Shopping Smarter?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
53 replies 9.2K views
Hales82Hales82 Forumite
59 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
Hi all

I'm usually over on DFW but am after a bit of advice on shopping a bit smarter.

At the moment I spend about £70 a week. That's for a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children (5 and 2) so this includes nappies and wipes.

I know I could shave a lot off this if I reeeeally tried but to be honest eating well(ish) at home is our only indulgence. We don't go out for meals, go out drinking or have many takeaways so cooking a nice family meal with nice ingredients is important to me.

I've currently dropped a brand for a lot of basic items (pasta, tuna, beans, bread etc) but i find my biggest expense on the food bill is meat. We eat meat everyday, I know how extravagent this is but don't think it's an area we could compromise on really. I'm currently training for a mountain walk for charity and my husband cycles 100+ miles a week so protein is important to us.

Currently I meal plan weekly and shopping gets delivered on a Thursday. We used to get it delivered on a Monday but found we were going to the supermarket on a Friday for a top-up shop and whilst there filled the trolley with loads of crap as it was 'the weekend' and we 'fancied a treat'. By getting it delivered on Thursday we have all the freshest meals over the weekend so are less tempted by all the rubbish.

Tonight we popped to a local Co-Operative Food for some milk and noticed the meats were on offer. For £10 you could get 3 lots of meat, this included whole chickens, chicken breasts, bacon joints and pork steaks. Also their pork legs and beef joints were on less that half price.

Whilst there we stocked up a bit and it got me thinking that perhaps it might be cheaper for me to do a meat shop once a month when the offers were on? We could spend £40-£50 and that would do us in meat for the whole month (a chicken does between 2-3 meals).

I also thought we could visit Home Bargains at the start of the month and stock up on toiletries too. Then my weekly delivery will just be fresh stuff for the weeks mealplan.

Does anyone shop like this and find it works? x
LBM: January 2011 DFD: August 2016


  • caitybabescaitybabes Forumite
    442 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Hello :)

    Just wondered what kind of meaty meals you are cooking? Perhaps you could bulk out the meat with other protein (e.g. adding lentils to mince or chickpeas to curry) so that you still get the meat but don't have to use so much?

    Sounds like you are doing a great job already. Do you cook most meals from scratch already?

  • frizz2frizz2 Forumite
    89 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    WoW! I think you are doing really well to manage on £70 a week including nappies and wipes! At the moment I am watching what I spend closely on my groceries. I spend about £80-£90 on average a week for my husband and I and two very hungry teengae boys. Each month I tend to do two main shops, first go to Lidl and buy all my basics and then straight to tesco to supplement the shop. I buy mostly value ingredients at Tesco. I also do two internet shops a month as a top up. These are normally for very bulky items like 5lb bag of potatoes, toilet rolls, etc. We don't drink very much but like to have a bottle of wine betwen us an Fridays and Saturday nights. However going back to your quaestion about buying meat, I do tend to buy this in bulk when it is on special offer or reduced and freeze it. I often half packs of Mince to make it go further and use red lentils as well. If I buy sausages I divide the pack of 12 or 8 into quarters and only cook the correct amount I need. Like you if I cook a whole chicken I make it last for 2 meals. I also do my toiletries shopping in Poundland and get snacks from there also. I go to Poundland once a month and stock up.

    I hope this helps.
  • Linda32Linda32 Forumite
    4.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker

    I agree, £70.00 per week isn't bad at all, as our budget is £65.00 per week, which we near enough stick to.

    Two adults, no children or pets etc.
    This is food, toiletries, cleaning stuff and wine :beer:

    I've seen the 3 for £10.00 offers as well, quite good arn't they :T

    The only things I can see are the wipes, I read on here today actually that they are quite unnecessary and old flannels/cut up towels are just as good. Never used as we've not had children - can you tell?? :rotfl:

    The other thing is toiletries, are these a treat or do you just buy what you need? I'm wondering if this will save a bit.

    I'm still using up Christmas presents at the moment, well OH's Lynx actually, shower gel and deodrant.
    I got three bottles of body lotion and I'm actually wondering if that will double as a shower gel and that will last me years otherwise.

    As a rule, I buy a packet of basic soap, basic creme bath for the soap dispensers (about 34p at litre) toothpaste and shampoo, whatever is the cheapest offer.


    What do you buy in the way of cleaning things, can these be cut down a little?
  • Hi

    Thanks for your replies so far.

    caitybabes we tend to eat beefy meals rather than chicken, as that's cheaper. Staples in this house are chilli (500g beef with chopped toms, peppers, onions, mushrooms, kidney beans and bakes beans) and we get about 4 teas out of this (me, H and the 5 yr old as littlest eats in nursery). Spag bol is another, we pad that out again with mushrooms, onions, carrots and sometimes bacon lardons (depending how flush we feel). The lentils/chickpeas is a fab idea, thank you. I could add them to any of my dishes to pad it out a bit. I try to always make at least 2 meals out of everything I cook.

    Chicken dishes are roast on a Sunday, followed by leftovers in pasta bake/sandwiches for lunch. We also use 3-4 chicken breasts in a homemade curry and that'll do 3 teas.

    I do cook from scratch 99.9% of the time. I'm lucky in that I work from home full time so preparing something is no probs for me.

    Frizz2, I'm thinking of doing what you do, chop and change my shops depending on what I buy. We've got a massive Co-Op Food not far that I find is great for meat which is higher welfare too. I know I can't afford to be fussy but my perference is always to buy happy meat is possible. Home Bargains I find soooo cheap for toiletries, although we've got a Poundland near too, perhaps I should check that out. Thanks for sharing your tips. I'm thinking this might be worth an experiment x
    LBM: January 2011 DFD: August 2016
  • GillyxGillyx Forumite
    6.8K Posts
    I actually think you do really well on £70 a week, especially if it's including nappies and wipes. I know in this weeks Lidl leaflet in my area they are selling chicken pieces/mini fillets for 1.99.
    The frontier is never somewhere else. And no stockades can keep the midnight out.
  • Thanks for the responses everyone :j

    The 3 for £10 meat offers are fab. Tonight we got 2 whole chickens and 1 bacon joint. Tea was the bacon with chips, peas and onion rings. Will also do lunch for both of us as pasta salad and sandwiches for the rest of the week.

    The 2 chickens are 2 teas each, easily. Bargain for £10. Plus they're higher welfare meat. I know I can't really afford to be fussy but happy meat is always a bonus for me (when I can).

    That's a good point about wipes. Although I need to supply them to nursery as they won't use anything re-usable (private nursery). Might give washable flannels a go at home though :) Thanks for the tip.

    Toiletries tend to be what they need. Toothpase on BOGOF, bubble bath £1 a bottle in Home Bargains, shampoo whatevers on offer etc. Only indulgence there is I like to buy the boys the L'Oreal shampoo for kids (£1.99 in Asda). My youngest has long blonde hair (surfer dude lol) and it helps the tangles. I'd rather scrimp myself to let them have better. Their bubble bath is Christmas pressies, and we dropped bathtime from everynight to ever other night to save on water and bubble bath.

    Hmmmm, cleaning products is a good point, I probably spend more here than necessary. We do have a dishwasher and tables are a fortune. Over the last few weeks we've been doing more by hand to save on tablets and on electricity. Everything else is branded though... good point. That's one area I could save :j

    Thanks for all your input x
    LBM: January 2011 DFD: August 2016
  • BitterAndTwistedBitterAndTwisted Forumite
    22.5K Posts
    Cut those dishwasher tablets in half and see how you get on. I don't have a dishwasher myself but I'm astounded at the price of them. You can make your own dishwashing formula as well as laundry detergent and washing-up liquid. If you stick around here for long enough you'll get to know all about them and the vinegar in the fab cond compartment trick.

    It seems to me that your first strategy should be staying out of the supermarket at the weekends. It's so annoying to pop in for a pint of milk and find yourself £20 lighter with a bag full of "treats" that you don't really need. I used to do that all the time but now I really can't afford to so I only step into a supermarket about once every ten days.
  • OwlOwl Forumite
    273 Posts
    Oh... use the Value/SmartPrice whatever Dishwasher tabs - by far the cheapest and just as good as Fairy (which I bought once on a special) I am a "clean freak" and these work for me


    Owl x

    OOps cross posted with bitterand twisted
    Children are born with wings .... Teachers help them to fly
    One day your life is going to flash in front of your eyes.... Make sure it's worth watching!!!!!
  • edited 23 February 2011 at 9:50PM
    purpleivypurpleivy Forumite
    3.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited 23 February 2011 at 9:50PM
    If you want to keep protein levels up and still have meat, there's a nice meatloaf I do, a chilli bean meatloaf. Going to save this message and just hunt out the recipe...if I leave it here I might lose it!

    Editing.....Like many of these things, you can vary the seasoning to your favourite herbs and spices, maybe curry or mixed herbs. Garlic is nice. It's got egg to bind, so that will up your protein as well. You can have it hot with potato wedges and beans, mash and veg or cold in sandwiches or tortilla wraps or salad, so really versatile.

    Chilli Meat Loaf

    1 onion finely chopped
    1 ½ lb/675g minced beef
    2 small/medium eggs
    15oz/400g can kidney beans
    5 tbs. tomato puree
    3 tbsp. tomato chutney/relish
    1-2 tsp. chilli powder
    Tabasco (optional)
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Mix together onion, minced beef, eggs and red kidney beans. Add puree, relish and seasonings. Press into a 2lb loaf tin. And cover with foil. Bake at 180°C/Gas 5 for about 1 hour, then remove foil and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. The loaf should be firm to the touch in the middle.
    [SIZE=-1]"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"[/SIZE]
    Trying not to waste food!:j
    ETA Philosophy is wondering whether a Bloody Mary counts as a Smoothie
  • Linda32Linda32 Forumite
    4.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Hales82 wrote: »
    Hmmmm, cleaning products is a good point, I probably spend more here than necessary. We do have a dishwasher and tables are a fortune. Over the last few weeks we've been doing more by hand to save on tablets and on electricity. Everything else is branded though... good point. That's one area I could save :j

    Thanks for all your input x

    Ouch!!! to buying branded ;);)

    I havn't got a dishwasher, sometimes a good thing, I guess, but I know people on here break one tablet in half and use that.

    Smart Price/Basic/Value loo cleaner about 24p
    Sainsburys Laundry Liquid 98p
    Mulit purpose cleaning fluid about 98p not flash
    Fairy Liquid £1.00 or on offer - this I've actually gone up a brand as its really does last twice as long
    Marigolds - Again they last twice if not three times as long.
    Basic Bin bags
    Basic Food bags

    :o I shall write the following out 100 times

    I will not buy any more Flash Bathroom Cleaner when this bottle has gone.
    I will not........ :D

    That was my one indulgence, well it smells nice, and sainsburys lavender polish as well. Totally unnecessary.

    Unless you really do like to buy branded things, be aware of £1 shops, some items are not as much as a £1 in the first place.

    Jeezz, I really must be a skanky cheap skate, I've just said £1 shops are sometimes expensive :rotfl:

    I havn't bought Kitchen Roll or Fabric Softener for years either.
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