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    • plainandsimple
    • By plainandsimple 29th Sep 16, 9:18 AM
    • 31Posts
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    plainandsimple
    How Much Do You Budget For Groceries?
    • #1
    • 29th Sep 16, 9:18 AM
    How Much Do You Budget For Groceries? 29th Sep 16 at 9:18 AM
    Looking for some guidance, please. I'd like to find out what other households budget for and spend on groceries and household items each month. For the last 8 months or so we've been going over budget.

    We've not increased our food budget for a few years, and I really don't know if we're not budgeting enough or if there's another problem with it. I know food costs have risen, but I cook all our meals from scratch (we perhaps buy something processed like a pizza a couple of times a year).

    I grew up in a thrifty house and can turn about anything into a meal. I make my own stock and know how to stretch a chicken. We eat a lot of homemade soups and stews. I've never thought our per meal costs are expensive, and we only eat meat once or twice a week. We eat lots of pulses and veg and it's usually porridge for breakfast. My husband takes a packed lunch to work every day. I work at home and look after our son, so we eat lunch at home. Our lunch is leftovers or a sandwich.

    Our household is me, my husband and our 12 month old. We budget £200 per month and that's for food, toiletries and cleaning products. I use one cleaning product for everything. So, is our budget too low or should I be able to make that work? What do you spend for your household and what types of meals do you make?



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    Last edited by MSE Jessica; 11-10-2016 at 2:23 PM.
Page 2
    • Muttipops
    • By Muttipops 29th Sep 16, 6:46 PM
    • 267 Posts
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    Muttipops
    I kept a very strict spreadsheet from the start of this year, detailing everything I bought/used. Food, drink, treats, some household items. £50/month would be enough for me.

    I have simple needs.

    Today I've had cheese & beans on toast (36p) and beef meatballs & butter beans in spicy sauce with noodles (sauce a freebie from somebody's food turf out), 50p (plus the cost of the sauce at full retail price will have added 25p, but I'd have never paid £1.50 for a jar of sauce!).

    I've eaten about 10p of sweeties today too.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew

    Scandelous, 10p on sweeties!! A little of what you fancy does you good, as they say.
    And well done for that £50/month, it is incredible, ( though hopefully not inedible!)
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 29th Sep 16, 7:24 PM
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    PasturesNew
    .... hopefully not inedible!
    Originally posted by Muttipops
    No, not inedible

    It's pretty repetitive and "on a whim" stuff; not a "healthy" diet as that stuff's 'boring'

    "Nice" and "nicer" food does cost more. I think where people "go wrong" is when they walk into a supermarket and see all these marvellous things and believe that [1] that's normal [2] that's food [3] they have to buy the best.

    You never used to get pre-prepared foods in the shops.... now it's very hard to find raw ingredients. It's harder to find, say, plain custard powder than it is to choose from one of 20 varieties and forms of custard.

    Real custard powder Xp, flavours and jollities wrapped in nice packaging 10x Xp.

    I was just looking to buy shampoo... I'd spotted my "starting point" where one cost 50p/100ml ... and was going along the shelf and I saw one at £10/100ml. I thought "Blimey, that must be a misprint", but it wasn't! It was in a nice/branded bottle .... I bet many people think that's the shampoo to buy because it sounds like the dogs' b0ll0x .... and there goes their £10 (100ml) as I scuttle out with a perfectly adequate £1 bottle (200ml)

    I ended up choosing one at 33.3p/100ml - which wasn't the cheapest, but was the one I most fancied from the 3 cheapest offerings.
    • MrsTinks
    • By MrsTinks 29th Sep 16, 8:36 PM
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    MrsTinks
    Mine is probably near the £10 pr 100ml but again mine is hypo sensitive

    I can't use most perfumed shampoos as firstly I'll get a sore and itchy scalp, then it'll get horrid and really not nice... it takes about a month to go back to normal if it happens so to me the expensive hypo stuff is worth every penny! But for purely brand reasons? Nope!!!
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    • louby40
    • By louby40 30th Sep 16, 8:14 AM
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    louby40
    Aldi shampoo is 35p a bottle and it's not too bad. I NEVER buy expensive hair/face products.

    We're a family of 4 with 2 tall and very hungry teenage boys. We budget £60 a week, sometimes it's slightly under and I spend another £5 in Morrisons too. We cook from scratch (well my OH does) and eat really well. I take salad or soup to work.

    I used to spend close to £100 a week but since shopping in Aldi it's really made a difference
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    • Poppy3008
    • By Poppy3008 30th Sep 16, 9:27 AM
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    Poppy3008
    I drove 15 miles to Lid! this week but could not get everything I wanted though I admit some items were cheaper and they did have some other nice looking things (not on the list though). So I still ended up at Mr T to top up and then spent a bit more than I should by seeing things and assuming I needed them.
    The distance to Lid! is not worth the savings for me but I will try Ald! as I can pop in there after running. And there is !celand too.
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    • MERFE
    • By MERFE 30th Sep 16, 9:57 AM
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    MERFE
    This is the area I know I need to cut down on. I spend around £500 per month on shopping (hangs head in shame). That does include all toiletries, cleaning stuff and pet food. We are a family of 5 plus 2 dogs, 2 cats and a lizard.


    Tina x
    Originally posted by nextyeartina
    I dont think that sounds horrendous. We are a family of 5 and budget £350-£400 a month but doesn't include pets, we probably spend another £20 a month on 4 chickens but not every month as we bulk buy their bits. I managed a couple of months tough budgeting out of necessity at £260-300 but it was hard work and some displeased kids with the meals they were presented. Meal planning really does make the biggest difference, I tried aldi and lidl but always found I spent more and still had to go to another supermarket for bits they didn't have. But a meal plan and a shopping list of what you need and don't deviate from is the best way to budget.
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    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 30th Sep 16, 10:32 AM
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    suki1964
    It is - and for some money saving is getting someone at the best price - for example the best price might need to calculate in petrol to make the extra drive to an Aldi... so not as good a saving.

    I always try to get the best value when I buy something, but there are some things I don't scrimp on for my own reasons. In my case some are health over wealth or even sanity over home cooking

    Just because it's possible to squeeze a budget (assuming that there isn't other costs like travel) doesn't always mean it's right for that person. Like I can't use any of the fabric conditioners in Lidl... mainly for public safety because if I have to itch all night in bed from the washing liquid and softener then there WILL be a high probability of murders the next day

    I could reduce my budget further personally by cooking more from scratch, but the savings at the moment would not make up for the lost time with my daughter. If I had to, then I would. Everyone is different
    Originally posted by MrsTinks
    Totally agree with health over wealth

    I can only use Persil, Fairy and head and shoulders , all bloomin expensive unless you wait for the offers, which I do. I've never paid more then half RRP for any of those

    Whilst I do shop in lidl, I buy very little of their fruit and veg - it's rubbish. Carrots will be rotted within 2 days, fruit never ripens, onions always have at least one squidgy one per net, it just becomes a false ecconomy

    And yes even though I scratch cook, I too have my cheats, stock pots for example, I use them daily near enough and I like the branded ones, so I stock up when half price

    We spend on average £35 a week for 3 adults. Some weeks it's as little as £20, other weeks it will be £40. I don't keep exact records, I just spend what needs to be bought each week (last week £28, week before £18) then once every 4 to 6 weeks either hit the chicken factory and spend £20 filling the freezer or restock on herbs, spices, dry goods


    Everyone has a different idea on meals and how much to spend, one size doesn't fit every family. I think that as long as you can afford what you spend and aren't throwing food away on a weekly basis then you are doing ok.

    Obviously if you are living on the overdraft or CC, then looking to reduce the food bill makes sense. Yet once again you need to decide what cuts you can make yourself. It's all very well me saying here's my food plan for the week and it cost this much, but if it's the type of food your family don't like or you don't have the time to spend in the kitchen it's not any good to you
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    • Beautiful-Moose
    • By Beautiful-Moose 30th Sep 16, 12:54 PM
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    Beautiful-Moose
    There is only me and the BF and last night we went to Lidl and did a monthly shop for £55. We will then top up at our local sainsburys by our train station for things like bread, ham/chicken for sandwiches and the odd dinner item so in a month we will spend £70-80 at most. We get most of our bits in Lidl, we use their own cleaning products and laundry bits and don't have any complaints. I think we are doing good food shopping wise considering the first few months when we moved in we shopped in Asda or Sainsburys and we were spending about £130-£140 a month for the two of us. So by changing supermarket we have pretty much halved our shopping bill. Also there are only a few things we have ever got from Lidl that we haven't liked but most of their food has either been as good or better that the branded stuff we were getting in Asda and Sainsburys.

    Now Winter is Coming I plan to cook indoors a lot more. I am going to attempt a Lasagne and a Chicken Tikka Massala this month.
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 30th Sep 16, 2:38 PM
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    determined new ms
    We spend between. £150-180 pm. I found a few months ago our go spending was increasing so I have been keeping a tight reign on it now and have done a number of things to reduce it. I have started shopping fortnightly rather than weekly and found this to have the biggest impact on keeping our costs down. The first fortnight I worked out how much bread and milk I need and now get enough & freeze. I have seen as long as we have milk bread, decent coffee, fruit and veg (tinned and frozen get wheeled out 1/2 way through the 2nd week) I'm happy to replace an item or just go without if I find it's missing. The less time I go into a sm the less money I spend and now I probably only go into shops 3 or 4 times in a fortnight. We have 1 or 2 simple/meat free evening meals a week, have started using dried beans, make my own yogurt and pulses and I make a cake once a week for packed lunches/desert. I've also grow veg as well this year.

    This month I think the gc spends will be around £150 so will put £30 aside for extra food for Christmas week.

    It has been hard work to get it low again, my other half would prefer a diet of meat with meat and a side helping of meat so it is hard to get him to accept he only needs a small amount of meat (or even pulses and beans) to get the protein he needs. Some battles just aren't worth having! We are also very lucky as our toddler is a real foodie and will eat anything and it definitely helps if your kids aren't fussy -I have 2 adult children and it was much harder with them!
    Last edited by determined new ms; 30-09-2016 at 2:40 PM.
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    • amateur house
    • By amateur house 1st Oct 16, 9:54 AM
    • 78 Posts
    • 67 Thanks
    amateur house
    This is the area I know I need to cut down on. I spend around £500 per month on shopping (hangs head in shame). That does include all toiletries, cleaning stuff and pet food. We are a family of 5 plus 2 dogs, 2 cats and a lizard.


    Tina x
    Originally posted by nextyeartina
    We spend around £500 for a family of 5 - 2 adults and 3 'children' (in their 20s so could be classed as 5 adults). Shop mostly at Aldi and Sainsbury, and struggle to stay within budget most months.
    • MrsTinks
    • By MrsTinks 1st Oct 16, 10:42 AM
    • 14,585 Posts
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    MrsTinks
    We spend around £500 for a family of 5 - 2 adults and 3 'children' (in their 20s so could be classed as 5 adults). Shop mostly at Aldi and Sainsbury, and struggle to stay within budget most months.
    Originally posted by amateur house
    £100 per adult (and lets be fair those 20 year olds eat like animals!!!) doesn't seem unreasonable! Have you tried the OS board here for ideas on bulk cooking when it's for that many people? Does it include cleaning and toiletries?
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    • plainandsimple
    • By plainandsimple 3rd Oct 16, 8:46 AM
    • 31 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plainandsimple
    Thanks for your input, everyone. This has been an encouraging read. I feel we could get our monthly spend down a bit, but I do also agree on the principle of health over wealth. Luckily, our one year old is not a fussy eater and has the same meals we do. He's napping now, so I'm about to work on my meal plan, which will come in under budget. I'm determined!
    • tgroom57
    • By tgroom57 10th Oct 16, 7:59 AM
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    tgroom57
    We budget £15 per person per week, that covers food , toiletries and (occasional) cleaning products. We certainly don't live on lentils and soup.

    Our main meals include chilli (as much onions and kidney beans as meat) served with rice, and something with chicken. In winter beef stew with carrots & dumplings and more onions. Winter breakfasts are bacon & egg (Tesco has cooking bacon 80p for a weeks worth - the new bacon slicers started recently ) Lunches / light meals revolve around 20p noodles topped with broccoli & julienne carrots. Leftover chicken goes with a 25p pack of golden rice (Tesco, tucked away somewhere - ask )

    Our main fruit /veg purchases are apples, carrots & onions.
    Most-used recipes are for crumble topping and dumplings.
    Biggest challenge is finding good cleaning products on offer. We shop WUL, detergent, & recently Parazone from Poundland.

    I reckon your spend is about right (£200 pcm) because although your toddler eats less he /she will cost more in nappies / washing. I'd be looking to improve the nutritional value & variety of food - maybe include a portion of fish once a week, and less lentils. I'd feel impoverished eating lentils.
    Save
    Last edited by tgroom57; 10-10-2016 at 8:04 AM.

    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 10th Oct 16, 10:02 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Totally agree with health over wealth

    I can only use Persil, Fairy and head and shoulders , all bloomin expensive unless you wait for the offers, which I do. I've never paid more then half RRP for any of those

    Whilst I do shop in lidl, I buy very little of their fruit and veg - it's rubbish. Carrots will be rotted within 2 days, fruit never ripens, onions always have at least one squidgy one per net, it just becomes a false ecconomy

    And yes even though I scratch cook, I too have my cheats, stock pots for example, I use them daily near enough and I like the branded ones, so I stock up when half price

    We spend on average £35 a week for 3 adults. Some weeks it's as little as £20, other weeks it will be £40. I don't keep exact records, I just spend what needs to be bought each week (last week £28, week before £18) then once every 4 to 6 weeks either hit the chicken factory and spend £20 filling the freezer or restock on herbs, spices, dry goods


    Everyone has a different idea on meals and how much to spend, one size doesn't fit every family. I think that as long as you can afford what you spend and aren't throwing food away on a weekly basis then you are doing ok.

    Obviously if you are living on the overdraft or CC, then looking to reduce the food bill makes sense. Yet once again you need to decide what cuts you can make yourself. It's all very well me saying here's my food plan for the week and it cost this much, but if it's the type of food your family don't like or you don't have the time to spend in the kitchen it's not any good to you
    Originally posted by suki1964
    and a few more 's. Common sense. I think so often the point that people miss is that it's about value for a lot of people, rather than feeling shamed into doing things as cheaply as humanly possible. We happily explore cheaper alternatives, but compare ingredients also so make sure that cheaper doesn't mean compromising nutritionally. This is the beauty of cooking from scratch of course - you know what goes in in a way you simply don't with the cheapest of pre-prepared or convenience foods.

    Areas we will usually opt for "value" or budget brands:
    - fresh fruit & veg, where possible.
    - dried goods like rice, pasta
    - Dried fruit

    Areas where we definitely WON'T buy other than branded:
    - Coffee
    - washing up liquid

    Areas where we don't buy value, but will shop around between own-brand and branded:
    - Tea bags
    - Washing powder
    - Loo rolls
    - Dishwasher tablets

    there are others, those are examples. The common thing in the lower two categories is that we have tried the value options and dismissed them - MrEH doesn't like the taste of other coffee, he drinks Nescafe standard, and we only ever buy it when on offer. I find cheaper washing up liquid is a false economy so wait for the special offers on Fairy and then buy. Value loo rolls - umm, no! Washing powder, I prefer Bold, but again only buy it on offer - no offer and I get T's own brand. Dishwasher tablets - if the deal is good enough on Finish I'll buy it, but otherwise I'm perfectly happy with the Aldi ones.

    We buy less meat than a lot of people would be we only buy good quality. By that I don't mean steak or organic produce, but we do like to know where things have come from, and that they've been looked after to a good standard and not abused. Eggs and chicken are free range. Other meat is all UK reared - generally we try to buy direct from suppliers at Farmers markets or similar. I batch cook - tonight when I get in I have a huge pot of ragu sauce made with minced goat meat to be portioned out - it's packed with veggies and was a great way of stretching a not-that-cheap pack of very tasty mince.

    I agree with the comment above about finding Aldi/Lidl to not always be that great. I don't get on with their fruit at all, and am very choosy about veg - I'll buy Aldi's super 6 offers but am careful to pick through things like nets of onions to double check they're OK, for example. I do find though that a wander round the "cheapie" supermarkets from time to time with my eyes peeled comparing products is time well spent - on Friday I bought sausages in Aldi rather than the Tesco Finest ones I'd usually buy - £1.39 -v- £2.50, and the quality and flavour were equally as good.

    Buying stuff on offer and working meals round it can be a great way to save - as can doing a full fridge-audit before you shop - work out from the basis of that what you actually need to buy and that cuts waste. Remember too with offers on dried goods etc - these offers are not a once in a lifetime opportunity - they can, and will, come around again!
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    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 10th Oct 16, 10:39 AM
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    determined new ms

    I reckon your spend is about right (£200 pcm) because although your toddler eats less he /she will cost more in nappies / washing. I'd be looking to improve the nutritional value & variety of food - maybe include a portion of fish once a week, and less lentils. I'd feel impoverished eating lentils.
    Save
    Originally posted by tgroom57
    I love pulses! I put a handful or 2 of lentils in most wet foods along side meat to up protein levels, love lentil curries and soups. oh is Brazillian and their nutritional advice is to have a portion of beans a day mmmmmmmm

    also sainsbury's economy value teabags (fairtrade - not sure how that's actually possible?!) are really good and I will often stock up on them when there. The only other teabags I like are t3tley pyramids or A1di red label. Agree it's often knowing what's good in the economy range
    Last edited by determined new ms; 10-10-2016 at 11:13 AM.
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    • DrWatson1
    • By DrWatson1 10th Oct 16, 10:54 AM
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    DrWatson1
    We buy less meat than a lot of people would be we only buy good quality. By that I don't mean steak or organic produce, but we do like to know where things have come from, and that they've been looked after to a good standard and not abused. Eggs and chicken are free range. Other meat is all UK reared - generally we try to buy direct from suppliers at Farmers markets or similar. I batch cook - tonight when I get in I have a huge pot of ragu sauce made with minced goat meat to be portioned out - it's packed with veggies and was a great way of stretching a not-that-cheap pack of very tasty mince.
    Originally posted by EssexHebridean
    Some interesting posts itt, but I especially agree with this. Mince especially is often false economy - cheaper minces can be very high in fat/water content, so your 'saving' is much smaller than you might think, not to mention the lack of taste. I also managed to source free range organic eggs locally - 30 large eggs (classed as seconds) for £3.30. Aldi free range chickens are £3.30kg also, which i'm prepared to pay due to my ethical compass.

    I also love Costco. The fresh meat is excellent quality and price, and branded bulk buys are as cheap as anywhere.
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 10th Oct 16, 10:55 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Determined, have you tried Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Merguez Chickpeas? One of the most budget friend, taste-packed recipes I know!
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    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 10th Oct 16, 11:24 AM
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    suki1964
    Have to agree about the meat as well

    I won't buy meat that is not uk reared, even if I have to go without

    Once was in sainsburys shopping and I needed bacon. All the bacon for sale in this particular branch was Danish. So we went without and I was straight on the phone to complain lol

    In NI the supermarkets have to source NI products wherever possible. Some are better then others. I do buy lidls meat quite a lot as it really is good quality. I buy their 20% mince because i personally find 20% mince takes the long slow cooking that chilli and bolognaise takes. I dry fry it first till browned and drain off so it's never greasy

    Leg of lamb is a rare treat, but a shoulder is still reasonable ( delicious slow cooked ) Chicken is the meat of choice, thighs always used for curries and stews. Offal shows up on the menu quite often. Cheaper joints of beef that need low slow cooking. Chops and steaks are often stretched by slicing thin and using in a Chinese or similar

    I'm also fortunate that we have hens and they give the most tastiest eggs ever in exchange for some pellets, kitchen scraps, weeds and grass trimmings

    A few handful of lentils to any casserole/stew will increase the protein value as well as a good scource of iron, vit b6 and magnesium. Plus they stretch a meal to an extra portion or two for pennies and they are tasty
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    • Towser
    • By Towser 10th Oct 16, 11:39 AM
    • 844 Posts
    • 1,446 Thanks
    Towser
    You should give mysupermarket.co.uk a try. It works out the cheapest basket for you. Mine is always Aldi.
    • DD265
    • By DD265 10th Oct 16, 11:59 AM
    • 1,115 Posts
    • 2,672 Thanks
    DD265
    Our food/household shopping is usually comfortably under £200 a month for two adults so maybe not the best MSE example.

    But I did want to say that we get all our meat from the local butcher, and it is definitely more economical than the supermarket. I usually buy the biggest joints I can fit in the oven, and then we have a lot of leftovers either that week or freeze them. I think it's even easier to batch cook/have leftovers when the weather is colder.

    Our only issue is that the freezer is too small, whereas we waste a lot of fridge space.
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