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Max £36 for Xmas food shop, probably need more like £60, help me cut back

(25 Posts)
starfish4 Tue 16-Dec-14 16:50:56

It's just hit me I've only got £26.50 of this week's budget to do our Xmas food shop. I am willing to steel £10 from next weeks' budget, so have £36.50 - I will stick to it whatever as we really need to keep spending down. I've already got a few things like turkey breast, xmas pudds, pickles, crackers, plenty of cereals & cans, six mini choc rolls which can be kept for entertaining, so that helps.

Obviously the main focus is Christmas entertaining, but then other essentials I feel we need. What I'd like to/need to buy to keep us going until 27 Dec:

Red onion, white onion, sproats, carrots, parsnips, old potatoes, new potatoes, packet frozen peas, mushrooms £6.50 We have Mum and MIL for Xmas & Boxing Day, and obviously need a few veggies to top up what's in freezer ourselves.

*One packet each of bananas, kiwi, clementines which work out cheaper in Tescos that way, £3

Sausages in bacon, *pepperami for fussy daughter £4.50

Jar mayo, tin Tescos value beans, 1 packet value rice £1.50

Packed of *smoked salmon I've seen - to go in Xmas Eve meal (pasta in cream sauce with the salmon & mushrooms) and for our DD who is very fussy so she has something different for a couple of meals - £5

*Salmon piece and *cauliflower in cheese sauce for me (I don't eat meat) £4

Two 2l milk £2, single cream, *brandy butter & *brandy sauce, £5

Pack of 7 cheeses £3.25 with voucher I have

2 packets Tescos value bread £1

*Lidl part baked crusty bread £1

1 packet of biscuits - allow 50p for Tesco value, guess we could go without knowing we'll get chocolate & have xmas cake

1 bottle of lemonade

Entertaining two sets of visitors (total 17 over 2 occasions) with nibbles/tea:

Cider £2 & 1 mulled wine £3.50, Lidl frozen pizza 89p, Tesco value tortillas and peanuts £1, mincepies £2, total £9.40 (I already have 1 veggie quiche, cream crackers, packet coucous, a few eggs I can do, some of cheese from above pack, pickle, some of tortillas & peanuts from above) - what else can I buy really cheap? Might do it as nibbles which we can bring out every few minutes, that way stringing the eating out bit by bit

Can anyone give me ideas of how to cut back, what not to buy or what to buy cheaper. It's more important our DD has things than me if it comes to it. I feel the items marked with * are the most likely contenders for cutting back.

GreenerthanGrass Tue 16-Dec-14 17:01:21

Not been through everything but a few suggestions

Smoked salmon trimmings rather than pieces are much cheaper and good for pasta. Sainsburys are about £1.30 per pack so assume tesco similar

Dry bread mix- around 75p (not much cheaper but can probably split into 2 lots)

Frozen cauliflower plus packet cheese sauce is probably cheaper (with a bit of smoked salmon trimmings?)

GreenerthanGrass Tue 16-Dec-14 17:06:05

Just seen you are buying cheese- so you could make a cheese sauce and put some mixed veg in it rather than buying anything especially

NoelleHawthorne Tue 16-Dec-14 17:07:52

get the visitors to bring a plate of food

Costacoffeeplease Tue 16-Dec-14 17:08:18

For nibbles you could make some cheese straws, v easy and not expensive?

starfish4 Tue 16-Dec-14 17:28:45

NoelleHawthorne - thanks for your reply. Luckily my mum is bringing some stollen slices and savory nibbles for Xmas Day, think she doesn't want to go without them which is fine, so that one's covered. My brother-in-law & his family are pretty much in the same position as us, so will discuss with my DH, but in view of what you've said, I'm tempted to be honest and tell them what we'll be doing and saying if you fancy anything else, bring it - brother-in-law is lovely so he won't take offence. Mother-in-law never brings anything, although she always makes puddings for other family - might tell her we're not doing pudding this year and see if she turns up with one!! Our problem is the group of six (plus us) - we've been to their houses so many times and had the works, so don't want to ask them to bring anything (although, I suspect each family will bring a bottle of wine as we've done in the past). I get what you're saying though.

Will look into the salmon trimmings, and am now thinking a couple of the cheeses can be used for a meal or cheese straws (dd will like the thought of these).

Any replies or ideas are really gratefully received.

Naoko Tue 16-Dec-14 17:44:01

The smoked salmon - either get trimmings as suggested above, or I see that you have lidl crusty bread on your list; if you're going to Lidl anyway can you get salmon from there instead of Tesco? It'll be much cheaper than £5! You also don't need a lot of salmon in a creamy pasta sauce as it's really just for flavour so I'd say get it (for less than £5) but make it go far smile

I'd probably drop the brandy butter and brandy sauce unless it's really not Christmas without it for you, that's a very easy fiver gained. (or again, I'm sure I saw that in Lidl too and it'd probably cost less there or in Aldi).

Actually I'd probably price up the whole thing in Lidl. I reckon you'd do it for a lot less than £60 there. Then go and get anything they don't have in Tesco with the savings.

starfish4 Tue 16-Dec-14 19:14:09

Thanks - I know certain things work for us in Lidl - will take my list in this week when I get milk and see if there are more things that might be cheaper than I hadn't realised.

I do like brandy butter and sauce, but actually we do have custard in, so that could be one cut back.

xvxvxvxvxvxvxvxv Tue 16-Dec-14 19:37:07

Are you able to save some money to risk visiting the supermarket Christmas Eve? Last year tesco had loads reduced by loads when I went first thing.

erin99 Tue 16-Dec-14 19:49:46

For mince pies, buy a jar of mincemeat, block marg and flour. Make loads with that and offer copiously visitors. They freeze brilliantly.

erin99 Tue 16-Dec-14 20:30:14

I think you're doing a sterling job already. i would also lose the pepperami for DD. And this might be a step too far, but swapping the pigs in blankets for a few sausage rolls from a frozen pack of 50 might help. You could then use the rest of the pack for guests. Or buy chipolata sausages and bacon for next week and steal a few early to make the pigs in blankets, freezing the rest. Stretch the remainder on pasta next week.

Don't suppose you have any brandy already do you, to make sauce or butter? Or maybe pick one rather than both.

If you fancy cooking, scones, welshcakes, dropscones, jam tarts and flapjacks are all fairly cheap to make. For flapjack you need a frugal recipe eg good housekeeping. You can also buy value versions of most of these fairly cheaply, which might even work out cheaper but perhaps less nice to serve.

IssyStark Tue 16-Dec-14 20:55:38

Brandy butter is dead easy to make, if of course you have some cooking brandy in (maybe from making the cake?). Just butter creamed with sugar (any sort with do, DH likes his with demerera as he likes the crunch but other friends use icing sugar), and a drop of brandy. Ignore of course of you have no brandy lurking at the back of a cupboard.

I would also make your own mince pies, as above, you'll get loads more for £2 than in packets.

starfish4 Wed 17-Dec-14 10:32:32

Again, thanks for your replies, they are helping me get a bit more focussed on what I need to prioritize to buy.

Actually looked online at some of the offers in Lidl this week and next, as well as prices in Tescos, so I know where I can buy some things cheaper - 1kg bag of carrots in Lidl will be 39p, bag of sproats in Tescos will be 49p.

I was going through the cupboards last night and somehow we have seven cans of tuna - if nothing else everyone can eat tuna sandwiches!! Putting joking aside, at least it's something that will fill out the table.

fussychica Wed 17-Dec-14 15:44:59

There's loads of offers on smoked salmon around at the moment - £3 should do it.
Look for reductions in the supermarkets towards the end of the day - anything you can freeze, buy now and serve that. My friend tells Asda & Morrisons are best -have stuff for 5p-50p late on I'm too lazy to shop in the evening so miss out on all the really cheap stuff but I still get bread for 25p in Waitrose sometimes grin

fussychica Wed 17-Dec-14 15:47:14

7 tins of tunashock - I feel a tuna and pasta bake coming on.

LeftyLoony Wed 17-Dec-14 15:47:57

Salmon in Lidl was £2.65 for 200g when I went in today.

TooSpotty Wed 17-Dec-14 15:58:01

Definitely do as much of your shop in Aldi/Lidl as possible. If nothing else, you'll get better quality stuff for the same price as value stuff in Tesco. You will struggle to spend more than �35 in there.

TooSpotty Wed 17-Dec-14 15:59:05

This might give you some idea how much you'll pay in Aldi for the Christmassy stuff.

Delphine31 Wed 17-Dec-14 16:04:13

Re the brandy butter, if you don't have any brandy in the house but do have whisky, you can make a very similar thing using whisky instead.

nataliejayne1 Wed 17-Dec-14 16:06:13

Not sure how much you've priced your potatoes up at but a 2.5kg bag of potatoes are 49p at tescos at the moment so definitely worth going there for them

Iristutu Wed 17-Dec-14 17:54:41

I think you need to pad it out with some homemade things. I would go for lots of bread/pizza/tarts/mince pies/stuffed skins.

You can make all of the above for very little, the pizzas will cost pennies if you make nice dough and top with a little tomatoe paste and cheese. They are great as 'between snacks. Make small and freeze.

If your making pizza dough make enough for dough balls, very easy to do and you then just serve with melted garlic butter.

You can also use the dough as flat breads or real bread. Hugh fernley whittingstalls bread recipe can be used as dough or for breads. ( it's basically flour, water, yeast and olive oil so cheap) You can make show stopping flat breads with a little bit of onion And a light dusting of cheese. Sundried tomatoes are a great addition to your shop as you could make flat bread and also put it the on the pizzas. ( your spending about £3 on bread and pizza, you can buy enough flour and yeast to make loads and loads of the above)

You can do potatoe skins, if you cook your potatoes whole then scoop out the innards ( set aside for mash) then fill with cheese, onion or whatever you have plus a little bit of the potatoe. Grill until the cheese browns, lovely and filling. And saves wasting the skins.

All of these freeze and can we whipped out and popped in the oven.

Jam tarts and mince pies are cheapish to make.

I'd ditch the smoked salmon and buy a small gammon joint and do a ham, it will stretch out over your meals.
No brandy butter, unless someone brings spare brandy.

I would also shop at lidl or aldi, you will save much more and get better quality.

Are you making the cauliflour cheese? If so do triple and again it's a nice side.

Hope this helps.

Iristutu Wed 17-Dec-14 17:57:55

So I'd concentrate on food not treats iyswim.

erin99 Wed 17-Dec-14 18:54:20

I would not recommend making HFW's flatbreads for guests. They taste amazing but they are all rolled out and cooked individually, and the dough is sticky so difficult to work with. Fab, but took me absolutely ages. And the HM pizza is a good idea (with value mozzarella 49p), depends how cheaply you can find yeast.

Doing one simple, full meal might be a better idea than bits and bobs. I think serving stuff like cheeses and nibbly bits works out so much more expensive than a normal meal. Curry (padded out with lentils and lots of potatoes and veg, easy to do a veggie version for you) or HM burgers and wedges. Cheap mince makes great burgers, you need it not too lean for good texture. Or the spaghetti with cream and smoked salmon trimmings thing.

but is there not another way that doesn't leave you trimming your own food to the bone to feed guests? It doesn't seem right, I'm sure they wouldn't want you to do that.

May not be right for you this winter but a sack of potatoes works out much cheaper than little bags from the supermarket, if you eat enough of them. Does mean spending about £8 up front though.

starfish4 Thu 18-Dec-14 09:50:47

Thanks again for your replies, they are helping and getting me thinking.

I might do a vegetarian chilli pasta dish for my brother-in-law's family as I have pasta, canned tomatoes, chilli, kidney beans in and can add what I've got left from my frozen sweetcorn and fresh onion peppers - not very Christmassy, but it will be filling - they are in the same boat financially as us so I can explain why I'm doing that.

I feel the way to go with the larger group of guests is to make one or two things, I have unsalted butter - if nothing else I know there a biscuit recipe my dd uses it for, also cheese straws as suggested before and I might see if I can buy a pizza base (and cheese on the dough making) and add tomato puree and whatever else we have - herbs, a little cheese, some cooked onion for flavour. Have found some bread sticks in back of cupboard and bought a cucumber for 29p which I can use as a healthy option on the side. As I've tuna I might also do tuna sandwiches, then we might just be there. I had already bought a bottle of mulled wine and white wine, and DH has been making homemade wine (as it's cheaper) and you can't tell the difference - we'll give them drink first so they might not take in there isn't a massive spread!!

Will look into the cheap bag of potatoes at Tescos, they have carrots for 49p a bag at the moment as well.

I've done well over the last four months with my reduced food budget and have bought one or two store cupboard things over the weeks for Xmas and cans etc on offer, but I suddenly needed a few household things I hadn't anticipated and it's thrown me out. One good thing is that I know 98% of the time we can cut back out food spending and still eat well.

TooSpotty Thu 18-Dec-14 14:26:12

I was in Aldi today and thought of you. You can get brandy butter AND brandy sauce in there for �2.50 in total.

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