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  • FIRST POST
    • InDeepDebt
    • By InDeepDebt 18th Aug 10, 12:33 PM
    • 236Posts
    • 251Thanks
    InDeepDebt
    Saving on my weekly shop
    • #1
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:33 PM
    Saving on my weekly shop 18th Aug 10 at 12:33 PM
    I keep on reading posts on here where members say that other members could cut down on their shopping budget.

    I live with my wife and two kids (7 and 9). Our budget for food is 385 for the month - this includes cleaning stuff but does not cover clothing (40). I reckon though that we spend closer to 500 a month on food. The difference is made up from the clothing budget, our sundries (25), car maintenance (20), opticians (14), etc. Also, I got a bonus earlier in the year that I put to one side and have been dipping into that to get by.

    We shop at Tesco and hear loads of people mention shopping at ALDI or LIDL to make savings. Yesterday I did the aforementioned shops and found that even some basic food items were unavailable. There's no way that I could manage a full shop there. Ended up going to Sainsbury's for the missing stuff - I did think that Sainsbury's was cheaper than Tesco though.

    I must try to keep a diary to see where our 500 shop goes but I don't see how we can get it down. I do the shop (as I spend less than the wife) and tend to buy stuff when on offer (like loo roll, dishwasher tablets, etc). I know that cleaning products in the likes of ALDI are cheaper but not by that much - the last dishwasher tablets I bought were Finish All in Ones at 5 for 45 - ALDI or LIDL had their own brand at 40 for 4 - so only a tiny saving.

    Anyone else got any shopping saving ideas or meal ideas that are cheap? Occasionally we cook up a large pot of something (usually a chilli or a spag bol) and whack that in the freezer in the garage. The wife's just frozen a ratatouille after getting a load of courgettes off a friend.

    So, is there a meal thread on here or can anyone give suggestions?

    The chilli that I make costs about 6 - 7 to make and that will make enough for two family meals. Rice is extra on top but a kilo of rice (cheaper to buy four - one kilo bags than one four kilo bag) costs 1.50 and will last for a few meals.

    Any suggestions anyone?

    Jim

    PS - whilst I will eat veggie stuff, I do prefer a bit of meat of some description.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Zorica; 03-11-2015 at 4:14 PM.
Page 1
    • bottleofred
    • By bottleofred 18th Aug 10, 12:45 PM
    • 2,876 Posts
    • 13,686 Thanks
    bottleofred
    • #2
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:45 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:45 PM
    Hi Jim,

    You will be able to find some information on how to cut down your shopping bills on the boards. As well as the advice on this, you should look to buy things that are on special offer & bogofs etc. As well as this, you should cook from scratch and batch cook larger amounts of food, which can then be frozen to be removed for meals at a later date. I'm sure other suggestions will follow soon.

    Good luck
    If you've nothing decent to say, perhaps you shouldn't say anything.

    2 savings jar 300
    Total credit card debts 1250 - Will I ever learn!!
  • kittiej
    • #3
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:51 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:51 PM
    Maybe you could ask on the old style board - they're really good over there.

    Apart from that what exactly do you buy for your 500 per month?

    I've got a family the same size as yours and I spend 150 max per month.

    hth
    Sealed pot challenge member number 18
    Karma - the consequences of ones acts.
    "It's OK to falter otherwise how will you know what success feels like?"
    1 debt v 100 days 2000
  • Geebee
    • #4
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:55 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:55 PM
    Hi Jim..

    You can check the Old style board here.... http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=33 also make sure you check the indexed collection here... http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=235198 you just find a title you like the look of and click it, it takes you to all the different stuff, recipes etc.

    GB
    If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them~Dalai Lama
    How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours~Wayne Dyer
    Let none find fault in others. Let none see omissions and commissions in others. But let one see one's own acts, done and undone~ch4 vs50
    • maman
    • By maman 18th Aug 10, 12:56 PM
    • 18,705 Posts
    • 111,701 Thanks
    maman
    • #5
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:56 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Aug 10, 12:56 PM
    Hello InDeepDebt

    I think you'll get a better response if you go to the Money Saving Old Style board. There are usually ongoing threads there about getting grocery bills down or you can ask the guides to transfer this thread.

    As a quick response: Yes, I think you can get the cost down. Yes, I agree with you that while Lidl et al are good for some things (fruit and veg especially), you'd be hard pressed to do a full shop there. Personally I find Asda the cheapest (just) and it does depend how 'time rich' you are to be able to shop around. Lastly, my OH can't stand the warning lights on the dishwasher so we buy separate tablets, salt and rinse aid from Lidl and I think it's excellent.
  • missworks2jobs
    • #6
    • 18th Aug 10, 1:01 PM
    • #6
    • 18th Aug 10, 1:01 PM
    We went to tesco after hearing how fabulous it was, and OH nearly had a heart attack at the till. He described it as the "politest mugging he's ever had". I think they're cheap for their own brand range of goods and on the special offers, but many items like cereal and toilettries we found REALLY expensive compared to say Asda or Sainsburys.

    I know what you mean about Aldi & Lidl, they do have some fab bargains but you can't get a full shop in.

    This is what we do:
    *toilettries from savers, poundland bodycare and shops like home bargains etc
    *frozen food from heron stores, farmfoods, iceland etc
    *buy all our packet food/bargains from the likes of poundland and high street bargain food shops
    *bits & pieces from Aldi & Lidl: aldi's super 6 is really good 6 varieties of fruit & veg for 59p, their cereals, bread and snack foods like crisps and salsa are really good value and they often have some bargains lurking in the freezer section, their frozen fish & deli meats & cheese are cheap and good quality, we like Lidl for cooking ingredients like flour, oil and sugar etc, Lidl also do some nice chep & cheery tinned food too.
    *any fruit & veg not from aldi comes from the local greengrocer on the weekend
    *everything else is the basics range from the supermarkets asda & sainsbury's
    *we bulk buy things like toilet rolls, washing powder & multi-packs of tinned tomatoes from the local wholesaler in giant caterers packs (my dad has a trade card)

    Its more faffy shopping around but it does save a lot of money, and you can find some exciting new buys & items you've not had for years! Because it breaks the big weekly shop into a couple of smaller trips its easier to carry (we try to walk - save the petrol/busfare) and its not such a long time to drag a whiney husband/child round on a long and tedious shop.
    Its a bit faffy
    and get the remainder of essentials from the supermarkets (buying their own brands).

    We were a bit scared by the local freezer shop - but were pleasantly surprised when we came out with 4 shopping bags (the big recycleable fold up ones) full of stuff for less than 20. Not just frozen food but even things like packet pasta, biscuits, cheese spread, multi-packs of crisps and packets of ham.

    In my experience the best thing to do is shop around and never give one place all your shopping budget, take advantage of their special offers without falling prey to the "while you're there" trap (buying other bits & pieces which will be overpriced by such a high amount that they cover the cost of the special offers - that's how the supermarkets make their money! If you only buy the stuff on special offer and only the things you need you cant be caught out.
    • InDeepDebt
    • By InDeepDebt 18th Aug 10, 1:19 PM
    • 236 Posts
    • 251 Thanks
    InDeepDebt
    • #7
    • 18th Aug 10, 1:19 PM
    • #7
    • 18th Aug 10, 1:19 PM
    Many thanks for all the advice - especially the link to the old style board. Hopefully we'll get some good recipe ideas that we can cook up, freeze and use later.

    I did try to do a spend diary but it was mainly for other stuff not covered in the weekly shop - and it also tended to get missed so we gave in after a week (done that about two or three times now).

    We are starting to use a local-ish fruit and veg shop instead of the supermarket. It's a one mile walk and the kids love getting on their bikes to go there. There's also a freezer shop close to the fruit and veg shop - will step inside there and see what I can find.

    I've got a Wilko's close to work too so will see what I can get there.

    If I can get the shop down to the budget, I will be very happy. If I can get it down to 150 - I will be delirious.

    Again, many thanks for the advice.

    Really must do a spend diary to see what I currently spend and get some targets.

    [EDIT]
    Mission for two weeks time is to have a wander at lunchtime around town to see what other bargain stores there are. I'm sure that there is a Heron foods that I went in - seem to remember that stuff was cheap.

    Can't do it this/next week as it's the family holiday. Going up to my parents for a few days and then someone's lent us their caravan.
    [/EDIT]

    Cheers

    Jim
    Last edited by InDeepDebt; 18-08-2010 at 1:23 PM.
    • Firewalker
    • By Firewalker 18th Aug 10, 1:22 PM
    • 2,680 Posts
    • 17,058 Thanks
    Firewalker
    • #8
    • 18th Aug 10, 1:22 PM
    • #8
    • 18th Aug 10, 1:22 PM
    Ahhh! Where is my long post? Try again I shall.

    Hi Jim,

    we have reduced our food budget substantially and this is how we did it:

    1) We strated shopping in Aldi - my advice would be to go back and go with open mind. Many people have decided that Aldi is cr*p and this is what they see. However, the fruit and veg is good, the cut meats are probably among the best in town and the frozen sea food is a pleasant surprise on all counts. Jams are also good and so are some cereals.
    2) Meat of all varieties is bought wholesale from COSTCO - wholesale is not my birth right but I have close firends who taught me well. It is cheaper and the qaulity is extremely high.
    3) We do buy things in the local small shops as well. Compromising quality is not in it - food is important.
    4) We have meal plans - we have weekly menus and buy for what we are to cook rather than the other way around. this way we stopped throwing away loads of what we buy.
    5) We cook soups - tasty, cheap and a good way to get vegetables in little people.

    Currently we spend 240 for three grown ups and a 9 1/2 years old boy. This includes all food except Little Boy's school lunches.

    Firewalker
    • SJ1
    • By SJ1 18th Aug 10, 6:05 PM
    • 267 Posts
    • 1,021 Thanks
    SJ1
    • #9
    • 18th Aug 10, 6:05 PM
    • #9
    • 18th Aug 10, 6:05 PM
    What if you don't have a Lidl or Aldi near you. I live in the South East and here it's Tesco's, Sains or a much longer drive to Morrisons/Asda.

    Can you still cut? Really interested in your meal plans for the week. Mine is as follows and I spend approx 100 a week although I do buy fruit juice for the kids which can be v expensive.

    Mon - roast chick, potatoes, broccoli and carrots
    Tue - baked potatoes (I had tinned tuna but hubby had prawns)
    Wed - home made spag bol and pasta
    Thur - Omelettes with bacon, mushrooms and onions and veg
    Fri - Carbonara
    Sat - Sausages, beans and chips
    Sun - possibly roast again. Haven't bought this one yet.

    Lunches tend to be bread and ham/cheese/left over chicken/chicken noodle soup made with stock from chicken. For puds we have fruit - pears, bananas and apples with greek yog sometimes, yogs for kids bought on special and a cake made by me. I include all cleaning products, loo roll, drinks but no alcohol as we rarely buy and if we do we buy from a warehouse place where it is much cheaper. Where am I going wrong?? Any ideas gratefully received. This is for two adults two children.

    SJ
  • alexandrajf
    I keep on reading posts on here where members say that other members could cut down on their shopping budget.

    I live with my wife and two kids (7 and 9). Our budget for food is 385 for the month - this includes cleaning stuff but does not cover clothing (40). I reckon though that we spend closer to 500 a month on food. The difference is made up from the clothing budget, our sundries (25), car maintenance (20), opticians (14), etc. Also, I got a bonus earlier in the year that I put to one side and have been dipping into that to get by.

    We shop at Tesco and hear loads of people mention shopping at ALDI or LIDL to make savings. Yesterday I did the aforementioned shops and found that even some basic food items were unavailable. There's no way that I could manage a full shop there. Ended up going to Sainsbury's for the missing stuff - I did think that Sainsbury's was cheaper than Tesco though.

    I must try to keep a diary to see where our 500 shop goes but I don't see how we can get it down. I do the shop (as I spend less than the wife) and tend to buy stuff when on offer (like loo roll, dishwasher tablets, etc). I know that cleaning products in the likes of ALDI are cheaper but not by that much - the last dishwasher tablets I bought were Finish All in Ones at 5 for 45 - ALDI or LIDL had their own brand at 40 for 4 - so only a tiny saving.

    Anyone else got any shopping saving ideas or meal ideas that are cheap? Occasionally we cook up a large pot of something (usually a chilli or a spag bol) and whack that in the freezer in the garage. The wife's just frozen a ratatouille after getting a load of courgettes off a friend.

    So, is there a meal thread on here or can anyone give suggestions?

    The chilli that I make costs about 6 - 7 to make and that will make enough for two family meals. Rice is extra on top but a kilo of rice (cheaper to buy four - one kilo bags than one four kilo bag) costs 1.50 and will last for a few meals.

    Any suggestions anyone?

    Jim

    PS - whilst I will eat veggie stuff, I do prefer a bit of meat of some description.
    Originally posted by InDeepDebt
    I highly recommend this book for making your own cleaning products EASILY and simply, without any weird ingredients:

    Self Sufficiency Household Cleaning by Rachelle Strauss

    Rather than buy the book, you can also look up recipes free online by googling 'make your own natural cleaning products'. It will save you a lot of money. you won't have to buy things like dishwasher tabs, bathroom and kitchen sprays, floor cleaner. I still use regular laundry soap because I prefer it. But all those other cleaners I used to buy... gone.

    I do not buy toiletries at the same place I buy my food. I have found a LOT of toiletries are cheaper at Boots by a few p at least. Boots also has a loyalty card with points given, AND they often have things on offer such as 3 for 2, 1 shampoo and body wash, all sorts of things. I save money buying my toiletries there instead of at the regular grocery store. The only exception is if I am at Tesco and see something I want on a good offer. I only buy toiletries on offer now. I saved 16 last month just from that one change. and I have a lot of Boots points now.

    Do you have a slow cooker? Argos has them cheap. Not only do they free up time, but they are great to make cheap soups and chili. Same for a steamer. You can get a cheap food steamer at Argos and throw chicken and vegetables in at the same time. Push a button and walk away. That saves on buying any precooked chicken or ready meals.


    Take advantage of the Tesco delivery service or Sainsburys service if you want your groceries delivered and don't want to drive to the store. They do charge a few pounds delivery. But I have found that when I shop online, I see exactly where my money is going AND I do not make impulse buys. It more than makes up for the delivery charge. It also saves loads of time and effort. When you physically go to the store, you pick up things you 'forgot' you wanted (that you probably don't actually need). At least I did.
    "A man should be upright, not be kept upright." -Marcus Aurelius
  • alexandrajf
    What if you don't have a Lidl or Aldi near you. I live in the South East and here it's Tesco's, Sains or a much longer drive to Morrisons/Asda.

    Can you still cut? Really interested in your meal plans for the week. Mine is as follows and I spend approx 100 a week although I do buy fruit juice for the kids which can be v expensive.

    Mon - roast chick, potatoes, broccoli and carrots
    Tue - baked potatoes (I had tinned tuna but hubby had prawns)
    Wed - home made spag bol and pasta
    Thur - Omelettes with bacon, mushrooms and onions and veg
    Fri - Carbonara
    Sat - Sausages, beans and chips
    Sun - possibly roast again. Haven't bought this one yet.

    Lunches tend to be bread and ham/cheese/left over chicken/chicken noodle soup made with stock from chicken. For puds we have fruit - pears, bananas and apples with greek yog sometimes, yogs for kids bought on special and a cake made by me. I include all cleaning products, loo roll, drinks but no alcohol as we rarely buy and if we do we buy from a warehouse place where it is much cheaper. Where am I going wrong?? Any ideas gratefully received. This is for two adults two children.

    SJ
    Originally posted by SJ1
    have you tried powdered juice drinks? bottled juice is not that much healthier than powdered. if you are getting cartons then yes it's healthier. but the bottles are usually highly processed with more sugar than juice. at that point there's no reason to get bottled.

    tesco has a range of carton juices that are quite often 3 for 5 and they are very nutritious. they have a lot of flavors. When I was a nanny, the mother asked me to water the juice down to 2 parts juice and 1 part cold water when giving it to the kids. not only does the juice last longer, but it's better for them because it's not so much sugar. you pour it in the glass before watering it down of course.
    "A man should be upright, not be kept upright." -Marcus Aurelius
    • Ames
    • By Ames 18th Aug 10, 6:47 PM
    • 17,693 Posts
    • 31,273 Thanks
    Ames
    I'd say use a slow cooker, they're fantastic and you can get gorgeous meals from cheap cuts of meat.

    Also, bulk things like chilli and bolognese out with lentils or even oats, it'll go a lot further without a change in taste.

    SJ1, fruit juice has a high sugar content, it's healthier to dilute it with water, that'll save you a bit.

    Some people find that shopping online helps, you aren't tempted by the offers, or by stuff you suddenly fancy when you see it.
    Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
    • InDeepDebt
    • By InDeepDebt 18th Aug 10, 7:22 PM
    • 236 Posts
    • 251 Thanks
    InDeepDebt
    Many thanks for all the additional posts.

    Been trawling through the Old Style MoneySaving thread and will be using some of the recipes on there.

    As mentioned earlier, we are away for the next 10 days but will be money saving from two fronts when we get back. First is to try to cook from scratch more and to freeze away. We do have a slow cooker which we use occasionally - probably twice a month one month, but then not at all the next. We've also got a steamer (10 basic jobbie) which we use often.

    We do rely on convenience foods slightly. For example, fish fingers, chips and peas are a regular for a school night. We usually get the fish fingers and chips when on offer (aren't they always). Will see if a freezer shop will save here - even though we intend to cut down on these type of foods.

    I'll have to work out our exact spend for a month now and post back later to show how we're doing. Hopefully a lot better than now.

    Jim
    • YORKSHIRELASS
    • By YORKSHIRELASS 18th Aug 10, 8:10 PM
    • 4,621 Posts
    • 38,707 Thanks
    YORKSHIRELASS
    Hi Jim

    We cut our food bill down from about 450 a month to about 300 (we have two kids 9 and 11 so similar age to yours). I have tried to get it lower but having done this for about a year I know 300 a month is about right for us. The 300 includes everything, food, packed lunches, toiletries, cleaning etc. We could do better if we ate vegetarian more often but I am never going to convince the rest of the family on that.

    You have to be quite determined to do this and be quite open minded about buying cheaper brands. Personally I find the less often I shop the less I spend. I get 2 big online Tesco deliveries a month and try and do without non-essential things in between. Be very wary about offers, they are designed to get you to spend more money and I find I do better actually ignoring them most of the time.

    I have also dramatically cut my spending on cleaning products. A lot of cleaning products are expensive and unnecessary, hot soapy water and a bit of elbow grease is perfectly adequate a lot of the time. I do use bleach sparingly as well.

    Oh and meal planning is essential. You need to know every morning what you are having for tea that night and everyone in the family needs to eat the same. This does make a real difference.

    Good luck, I would suggest trying to get your spending down in stages, see if you can reduce it by 50 a month rather than trying to do it all in one go.
    • SJ1
    • By SJ1 18th Aug 10, 8:52 PM
    • 267 Posts
    • 1,021 Thanks
    SJ1
    Thanks for the posts. I don't dilute it, have tried it but my kids are used to the stronger taste and have spotted it! I have just bought more squash so we can have a mix, i.e. squash at lunch and juice at dinner.

    I don't have a slow cooker. Funny I was discussing this with someone on this with someone else on this site recently. She had said it was handy but you have to put it on in the morning and I leave at 7am most mornings to get to work so just not going to fit that in. Do love stews though, might look at it for Fri when I leave kids off and weekends.

    Also I have a v small freezer so wondering if it's worth buying a small one to fit under the stairs - no room in the kitchen. At mo my very small over the top of the fridge, reezer has two loaves of bread, fish fingers and smileys and peas for kids for emergencies, ice cubes and 4 ice lollies and that is about all that fits in it!

    Do buy online but do feel that you miss out on offers sometimes this way. Went into Sains on way home and they were doing half price fairy dish tabs, toilet rolls, buy two save about 3 and buy one get one free on shower gel. Would have missed those online I think as its harder to spot.

    Is it mysupermarket that lists the deals?

    SJ
    • MrsTinks
    • By MrsTinks 18th Aug 10, 9:10 PM
    • 14,994 Posts
    • 23,044 Thanks
    MrsTinks
    SJ1 - slowcooker - you could get one of those timers you'd use for holiday lights and plug the slow cooker in that. Prepare it all the night before and put in the fridge. Take it out when you get up and ready it all but set the timer for in a couple of hours time as you shouldn't put the cold "inner" on the heating element. Alternatively mix it all and put in a bowl. Pour in the room temp "inner" and turn on when you leave at 7 am

    Def worth trying to get a small freezer

    Can you save without Aldi and Lidl? Oh goodness yes!

    You say on the monday you had roast chicken? Ok... When we have roast chicken I can always get 3 meals out of it... how I hear you say? Well... it's a rubber chicken... I stretch it!

    And this is how: Monday - roast chicken - give everyone minutely less meat than normal - they'll never notice if you dish it up without showing them Tuesday - chicken curry. Pick all the remnant bits of chicken of the carcass - you'll be amazed at just how much meat there is hiding about the bones that normally get missed. Wednesday - Chicken soup. Use the bones, make sure there is no skin as this will make it look grubby and bung the bones in the slowcooker with a good mix of veg (onion, carrot, celery, spud, parsnip, you name it) and serve with some home made dumplings.
    So that chuckchuck has now seen you through 3 days. The veg for the roast can be saved in the fridge and used in the soup and curry if you do a bit more than normal and then all you really need is some rice for the curry and bread for the soup and flour and herbs and butter for the dumplings.
    DFW Nerd #025
    DFW no more! Officially debt free 2017 - now joining the MFW's!

    My DFW Diary - blah- mildly funny stuff about my journey
    • SJ1
    • By SJ1 18th Aug 10, 9:27 PM
    • 267 Posts
    • 1,021 Thanks
    SJ1
    Hi MrsTine

    I managed two with the chicken noodle soup tonight, hubby was v hungry as missed lunch and had that and spag bol as well! Enough of the spag left over so froze that. I do sometimes do a pie or chicken and asparagus risotto which cooks in the oven and is pretty cheap to make. Like the idea for the slow cooker to put ingredients in the fridge. Think that might be worth a go. Hadn't considered doing a stock in the slow cooker, that would be good as tired sometimes to do this.

    Thanks for the hints!

    SJ
  • kittiej
    Do you actually shop a month at a time or weekly?

    I shop once a month - 100.00 and then use the 50 to 'top up'. Admittedly I start at ASDA, then to Lidl's and finish in Farmfoods. I get other bits and bobs from B&M.
    Sealed pot challenge member number 18
    Karma - the consequences of ones acts.
    "It's OK to falter otherwise how will you know what success feels like?"
    1 debt v 100 days 2000
    • maman
    • By maman 18th Aug 10, 11:51 PM
    • 18,705 Posts
    • 111,701 Thanks
    maman
    Just a few thoughts:
    • Cheapest juice I'm aware of is Farmfoods (59p a litre) and Asda Smartprice which is a bit less (I think 57p).
    • I'd definitely get a slow cooker. Crockpot is about 13 in Robert Dyas at the moment. I use mine mainly for batch cooking, boiling gammon and making soup but I still think it's well worth it.
    • DEFINITELY get another freezer. Frozen veg is very healthy, economical and easy. I bought frozen sliced leeks today for 1 a kg. Fresh is almost twice that price and I don't have to clean them and there's no waste. Plus, of course, HM ready meals.
    • try HM potato wedges instead of chips. Potatoes are cheap enough and wedges much healthier.
  • crisispoint914
    I get robinsons no added sugar cordial from home and bargain it is 59p or two for 1 (just the standard size bottle). I also get Pepsi there 79p (2 litres)
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