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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
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1601199616011996 Forumite
8.3K posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
Can anyone out there give me some ideas for shopping on a budget for food. I have recently been widowed, and although I work, need to be saving money. Apart from BOGOF offers, at a bit of a loss where to start.

Any ideas gratefully recieved,



  • derondaderonda Forumite
    43 posts
    Many of the shops "savers brands" are very good and much cheaper.

    When buying food look at the cost per item (usually on the small ticket on the shelves), this helps to decide which are the more economical items to buy.

    I use the savers versions of juice which are very nice and about 37p per carton. The butter is very nice too. I did try the "tastes like butter margarines" but found they just tasted like marge (which I don't like) so the cost cut was not worth it so stuck to the savers butters.

    It is not easy sticking to a budget so go with a list of what you need and stick to it - unless there is a very good offer in something you use regularly.
  • lswwonglswwong Forumite
    407 posts
    Buying fruit and veggies which are in season from the market often costs less than the supermarkets. Spuds, eggs, carrots, and onions are good value by the sack, or at least in larger quantities, from farm shops.

    As you work, you are, no doubt, short on time. I liked Nigella Lawson's idea of marinating just a bit more meat for a stir fry and freeze the surplus portion so that you can use it later. I think the key is to eliminate waste, and be creative. It takes a bit of organisation and planning. Did you ever come across a little cookery book called "How to feed your family on £5 (or something like that) a day" by Bernie Lawrence back in the late 80s? The recipes were okay but Bernie's philosophy is pretty sound. She did a good job of turning inexpensive ingredients into varied, interesting meals. Back to basics, literally.
  • SystemSystem Forumite
    177.9K posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Sorry to hear of the death of your husband.  I cant imagine how you must be coping and feeling at this time.

    Food shopping for the family, well where do i start?  Well i spose i started off with a blank peice of paper listing all the things my family like to eat for breakfast.  Unfortunately with my lot we get through plenty of bacon and eggs however we did use a lot of black pudding too so i thought that was a little extravagant so we only have black pudding as well as the bacon occasionally as a treat.  I also listed the cereals my family eat.
    I did the same with our 'dinners' and also with our main meals in the evenings.

    With a list in front of me i could see the more economical meals and also the meals that cost the most.  From this list i was able to menu plan.  Using cheaper meals, but occasionally using favourite meals that were a little bit more costly.  That way we didnt feel too hard done by.  I limit the amount of nice things i buy.  I buy a 21 pack of Walkers Crisps and 21 2 finger Kit Kats per week and divide them between the three kids.  If they eat more than one a day then its no good asking me to buy more.  I buy Tescos own label for most of my groceries, but not for my cleaning products which i have economised on, i tend to use bleach in the bathroom and vinegar and bleach (not at the same time) in the kitchen.  My washing powder is Tesco Value, and so is the dishwashing liquid.

    I find that shopping online suits me better, as i am a terrible impluse buyer and i end up throwing away quite a lot of food when i shop on impulse.  I menu plan when i am compiling my shopping list, knowing what i will need during the week, and probably knocking a few things off before i get to the checkout.

    Another tip i found, however i havent done it for a number of weeks.  I did my shopping every 8 days, and after a few weeks i found i would have an extra weeks money where i didnt need to buy any groceries which then i could either buy the kids clothes, or treat myself or them.  Its all these little things that add up.  Once every few months i will stock up our clothes at our local Asda store, however, my teenagers are a bit fussy where clothes are concerned, so i buy cheap jeans and undies from Asda and team them up with a 'named' top, t shirt and trainers from a cheapie place like
    Dont forget to get a cheaper deal on your utilities too, it all counts.  Please use this board to your best advantage, it has been invaluable to me.

    Big hugs xxx
  • Mrs_ThriftMrs_Thrift Forumite
    387 posts
    Sorry to hear about your husband.

    As above, economical food shopping comes down to good planning and sticking to a list. And of course it's no good buying a BOGOF or other bargain if you're not likely to use the items before they go off, or if it's not something you particularly like.

    Other than the excellent advice from the other posters, I can only add that I've recently discovered "Farmfoods" and it's fantastic for frozen and tinned foods.

    One of the best things about frozen food, especially vegetables, is that you can control your portions while keeping the rest of the packet, unlike the huge amounts of veg we've previously bought in supermarkets then wasted.

    Do be careful to stick to your list, though, as they sell some very tempting, but very fattening snacks and cakes, etc. at good prices, too!

    Pasta and Rice (supermarket own brand & I think Farmfoods sell it too) are great to fill the cupboards with as they go with just about anything (we splash out on a jar of pesto to go with pasta, then we can have it with "dry" food too) and are fairly easy to make. Leftovers can go into a salad or stir fry the next day.
  • 1601199616011996 Forumite
    8.3K posts
    Thanks for the great ideas, have been having a wander round the site and got some there too. Will be writing menu plan tonight, and trying to find local markets too. All brilliant ideas.

    Thanks Again
  • lswwonglswwong Forumite
    407 posts
    All the very best and please excuse my poor manners for not having offered my sincere condolences before ...

  • derondaderonda Forumite
    43 posts
    yes please accept mine.  It was very rude of me not to have done so before.
  • 1601199616011996 Forumite
    8.3K posts
    Thanks for the condolences, didn't expect any,

    Shopping tonight so will let you know how I get on.

    Thanks again

  • Yoga_GirlYoga_Girl Forumite
    888 posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Sorry to hear about your husband.

    I am an avid coupon collector, either from magazines or off internet coupon sites, you can exchange these at Asda and Tesco (and you don't need to buy the product the coupon is for) and this can reduce your bill by 10%.

    I also check out the reduced produce - fruit & veg - and you can often make a good meal out of them, eg soups or stews. If you've got a freezer then you can stock up on reduced items eg bread, most stores seem to reduce stuff towards the end of the day.

    We often cook in bulk and freeze portions, this works out quite economical, we use a lot of lentils and pulses and make sauces, bolognaises etc, this also saves time when you get in from work and you've got your own "ready meals". The internet has some good recipe sites.

    There's also a web-site called which lists the latest offers the supermarkets are running, I use this to see if any of the stuff I regularly buy is on a BOGOF offer anywhere and stock up on them. I then plan the meals for the week depending upon whats on offer.

    I've also got all the usual "reward" cards for all the stores, this year I'm going to save up all my reward points/coupons until Christmas to help ease the cost of the Xmas shop.

    Hope this helps, if I think of any more tips I'll post them.
  • jb84344jb84344 Forumite
    85 posts
    We no longer buy any ready made meals only fresh meat and veg. and as suggested by yoga girl make meals and freeze them, then they just need microwaving when it's time to eat. Because of the time constraints I tend to spend one day every couple of weeks cooking for the freezer which now I've been doing it for a while, I really enjoy, and is no longer a chore to be dreaded!

    Also, we buy whatever meat is on special offer and freeze for when it's time to eat/cook!

    Packed lunches will save you a fortune too and you can have a lot more interesting things than shop bought, bland e-numbered products.

    Hope this helps,
    Sincere condolonces,
    4oz rice crispies, 4oz butter, 4 mars bars.
    Melt, mix, cool, eat. Yummy! ;)
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