Is OS *REALLY* cheaper?


Throwing a huge cat amongst the pigeons here, is it really cheaper to feed your family OS?

DH has this mind block that if you can buy a ready meal for 99p, how does it work out cheaper to buy all the ingredients, and then spend the time and energy cooking? If anyone has any comparisons, OS vs RM, I would be really grateful. This is starting to turn into a bit of a deadlock for us, and I would love to be able to prove him wrong!!!


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  • Churchmouse
    Churchmouse Posts: 3,004 Forumite
    daysieblue (love that username!) I'm no expert on costings and I'm sure there'll be better answers along soon. But he should make sure he's comparing like with like. Yes maybe he can get a RM for 99p, but what's in it? Mostly "recovered" meat, and lots of chemicals!!:eek: ( Now here I must declare that I actually like some M&S ready meals, the expensive one's without an additive in sight:rotfl: ) Anything you make at home will be good quality ingredients, freshly prepared and no nasty preservatives. So you need to compare home-made with good quality RM and then you're definitely quids in:D :D

    Does he think there's no difference between a mini and a ferrari except one's cheaper than the other?:rotfl: :rotfl: (no offence intended, trying to illustrate he'll get ferrari quality at mini prices:D )
    You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  • Plum_Pie
    Plum_Pie Posts: 1,285 Forumite
    If you're very well paid, buying a 99p readymeal may well be cheaper than spending time cooking from scratch. In my limited experience however, rich people generally eat out more and buy expensive ready meals when they do buy them.

    Cheap readymeals have cheap ingredients and more E numbers. For many OSers, this is a no-no and for them (this includes me!), OS is also a quality-of-life issue.

    There have numerous threads on eating well for 50p to £1 per head for a main meal.

    In a thread on biscuits or baking, someone commented that you should really compare homemade goods with premium supermarket products (Finest, Taste the Diff etc) because that's what you end up with when you DIY. You don't end up with value/smart-price* standard food.

    *In my experience, some economy ingredients are good but no economy prepared foods are good!
  • Uniscots97
    Uniscots97 Posts: 6,685
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    I love flapjacks and I make my own so thought I'd compare it see how it works out (I love a challenge :D ):

    Prices all from Tesco price checker


    Flapjacks 99p (6)

    Home made:

    butter 53p
    sugar 78p
    golden syrup 77p
    porridge oats 61p

    total: 2.69

    roughly using the recipe on here for flapjacks I could make at least 60 large flapjacks (about same size if not bigger than ones bought in supermarket).

    Bought price per flapjack = 16.5p

    Homemade (OS) price per flapjack = 4.5p

    OS wins.

    Think that shows that for flapjacks you're better off making them and the ones I make are probably larger than the bought ones (and nicer!!!!).
    CC2 = £8687.86 ([STRIKE]£10000[/STRIKE] )CC1 = £0 ([STRIKE]£9983[/STRIKE] ); Reusing shopping bags savings =£5.80 vs spent £1.05.Wine is like opera. You can enjoy it even if you don't understand it and too much can give you a headache the next day J
  • sammy_kaye18
    sammy_kaye18 Posts: 3,633
    Homepage Hero Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    hi Hun

    Do you have children?? (i did this with my 3 year old to prove my bf wrong about OS ways)

    Bf loves his ready meals and doesnt see the point of slaving away cooking

    I brought a horrid cheap ready meal of bangers and mash (think their was gravy too) and basically made the same but a homemade OS version. I nuked the ready meal in the microwave for the said time and had the HM version served up ready for me and our 3 year old (there was a plate for bf but he didnt know that at the time) . SO when i brought mine and bens in my bf was sat there licking his lips saying how good it looked and smelled, then i served him up his RM junk. He wasnt so impressed.

    He said it looked revolting, tasted bland and he just in general couldnt eat it, so i gave him the HM version and he wolfed the lot down. he hasnt whinged at me since.

    Also i just got my sister into the swing of making HM baby food a few months ago. I told her to read a powder baby food mix box and tell me what everythign was - she got a few things but couldnt say what everything was so i showed her how to make her own baby food so she knows every ingredient and shes much happier now. Plus her little girl (17 months) has less medical issues now - her eczema was playing hell, she was constipated all the time, always had colds or flu but since shes been having HM baby food she has alot more fruit and veg and is a much happier baby without any of the before mentioned medical issues.
    HBA1C 46 - 4/04/2023
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  • rumblytum
    rumblytum Posts: 474 Forumite
    Hi there,

    I can't do a proper costings comparison, but I can tell you that my average shopping bill literally HALVED when I learnt to cook from scratch.

    It also depends how much seasonal stuff you want to buy - if you buy asparagus, duck, strawberries etc etc out of season then they will be more expensive. I saved a lot by changing our habits, and my OH and DD came on board straight away, because the food was SO much tastier!

  • tr3mor
    tr3mor Posts: 2,325 Forumite
    Maybe you couldn't make a single portion ready made lasagne for 99p, but you could make 6 portions of home made lasagne for a lot less than £6!

    Add that to the fact that ready made stuff, especially the cheap variety, is full of crap - I know which I'd rather eat!
  • Churchmouse
    Churchmouse Posts: 3,004 Forumite
    tr3mor has made a very valid point. Single portions and RM (well cheapo ones) are going to seem better value. As soon as you're doing more, HM comes cheaper and of course is much better quality.
    You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  • newlywed
    newlywed Posts: 8,255
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    My meal choice has increased.

    If you compare the number of "choices" of ready meals in a smaller supermarket and then think of the number of recipes you can easily cook from scratch or the number of recipes you have in your books/online. There isn't really a comparison.

    Plus all the additives as has been said. ;)
    working on clearing the clutterDo I want the stuff or the space?
  • pudding06
    pudding06 Posts: 625 Forumite
    interesting thought.

    I do think it depends how many you are catering for and how big their appetites are, and how well you shop and plan meals etc.

    In my case I am cooking for 6 adults (inc 5 males with huge appetites) and quite frankly I would have to buy them each at least 2 ready meals and pad them out with veg etc to make them filling enough.

    that would make them approx £11 for one meal!!! ( maybe only £10 if OH has only one - but then he'd wonder what he'd done to upset me lol)

    If theres only 2 people and you are really pushed for time then maybe its debatable ie time = money too.

    my budget for the week would have to be £77 just for main meals!!!

    for 2 that would only be perhaps £14 - £28 per week depending on appetites/portions sizes.

    With o/s you would batch cook, and freeze for another day so you could for instance cook one months bolognese sauce in one go and freeze the other portions for ready meals later. that would make it cost effective.

    I cook for 6 and quite often double cook for a lazy day later in the month.

    teaching my mohter to suck eggs again I see lol sorry you o/s's I was just putting my thoughts down on 'paper '

    August 2009 grocery challenge £172.64/,,,,,

    no point in doing grocery challenges, have no money left over to eat :0/
  • Uniscots97
    Uniscots97 Posts: 6,685
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    OS is going to be cheaper as long as you have a fridge, a freezer and lots of tupperware. I live by myself and I batch cook things and freeze the extra portions.
    CC2 = £8687.86 ([STRIKE]£10000[/STRIKE] )CC1 = £0 ([STRIKE]£9983[/STRIKE] ); Reusing shopping bags savings =£5.80 vs spent £1.05.Wine is like opera. You can enjoy it even if you don't understand it and too much can give you a headache the next day J
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