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  • FIRST POST
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 25th Aug 16, 11:10 AM
    • 1,248Posts
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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!
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
Page 9
    • mirry
    • By mirry 14th Sep 16, 8:00 AM
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    mirry
    that's good going ani*fan, amazing when all those small saving add up to big savings

    This month has been a lot more expensive for me as I've set my daughter up for uni, to help her out, everything from washing powder to tea bags, but all on a budget!

    My son left home earlier this year, so now we have empty nest syndrome & our shopping bill will be tiny (to what it was).
    I'm thinking no more than £50 a week for two adults & the dog....it will be interesting.
    Kindness costs nothing
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 14th Sep 16, 10:25 AM
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    • 2,907 Thanks
    ani*fan
    I've just done another shop since I have the day off and it'll save trips later on when we're more pushed for time.

    Quorn steaks are still on offer so I bought 3 packs in Asda. The rest I got in Aldi, enough toilet roll to last the month, washing up liquid, their ground coffee because it's so good, a cheap pizza and various other bits, bread at 36p, you just can't go wrong in there. I love it.

    We have 11 meals and there are only 14 days left before pay day. We will need more bread, cat litter and OH's lunches, plus another 3 meals. I have the purse strings pulled so tight, even with OH's little splurge last week which I think included pre prepared things like onion bajis and little nibbles for dinner. In the past this would have included £20 dominoes and goodness knows what else so this is still good progress.

    Total spent so far this month = £100.33.

    £149.67 left Feeling good about that!

    mirry...I'm sorry to hear about your empty nest syndrome, I'm sure your daughter will have a brilliant time at uni and come home lots to tell you all about it, I wish someone had taught me how to budget when I first left home, I maybe wouldn't have all the debt I have now. £50 for you, OH and your dog should be well manageable. I'm optimistic that this month we'll come in at less than £200, but trying not to get ahead of myself.
    Last edited by ani*fan; 16-09-2016 at 4:56 AM. Reason: typo
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
    • mirry
    • By mirry 14th Sep 16, 9:34 PM
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    mirry
    It's sounds like your going to smash it this month which is brilliant, do you have plans for the money you've saved?
    Kindness costs nothing
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 16th Sep 16, 5:02 AM
    • 1,248 Posts
    • 2,907 Thanks
    ani*fan
    Whatever's left (and it might be nothing, I'm trying hard not to count my chickens) will go towards debt repayment.

    I will also redo my budget to include a lower food bill, at which point the excess will be split between the wedding fund, house deposit fund and paying off debt.

    I keep thinking I must be missing something, though I can't think what that might be. I just need to keep plodding on and see what comes up. Less than 2 weeks now until payday.

    How's everyone else getting on?
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 16th Sep 16, 10:36 AM
    • 23 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    squirrelgirl
    Wow, you're doing great!!

    I have a similar situation as in I need to reduce my grocery spend, we currently spend at least £300+ per month on three people. I am a bit of a food hoarder though (break out in a cold sweat if I have less than 8 tins of tomatoes in the house!!) so much of the stuff I buy sits in the storecupboard for a considerable period of time

    I'm vegan (the only one in the house, but I cook so unless they can be bothered, we all eat vegan!) so thankfully no quorn addiction for me, but I tend to meal plan, buy lots of food then discover that no-one is eating that week!

    I also have the problem that I cook such a ridiculous amount that it ends up being binned because no-one can face eating the same stuff for a week! Part of that is the fact that I used to feed a large household with big appetites and I am finding it very difficult to adjust quantities - in the past couple of years my dh's appetite has definitely declined and mine has always been a bit hit and miss!

    I cook pretty much everything from scratch - my one real processed food love is vegan hotdogs which are simply fabulous but eyewateringly expensive - and try to have a lot of variety in my diet. I make my own tofu, soya milk, preserves, wines, condiments etc. In all honesty, I don't think that I necessarily save that much cash with some of them, but I enjoy doing it and I know what goes into it so I'm happy!

    I am fortunate that I used to buy a lot of locally grown stuff from stalls in front of gardens but at this time of year that dries up a bit and as I had a lack of freezer space over the summer I haven't got my usual stocks this year. I live over 20 miles from the nearest Aldi, although there is a lidl about 8 miles away so I think I will start to use them for fresh fruit and veg - my closest supermarket is about 5 miles away and it's a Tesco which I will not use if I can possibly avoid it, the quality of pretty much everything is just appalling.

    Cleaning products, I use astonish and a few other vegan options, toiletries are much more difficult and scarily expensive but that's a price I'm willing to pay

    I'd like to reduce my budget to £250 per month so will be subscribing to see how you do and cheer you on in your quest
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 16th Sep 16, 11:57 AM
    • 9,556 Posts
    • 21,293 Thanks
    suki1964
    Whatever's left (and it might be nothing, I'm trying hard not to count my chickens) will go towards debt repayment.

    I will also redo my budget to include a lower food bill, at which point the excess will be split between the wedding fund, house deposit fund and paying off debt.

    I keep thinking I must be missing something, though I can't think what that might be. I just need to keep plodding on and see what comes up. Less than 2 weeks now until payday.

    How's everyone else getting on?
    Originally posted by ani*fan
    I can tell you what you are missing

    You. Are going to the shops too much

    Seriously, you pop into the shops for two items, and before you know it, the basket is full and that's £20

    We have all been there

    Supermarkets rely on us to impulse buy, they entice us with their special offers, their displays are meant to tempt us, and it works

    The only way to stop it from happening is to stop putting yourself up from temptation, so avoid the shops like the plague

    This is why we bang on about meal plans and lists. I shop on a Saturday mid morning. I go to lidl every week, tescos once a month, chicken factory every 6 weeks or so. I buy the lot in one go. I don't have freezer space for bread or milk so they are the only top ups I buy in the week and I will buy them at the local petrol station because even though it's a tiny bit more expensive , it means I'm not looking at the shelves thinking "mmmm what do I fancy" so I only buy bread or milk

    Last Saturday lidl's shelves were near empty. So this week I've had to improvise on the meals I wanted to make this week. So my shopping was just £12. Still got the three of us fed for the week ( even if I have used tinned veg) and so what if tonight's him cheese and onion pie and oven chips and baked beans isn't the healthiest of meals, it's a treat

    Meal planning is a pain, I get that. But it's the only way you resist those impulse spends. Every day you stay away from a shop you save money
    if you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 16th Sep 16, 6:36 PM
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    ani*fan
    squirrelgirl best of luck with reducing your shopping budget. It's addictive once you get started. I get it about the ethical issues, it's a tricky one when you're trying to save money, but you need to do what you think is right.

    suki1964 thanks for your comments, but impulse shopping isn't really a problem I have. The reason we go to the shops so much is because we don't ever do a big shop. We don't own a car and mostly bike or walk everywhere, so one big shop is not practical. I've meal planned for quite a while now, long before I started this challenge, and yes it can be a pain but I'm in the habit now. I only ever duck in for what I know we need. Like I said earlier in the thread, I hate supermarkets with a passion and going in for a few essentials is far preferable to a big shop.

    I'm planning a final post for this thread, assuming I succeed in reducing my spends, to figure out what has made the difference. I have a few ideas already but I'll wait and work it all out at the end.

    Thanks to everyone for your ongoing thoughts, muchly appreciated!
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
    • mirry
    • By mirry 18th Sep 16, 10:10 PM
    • 1,531 Posts
    • 7,804 Thanks
    mirry
    Hi ani*fan, your doing so well, I'm looking forward to reading how you do at the end of the month. I'm trying to make my meal plan, I have a huge sack of potatoes to use up, and eggs so I'm thinking egg and chips, roast potatoes with quorn sausages, and fish pie with mash topping, then egg and chips again, lol.
    I have a freezer full of food, and now only two people to feed so should be cheap for a while.
    I alsomanaged to get money off vouchers for tesco and Sainsbury's through my door, £2 off £20 shop and £3.50 off £20 shop, so will carefully plan how to use them.
    Kindness costs nothing
    • mirry
    • By mirry 22nd Sep 16, 12:04 PM
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    • 7,804 Thanks
    mirry
    Iceland have the 500g of quorn mince and chicken style pieces for £1.39 a bag ATM.
    Kindness costs nothing
    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 22nd Sep 16, 8:17 PM
    • 3,844 Posts
    • 23,065 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    This is a great thread. Thank you to all.

    Firstly and a bit off topic.... My understanding of not naming the supermarkets in posts or rather spelling the name wrong is I think to stop said supermarket getting more hits on Google.

    I don't understand it too well to be honest but I have a friend who previously used to manage internet stuff \ look after websites. His job was to manipulate them I.e put stuff in the background (which you couldn't see when you visited the webpage) that meant for example if you googled
    butchers \west london \ sausages \ burgers etc then said butchers would come up high \ first on the Google search result list. I think Google stopped this practice but if this site was full of mentions for the blue and white supermarket then I guess this would mean blue and white would come up first when you searched
    2015/16 Reading Challenge 0/100 Books
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    *** Smile ***





    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 22nd Sep 16, 8:54 PM
    • 3,844 Posts
    • 23,065 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    I have found this thread very interesting. I want to save money but continue to make the same mistakes which is not to plan properly, buy the same products rather than stocktake and use up what I have amongst other misdemeanours.

    I don't drive so have my showing delivered topping up as and when and of course the usual, go in for a pint of milk and spend £20...

    I have been having shopping delivered from both the blue and white supermarket and the nect ar supermarket recently. Splitting my shopping according to what I prefer from each and what's on offer. One of my delivery savers expires in a couple of weeks (blue and white) I can renew using my points for half price which is very tempting but I'm not sure if this is a bit silly so would welcome thoughts. As I said I don't drive and my local supermarket is more a convenienc which means ,\ choice \bulk buying and offers are limited.
    Last edited by Flat Eric; 22-09-2016 at 8:57 PM.
    2015/16 Reading Challenge 0/100 Books
    Pounds to lose for Slimming World Target =
    *** Smile ***





    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 23rd Sep 16, 6:12 AM
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    ani*fan
    Hi there Flat Eric.

    I'm glad you're enjoying the thread. I've found it a massive help this month. About your delivery, if my local supermarkets did delivery well then I would probably say it's worth it to spend a few pounds on delivery rather than going into the shop and spending more, or getting in a really bad mood like I do. The problem here is that the guys who get your shopping are absolutely clueless and bring all kinds of rubbish, swapping deodorant for moisturiser (because it was the same brand?!) and bringing pizza mix instead of pizza. I always need to go in anyway, so it's not worth it.

    Best of luck with reducing your bill. I've used most of the tips on this thread and it has worked. Simples.
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
    • mirry
    • By mirry 23rd Sep 16, 7:53 AM
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    mirry
    I do online shopping every few weeks, I shop for three households which takes a bit of organising. I found the delivery pass isn't worth it. If you don't mind late evening delivery it only costs £1 & then I'm not tied to one company (which means shopping where the best offers are= more savings).

    My also husband drives us to different stores, we are lucky to be close to so many and a new lid-l is about to open two roads away from us.
    There's a price war going on out there, I've been bombarded with money off vouchers for the big major supermarkets, £10 off £60 spend is the best one, so I'm using it to stock up on bargains
    Kindness costs nothing
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 26th Sep 16, 8:17 AM
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    • 2,907 Thanks
    ani*fan
    The end of the challenge
    So I've been doing the odd little shop since I last posted, 5 in total, and I'm sat here with receipts having just added it all up. We have enough food in to do us until pay day and beyond (slightly). I have spent £32.79 this past week and a bit. The only thing left to buy is cat litter at £9.29 and I'll get that tomorrow when I have a car from work.

    My total for the month (after cat litter purchase) is £142.41.

    This is unbelievable!! I have saved over a hundred quid!! Easily!!

    I don't even know how to express my gratitude to all you fine people on here who have helped me. You really are amazing. All of this knowledge combined is such a powerful force and I am truly grateful to each and every one of you for taking the time to help me.

    Now I'm away to work out what I've learned and where I take it from here. I am one happy person today!
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 26th Sep 16, 8:58 AM
    • 1,248 Posts
    • 2,907 Thanks
    ani*fan
    Maybe throwing a small party is the answer...




    Thanks everyone!
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 26th Sep 16, 9:13 AM
    • 1,248 Posts
    • 2,907 Thanks
    ani*fan
    I'm having a think about what worked for me, mostly so I can take things forward since I'm now addicted to saving money on my food shopping.
    • Shop at Aldi and other cheap places. The price difference is huge and I think this is where a lot of the saving has happened on everything from fruit and veg to washing up liquid.
    • Don't ever buy full price quorn, there is no need, it's usually on sale somewhere.
    • Keep exploring recipes like mirry's burgers, cheap, yummy and quorn free.
    • Keep putting water on dried food for the old man purrball cat. This is saving me a fortune.
    • Cheap soya milk is fine, keep exploring the best powdered milk for coffee.
    • Go easy on fruit. I don't need to binge eat it and feel much better since I stopped.
    • Never buy branded cleaning products again, there is absolutely no need, others work just as well.
    • Don't assume OH won't like it, Aldi tortillas were a hit, keep trying and exploring. (We did the blindfold challenge, OH could tell but really liked the new ones. Score!)

    I have now discovered the 'feed two people for a week on £7' thread and am completely inspired. This is just the start for me. Every penny I can save will help towards debt and savings and I plan to keep going.

    Many hugs to you all, I hope you understand how glad I am for all your help.

    I hope to continue seeing you all around.

    AFxx
    Total debt at its highest £18,780/Total today £9,295.49
    • Slowly57
    • By Slowly57 26th Sep 16, 2:24 PM
    • 334 Posts
    • 2,165 Thanks
    Slowly57
    I have been having shopping delivered from both the blue and white supermarket and the nect ar supermarket recently. Splitting my shopping according to what I prefer from each and what's on offer. One of my delivery savers expires in a couple of weeks (blue and white) I can renew using my points for half price which is very tempting but I'm not sure if this is a bit silly so would welcome thoughts. As I said I don't drive and my local supermarket is more a convenienc which means ,\ choice \bulk buying and offers are limited.
    Originally posted by Flat Eric
    Y'know in every comment I read about the vague disquiet about paying for delivery - is that we seldom factor in or value our own time - doh. I don't drive either and have health issues - but even without that I'd still be happy to pay for delivery as I could spend time better doing (and probably saving money doing) other things. That's not to say I don't consider whether the delivery fee is adding value or not.
    2016 | Dec GC £88.00/£200.00 | Nov GC £233.00/£200 | Oct GC £243.82/£200
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    • Nargleblast
    • By Nargleblast 26th Sep 16, 5:17 PM
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    • 51,890 Thanks
    Nargleblast
    Delivery charges, depending on which supermarket and what day or time slot you choose, can range from zero to five or six quid. Think about it.....you get in your car, drive through traffic to the supermarket, drive round trying to find a parking space, grab a trolley, fight your way around the shop with the rest of the world and his dog, queue up at the checkout, unload it all, load it all in again, push it out to the car, load up the car, return the trolley, drive home, unload the car.

    Doing an online shop means just being at home during a one or two hour time slot and take in your shopping. Ok, so I prefer to shop for fruit, veg and meat myself, but for everything else the online shop system takes some beating.
    Debt free date.....3 August 2015
    Now building up a Doomsday Cash Stash



    December NSDs. 01 of 15
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 26th Sep 16, 6:02 PM
    • 55,996 Posts
    • 321,764 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    I don't ever have anything home delivered because I couldn't make their minimum order levels. Even if home delivery were free it'd not help.

    I can't "stock up...." because, even if one could do that once, you'd then be stocked up of everything for a whole year.
    • mirry
    • By mirry 11th Oct 16, 8:14 PM
    • 1,531 Posts
    • 7,804 Thanks
    mirry
    I've Popped in to see how you got on Anifan, and I'm impressed
    It's amazing how all the pennies add up.

    I seem to be spending £30-£35 a week....so I'm happy with that.
    I'm interested in the £7 a week plan, although don't think we could do it with such particular tastes.
    Kindness costs nothing
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