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Has anyone managed to live on £300 per month for food, clothes and petrol?

(31 Posts)
cads Sun 16-Jan-05 20:36:49

Hi Everyone

Have recently been made redundant and would love to stay at home and look after ds. Unfortunately, if I don't go back to work we will only have about £300 per month for clothes, food and petrol (can't think of any other expenses other the set things like rent, council tax, etc etc). Just wondering if anyone else has managed to live on this amount or am I being totally unrealistic? Also, where's the best place to shop for groceries on a limited budget? FYI, there is only DH, DS (who's 11mnth) and I. Any tips and advice would be great.


Tinker Sun 16-Jan-05 20:41:49

Depending on how much petrol you need each month, I don't think that sounds too bad tbh. Look up some of teh saving money threads for tips but cheapest supermarkets are Lidl, Aldi, Asda, Morrisons. Planning meals saves money.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Sun 16-Jan-05 20:41:51

Hi cads, old but great money saving thread here which might have some useful stuff in it. I reckon you could do it if you were very careful, walked as much as possible, used second hand shops and markets and only bought what you absolutley needed.

hunkermunker Sun 16-Jan-05 20:43:31

Hi Cads

Look moneysaving expert for some tips and a budget planner.

Surfermum Sun 16-Jan-05 20:43:40

Have you taken into account the fact that you might get more tax credits if you aren't working?

SenoraPostrophe Sun 16-Jan-05 20:44:30

perfectly possible.

in lean times, my food budget is £5 a day plus £10 a week for staples (sugar, teabags etc). You'd presumably have to add nappies to that (I have terries) but I think it's possible. Admitedly the last time I did this in the UK was 4 years ago and the cost of living in Spain is lower, but i don't think things have changed that much. Maybe call it £6 a day. That's roughly £220 on food a month

Best way to achieve it is to plan meals and shop for those meals only - also using some things for more than one meal. Eg buy a chicken, have roast chicken one day and chick stew the next (much cheaper to buy a whole chick than portions).
For clothes, stick to charity shops and primark (god I miss charity shops - they don't have them here).

As long as you don't drive much, no problem!

jampots Sun 16-Jan-05 20:54:54

wow- might try this myself. We currently spend about £350 a month on food, £150 on fuel, and clothes varies. Then if I manage to keep to the budget when I do go back to work, i can keep all my money for myself.

nutcracker Sun 16-Jan-05 20:55:40

That sounds good Senora, i will try that.

Surfermum Sun 16-Jan-05 21:00:52

I have got some amazing bargains in charity shops. Loads of clothes for dd - Next coat for £2.50, tops for 50p, GAP socks 30p - all brand new. I treated myself to a pair of M&S leather bootleg jeans on Friday for £1, and got a plastic tabard for messy play 75p and 3 books for 10p each. I wish I had discovered charity shops years ago!!

cads Mon 17-Jan-05 11:50:22

This is fanatasic information. Thanks everyone. Going to give it a go and see how we manage.

misdee Mon 17-Jan-05 11:58:00

Tescos do a basic range of clothing, kids t-shirts from 75p to £1.50 i belive. jeans are also very cheap. not much choice but good for the money.

Gobbledigook Mon 17-Jan-05 12:09:05

Yes, Tesco is fabulous for kids clothes. The £1 t-shirts are great and my kids have got quite a few of the £1 long sleeved ones atm, plus the £2 fleece jumpers. They look really smart so I see no reason to pay more - especially with the amount of food, pain, felt tip that gets on them.

I've also got a few things for myself from Tesco - I've got 2 really nice plain v-neck t-shirts for £8 each and a couple of their v-neck fitted jumpers for £12 each - again, they all look really smart.

Then on food - definitely do what SP suggested - planning meals and buying just for those. We've started doing that just because it's scandalous how much stuff we throw away (veg and other perishable things) just because we don't plan properly and they don't get used. It's working much better now and it working out cheaper. Go for all the special offers too - buy one get one free etc.

Tesco might not be the cheapest shop but there are lots of things in there that are Tesco Value that are fine - I buy Tesco Value kitchen roll and nappy sacks.

I don't know what your dh does for work but I'm trying to get mine to make his lunch and take it in as he spends a fortune buying lunches each day.

Also, if you are at home with ds, you can cook him fresh meals which will be cheaper than buying jars or ready made stuff. Cook up lots of bolognese that you can freeze in portions then add to pasta or mashed potato.

Also, we pay for all our shopping in Tesco on our Tesco Credit Card (which we clear each month) and we rack up tons of clubcard points and every quarter get about £35-40 in vouchers off the shop which is great.

Sorry, waffled on a bit there! I love budgeting - sad I know!!

colditzmum Mon 17-Jan-05 12:11:03

God, yes! That is plenty! Just look at it this way - Tesco value potatoes are just as nutritious as premium potatoes, they just need the scabby bits cutting off. But you will have time to do that because you won't have to go to work!

Honestly, I think £300 is plenty, we do it.

misdee Mon 17-Jan-05 12:12:07

you may have to go up a size in the kdis t-shirts/fleeces tho. dd2 wears the 5-6yr old ones. she usually wears size 3-5yr old. but they are very good value, and wash well.

Gobbledigook Mon 17-Jan-05 12:14:44

Misdee - that's interesting cos my kids are the opposite! DS1 is coming up to 4 but is still in 2-3 fleeces and t-shirts at Tesco. You're right though - they do wash really well and have actually lasted longer than the John Rocha/Jasper Conran stuff I got them from Debenhams.

misdee Mon 17-Jan-05 12:16:12

Asda smart price beans/beans and sausages are also very tasty, bread is ok for toast, but not much good for sandwiches i find, morrisons black bags 20 for 99p are very strong and cheaper than others, soda crystals at 51p a bag can make your laundry powder go over twice as far, u can also mix this up with hot water for cleaning drains, sinks, cooker tops etc. cut j-clothes in half or buy cheap flannels (£1 for 10 from ikea) for cleaning, and wash if possible.

ebay things insetad of giving to throwing things out. u'd be surpised at what people buy. when the weather gets warmer go car booting (to buy and sell) to make/save cash.

misdee Mon 17-Jan-05 12:17:35

goobledigook, dd2 is a very tall 2yr old with large head. the right size t-shirts dont go over her head.

Gobbledigook Mon 17-Jan-05 12:18:19

Misdee - you are expert at budgeting!!

misdee Mon 17-Jan-05 12:21:47

i know how to, but i dont lol.

i have done in the past and picked up some good bargains on the way. some of my bedgetting stays with me even now, think i'm worried we're gonna be living on £40 a week again lol.

misdee Mon 17-Jan-05 12:28:21

bedgetting?!! budgeting lol.

bubblerock Mon 17-Jan-05 12:36:48

Hi Cads, we're also on a tight budget after a lifestyle change and we're quite enjoying it, we feel like money spinners trying to make money from anything and it makes us appreciate money more. I needed some jeans and was in Asda, I'm a size 8/10 and find their clothes too big so I thought I'd have a go with their teen stuff, I am currently wearing a really nice pair of age 13/14 jeans that cost me 8 quid!! Bargain
Also as someone else said make sure you update your tax credits - I'm still waiting on mine as they are apparantly stuck in the system (since september!!)Hopefully they can give you a bit of extra cash each month. Good luck

Prettybird Mon 17-Jan-05 12:53:29

I have really cut back my food costs since I started

a) writing a menu for the following week and buying to fulfill that menu, and

b) shopping at Lidl. I now do a weekly shop at Lidl (varies between £10 and £20 - last week was £16, but it included two bottles of Cava) and a fortnightly (or less) shop at Sainsburies (used to be Safeway, but don't like Morrison's - doesn't stock the "higher value/quality" items I want) for the sorts of things Lidl doesn't stock, eg fruit shoots, diet Cloudy lemonade, branded washing powders (can't bring myself to use Lidl's ones), loose Earl gray and Darjeeling tea, large free range eggs, free range chicken, freshly squeezed orange juice, fancy herbs and spices etc etc. That usually comes to between anything between £30 and £50 - but as you can see, I am hardly skimping! If it has reached the threshold, I then get 5p/litre off the petrol, so try to make sure to have the car empty when I go (lathough it is valid for 14 days). Threshold is usually (I think) £50, but they must have lowered it as I got it for a £45 shop last week. But the petrol price is usually good anyway, even without the money off voucher.

Typical Lidl shop would include (as needed) fruit juice (for ds) - large and small cartons - cans of chopped tomatoes/sweetcorn/kidney beans/baked beans, pasta, basmati rice, fruit and veg (tomatoes on the vine, bananas, grapes, onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli etc), premium thinly sliced ham, milk, cheese (good value parmesan, emmenthale, mozzarella), 70% plain chocolate (good for cooking and also for eating the odd square to keep away chocolate cravings ), medium free range eggs, wholemeal bread, crackers, rich tea biscuits, huge multi pack of 24 bags of crisps (only £1.45), chicken nuggets (good but irregular shaped pieces - but only £1.79), 12 pack of mini yoghurts (for ds, aged 4), frozen peas, frozen chips and a bottle of Cava (£3.49) most weeks (our Friday night treat).

Typical menu for a week would be:

Saturday: Lunch - bread, cheese and ham (bread bough at local shop), dinner: roast chicken with peas and roast potatoes

Sunday: Lunch: bacon rolls, dinner -out at my Mum and Dad's

Monday: Cold roast chicken, salad, sauteed potatoes (from left over roasted ones)

Tuesday: Grilled salmon steak with pesto sauce, grilled tomatoes, broccoli and basmati rice

Wednesday: Carrot/veg/lentil soup (whatever dh decides and whatever's in the house), using chicken stock made from roast chicken remains

Thursday: Pasta with homemade tomato sauce

Friday: (veg in front of TV night) Chicken niggets with dips and a bottle of Cava.

At the moment I'm getting lunches (salad) from M&S during the week as I'm trying to reward myslef for being "good" as I'm trying to lose some weight, but if we were tight I'd make up rolls/salad etc.

We're not really pudding pudding people (well, I am, but dh isn't) but Lidl do some nice ice cream or you could make apple pie/plum crumbles etc.

piffle Mon 17-Jan-05 13:12:51

lidls washing tablets are excellent if you get the maxi tab ones, we changed from Fairy and they are brilliant as well as being half to price, just a note!!
Also town markets are exc way to source cheap and excellent fresh fruit and veg.
Petrol, its sometimes worth shopping at Sainsburys or one of the supermarkets that offer a discount on gas after your shopping.
I spend £360 per month on food and petrol and thats with DH me school lunch for enormous 10yr old and dd 2. And I am not that creful with what I spend, so if you really watch then you'll do it, Aldi and Lidls are excellent for cheap basics.

nutcracker Mon 17-Jan-05 13:16:48

God knows whwre i went wrong in Lidl then last time i went, but i managed to spend 100 quid.

The trolley was overloaded though and some of it was food for xmas but even so i was so not happy as that was nearly as much as i spend at Asda.

Have just tried an imaginary shop online at Asda to see what would happen if i wrote down the meals for the week ahead, and the total came to 65 quid , usually spend about 114.

nutcracker Mon 17-Jan-05 13:17:39

I brought a big box of Lidls washing powder, and that has been great.

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