Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    How do you manage to spend so little?!
    • #1
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:18 PM
    How do you manage to spend so little?! 15th Aug 09 at 8:18 PM
    I've been following some of the threads on how to spend less, etc and have started to cook from scratch, use lentils etc but I don't know how you all manage to keep your weekly shopping so low!

    I have just done an online shop at asda (i dont normally shop this way, just i usually share a lift with my mum but she's away at the mo) it still came to £40 so i dont know where i am going wrong. I dont buy any ready meals anymore and most of the stuff is value.

    Here's what i got:
    QtyProductPrice1Arla Fresh milk - 1 per cent£1.001
    ASDA 8 Beef burgers£1.00
    ASDA Apricots£1.88
    ASDA Battered cod£2.00
    ASDA Bran flakes£0.85
    ASDA British Beef Mince£1.00
    ASDA Broccoli£0.50
    ASDA Carrots£0.50
    ASDA Custard Doughnuts£0.50
    ASDA Diced chicken breast£2.00
    ASDA Fresh-for-a-week medium white loaf£0.82
    ASDA Freshly frozen Mixed Vegetables£0.98
    1ASDA Iceberg lettuce£0.50
    1ASDA Low fat yogurts - peach, pineapple & mandarin£1.00
    1ASDA Mix - pizza base£0.55
    1ASDA Organic Organic dried split lentils - red£1.21
    1ASDA Smartprice Apples£0.69
    1ASDA Smartprice Bananas£1.26
    2ASDA Smartprice Batter mix£0.16
    1ASDA Smartprice Coco rice£0.66
    1ASDA Smartprice Digestives£0.31
    1ASDA Smartprice Eggs - minimum net weight£1.45
    1ASDA Smartprice Fruit fromage frais£0.45
    1ASDA Smartprice Pasta sauce - bolognese£0.36
    1ASDA Smartprice Potatoes£1.36
    1ASDA Smartprice Rich tea£0.25
    1ASDA Smartprice Sausages - thick£0.48
    1ASDA Smartprice Toilet tissue - white£1.26
    1ASDA Smartprice White rolls£0.29
    1ASDA Soft pitted prunes£0.90
    1ASDA Stuffed chicken - sage and onion (please note that the price displayed is the price per kg)£2.490.6 kgASDA Tomatoes£0.41
    1ASDA Tomato puree£0.78
    1ASDA Wheat bisks£1.15
    1ASDA Whole cucumber£0.70
    1ASDA Yellow honeydew melon£1.00
    1ASDA You'd butter believe it£0.85
    1Bisto Gravy granules - chicken£0.70
    1Chicago Town Edge to edge pizza - Californian cheese£1.00
    1Oxo Chicken stock cubes£0.781Paxo Sage and onion stuffing£0.41
    1Wall's Cornetto family 6 pack - classico£1.00
    1Wyke Farm Rich & Creamy Mature Cheddar£2.00
    1Yeo Valley Organic yogurt - strawberry£1.00

    Any tips/ recipes would be most appreciated!!

    thanks in advance

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by Former MSE Rose; 18-08-2009 at 6:08 PM.
Page 1
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 15th Aug 09, 8:22 PM
    • 66,133 Posts
    • 388,431 Thanks
    • #2
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:22 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:22 PM
    Go through your receipt and be honest as you look down:
    - needed
    - needed, but wanted to spend a bit extra than I could get away with
    - didn't really need, but impulse bought and I'll use it
    - completely splashed out and this is a luxury item

    Most people confuse need with want.

    I need a loaf of bread, could get a Tesco long-life one for 65p, or I could choose the one that's all nutty looking round the outside, costs £1.40 and has a shelf life of only 4 days so I will need to buy two of those in the next 10 days. £0.65, or £2.80. It all adds up.

    Potatoes, I need baking potatoes, oh look I'll buy 3 ... at 3x the cost of the value bag of spuds.... so it's one "proper baking potato" at 3x the cost, or just bake more/smaller ones at a fraction of the cost.

    Also, items you didn't really need... e.g. making a chilli, one pepper costs £0.70, or you can buy a pack of 3 for £1.20 .... or you can leave them out entirely and save £1.20.

    It's attention to detail and price awareness that wins the day. Oh - and being tight helps.
  • clutterydrawer
    • #3
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:23 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:23 PM
    for me it's a combination of various little tricks and techniques which I have adopted over time...mostly found on this forum!...I used to spend over £50 per week and have cut it down to £10-15 but it was a very gradual process, you can't do it all at once I still struggle to get it as low as lots of people on here though *le sigh*

    Maybe you could state the kind of things you buy and what you cook with them and people could suggest some thrifty alternatives?

    Also, items you didn't really need... e.g. making a chilli, one pepper costs £0.70, or you can buy a pack of 3 for £1.20 .... or you can leave them out entirely and save £1.20.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    And stick a pinch of chili flakes in instead...the cost of which is negligible and won't make any difference to the flavour (in my opinion!)

    It does all depend on what youre willing to cut out though.
    Last edited by clutterydrawer; 15-08-2009 at 8:25 PM.
    August grocery challenge: £50
    Spent so far: £37.40
  • Dr_DiNg_DoNg
    • #4
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:25 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:25 PM
    I need a loaf of bread, could get a Tesco long-life one for 65p, or I could choose the one that's all nutty looking round the outside, costs £1.40 and has a shelf life of only 4 days so I will need to buy two of those in the next 10 days. £0.65, or £2.80. It all adds up.
    but the lay off is your family are eating the rubbish chemicals that make the bread long life.

    best to make your own
  • clairelg88
    • #5
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:29 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:29 PM
    well we generally have cereal for breakfast, then lunch is usually just a ham or cheese sandwich.

    the meals i planned for this week are spag bol, sheperds pie, roast chicken and veg, jacket potatos and salad, hm pizza and a curry or chicken casserole

    we do have one or 2 things out the freezer aswell, usually once or twice a week

    thanks for your ideas so far
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 15th Aug 09, 8:35 PM
    • 66,133 Posts
    • 388,431 Thanks
    • #6
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:35 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:35 PM
    How many people is that feeding? For how long?
  • clairelg88
    • #7
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:54 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Aug 09, 8:54 PM
    2 adults and 1 child - she's 3
    its just for the week
  • clutterydrawer
    • #8
    • 15th Aug 09, 9:03 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Aug 09, 9:03 PM
    How I would cut that down would be to get rid of the cereal and have porridge or perhaps musli instead, and to eat a lot less meat. Glad to see lentils on the list , I tend to use them heavily as a protein source to avoid buying cheese, eggs and meat. You don't need pizza base mix either, it only takes a minute to make some from flour. But as I said, it depends on your limits - there's no point making your life miserable by not enjoying your food, unless you literally don't have any money. There are also the old favourite tricks for getting the same amount of food for less money - buying stuff in bulk when on offer, shopping late in the day to get "yellow sticker" items, strategic use of coupons etc.

    I'm not sure how Asda's other prices compare, but that tomato puree is shocking unless it's the biggest tube ever - it's 50p in morrisons and (last time I checked) about 40p in Aldi.

    Doesn't look like a terrible list overall though, there's minimal processed stuff an plenty of fruit and veg. Could you consider making more meals based around rice, pasta, couscous and the like - they are pretty filling for minimal cash
    Last edited by clutterydrawer; 15-08-2009 at 9:05 PM.
    August grocery challenge: £50
    Spent so far: £37.40
    • Zazen999
    • By Zazen999 15th Aug 09, 9:15 PM
    • 5,915 Posts
    • 9,151 Thanks
    • #9
    • 15th Aug 09, 9:15 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Aug 09, 9:15 PM
    Tip; what are you actually making, meal wise with that list?

    Try it the other way round; menu plan and list the ingredients that you need and then shop. Don't buy it if it isn't on the list. Write down a months' worth of listed food, and also write down the extras that you get during that month; then look at the difference between your weekly shops here and a menu planned listed shop.
  • clairelg88
    Tip; what are you actually making, meal wise with that list?
    Originally posted by Zazen999
    spag bol, sheperds pie, roast chicken and veg, jacket potatos and salad, hm pizza and a curry or chicken casserole
    • HariboJunkie
    • By HariboJunkie 15th Aug 09, 9:32 PM
    • 7,160 Posts
    • 45,822 Thanks
    I have to say that it looks fine to me. :confused: Do you really NEED to reduce it?

    Please try not to compare yourself to people on here. It's not a competition and there are always comparative factors going on like how many people, how big are the appetities, how many hours do you work outside the home, do you compromise on quality etc etc.

    One thing I would mention would be to try to get the bulk of your fruit and veg from Lidl and/or Aldi. It's very cheap and I have never had a problem with quality.
  • LilacPixie
    i comein at around the £50-£60 mark for 2 adults and 2 kids so I don't think you are that far off base.

    Onethinki did notice is you are making HM pizza yet also bought a cicago town one, no idea why possibly for lunches, didtto the 8 beef burgers.

    No idea about your asda but in mine the diced chicken breastis the equivilent to £9.72 a kg, chicken breast you can dice yourself are the equivilent to £7.87 a kg. If you are having a casserol could you not consider using thighs instead which come in at £3.38 a kg but include a bone. You can also get boneless skinless diced turkey thigh for £4.00 a kg which is nice done in the slowcooker.

    I personally bake bread and treat items such as flapjacks, muffins and biscuits. This cost more than it does to buy some value brand packets but then I know exactly what is in it, just personal taste but I have a *thing* about chemical preservatives.

    I shop once a month at a mainstream supermarket and the rest of the time in lidl/aldi
    MF aim 10th December 2020
    MFW 2012 no86 OP 0/2000
    • Fire Fox
    • By Fire Fox 15th Aug 09, 10:35 PM
    • 24,457 Posts
    • 28,143 Thanks
    Fire Fox
    I am perhaps not the best person to comment as I only just started the Grocery Challenge this month! But in general I find that the things that really kill my budget are meat and junk food. Meat because it is expensive and junk food because it just doesn't fill you up. I notice that the really 'hardcore' Old Stylers have smaller portions of meat and bake a lot from scratch - perhaps you already bake with your little one sometimes?

    You could replace the pizza base, batter mix with some Smartprice flour then you'd have enough for several weeks of meals and could make cakes, biscuits and other treats yourself instead of buying custard doughnuts etc. It wouldn't save money the first week, but over time I am sure the savings would add up. :confused:

    Also do you need chicken breast as well as a whole chicken? We are two adults and eat less than half the chicken and are stuffed. There is still tons of meat left on the bird for a curry (lots of veg and lentils) and a casserole (lots of veg and pearl barley). If you need extra meat for meals you might try a turkey drumstick? Buying chicken breast on it's own is quite expensive per 100g.

    A lovely alternative to flavoured yoghurt or ice creams is plain yoghurt with a handful of Smartprice raisins and a chopped apple or a sliced banana and a few chocolate sprinkles, or honey or jam etc. Obviously that doesn't work so well if you need the yoghurt portioned out to take to work!!
    Last edited by Fire Fox; 15-08-2009 at 10:37 PM.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ Trainee Rosie the Riveter.
  • clutterydrawer
    Re: yogurt....I like to get a big tub of plain yogurt and put a little brown sugar into it and some fruit if I have any...delicious! and it would work out cheaper than buying flavoured yogurts if i didn't end up scoffing half the pot at once *face of shame*
    August grocery challenge: £50
    Spent so far: £37.40
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 16th Aug 09, 6:47 AM
    • 16,654 Posts
    • 142,774 Thanks
    Practice and poverty makes excellent bedfellows . You aren't doing too bad but if you try cutting back and maybe making a weekly menu and more or less sticking to it you will find that gradually it will fall. I shop around quite a bit by looking at the prices at diffent supermarkets online and if I am near to say Aldi's on a friday when I go to college then I buy stuff there.I have always had a shopping list sitting by my kettle in the kitchen so I know when I go out exactly what I need, as opposed to what I may like. I am lucky where I live that sainbobs,& tescos are quite close. But one of my DD's shops at Afdas and Morrisons so if I want her to pick me up something thats on offer she will.
    Also never,ever go shopping when your hungry ,you will always buy more than you want for some reason.
  • clairelg88
    thanks for all your replies.

    I have an aldi quite close to me so will definately start shopping there more often!

    I think i will have a go at baking my own bread and biscuits etc, do you just buy a bread mix or do this from scratch? And how long does the bread last?

    I like the idea of getting plain yogurt and adding to that.

    The reason for buying the frozen burgers and pizza is just for convienience really. If i cooked more and froze some, what could i use to freeze say a stew in for example? As i do use my slowcooker once a week and we always have loads left that ends up going in the bin!

    To be honest i think i try and base my meals around meat too much, so does anyone have any non meat ideas?!
    • oceanspirit
    • By oceanspirit 16th Aug 09, 9:02 AM
    • 543 Posts
    • 9,307 Thanks
    Another thing to look at is how much food do you waste each week? I used to think I didn't throw away very much, but when I noted it down one week it was £11.00! Now I make sure I use up anything which is near its sell by date and freeze any leftovers if they are not going to be used immediately. ie recently I had some reduced onions and I noticed one was going soft so i made them all into soup which went into the freezer instead of leaving them and hoping for the best as I would previously have done.

    Yesterday I made risotto with some fresh peas, broccoli and asparagus which had all been reduced but I knew if I'd left the cooking until today as originally planned they would have been past their best. So although I didn't actually eat the risotto yesterday, I have saved throwing the veg away by cooking it a day earlier. I put one portion in the fridge for today and the rest went in the freezer.
    Decluttering 124/2019
    Deleting old emails 9/2019
  • rach
    don't ever bin anything!! you can freeze stuff in plastic tubs (really cheap in supermarkets or the £1 shop, or the ones you get chinese takeaway in), or even freezer bags.

    my trick is to make up a spag bol or whatever and before i serve it take half out and freeze it - which leaves us a whole extra meal for 2. if i left it in the pan we'd eat it all or maybe have one portion left!
    Mum to gorgeous baby boy born Sept 2010
    • oceanspirit
    • By oceanspirit 16th Aug 09, 9:08 AM
    • 543 Posts
    • 9,307 Thanks
    Hi again,

    I'm vegan and make risotto, lentil stew, lentil soup, thai veggie curry, ordinary veggie curry, vegetable satay, kidney bean curry, various veg soups, chilli etc etc. I also don't use tomatoes.

    You can also make shepherd's pies etc using lentils instead of meat and many OSers use lentils, grated carrot and oats to bulk out meals with a minced beef base such as spag bol so that you're not removing the meat content completely.
    Decluttering 124/2019
    Deleting old emails 9/2019
  • Olliebeak
    Don't forget that some people on here have been moneysaving/os-ing for most of their lives and have got it all down to a very fine art. You're doing very well indeed right now and could make some more savings by buying flour and making your own pizza bases/cakes/biscuits as another poster has said. It does take a little expense to get a stock of 'baking ingredients' together, but after that you only need to top up one or two items a week - certainly nothing wrong with SmartPrice(or Basics) flour, oats (mmmm Twinks !), sultanas etc. - just make sure that you can identify the difference between Plain and Self-Raising Flour (I write 'P' and 'SR' on the sides of the bags - so I can tell at a glance which is which).

    I use the large margarine tubs with lids on for freezing stews, curries, chillies soups etc. They stack very well in drawers and chest freezers.

    Make sure that you label them before freezing though - very hard to work out what's in them afterwards. OH YES - don't forget to allow them to cool properly BEFORE putting in the freezer.

    If you're going to Aldi/Lidl for your fruit/veg you may need to go very early in the day to get the real bargains. Ours have always sold out of the good bargains by late morning.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

52Posts Today

2,221Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Have a great Easter, or a chag sameach to those like me attending Passover seder tomorrow. I?m taking all of next?

  • RT @rowlyc1980: A whopping 18 days off work for only 9 days leave! I?ll have a bit of that please......thanks @MartinSLewis for your crafty?

  • RT @dinokyp: That feeling when you realise that you have 18 days of work and only used 9 days of your annual leave! Thanks @MartinSLewis h?

  • Follow Martin