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    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 25th Aug 16, 11:10 AM
    • 1,498Posts
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    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!

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 09-11-2017 at 8:22 PM.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
Page 10
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 12th Oct 16, 9:01 AM
    • 15,520 Posts
    • 126,495 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 Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • pinkladyvenus
    • By pinkladyvenus 12th Oct 16, 9:00 PM
    • 216 Posts
    • 382 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
    • 5,723 Posts
    • 39,320 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!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 12th Oct 16, 10:20 PM
    • 60,747 Posts
    • 355,043 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!
    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 11th Oct 17, 8:23 PM
    • 3,937 Posts
    • 23,863 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    Bump bump bump

    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 11th Oct 17, 8:35 PM
    • 1,728 Posts
    • 9,717 Thanks
    Florence J
    So excited it's back. I don't get why they show a bunch of episodes, then there is a few months gap before they show the rest. Oh well, it's back, I'm happy.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (£94.58) £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253 Wombling free 2017 = £2008.60 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3118.08/£3000) Debt to OH paid back £1146.96/1146.96
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £4025
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 11th Oct 17, 8:59 PM
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    VfM4meplse
    How on earth does this week’s lady manage? She’s a single mother of 5 girls, 2 coeliac and one a type 1 diabetic, and works full time! £14k pa on beans, waffles and other processed foods is a lot but I have no idea where she finds any time from.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • drinkupretty
    • By drinkupretty 11th Oct 17, 9:12 PM
    • 2,650 Posts
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    drinkupretty
    The older kids (one was 18 I think) should be cooking some nights in my opinion!!
    "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes"
    • maman
    • By maman 11th Oct 17, 10:45 PM
    • 17,011 Posts
    • 101,706 Thanks
    maman
    How on earth does this week’s lady manage? She’s a single mother of 5 girls, 2 coeliac and one a type 1 diabetic, and works full time! £14k pa on beans, waffles and other processed foods is a lot but I have no idea where she finds any time from.
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse
    I missed the beginning. Was she widowed? I was curious because she was wearing rings.

    The youngest girls seemed genuinely willing to help and really pleased to make a meal for mum. But I think the older ones, although it was a bit of a laugh to make the pizza and mess about with the presenter didn't seem to have much staying power. Too busy to cook a chicken breast???

    I think they were happy just helping themselves to snacky stuff. They might give it a go with the carrot of a holiday in Florida.
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 12th Oct 17, 4:21 AM
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    VfM4meplse
    The older kids (one was 18 I think) should be cooking some nights in my opinion!!
    Originally posted by drinkupretty
    Probably, but I think the issue was that they were used to a diet of junk. They were generally helpful girls and happy to muck in so there was no lack of willing.

    I missed the beginning. Was she widowed?
    Originally posted by maman
    Me too, but whatever the circumstances I think she was doing well to raise five girls between 8-18.

    I think they were happy just helping themselves to snacky stuff.
    Originally posted by maman
    Probably, but who’s the adult here? The elder girl with T1 diabetes particularly needs to eat well, for a teenager it can be akin to living with the sword of Damocles hanging over your head (this is no exaggeration).

    The other day I was asking my niece what she did in nursery, what she ate etc...one of her answers was “raffles and beans” by which I guessed she meant waffles and baked beans - neither of which she would get at home, mine or her grandparents. It’s not ideal food for a 2yo - I’d guess the waffles are full of salt - but I can imagine it’s an easy way of getting them to eat.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 12th Oct 17, 7:19 AM
    • 3,937 Posts
    • 23,863 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    So excited it's back. I don't get why they show a bunch of episodes, then there is a few months gap before they show the rest. Oh well, it's back, I'm happy.
    Originally posted by Florence J
    Last night's episode would appear to have been on the shelf for months waiting to be shown as it showed the family doing their grocery shopping in January and batch cooking in February.

    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 12th Oct 17, 7:22 AM
    • 3,937 Posts
    • 23,863 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    I missed the beginning. Was she widowed? I was curious because she was wearing rings.

    The youngest girls seemed genuinely willing to help and really pleased to make a meal for mum. But I think the older ones, although it was a bit of a laugh to make the pizza and mess about with the presenter didn't seem to have much staying power. Too busy to cook a chicken breast???

    I think they were happy just helping themselves to snacky stuff. They might give it a go with the carrot of a holiday in Florida.
    Originally posted by maman
    It didn't explain about her circumstances. It just said she was a single mum of five. I thought they were a really nice family but had to laugh because in some clips, it was clear that if the cameras hadn't been rolling, the kids would have said something different!

    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 12th Oct 17, 10:05 AM
    • 60,747 Posts
    • 355,043 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    If you dig around a bit, her situation is:
    Married to an antiques dealer, 5 kids. One particular kid diagnosed with diabetes - got some coverage in the newspapers in 2010 as they wanted a monitor from the NHS which was refused, which cost £6.50/day.

    She decided to set up a charity about diabetes and did a couple of fundraisers.... then in 2011 she said they were selling their £390k 4-bed house with 3 reception rooms to downsize to raise £10k to set up their charity ...

    Now the husband appears to be off the scene - but maybe that's just temporary or recent, or maybe the show "deliberately" misrepresented her position, playing on the emotional "single mum" tagline.

    Husband appears to still be an antiques dealer and still in the village - which might also be why she seems to drive a Mercedes, have a very expensive branded watch and wears rings.

    She's certainly "loaded" by most people's measures.... and they're a bit vague about her job too. I found one person with her name in that region that seems to fit ... and appears to work in the field of supporting vulnerable people in social housing.

    It's all a bit "odd" overall.

    Her shopping behaviour also seemed to be: Pick up the kids, park outside the shop and give them £30-40 to go in and buy what they fancy for tea ...
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 12th Oct 17, 12:00 PM
    • 23,955 Posts
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    VfM4meplse
    If you dig around a bit, her situation is:
    Married to an antiques dealer, 5 kids. One particular kid diagnosed with diabetes - got some coverage in the newspapers in 2010 as they wanted a monitor from the NHS which was refused, which cost £6.50/day.

    She decided to set up a charity about diabetes and did a couple of fundraisers.... then in 2011 she said they were selling their £390k 4-bed house with 3 reception rooms to downsize to raise £10k to set up their charity ...

    Now the husband appears to be off the scene - but maybe that's just temporary or recent, or maybe the show "deliberately" misrepresented her position, playing on the emotional "single mum" tagline.

    Husband appears to still be an antiques dealer and still in the village - which might also be why she seems to drive a Mercedes, have a very expensive branded watch and wears rings.

    She's certainly "loaded" by most people's measures.... and they're a bit vague about her job too. I found one person with her name in that region that seems to fit ... and appears to work in the field of supporting vulnerable people in social housing.

    It's all a bit "odd" overall.

    Her shopping behaviour also seemed to be: Pick up the kids, park outside the shop and give them £30-40 to go in and buy what they fancy for tea ...
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    All largely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve got in the bank, she still tried to be as hands on a mother as she could be rather than seeking external help.

    Setting up a charity for diabetes is largely a waste of time btw. DUK has a massive presence amongst both patients and clinicians, and it’s far better to contribute to that than going alone.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • Prinzessilein
    • By Prinzessilein 12th Oct 17, 3:01 PM
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    Prinzessilein
    I watched this...and snickered out loud when they produced a slowcooker that had been at the back of the cupboard and never been used!

    Even the teens could get the hang of filling the slowcooker and switching it on...how could they be moaning about 'no time for proper cooking' and yet ignore the slowcooker?

    And the fridge and freezer were practically empty?...Seriously?....do the family really not use these?

    And life has clearly changed since my day....Mum, dad and 5 children at home...and we all ate together and we all ate the same meal...and none of use moaned!
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 12th Oct 17, 3:49 PM
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    VfM4meplse
    And life has clearly changed since my day....Mum, dad and 5 children at home...and we all ate together and we all ate the same meal...and none of use moaned!
    Originally posted by Prinzessilein
    Diagnoses of T1 diabetes and coeliac disease are serious, not merely a question of moaning. And the reality is that kids in this age of plenty will eat what they want to, rather than eat to survive.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • Prinzessilein
    • By Prinzessilein 12th Oct 17, 4:37 PM
    • 2,058 Posts
    • 9,518 Thanks
    Prinzessilein
    Diagnoses of T1 diabetes and coeliac disease are serious, not merely a question of moaning. And the reality is that kids in this age of plenty will eat what they want to, rather than eat to survive.
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse
    I wasn't suggesting that you ask the coeliac to eat gluten...or force a vegetarian to eat meat!

    In my family we have a couple of diabetics...and one veggie.

    What I am saying is that within the family there would be one meal that was cooked - and it was appropriate for all. (If we had sausage and mash then there would be veggie sausage for the vegetarian)

    The 'no moaning' was that no one turned down the plate of sausage and mash and asked for chicken and chips instead....and no moaning at eating vegetables...(today some families are cooking three different meals in one night - which is expensive, and often unnecessary)
    • maman
    • By maman 12th Oct 17, 5:46 PM
    • 17,011 Posts
    • 101,706 Thanks
    maman
    All largely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve got in the bank, she still tried to be as hands on a mother as she could be rather than seeking external help.
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse

    I'm not suggesting that it's easy to bring up a family of 5 including a coeliac and a diabetic BUT....


    It's a bit disingenuous if she or the BBC have knowingly set up a programme that suggested she needed to save money while eating well when she could easily afford the current bills. The implication was they were spending money they could ill afford as without it they wouldn't be able to afford a holiday.
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 12th Oct 17, 10:06 PM
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    • 50,312 Thanks
    VfM4meplse
    I'm not suggesting that it's easy to bring up a family of 5 including a coeliac and a diabetic BUT....


    It's a bit disingenuous if she or the BBC have knowingly set up a programme that suggested she needed to save money while eating well when she could easily afford the current bills. The implication was they were spending money they could ill afford as without it they wouldn't be able to afford a holiday.
    Originally posted by maman
    She was spending £14k pa on rubbish! Whatever the reason, they’ve done the family a good turn. And entertained me for an hour, of course
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • Kim kim
    • By Kim kim 19th Oct 17, 12:33 PM
    • 2,081 Posts
    • 3,175 Thanks
    Kim kim
    I watched the mum of 5 girls episode - I loved the breakfast muffins :-) I made them.
    I love the taste tests! It amazes me how low down the brands feature. By default I do tend to buy brands for most things, I do it without thinking really.
    It seems such a waste to buy a box of cereal you might not like & waste when the branded one is only a little bit more.

    Watching the mum of two disabled boys now.
    I buy convienience stuff, I get that - but moaning about getting the can opener out!!
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