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  • FIRST POST
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 25th Aug 16, 11:10 AM
    • 1,249Posts
    • 2,908Thanks
    ani*fan
    Eat Well for Less...Live on MSE
    • #1
    • 25th Aug 16, 11:10 AM
    Eat Well for Less...Live on MSE 25th Aug 16 at 11:10 AM
    Hi everyone.

    I've been inspired by the chat about this tv programme to finally figure out why I can't get my food budget down. I thought we could do a mini version on here, to try and figure out what I'm doing wrong and so me and OH don't end up like one of those families on the programme (). I'll post what I know, and I would appreciate any comments or tips you can offer.

    There is me, OH and an aged cat to feed. We spend £250 per month, give or take a quid or two (I know, it's too much) on food, toiletries, cat litter and cleaning products. I've tried various things to bring the bill down but it's always the same.

    So this is the situation.

    We always shop at As** because it's closest, with the occasional trip to Morr***ns because that's second closest and en route home from work. Are these places expensive?

    We take out £250 when we get paid, put it in a jar and spend as we need to, or when we can be bothered to go to a supermarket. We both hate supermarkets. Every month I vow there will be £50 still in the jar by the end of the month. There never is. Do we spend that amount purely because that's the amount of cash we take out??

    Litter is bought in bulk from a pet shop and costs about £10 every 2 months. My cat eats 2 pouches of food a day, As** own brand at £2.47 for 10 pouches. He's not too fussy as long as it stinks of fish.

    My OH is a cleaning freak and likes own brand cleaning products. I don't know how much of this we buy.

    I can't tolerate cow's milk so we buy soya, the expensive one, which seems to be the only one that doesn't curdle in coffee. I also like nice coffee, not always ground (but sometimes), just a brand coffee that I really appreciate. I drink LOTS of coffee.

    Toiletries are the cheapest own brand.

    So, the food:

    We're vegetarian. I buy quorn fillets and pieces and mince when it's on special offer (and often when it's not)

    We cook every night.

    Most veg we buy is frozen. Is this a good idea? It helps with no waste which is why I do it but maybe it's more expensive?

    A typical day

    Breakfast - weetabix or a couple of boiled eggs and a veggie sausage for breakfast (OH skips breakfast)

    Lunch - Sandwich with peanut butter, jam or cheese for lunch, or leftovers from dinner the night before, and lots of fruit. (Ooh, is that expensive? I like grapes and can eat a whole punnet in one sitting) OH takes cereal and alpro soya yogurt to work for lunch every day, roughly one box and one big tub a week.

    Dinner - quorn fillets, roast potatoes, broccoli, carrots, gravy (brand one, granules)
    Fajitas, wraps, quorn pieces, yogurt, frozen peppers, onions, cheese (We skip the trimmings like guacamole, salsa, too expensive.)
    Chilli or spag bol with quorn mince, kidney beans, tins of toms, pasta or rice
    Stir fry with noodles, quorn pieces, packet sauce (satay or black bean, own brand) and veg

    Sometimes we get a frozen pizza and some garlic bread, not every week.

    We like biscuits and buy a packet every week or two. These are sometimes branded.

    We like Doritos and sometimes get a large packet every week or two. Sometimes a dip too.

    We have loads of spices and condiments, and replace them as we go.

    Eating out comes from a separate budget. We don't have people over to eat very often, our flat is small, but when we do we always cook from scratch.

    On the surface it looks ok to me. There is nothing obvious like ready meals I can cut out. I just don't get it. I must be missing something but I just can't see it. It's also hard to keep exact track of because either me or OH grab a twenty from the food jar and say we'll pick up some food while we're out, which is how we do it and how we want to keep doing it (until kids come along) so we don't have to spend too much time in supermarkets. The change always goes back in the jar, I'm just not always sure what we spend it all on. The thought of a big weekly or monthly shop really fills me with dread and our local supermarkets are not good at bringing what you ordered when you shop online, I usually still have to go in anyway, so we stopped doing that. Meal planning happens together on a Sunday night. Should I start keeping all our receipts?

    This is all driving me a little nuts so if you have any thoughts, if you think i'm playing down something that really costs too much, if there's an area I'm missing, please do say.

    My hopes for this thread are that I get some good ideas, rethink some of the spending and then you helpful people can walk me through next month as we go. Payday is Wednesday which is when the cash will be taken out, ready to go.

    Thanks! I'm looking forward to this!
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
Page 10
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 12th Oct 16, 9:01 AM
    • 13,941 Posts
    • 108,728 Thanks
    JackieO
    I too cut back on trips to the shops several years ago, it does take a bit of getting used to at first.But well worth the effort Now if I want to go out for some fresh air I just turn right instead of left outside my house, and the local park is five minutes walk away cheaper and far more healthier for both my purse and my waistline .I live literally a few minutes walk from the local small shopping precinct and it was so easy at times just to go there for a wander and mooch around.

    Now I try to go actually food shopping only as and when I run out of things, and I have at least 10 things on my shopping list.

    My shopping outings are cut down to about three times a month.I live alone so its probably easier for me as I only have myself to feed.I am working my way through my freezer as well in hope of getting it defrosted before Christmas at least
    So far this month I have only been shopping once and then only spent just under £18.00 then. I menu plan on a Sunday morning so I know what I am cooking for that week beforehand. My monthly budget is £60.00 and that is for food and nothing else.I have a seperate budget for diesel for my car ,but do my best to try and walk to most place if I can as the exercise is also better for my waistline and my joints
    Quot Libra,Quam Breve Tempus.

    December budget £60.00 7/9 NSD so far.Spent £9.90 this morning, £50.10 left.Second shop £7.00 for UHT Milk
    • pinkladyvenus
    • By pinkladyvenus 12th Oct 16, 9:00 PM
    • 176 Posts
    • 332 Thanks
    pinkladyvenus
    I find Lidli soya milk the best at not curdling in coffee, it is slightly thicker than all the other soya milks even the branded ones. nescafe Blend 37 coffee if you can still get it seems to work well with most soya milks.
    Last edited by pinkladyvenus; 13-10-2016 at 8:08 PM.
    Sealed pot challenge member 437
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 12th Oct 16, 9:12 PM
    • 5,438 Posts
    • 36,281 Thanks
    Caterina
    And Lidl soya milk always has a little deposit at the bottom of the carton, because it is so thick, so it is always worth adding a bit of water and give it a good shake when it's nearly finished, to stretch it further!
    No challenges for December.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 12th Oct 16, 10:20 PM
    • 56,021 Posts
    • 321,915 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    I've spent less than 50p today.
    35p for a piece of pie, 7p of oven chips, 6p for a few chocolate digestives.

    All the food groups there: pie, chips, chocolate, biscuits.



    And before the Fat Police pounce.... it's under 1000 calories.

    I did go shopping, 24p for a loaf of bread (reduced) and those choccy biccies ..... which weren't planned. So it's toast tomorrow!
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