Saving on my weekly shop



  • chevalier
    chevalier Posts: 7,937 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    love the idea of that many bottles of squash at one go! I live down under and if the deal is really good one of the shops puts a limit on the quantity boo hiss!

    If you can't afford a freezer, then maybe you could ask for donations for birthday and christmas present? Or failing that put a wanted add on , and someone may have one to give away for free
    I want a job that is less than an hour driving away from my house! Are you listening universe?
  • isy1011
    isy1011 Posts: 513 Forumite
    I now shop at Lidl because it's cheaper. What we found shopping at Asda was that because they have all that extra stuff around before you even get to the food we were spending more on stuff we thought we needed e.g. books, socks, etc etc. At Lidl we can just whizz round and dont get sucked in by everything else. It was interesting that my hubby denied this was happening until I got him to look at the difference in receipts. We get showel gel etc from other shops cos I dont like Lidls.
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  • Hi Jim

    All good advice!

    I have a suggestion for tracking your food costs - I used to just keep a general list of what I spent, and then it used to spiral uncontrollably and it didn't really help me stop spending or realistically tracking what I spent where.

    Now I have a table, with days of the month along the top, starting from payday, and then have broken down the general heading 'food' into different categories, eg,:

    1. I have food bought for breakfast, dinner and lunch (basically the stuff I buy on my weekly shop and prepare myself),

    2. snacks and treats bought out (eg cinema popcorn, bars of chocolate, cups of coffee where I'm not meeting friends) - this I try and keep to nearly zero as it used to be a significant drain on my money and kept me fat!

    3. meals out (eg where I haven't planned ahead and brought food with me but I could have done, such as lunches for work when I got up late)

    4. food-based entertainment (eg a drink or coffee with friends, meals out, takeaways).

    5. I have a separate total for waste - eg the popcorn I bought but couldn't finish, the apples that went mouldly before I ate them. This is just an estimate, but it helps keep me focused on keeping it as low as possible.

    I record what I have spent every day, and then total it up at the end of the week.

    Make your sub-headings relevant to you, but it's really interesting to see, as I did, that although I was doing a large weekly shop, that I wasn't very organised and often didn't get round to making my lunch, so then it either went off or I overate in the evenings to use it up. I could also see that just after payday, the amount I spent on food spiked (I think I just felt rich!), and I now I have eliminated that spike so I spend roughly the same each week.

    Another thing I saw was that I would go and buy milk, for example, which is category one, but then I would also buy a bar of chocolate and gum (category two). So I cut that out!

    Once you have got some good information about who is spending what where (for example, your wife does the main shop, but then you buy breakfast out every day, when you could have eaten it at home), you can start on reducing each of the totals. So for example, you might see that you both spend a lot on snacks out for the children, so it might be cheaper to buy the snacks at the supermarket in multipacks and then produce them when necessary (or you might just cut them out entirely ;)).

    You might think, right, I'll eliminate takeaways, but actually it depends - if a takeaway once a week with friends is a social thing that keeps you sane, it's better to keep in the budget (category 4). Whereas if you have takeaways because you haven't got anything edible in the cupboards (category 3), you know that this is a cost you can cut down on by planning meals better.

    I have a separate 'household' heading with 'cleaning products', 'diy and repairs' and 'housewares', so I wouldn't include washing up liquid etc with food. I do this with all my spending categories. It's been interesting to see on my debt-free journey for example, that my clothes spending has dropped massively, but am now seeing an increase in my 'clothing maintenance' (dry cleaning, cobbler!) bills!

    Hope this helps - it's a bit detailed but it's the only way I have found of producing meaningful information about where you can realistically cut back.:D
  • nimbo
    nimbo Posts: 3,698 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    SJ1 wrote: »
    I don't have a slow cooker. Funny I was discussing this with someone on this with someone else on this site recently. She had said it was handy but you have to put it on in the morning and I leave at 7am most mornings to get to work so just not going to fit that in. Do love stews though, might look at it for Fri when I leave kids off and weekends.


    i prep the night before, and don't even bother keeping it in the fride overnight..... i never have the heating on in my kitchen, so it remains below 5 degrees overnight.

    as i wilk through the kitchen in the morning i flick a switch and come home to stew. mmmmmmmmmmmm

    i may make stew tomorrow.

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  • Firewalker
    Firewalker Posts: 2,682 Forumite
    Hi guys,

    all this talk about which juice to buy got me out of my shell again. One big change that we made, and I had been planning and willing long before we started dealing with our negative wealth, is that the whole household now drinks mainly water. I have always done this myself and there are variety of advantages - water re-hydrates us in a different way from sugary drinks, it is calories free, it is refreshing and it is tasty. To top it all while it is not 'free', quite the reverse it probably is one of the most scarse resources, we are very lucky to have ready access to it.

    As to the weekly menu I always try to make sure that it is well balanced between red meat, chicken, fish and vegetarian. But I do cook mainly stews - and apart from these being a bit cheaper, they are also probably healthier (contain veg as well and the liquid is good for digestion) and both sons claim that now we eat much better than at any previous point. I have several cookbooks for slow cooker and for onepot. Having said this we also have steak, and pork steaks etc. It is all in the balance, I think. Also, I keep a diary and there I had a challenge to serve three course French menu for under £1.50 per person (the menu can be seen there). And guess what? It works, the dinner was great and one of our friends pointed out that 'Never has £1 tasted so great.' With some thinking and a bit of ingenuity all is possible.

  • maman
    maman Posts: 28,577 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    isy1011 wrote: »
    I now shop at Lidl because it's cheaper. What we found shopping at Asda was that because they have all that extra stuff around before you even get to the food we were spending more on stuff we thought we needed e.g. books, socks, etc etc. At Lidl we can just whizz round and dont get sucked in by everything else. It was interesting that my hubby denied this was happening until I got him to look at the difference in receipts. We get showel gel etc from other shops cos I dont like Lidls.

    I buy Lidl cheapo shower gel (19p?) to refill the handwash in my cloakroom but agree wouldn't use it for a shower. Pleased to say that OH likes their own brand mouthwash which is (at 50p?) about a fifth of price of branded varieties.
  • I def agree with some of the other posters.....bulk buy and freeze it all. Frozen veg is a godsend. Again you can always buy fresh while its on special offer, chop it and put it in freezer bags to use later. We also used to keep tupperwear boxes that our weekly treat of chinese takeaway came in (I worked in a takeaway at one point and used to get free tea when I finished for the night). Make batches of stuff and freeze it into portion sized meals. We've even made home-made soup blended it and poured it into ice cube bags to re-use later. My dad often buys a sack of potatoes from the wholesalers 5k for a fiver rather than pay £1.99 for 4 baking potatoes from the supermarket. You can plant any that go to seed and start sprouting before you get chance to eat them.
  • misscousinitt
    misscousinitt Posts: 3,655 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Mortgage-free Glee!
    edited 20 August 2010 at 1:47PM
    We were spending a fortune, mainly shopping at ASDA which was a trek across town and I was often very tired when I did the shop. I also topped up at the local Waitrose once a week.

    A new Tesco opened between home and work 2 years ago and I decided to start shopping there. We have saved a fortune. Its convenient and sticking to my list, I save money and collect clubcard points for treats and airmiles.

    With the time aspect of shopping around, I try to plan it. So Wednesday my veg bag is delivered, Thursday I make my shopping list for the week and I take an alternative route home to pick up bits from Aldi, Friday is Tesco on the way home and Saturday morning Waitrose (once a month) for nice bits and things we are totally spoiled on - I also go to the butchers on Saturday morning (usually once a month too). It works for us and it has really helped the budgeting. I reckon we have cut our shopping bill from well over £300 a month to between £180 and say £220 (max) per month (there are only two of us and a cat - we eat really well and are never deprived of the things we like - I just buy them cheaper).

    I make bigger portions and freeze and stretch leftovers to make additional meals. Have a good trawl through Old Style and there will be loads of tips and tricks there for you.

    Good luck.
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  • I’d just like to comment back on this thread with my ‘results’ to date.

    I’ve started being a bit more ‘savvy’ with my shopping. Fairly close to work there is a Heron Foods; a Wilkos; a B&M Bargains and a freezer shop. All of these are so close to each other that I can do a circuit of them, see what is cheapest between the four and then do a shop. I’ve picked up some decent savings so far like 2 litres of Parazone for £1. Two litres of Robinson’s ‘Summer Fruits’ cordial for just over £1. Branston baked beans at £1.29 for four tins and HP at £2 for 8. Cross & Blackwell tinned spaghetti at £1 for 4 tins (was disgusting though so won’t be buying again). Dishwasher tabs (5 in 1) at £2.99 for 42 – will see how they compare with my usual brand which costs twice as much.

    There’s also a 99p shop that has my regular shaving foam at a substantial saving compared with what I pay now. It’s not a regular expense but, every little helps (as the advert says).

    I’m also using a Netto and Iceland which are located close to Sainsbury’s (which I’ve changed to instead of Tesco). Just small things like Hot Dogs and Tuna are much cheaper than in the main supermarket.

    Regarding Sainsbury’s, for most stuff it’s much cheaper than Tesco. Also, their ‘Basics’ brand has been used and has passed the test. Twelve packs of crisps for 56 pence – the packs are slightly smaller but then that’s no bad thing! I’ll still need to do an occasional reconnaissance mission to Tesco as they do have some stuff cheaper than Sainsbury’s; for example their own brand cereals and vitamins.

    One other big area where we’ve made savings is that we’ve started making the kids have school dinners instead of sandwiches. Whilst this costs us almost £20 for the two of them a week, I reckon that making their butties wasn’t much less than this (maybe half) BUT it means that we don’t have to do a full meal in the evening. We all now have a home made soup or beans on toast or something else easy. This has saved us a massive amount. I've also started using the breadmaker for my sarnies.

    I must keep a diary of what I’ve spent (I’m useless that way), or do what someone else suggested and keep note of the costs of what we use. However, with less than two weeks to pay day, the bank account balance isn’t looking too bad – and that was with a family holiday this month.

    Thanks to all who have given advice – it is much appreciated.

  • Hi Jim, that's wicked! I agree shopping around makes a BIG difference. I usually go onto before I go shopping & see what is cheapest where, when I have that info I go off to either aldi (I check each week what are the super6) or Lidls or sometimes Nettos. Then if the things come up cheaper I grab them there or if not I pop into either Sains or Asda (or both if I can be bothered!). Ocassionaly I go to Tesco & when I finally can save up I will get a chest freezer & do a monthly online shop with Asda (I have an Asda cc which I pay off every month in full = no interest ;)) and then go to one of the discount shops for other bits.

    I also pop into the pound shop or wilkos when I can. I also have a monthly food budget so if something is on offer (i.e. 2 bottles of Robinsons squash for £1 recently or coffee buy 2 for a reduced cost) I grab it, or when fresh meat is 30% off grab it for the freezer.

    It takes some planning but definately saves a lot of money :)
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