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Where can I save money?

(58 Posts)
kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 19:24:30

I need to save money. Dh has been out of work over ten months, he just started a new job. I work part time, not on a great wage. I am spending far too much on food. However, we eat low carbs as dh has lots of weight to lose and low carb works best for him and I have ibs and low carb helps control my symptoms. But it's very expensive.

I sometimes shop at aldi, sometimes at asda, their cheapest range, not much difference in the prices. Obviously we can't bulk food out with pasta or rice

Re. other expenses, we are tied into our mobile contracts til December and have reduced our tariffs as far as possible. We pay £44 for a phone/broadband/tv package with bt that i think we are tied into- dh wouldn't consider canceling anyway, nothing would be cheaper either.

I've reduced gas and electricity costs to £95 per month. Can't affect water, council tax, etc. Fuel and parking can't really be reduced, we need to get to work

We don't go out, don't eat out, dh has the odd beer at at home, I don't drink at all Our biggest outgoing is food. I spend too much, about £400 per month for myself, dh and dd aged 13 and sometimes ds aged 22 - I try to always have something in the freezer for him.

The top up shops are usually for comfort food like crisps, chocolate etc or if we run out of veg milk etc.

Any ideas for vouchers, savings? Our local supermarkets seem to barely reduce at the end of the day.

Ellisisland Sun 01-Jun-14 19:33:38

Have you tried ? It's near sell by date food but it is sooooo cheap and great for snacks and cupboard food.

momb Sun 01-Jun-14 19:42:17

Relatively inexpensive sources of protein: chicken drumsticks, sardines, pilchards, in fact almost all tinned fish except tuna, eggs, cheese.

Eat seasonal veg: greens are low carb, and especially at the moment when everyone switches to expensive salads, cabbage, spinach etc are really cheap.

Presumably you are letting the children eat carbs? I'm low carb but the rest of the family eat them and you can eat much more cheaply if you use potatoes, pasta etc for those that can eat them.

£400pm isn't ridiculously high, but it should be possible to cut some off there by changing the way you eat and cook, although the low carb thing will make it more difficult. Has your OH considered low calorie instead? A more balanced low fat diet is much easier to bring in on a budget.

kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 20:41:31

Thanks smile I've had a look, but to be honest I rarely buy brand names. I think I need to make sure I have snacks put away for those moments. I've tried not carrying cash or cards around with me, but always end up really needing something for dinner and having nothing to pay with sad

kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 20:43:03

I don't like fish sad We often have chicken drumsticks cold to take to work for lunch.

Yes the dc eat carbs.

Rivercam Sun 01-Jun-14 20:48:54

£400 isn't excessive.

Martin Lewis recommends to try one price level down with food for a month, and then see if you notice the difference. Most people will be able switch about a third of their food.

.eg. Eat own brand rather then Kelloggs cornflakes, or value rather then own brand.

Some food you won't want to swop but others will be fine.( my son eats value shreddies, and hasn't complained, but won't eat value bread)

Tv - invest in Freesat or freeview - no monthly bills

I find when I top up on biscuits etc is when I have big bills.

momb Sun 01-Jun-14 20:58:32

My DP (and the SDDs) didn't like tinned fish either. They do now. Needs must when the devil drives.

Started off with 'Famous Five tea' which was (white bread) sardine sandwiches, honey sandwiches, tinned peaches and ginger beer. Shockingly all the sardine sandwiches were eaten.

Then started adding them to pasta bakes, fishcakes etc. So full of flavour that all 7 of us can have a meal from 60p worth of sardines and it still feels like a fish meal even though it's mostly salad or potatoes.

kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 20:59:38

I am buying the cheapest range all the way! Except dh's penchant for Doritos at the weekend! I just can't always get to Aldi so have Asda deliver sometimes, but don't think there' s much difference in the price except for the Super Six.

I don't eat cabbage, as it also aggravates my ibs.

Dh has tried low calorie diets, but finds them difficult to stick to plus after the initial loss he barely loses, whereas with low carb he continues to lose. He does eat tinned mackerel sometimes by the way

Notmadeofrib Sun 01-Jun-14 21:00:36

Can you bake your comfort food? I've just made cola cake and it's bloody lush. Nothing more expensive than coco powder (on offer in aldi) and the usual cake ingredients of butter, flour, eggs, ... oh and coke.
Not low carb but not sure crisps are either.

kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 21:03:27

Wheat causes problems for me (ibs), so I don't bake often (gluten free flour is expensive and doesn't taste the same). Crisps aren't low carb but a weekend treat (as I said we rarely drink and don't go out).

Fairylea Sun 01-Jun-14 21:06:26

It's a small thing but your BT package is expensive. Do you need a tv package? Can't you have free view or free sat? We live in a very rural area so cannot get free view but we have free sat and it's very good. Plus with the Internet and Netflix get loads of things to watch (Netflix £5.99 a month).

You can get unlimited broadband from plusnet extremely cheap and have them take over the phone line too. Our package from them including phone line is 17.99 (they had an offer on, they often do its worth checking).

Even if you are tied in to BT find out when the package ends and look to change then.

Justtoobad Sun 01-Jun-14 21:08:15

How much are you looking to save?

Is it a long term goal to reduce outgoings or a quick fix?

Does food have to be the only options, can you increase your hours?

momb Sun 01-Jun-14 21:11:21

doritos are fried carbs. Beer is liquefied carbohydrate.
Switch him to low calorie and reap the savings. Add flavour with herbs and spices not fat. If he's eating such crap then he's not in ketosis so the low carb diet isn't working for weight loss.
Loads of greens, moderate fat, wholegrain carbs. Save yourself a fortune financially and him in calories.
In tough times I can feed a family of 7 for less than £200 pm. It's not sustainable because I start running out of storecupboard stuff, but withif there were only 4 of us it wouldn't be too hard if we eschewed fussiness, specialist diet (especially if we were cheating anyway (doritos indeed!) and it would include kids packed lunches and DP's dinners.
It seems that you are having to buy an expensive range of food to support your OH's low carb weightloss programme but he's sabotaguing by eating/drinking carbs anyway, so switch him to low fat/low cal and then if he cheats is less damaging to his efforts but also you can feed everyone well for less.

TalkinPeace Sun 01-Jun-14 21:47:48

seriously : things like shin of beef, cooked long and slow with loads of cheap veggies in it - a meal in itself, no carb

also, stop buying pre cut meat : a whole chicken can make a couple of meals - even if you joint it and stew all but the breasts and cook them in stir fry

stir fries are great : so long as you never EVER buy pre prepared vegetables :
if you are not working you have time but not money

soup : home made chunky veg soup

reduced to clear meat, popped into the freezer that day is fine for weeks - and cheap

also, for weight loss, consider joining my other home on the 5:2 forums - not eating two days a week works wonders for saving money!

kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 22:28:31

Thanks for the tips. Low calorie diets don't work (for us),and on low carb during the week with cheats at the weekend dh still loses weight smile

Stews are good, what sort of casseroles do you make with chicken pieces?

Ideally I'm looking to cut our outgoings long term.

Dh needs the fast internet connection that bt provide, the tv part is only £5.

kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 22:29:22

Any idea how I can learn how to joint a chicken? ? Never done it.

Fairylea Sun 01-Jun-14 22:31:52

The save with jamie book tells you how to joint a chicken. If you can borrow it from a library even better!

I'm sceptical about this BT fast broadband thing. Honestly. Dh is a real techno geek and most broadband now is pretty much standard and dependent on area rather than advertised speeds. Plusnet is more than adequate for 4 of us to be on it at the same time, 2 online gaming and 2 watching Netflix.

But if he's set on BT he's set on it....!

kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 22:37:10

We live in a tiny village and the speed was terrible before we got Infinity. As I said I'm fairly sure we're still tied in anyway.

kazzawazzawoo Sun 01-Jun-14 22:37:49

Thanks, I'll look in the library for the Save With Jamie book

Rufus200 Mon 02-Jun-14 16:20:35

Sign up to a cash back website and get cash back on all your online shopping. They also have discount codes. Never buy anything online without checking if it cheaper somewhere else or if there is a discount code available.
Sign up for loyalty cards where you regularly shop.

TalkinPeace Mon 02-Jun-14 16:48:09

my concern with ANY sort of cash back website is that it will encourage OP to spend
and what she needs to do is REDUCE the opportunities

get a copy of Delia out of the Library .... lots about old fashioned cheap cooking methods
if you can access a decent butcher they might even be able to sell you a chicken that will look dearer up front but will go further so save you money.

kazzawazzawoo Mon 02-Jun-14 18:37:58

Thanks Rufus and Talkin smile I have a copy luff Delia's original book, which I do use a lot.

I am a member of Quidco, but find it does tempt me to spend more sad

specialsubject Tue 03-Jun-14 13:48:22

stop buying crisps (air and fat in an expensive bag, no-one should eat them) and chocolate at a pound a bar. Buy 30p supermarket bars and have 2 squares a night each.

I'm afraid Doritos and weight loss do not go together whatever your health issues.

Aldi veg are great value apart from all the sodding plastic. Load up on whatever is on offer that day.

if money is tight lose the pay TV as soon as you can. There are 80 freeview channels for £12 a month TV licence - which you are paying anyway.

antimatter Tue 03-Jun-14 14:03:52

Have you trued cooking with pork shoulder and pork belly? THose are cheapest cuts.

Do you eat liver?

Chicken wings would be ideal for LC as they have lots of skin, they are inexpensive.

Are you topping up food with fat, that is satisfying hunger and good habit on LC.

kazzawazzawoo Tue 03-Jun-14 16:33:44

Yes I agree about the Doritos, will talk to dh about it smile

We eat pork shoulder cooked in the slow cooker and belly pork once a week. I'm not keen on liver although dh loves it.

Dh has chicken legs for lunch at work, I have hm veg soup.

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