they're on special offer. If you check online before hand and buy in bulk from whichever supermarket has an offer on you'll save a lot of money.

colditz Sun 02-Dec-12 15:33:47

Sometimes, children with asd will suffer if they don't ever eat crisps again, in that their diet is so limited that they will not maintain a healthy body weight without certain key foods.

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 14:47:17

Does he have to have crisps just because he likes them? Nobody would suffer if they never ate crisps again.

swanthingafteranother Sun 02-Dec-12 14:26:36

I know where you are coming from with the food requirements as I have a son with ASD. He for example won't touch homemade pizza. And he loves olives. He hates sloppy, gloopy things like casseroles or soups, but he will eat the meat taken from a casserole of chicken or meat if presented plainly and not mixed up with the rice or pasta.

However, I still think there are economies to be made on the puddings and biscuits front, and it is possible to slowly integrate homecook food in with the shop versions, if he is used to those. Son (10) who usually only eats plain pasta, just ate some homemade lasagne today, scraping off the sauce. He too likes expensive cuts of fish and breaded fish, and hates mince/soup etc. But he has learnt to cope with macaroni cheese with tuna in it for example, partly by making it himself, ditto macaroni with other bits in it, baked in white sauce. And he loves banana bread he keeps asking to make.
And I suspect I could economise on the fish portions by buying things like larger bit of salmon and slicing it freezing it etc. Fish cakes with tinned salmon also go down well in this house with all three kids, the sort of thing that you can make homemade and tastes sort of shopbought!

I think ASD children often crave minerals and salts and fats, hence their liking for very savoury crispy food. We have olives down to a fine art...we buy the non-fresh pitted kind in jars - 99p a jar in brine?

Humus is another thing that can be made extremely cheaply with tahini, tinned drained rinsed chickpeas (59p a tin round here) and garlic/oil. If you are eating large quantities?

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 02-Dec-12 14:16:57 I use this goose fat, it's got a long date on it and works out half the supermarket prices.

According to moneysaving expert the biggest savings to be had off the weekly shop are things like cleaning materials. But, it's the area people are most brand loyal to.

For example, Aldis bio powder with stain removers came out level with Ariel actilift in Which? consumer testings and ahead of Surf, Persil and Daz. Based on 3 washes a week the Aldi one would save you £30 a year compared to Ariel by their calculations.

Or, Tesco daisy powder for the dishwasher lasts me 11 months for £4.69. I got 20 free finish powerball tablets and the only difference is that the teaspoons came out cleaner but for want of soaking the spoons in bleach once a week (that I pour back into the bottle) I can live with that.

Has anyone mentioned Asian supermarkets for oil, rice, lentils, spices etc? much cheaper than the normal supermarkets and from what I have seen on previous threads cheaper than costco too.

Astonish cleaners are a hidden gem too, the pound shops, savers and homebargains often have them. They are cheap, effective, not tested on animals (BUAV) approved and made in England. What more could you want?

homeaway Sun 02-Dec-12 14:06:02

The more food you can make in the home the cheaper it will be. For you son for snacks things like chocolate brownies will always look the same , would that work ? Parsnip crisps for snacks ? Biscuits cut out with a biscuit cutter so they are all the same shape ?
I buy a lot of basics like bin liners, foil, oil, plastic bags for freezing, dishwasher tablets , fabric softner, oil, butter,milk, pasta, organic fruit and veg from Aldi. Meat and other things I get from the butcher and other supermarkets.
For a meal plan you have to think of the things you eat on a regular basis , so for instance we have one mince based meal a week, so it could be bolognase, lasagna, meatballs, or chili, that works out to four meals with mince. You would then do the same with fish, so fish pie, fish cakes, steamed fish gives you another four meals. Chicken , could be roast chicken, chicken wrapped in ham, chicken curry, breaded chicken... and so on. The money saving expert site has a lot of info on there.
You could also try doing a brand down shift so you try doing your weekly shop but instead of buying branded you buy good value and see if you notice the difference in taste. You will probably find that you can change somethings but not others.

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 12:35:13

Easy to cut down from that. Crisps, chocolate, nuts etc - they can go. Halve the meat and use veg and pulses. No more shop bought pizza. Puddings? Do you mean from a freezer? They can go. Eat fruit for pudding. Not sure about the drink. Is that about three bottles of wine a week? Or spirits? Seems a bit high to me.

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