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Overspending on food shopping

56 replies

RosieLeaLovesTea · 07/08/2021 19:21

Hi all

I knew it! I’ve bitten the bullet and gone through my card statements to works out and total our outgoings and spending per month. We are really over spending on food. Some months it’s been £600-£700 in the month. Plus eating out is approx £200. This includes either eating out or takeaways. We tend to have a takeaway on a Saturday night.

I knew it was bad because I buy bits daily. And my DH does too and from rotting the receipts up I knew it was increasing.

We are a family of 4 with 2 DCs. One in primary school and one due to start in sept.

Share your best tips for controlling the food bill and also tasty budget meals. I need to get the spending under control.

OP posts:
Edmontine · 08/08/2021 14:50

I shouldn’t really have to do large main meals in the evening.

You (or another responsible adult) do. School meals are a completely unreliable source of nutrition. And you’ll have no idea just how much your children are actually consuming.

Here is an excellent place for bulk buying whole foods that will ease your budget and maintain your health. Most things can be ordered in 3 or 5 kilogram packs, as well as tiny little bags.

Madcats · 08/08/2021 15:26

If the kids can't cope with chicken risotto too often, would they accept (leftover) chicken pie?

A time of Campbell's condensed chicken soup watered down a bit (I use wine, but water and a dash of lemon or some stock would do) makes a great sauce. If you can't be bothered to buy/make pastry try it with pasta instead. For a bit of variety add sweet corn/ham/mushroom.

Branded snacks/cereals/spreads and sauces are probably pushing up the cost of your weekly shop.

MrsHuntGeneNotJeremyObviously · 08/08/2021 16:45

School dinner's can be really poor. Don't be fooled by the lovely menu descriptions on the website - my DC's school often ran out of dishes or gave very small portions and sometimes the food was inedible. And it isn't cheap. I ended up doing packed lunches a lot because at least I knew they would eat. They often just had the fish and chips on a Friday so I could have a break from making sandwiches.

Inextremis · 08/08/2021 17:14

I spend €100 a week on 2 adults and 2 dogs. I shop at Tesco online, and take advantage of their '3 for €10' offers on fish/meat and cheese. Once I've decided on enough main ingredients for the week (usually 2 x the €10 meat/fish offers), I add the stuff to make the planned meals. Then I'll add a chicken or a joint of meat for the Sunday roast, plus any more vegetables we need. I don't buy bread, because it always goes off before we use it, instead I buy Tesco bread mixes (under €1 each) and make a loaf, or some rolls, usually once a week. Neither of us eat breakfast - DH grabs a sandwich for brunch on his way to work, I make some kind of lentil dish (tarka dal etc.) that lasts me a couple of days. I buy Tesco's own teabags and Nescafe instant coffee when it's on offer. DH will pick up a pint of milk every other day on his way home. (If there's any wriggle room left in the €100 budget when I've finished shopping for the main meals, I'll buy store-cupboard items (rice, pasta, tinned pie fillings, tinned tomatoes etc.) to bring us up to the limit. From September onwards, we'll be spending €120 a week, but €20 of that will be items for Christmas, one week a bottle of spirits, or a couple of decent wines, frozen pastry, jarred mincemeat - that sort of thing, so there's no massive spend to be done in December.

We eat really well using this method - granted there are only 2 of us, and no kids - but we're both omnivores (though I'm trying to reduce our meat intake for environmental reasons) and I love to cook and eat good food. I rarely buy anything processed, other than cheese and sometimes bacon, and cook from scratch 'cos then I know what's in what I'm eating! We don't snack, and nowadays we rarely drink alcohol either (gawd, that sounds worthy and boring, but it's not meant that way!) - it helps to keep the costs down. If I'm making something like bolognese sauce, or chilli, I usually make enough for a couple of meals (at least) and freeze the extra portions.

This week our dinners have been spicy sausage rolls (homemade), chicken biryani, chicken tikka masala, smoked salmon quiche (homemade) with new potatoes and salad, sausage, egg and chips, and spiced baked salmon with salad. Today will be shallow fried fish, chips and mushy peas. Brunch every day (for me) has been either tarka dal or chana dal, and a small yoghurt.

Every so often we'll put in a fresh fish order to be delivered and splash out (no pun intended) on 'posh' seafood like halibut, scallops, monkfish etc. - probably about €50 every two or three months. We have a large freezer!

Thewinterofdiscontent · 08/08/2021 17:18

Food grabbed in haste. A couple of pounds a week wasted rather than a multipack of crisps/chocolate/fruit/yogurt etc.

Added to a weekly shop which had more expensive versions. I buy roughly 40 items a week ( online shopping is great for tracking spending) and try and stay at the minimum basket of £40. If I spend 10p more each week for each item, I’ve added 10% to my bill.

However I think it’s a bit like dieting. As good as making low calorie substitutions are, the real key is to stop eating so much.
With food shopping you need to cut out the bits you can live without. Just don’t buy so much.

atlastifoundit · 08/08/2021 17:23

If you like takeaway curry, then might I suggest the Sainsburys ready meal ones? They really are very good, and would work out a heck of a lot cheaper than an actual takeaway.

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