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  • FIRST POST
    Hales82
    Shopping Smarter?
    • #1
    • 23rd Feb 11, 6:42 PM
    Shopping Smarter? 23rd Feb 11 at 6:42 PM
    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

Page 1
    • caitybabes
    • By caitybabes 23rd Feb 11, 6:52 PM
    • 437 Posts
    • 1,245 Thanks
    caitybabes
    • #2
    • 23rd Feb 11, 6:52 PM
    • #2
    • 23rd Feb 11, 6:52 PM
    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?

    Cait
    • frizz2
    • By frizz2 23rd Feb 11, 7:00 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 835 Thanks
    frizz2
    • #3
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:00 PM
    • #3
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:00 PM
    Hi,
    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.
    • Linda32
    • By Linda32 23rd Feb 11, 7:15 PM
    • 4,310 Posts
    • 9,437 Thanks
    Linda32
    • #4
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:15 PM
    • #4
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:15 PM
    Hi,

    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

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

    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??

    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.

    HTH

    What do you buy in the way of cleaning things, can these be cut down a little?
  • Hales82
    • #5
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:17 PM
    • #5
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:17 PM
    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

    • Gillyx
    • By Gillyx 23rd Feb 11, 7:20 PM
    • 6,788 Posts
    • 23,451 Thanks
    Gillyx
    • #6
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:20 PM
    • #6
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:20 PM
    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.
  • Hales82
    • #7
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:32 PM
    • #7
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:32 PM
    Thanks for the responses everyone

    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

    Thanks for all your input x
    LBM: January 2011 DFD: August 2016

  • BitterAndTwisted
    • #8
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:43 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:43 PM
    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.
  • Owl
    • #9
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:47 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd Feb 11, 7:47 PM
    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

    HTH

    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!!!!!
    • purpleivy
    • By purpleivy 23rd Feb 11, 7:48 PM
    • 3,431 Posts
    • 20,884 Thanks
    purpleivy
    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 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 180C/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.
    Last edited by purpleivy; 23-02-2011 at 7:50 PM.
    "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
    Trying not to waste food!
    • Linda32
    • By Linda32 23rd Feb 11, 7:48 PM
    • 4,310 Posts
    • 9,437 Thanks
    Linda32
    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

    Thanks for all your input x
    Originally posted by Hales82
    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

    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........

    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

    I havn't bought Kitchen Roll or Fabric Softener for years either.
  • Hales82
    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.
    Originally posted by BitterAndTwisted
    This is the reason for getting my shopping delivered on a Thursday. When it came on a Monday we'd eat lovely fresh meals at the start of the week and then towards the end the fridge would be a bit empty and we'd pop to the supermarket. 60 later I'd come out wondering WTF we'd spent so much money on.

    By getting it delivered I don't buy anthing other than what I need and it coming at the end of the week means we feel like we get the nicest, freshest food when we want it... on the weekend

    Linda32 thank you for your suggestions. They're all fab and will take them on board.

    I LOVE the sound of the chilli beef meatloaf, exactly up my family's street. Will be trying that next weekend when the shopping comes. Thank you

    I love this board already and this is my first post here
    LBM: January 2011 DFD: August 2016

  • BitterAndTwisted
    I am proud (?) to say that I have never bought a roll of kitchen paper or a J-Cloth in my life. I could have been very sheltered but I have no idea what you'd actually need them for when something else I already have could do the job. I'm a great lover of proper dishcloths. Oh crivens, I think I've turned into my granny without noticing
    • Penelope Penguin
    • By Penelope Penguin 23rd Feb 11, 8:24 PM
    • 17,087 Posts
    • 132,754 Thanks
    Penelope Penguin
    The 2 chickens are 2 teas each, easily. Bargain for 10.
    Originally posted by Hales82
    Make stock from the bones and leftover bits, and you'll have at least 4 portions of soup, too
    Sheep, pigs, hens and bees on our Teesdale smallholding
  • TRYINGTOSWIM
    this is exactly what I have just been mulling over myself. thinking of once a month stocking up on the 3 for 10 meats from the co-op, basics such as beans,coffee ,flour etc from tesco and cleaning stuff from home bargains,
    leaving in theory just the fridge stuff yoghurts,milk,ham etc to get once a week.

    I am in my first month of the grocery challenge and just logging all the money we spend just to see how much...what an eye opener!
    sealed pot challenge member 1063..pot emptied to go toward credit card.new pot started 27/3.

    march grocery spend 480
    April budget 310..
    • jenster
    • By jenster 24th Feb 11, 7:45 AM
    • 483 Posts
    • 759 Thanks
    jenster
    this is exactly what I have just been mulling over myself. thinking of once a month stocking up on the 3 for 10 meats from the co-op, basics such as beans,coffee ,flour etc from tesco and cleaning stuff from home bargains,
    leaving in theory just the fridge stuff yoghurts,milk,ham etc to get once a week.

    I am in my first month of the grocery challenge and just logging all the money we spend just to see how much...what an eye opener!
    Originally posted by TRYINGTOSWIM
    love the 3 for 10's got mince . chicken and a big tray of chops last week
    u wont go wrong especially if u keep looking here for some great idea;s
  • rachbc
    i tend not to go for the 3 for 10 as they tend to be cuts I don't use - I bulk buy meat from farm shop or when ocado send me a good voucher! I get chicken thighs from asian supermarket - 2.60 or so kg boned and diced! I the portion it out into 300g packs and freeze.

    I have just started meatfree mondays with my family and have definately noticed a saving - we have eggs, some pulses (not as popular), cheese on those nights.
    • horsechestnut
    • By horsechestnut 24th Feb 11, 8:41 AM
    • 1,422 Posts
    • 2,792 Thanks
    horsechestnut
    It is often cheaper to buy a whole chicken and cut it into portions yourself; plus it gives you all the bones and trimmings for some very good soup.
    If you don't have enough bones for soup, then freeze what you have each time until you do have enough; you can use them from frozen! I make stock and soup in a pressure cooker. It's both quicker and saves energy.
    Look at the Stardrops thread for saving on cleaning. If you don't like Stardrops then buy Flash concentrated, the type that you used for floors and general cleaning, or what ever brand you do like, it isn't quite as cheap as Stardrops but is much cheaper than buying the diluted stuff in trigger bottles; you are paying for water! Keep the old bottle and mix 2 tablespoons of product with 500ml water; I add a splash of bleach for the bathroom.
    Go to Home Bargains before anywhere else as they often have groceries cheaper than the supermarket as well - I am limiting myself to one shop a month because I was buying extra and ended up giving stuff away to my daughter "as it was so cheap".
    Do look on the old style board for further tips.
    However 70 a week still isn't bad at all.
  • squeakysue
    With regards to the loreal kids shampoo, my daughter has v thick hair which gets very tangled and I just use plenty of my own conditioner on it ie whatever is on offer and it seems to keep her hair pretty manageable and helps keep the nits away lol x
    • caitybabes
    • By caitybabes 24th Feb 11, 9:03 AM
    • 437 Posts
    • 1,245 Thanks
    caitybabes
    Sausage and bean chilli
    I've been posting this everywhere recently but tbh I can't get enough of it. It's a sausage and bean chilli recipe so fairly cheap on the meat (sausages) but loads of protein in all the beans.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients
    • 1 or 2 onions
    • 4 carrots
    • 1 packet (8-10) sausages
    • 1 tin chopped toms
    • 1 tin baked beans
    • 1 tin mixed beans (the cheapest I've seen is the mixed bean salad for about 47p, though I normally double up the recipe and use two separate tins of beans e.g. kidney and blacked eyed as it works out cheaper).
    • Squirt of tom puree
    • Glug of honey
    • Selection of spices - plenty of chilli powder/flakes, plus cumin if you have it, garlic, paprika etc.
    Method
    1. Fry the onion, carrot and sausages til browned.
    2. Add the rest of the ingredients and warm through.
    3. Bung it in the oven in a covered casserole for a couple of hours or in your slow cooker for the day and enjoy - your house will smell delish!
    We don't normally eat it with any accompaniments as it's such a tasty meal in itself but ocassionally we might have rice or pitta with it.

    It also freezes really well and is just as tasty when reheated (hence why I normally make 8 portions in my massive slow cooker).

    Hope that helps someone

    Cait x

    P.S. I agree - cut your dishwasher tablets in half and they're instantly half price!
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