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Saving on my weekly shop

edited 3 November 2015 at 4:14PM in Debt-Free Wannabe
66 replies 25.6K views
InDeepDebtInDeepDebt Forumite
240 posts
edited 3 November 2015 at 4:14PM in Debt-Free Wannabe
I keep on reading posts on here where members say that other members could cut down on their shopping budget.

I live with my wife and two kids (7 and 9). Our budget for food is £385 for the month - this includes cleaning stuff but does not cover clothing (£40). I reckon though that we spend closer to £500 a month on food. The difference is made up from the clothing budget, our sundries (£25), car maintenance (£20), opticians (£14), etc. Also, I got a bonus earlier in the year that I put to one side and have been dipping into that to get by.

We shop at Tesco and hear loads of people mention shopping at ALDI or LIDL to make savings. Yesterday I did the aforementioned shops and found that even some basic food items were unavailable. There's no way that I could manage a full shop there. Ended up going to Sainsbury's for the missing stuff - I did think that Sainsbury's was cheaper than Tesco though.

I must try to keep a diary to see where our £500 shop goes but I don't see how we can get it down. I do the shop (as I spend less than the wife) and tend to buy stuff when on offer (like loo roll, dishwasher tablets, etc). I know that cleaning products in the likes of ALDI are cheaper but not by that much - the last dishwasher tablets I bought were Finish All in Ones at £5 for 45 - ALDI or LIDL had their own brand at 40 for £4 - so only a tiny saving.

Anyone else got any shopping saving ideas or meal ideas that are cheap? Occasionally we cook up a large pot of something (usually a chilli or a spag bol) and whack that in the freezer in the garage. The wife's just frozen a ratatouille after getting a load of courgettes off a friend.

So, is there a meal thread on here or can anyone give suggestions?

The chilli that I make costs about £6 - £7 to make and that will make enough for two family meals. Rice is extra on top but a kilo of rice (cheaper to buy four - one kilo bags than one four kilo bag) costs £1.50 and will last for a few meals.

Any suggestions anyone?

Jim

PS - whilst I will eat veggie stuff, I do prefer a bit of meat of some description.
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Replies

  • bottleofredbottleofred Forumite
    2.9K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    Hi Jim,

    You will be able to find some information on how to cut down your shopping bills on the boards. As well as the advice on this, you should look to buy things that are on special offer & bogofs etc. As well as this, you should cook from scratch and batch cook larger amounts of food, which can then be frozen to be removed for meals at a later date. I'm sure other suggestions will follow soon.

    Good luck
    If you've nothing decent to say, perhaps you shouldn't say anything.

    £2 savings jar £300:D
    Total credit card debts £1250:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad: - Will I ever learn!!
  • kittiejkittiej Forumite
    2.6K posts
    Maybe you could ask on the old style board - they're really good over there.

    Apart from that what exactly do you buy for your £500 per month?

    I've got a family the same size as yours and I spend £150 max per month.

    hth
    Sealed pot challenge member number 18 :)
    Karma - the consequences of ones acts.
    "It's OK to falter otherwise how will you know what success feels like?"
    1 debt v 100 days £2000
  • GeebeeGeebee Forumite
    3.1K posts
    Hi Jim..

    You can check the Old style board here.... http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=33 also make sure you check the indexed collection here... http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=235198 you just find a title you like the look of and click it, it takes you to all the different stuff, recipes etc.

    GB :)
    If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them~Dalai Lama
    How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours~Wayne Dyer
    Let none find fault in others. Let none see omissions and commissions in others. But let one see one's own acts, done and undone~ch4 vs50
  • mamanmaman Forumite
    21.8K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hello InDeepDebt

    I think you'll get a better response if you go to the Money Saving Old Style board. There are usually ongoing threads there about getting grocery bills down or you can ask the guides to transfer this thread.

    As a quick response: Yes, I think you can get the cost down. Yes, I agree with you that while Lidl et al are good for some things (fruit and veg especially), you'd be hard pressed to do a full shop there. Personally I find Asda the cheapest (just) and it does depend how 'time rich' you are to be able to shop around. Lastly, my OH can't stand the warning lights on the dishwasher so we buy separate tablets, salt and rinse aid from Lidl and I think it's excellent.
  • We went to tesco after hearing how fabulous it was, and OH nearly had a heart attack at the till. He described it as the "politest mugging he's ever had". I think they're cheap for their own brand range of goods and on the special offers, but many items like cereal and toilettries we found REALLY expensive compared to say Asda or Sainsburys.

    I know what you mean about Aldi & Lidl, they do have some fab bargains but you can't get a full shop in.

    This is what we do:
    *toilettries from savers, poundland bodycare and shops like home bargains etc
    *frozen food from heron stores, farmfoods, iceland etc
    *buy all our packet food/bargains from the likes of poundland and high street bargain food shops
    *bits & pieces from Aldi & Lidl: aldi's super 6 is really good 6 varieties of fruit & veg for 59p, their cereals, bread and snack foods like crisps and salsa are really good value and they often have some bargains lurking in the freezer section, their frozen fish & deli meats & cheese are cheap and good quality, we like Lidl for cooking ingredients like flour, oil and sugar etc, Lidl also do some nice chep & cheery tinned food too.
    *any fruit & veg not from aldi comes from the local greengrocer on the weekend
    *everything else is the basics range from the supermarkets asda & sainsbury's
    *we bulk buy things like toilet rolls, washing powder & multi-packs of tinned tomatoes from the local wholesaler in giant caterers packs (my dad has a trade card)

    Its more faffy shopping around but it does save a lot of money, and you can find some exciting new buys & items you've not had for years! Because it breaks the big weekly shop into a couple of smaller trips its easier to carry (we try to walk - save the petrol/busfare) and its not such a long time to drag a whiney husband/child round on a long and tedious shop.
    Its a bit faffy
    and get the remainder of essentials from the supermarkets (buying their own brands).

    We were a bit scared by the local freezer shop - but were pleasantly surprised when we came out with 4 shopping bags (the big recycleable fold up ones) full of stuff for less than £20. Not just frozen food but even things like packet pasta, biscuits, cheese spread, multi-packs of crisps and packets of ham.

    In my experience the best thing to do is shop around and never give one place all your shopping budget, take advantage of their special offers without falling prey to the "while you're there" trap (buying other bits & pieces which will be overpriced by such a high amount that they cover the cost of the special offers - that's how the supermarkets make their money! If you only buy the stuff on special offer and only the things you need you cant be caught out.
  • edited 18 August 2010 at 12:23PM
    InDeepDebtInDeepDebt Forumite
    240 posts
    edited 18 August 2010 at 12:23PM
    Many thanks for all the advice - especially the link to the old style board. Hopefully we'll get some good recipe ideas that we can cook up, freeze and use later.

    I did try to do a spend diary but it was mainly for other stuff not covered in the weekly shop - and it also tended to get missed so we gave in after a week (done that about two or three times now).

    We are starting to use a local-ish fruit and veg shop instead of the supermarket. It's a one mile walk and the kids love getting on their bikes to go there. There's also a freezer shop close to the fruit and veg shop - will step inside there and see what I can find.

    I've got a Wilko's close to work too so will see what I can get there.

    If I can get the shop down to the budget, I will be very happy. If I can get it down to £150 - I will be delirious.

    Again, many thanks for the advice.

    Really must do a spend diary to see what I currently spend and get some targets.

    [EDIT]
    Mission for two weeks time is to have a wander at lunchtime around town to see what other bargain stores there are. I'm sure that there is a Heron foods that I went in - seem to remember that stuff was cheap.

    Can't do it this/next week as it's the family holiday. Going up to my parents for a few days and then someone's lent us their caravan.
    [/EDIT]

    Cheers

    Jim
  • Ahhh! Where is my long post? Try again I shall.

    Hi Jim,

    we have reduced our food budget substantially and this is how we did it:

    1) We strated shopping in Aldi - my advice would be to go back and go with open mind. Many people have decided that Aldi is cr*p and this is what they see. However, the fruit and veg is good, the cut meats are probably among the best in town and the frozen sea food is a pleasant surprise on all counts. Jams are also good and so are some cereals.
    2) Meat of all varieties is bought wholesale from COSTCO - wholesale is not my birth right but I have close firends who taught me well. It is cheaper and the qaulity is extremely high.
    3) We do buy things in the local small shops as well. Compromising quality is not in it - food is important.
    4) We have meal plans - we have weekly menus and buy for what we are to cook rather than the other way around. this way we stopped throwing away loads of what we buy.
    5) We cook soups - tasty, cheap and a good way to get vegetables in little people.

    Currently we spend £240 for three grown ups and a 9 1/2 years old boy. This includes all food except Little Boy's school lunches.

    Firewalker
  • SJ1SJ1 Forumite
    270 posts
    What if you don't have a Lidl or Aldi near you. I live in the South East and here it's Tesco's, Sains or a much longer drive to Morrisons/Asda.

    Can you still cut? Really interested in your meal plans for the week. Mine is as follows and I spend approx £100 a week although I do buy fruit juice for the kids which can be v expensive.

    Mon - roast chick, potatoes, broccoli and carrots
    Tue - baked potatoes (I had tinned tuna but hubby had prawns)
    Wed - home made spag bol and pasta
    Thur - Omelettes with bacon, mushrooms and onions and veg
    Fri - Carbonara
    Sat - Sausages, beans and chips
    Sun - possibly roast again. Haven't bought this one yet.

    Lunches tend to be bread and ham/cheese/left over chicken/chicken noodle soup made with stock from chicken. For puds we have fruit - pears, bananas and apples with greek yog sometimes, yogs for kids bought on special and a cake made by me. I include all cleaning products, loo roll, drinks but no alcohol as we rarely buy and if we do we buy from a warehouse place where it is much cheaper. Where am I going wrong?? Any ideas gratefully received. This is for two adults two children.

    SJ
  • InDeepDebt wrote: »
    I keep on reading posts on here where members say that other members could cut down on their shopping budget.

    I live with my wife and two kids (7 and 9). Our budget for food is £385 for the month - this includes cleaning stuff but does not cover clothing (£40). I reckon though that we spend closer to £500 a month on food. The difference is made up from the clothing budget, our sundries (£25), car maintenance (£20), opticians (£14), etc. Also, I got a bonus earlier in the year that I put to one side and have been dipping into that to get by.

    We shop at Tesco and hear loads of people mention shopping at ALDI or LIDL to make savings. Yesterday I did the aforementioned shops and found that even some basic food items were unavailable. There's no way that I could manage a full shop there. Ended up going to Sainsbury's for the missing stuff - I did think that Sainsbury's was cheaper than Tesco though.

    I must try to keep a diary to see where our £500 shop goes but I don't see how we can get it down. I do the shop (as I spend less than the wife) and tend to buy stuff when on offer (like loo roll, dishwasher tablets, etc). I know that cleaning products in the likes of ALDI are cheaper but not by that much - the last dishwasher tablets I bought were Finish All in Ones at £5 for 45 - ALDI or LIDL had their own brand at 40 for £4 - so only a tiny saving.

    Anyone else got any shopping saving ideas or meal ideas that are cheap? Occasionally we cook up a large pot of something (usually a chilli or a spag bol) and whack that in the freezer in the garage. The wife's just frozen a ratatouille after getting a load of courgettes off a friend.

    So, is there a meal thread on here or can anyone give suggestions?

    The chilli that I make costs about £6 - £7 to make and that will make enough for two family meals. Rice is extra on top but a kilo of rice (cheaper to buy four - one kilo bags than one four kilo bag) costs £1.50 and will last for a few meals.

    Any suggestions anyone?

    Jim

    PS - whilst I will eat veggie stuff, I do prefer a bit of meat of some description.

    I highly recommend this book for making your own cleaning products EASILY and simply, without any weird ingredients:

    Self Sufficiency Household Cleaning by Rachelle Strauss

    Rather than buy the book, you can also look up recipes free online by googling 'make your own natural cleaning products'. It will save you a lot of money. you won't have to buy things like dishwasher tabs, bathroom and kitchen sprays, floor cleaner. I still use regular laundry soap because I prefer it. But all those other cleaners I used to buy... gone.

    I do not buy toiletries at the same place I buy my food. I have found a LOT of toiletries are cheaper at Boots by a few p at least. Boots also has a loyalty card with points given, AND they often have things on offer such as 3 for 2, £1 shampoo and body wash, all sorts of things. I save money buying my toiletries there instead of at the regular grocery store. The only exception is if I am at Tesco and see something I want on a good offer. I only buy toiletries on offer now. I saved £16 last month just from that one change. and I have a lot of Boots points now.

    Do you have a slow cooker? Argos has them cheap. Not only do they free up time, but they are great to make cheap soups and chili. Same for a steamer. You can get a cheap food steamer at Argos and throw chicken and vegetables in at the same time. Push a button and walk away. That saves on buying any precooked chicken or ready meals.


    Take advantage of the Tesco delivery service or Sainsburys service if you want your groceries delivered and don't want to drive to the store. They do charge a few pounds delivery. But I have found that when I shop online, I see exactly where my money is going AND I do not make impulse buys. It more than makes up for the delivery charge. It also saves loads of time and effort. When you physically go to the store, you pick up things you 'forgot' you wanted (that you probably don't actually need). At least I did. :o
    "A man should be upright, not be kept upright." -Marcus Aurelius :A
  • SJ1 wrote: »
    What if you don't have a Lidl or Aldi near you. I live in the South East and here it's Tesco's, Sains or a much longer drive to Morrisons/Asda.

    Can you still cut? Really interested in your meal plans for the week. Mine is as follows and I spend approx £100 a week although I do buy fruit juice for the kids which can be v expensive.

    Mon - roast chick, potatoes, broccoli and carrots
    Tue - baked potatoes (I had tinned tuna but hubby had prawns)
    Wed - home made spag bol and pasta
    Thur - Omelettes with bacon, mushrooms and onions and veg
    Fri - Carbonara
    Sat - Sausages, beans and chips
    Sun - possibly roast again. Haven't bought this one yet.

    Lunches tend to be bread and ham/cheese/left over chicken/chicken noodle soup made with stock from chicken. For puds we have fruit - pears, bananas and apples with greek yog sometimes, yogs for kids bought on special and a cake made by me. I include all cleaning products, loo roll, drinks but no alcohol as we rarely buy and if we do we buy from a warehouse place where it is much cheaper. Where am I going wrong?? Any ideas gratefully received. This is for two adults two children.

    SJ

    have you tried powdered juice drinks? bottled juice is not that much healthier than powdered. if you are getting cartons then yes it's healthier. but the bottles are usually highly processed with more sugar than juice. at that point there's no reason to get bottled.

    tesco has a range of carton juices that are quite often 3 for £5 and they are very nutritious. they have a lot of flavors. When I was a nanny, the mother asked me to water the juice down to 2 parts juice and 1 part cold water when giving it to the kids. not only does the juice last longer, but it's better for them because it's not so much sugar. you pour it in the glass before watering it down of course. ;)
    "A man should be upright, not be kept upright." -Marcus Aurelius :A
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