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  • FIRST POST
    • Norfolk_Jim
    • By Norfolk_Jim 11th Sep 12, 5:15 PM
    • 1,209Posts
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    Norfolk_Jim
    How DO YOU feed a family on <250?
    • #1
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:15 PM
    How DO YOU feed a family on <250? 11th Sep 12 at 5:15 PM
    I keep seeing these posts where people say how they feed their large family on like 200 or 250 a month and I can't help but wonder how you do it?
    I know it says get on over the Old Time board. I've been there, theres a lot of posts and some are 100's of pages long with the info in there "Somewhere".
    My family groceries spend is 60pw for 2 adults, 2 Teens and 2 dogs and thats for food and anything else that would come from a supermarket (Shampoo, razors, toothpaste deodorant etc) and I never manage to stay in budget - so I can't help but wonder where I'm going wrong.
    Do you like live on beans and lentils? Porridge? 11p ASDA noodles or what? I find it a struggle, in fact I just can't manage to come in on budget now the kids are teens though I used to well enough. Prices go up. Wages don't, but if others can then I ought to be able to too.
    I got a good cook book at the charity shop this weekend and theres some ideas in there and on the web
    Any threads I should concentrate on?

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    Last edited by Former MSE Debs; 18-09-2012 at 3:06 PM.
Page 1
    • wyebird
    • By wyebird 11th Sep 12, 5:31 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 945 Thanks
    wyebird
    • #2
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:31 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:31 PM
    Hi Jim

    These two have been started recently so are up to date with prices etc

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4148389


    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4084527
    • wyebird
    • By wyebird 11th Sep 12, 5:33 PM
    • 742 Posts
    • 945 Thanks
    wyebird
    • #3
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:33 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:33 PM
    And this is weezls famous site

    http://www.cheap-family-recipes.org.uk/
  • noahs1
    • #4
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:37 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:37 PM
    Jim - also visit supermarket when they are reducing items. My local tesco reduces items to 10p on a Friday and saturday night so you can pick up good food items then
    • dktreesea
    • By dktreesea 11th Sep 12, 5:40 PM
    • 5,552 Posts
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    dktreesea
    • #5
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:40 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Sep 12, 5:40 PM
    60 a week for four people, two dogs and with toiletries and cleaning things thrown in?! I think you are doing pretty well. Our budget for supermarket shopping for the four of us (also two adults and two teens), and no animals, is 20 a day. And meat, which we buy directly from the butchers, is on top of that.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 11th Sep 12, 6:11 PM
    • 17,026 Posts
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    FBaby
    • #6
    • 11th Sep 12, 6:11 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Sep 12, 6:11 PM
    You have to take account how much you spend on alcohol as that clearly can make a big difference. Whether you include lunch meals in it too, how much meat you eat, how much you cook from scatch etc...
    • antonic
    • By antonic 11th Sep 12, 7:39 PM
    • 1,812 Posts
    • 2,655 Thanks
    antonic
    • #7
    • 11th Sep 12, 7:39 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Sep 12, 7:39 PM
    I`m single and feed myself on approx 100/mth.

    I am also an expert shopper in Asda in the Oops aisle & chilled cabinet as well as an expert buyer of BOGOF`s.

    This will all end in 3 months time though ! (see my sig for details)..
    LBM Sept 2005 spoke to Payplan - brilliant !
    Dec 2005 debt 21.959.64 + HBOS Int 1769.32
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    • Norfolk_Jim
    • By Norfolk_Jim 11th Sep 12, 8:32 PM
    • 1,209 Posts
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    Norfolk_Jim
    • #8
    • 11th Sep 12, 8:32 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Sep 12, 8:32 PM
    You have to take account how much you spend on alcohol as that clearly can make a big difference. Whether you include lunch meals in it too, how much meat you eat, how much you cook from scatch etc...
    Originally posted by FBaby
    Usually nothing on alcohol. Sometimes 1 or 2 on cider. I take lunch to work, sandwich, pretty plain fare as I'm diabetic, but it was never fancy. I don't smoke so nothing on that either.

    As for reduced things, yes I lurk around the reduced aisle and can do well, but it is a bit down to luck as to who get there first. I do hang about while they reduce stuff but I do get a little tired of the dirty looks and feeling like a vulcher. I'm not that proud, if it feeds the kids and if needs must - but it's a bit hit and miss and there is competition.
    Sometimes theres lots reduced, often theres not.

    Meat - I try to buy little and what i do buy I use in recipes that stretch it out. What would have done me alone 3-4 years ago I now make go around us all with the use of rice, pasta and curry but I'm still seriously impressed at the claims here - It's not like vegetables are inexpensive any more.

    Thank for the leads folks
    • happy_bunny
    • By happy_bunny 11th Sep 12, 8:43 PM
    • 4,480 Posts
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    happy_bunny
    • #9
    • 11th Sep 12, 8:43 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Sep 12, 8:43 PM
    In the summer. Grow stuff. Dirt cheap and doesnt take long. Easy cheap stuff:
    Lettuce
    Spring onions
    Tomatoes
    Basil
    Coriander
    Oregano
    Rosemary
    Thyme
    Courgettes
    Radishes
    Strawberries

    I focus on the stuff that costs a lot and doesn't taste as good when bought.
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 11th Sep 12, 9:12 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    quintwins
    I'm confused, you say you can't understand how you feed a family on less than 250 yet you do it, unless you mean your aim is 60 but your always way over?

    My budget is 200 i have 3 young kids and 2 dogs, milk and fruit take up a huge chunk of my budget, our dogs get a rather fancy complete dry food that we get direct and buy in bulk with family members which makes it cheaper than supermarket brands.
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 11th Sep 12, 11:09 PM
    • 5,900 Posts
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    Takeaway_Addict
    Quintwins- The op does say they never stay in budget in their first post
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 12th Sep 12, 9:10 AM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    quintwins
    Quintwins- The op does say they never stay in budget in their first post
    Originally posted by Takeaway_Addict
    Yes but they could easily go over by 10-15 a week and still come in under 250.
    DFW 7632/28996 26.3%
    • FireWyrm
    • By FireWyrm 12th Sep 12, 10:05 AM
    • 6,422 Posts
    • 12,150 Thanks
    FireWyrm
    I was managing on between 120 - 150 per month for two adults, two children and 3 cats. I've recently increased this to a positively comfortable 200 a month for the same number of humans plus two more cats.

    I can understand your scepticism, but its more to do with mindset than actually having some secret formula.

    1) You have meal plans. I know week by week exactly what is to be consumed so I buy that and only that. I dont do BOGOF unless it is either a non-perishable, or its something I was going to buy anyway.

    2) Know where you are being ripped off. Do you buy tesco 'ready meals'? You know, the ones in the tray that you just have to bung in the oven. Usually, its a chicken breast wrapped in something or with a sauce? Did you know you could make that, from scratch in under 20 minutes for a fraction of the cost? Lasagne is another absolute rip off. I saw one in the frozen isle the other day for 4.50 and it was billed as 'family size'. Did you know, lasagne is easy as chips to make and costs about 2.50 for enough to make two meals feeding 4 people each time? How is the frozen version value for money?

    3) Buy books. Learn to cook. We've all been raised on the idea that shop bought somehow tastes better or is easier...its not. If you want consistently nutritious, easy to knock up and cheap food, learn to cook Chinese, Indian and Thai. Leave the heavy roasts and dense meats for the weekend.

    4) Use vegitables to bulk out. I use 1lb of meat per day for 4 people. Its what I buy and all that is available. You dont need classical english dishes daily. Go veggie one day a week for instance.

    5) Buy bulk and split. I buy bulk meat once a month and I split it into portions. I usually buy towards the end of the day from the local market and I get very good deals for paying in cash and taking lots of his remaining stock. Often, I get odd stuff thrown in simply because he'd have to chuck it anyway.

    6) Shop in the early morning or late at evening on a Sunday. All the mark-downs are there. Be quick, there are others with the same idea as you.

    7) Ditch large supermarkets. Since I stopped frequenting the green one, I've literally halved my food bill right there. I used to spend 350 a month easily and then put 'incidentals' on top of that! By shifting to no-frills shops, I save hundreds a month. Swallow your pride and look around an Aldi carpark....what do you see? Clapped out bangers, or BMW's? I can tell you, an informal poll of a local carpark on a Satuday morning from the window of a MaccyD opened my eyes to the type of people going to these shops. More to the point, is the quality of produce the same as what you are used to? The answer is, by the way, yes, and in some cases, better even.

    8) Source your eggs from local farm shops. Not quite as cheap as a supermarket, but then the hens are better cared for. Personally, its worth the additional pennies.

    9) Dont buy cakes and things, buy flour and ingredients. You may ask, who has the time, but its actually propoganda perpetuated by the supermarkets who have a vested interest in selling you the idea that you are time poor. You really arnt.

    10) Buy from the local Chinese cash and carry. You'll find plenty in there and many people willing to translate for you. Oh, and it's a quarter of the price for double the quantity.
    Debt Free! Long road, but we did it
    Meet my best friend : YNAB (you need a budget)
    My other best friend is a filofax.
    Do or do not, there is no try....Yoda.

    [/COLOR]
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 12th Sep 12, 10:30 AM
    • 7,043 Posts
    • 41,568 Thanks
    determined new ms
    I`m single and feed myself on approx 100/mth.

    I am also an expert shopper in Asda in the Oops aisle & chilled cabinet as well as an expert buyer of BOGOF`s.

    This will all end in 3 months time though ! (see my sig for details)..
    Originally posted by antonic
    I have just spent 104 on food for a month for 3 adults (one 18yr old) but as another poster said this did not include any alcohol. If we wanted that it had to come out of our own pockets. Its amazing how we only drank once or twice a week then!

    What I did was a number of things - including heavily shopping for reduced stickered items and changing meal plans accordingly. Going to the supermarket specifically for yellow stickered items and if they didn't have any/weren't really good bargains or wouldn't be used I left empty handed.

    Having a soup and bread night once a week (you can throw in a sponge desert as well!)

    using up items in the cupboard, using approved foods. Addiding lentils and veg to any meal to reduce meat.

    Making sure I don't waste anything. So my friend gave me some hm veg she wasn't going to use. Out of this I made some roasted veg, got some hummous and for lunches for the last week we have had pitta, hummous, roasted veg and lettuce (must say am very glad to have a egg mayo wrap today as I am sick of it after a whole week!), courgette soup which was dinner for 1 night and my lunch for a few days, and a moussaka.

    Toilettries go to the shop, buy the things you use when on offer, know the regular prices for these items so you know when they are a bargain and when its just clever marketing.Try lidl/aldi washing powder, washing up liquid, try soapnuts. I liked them and you can do a trial for I think 70p. Look out for coupons

    DON'T THROW ANY FOOD AWAY!!!! Keep an eye on your fridge and cupboard, everyday until you get in the habit. Almost everything you can freeze, vegs you can make into soups and sauces and freeze.

    bake your own cakes and biscuits while the oven is n for something else.

    Look on mysupermarket.com to see what is on offer where and what is cheaper in say sains/asda

    Try the butcher vans on the market - you can get some good items there.

    I hope this is helpful. I think its a process that you get better at with time, effort and experience.
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling 2017 3016.55/Roadkill 8.73
    Wombling 2018 145.73/RK 0.04
    • HeadAboveWater
    • By HeadAboveWater 12th Sep 12, 10:42 AM
    • 3,892 Posts
    • 9,344 Thanks
    HeadAboveWater
    6) Shop in the early morning or late at evening on a Sunday. All the mark-downs are there. Be quick, there are others with the same idea as you.
    Originally posted by FireWyrm
    Definitely!! I posted this on my diary this morning actually!! And we'd do that kinda shop any day of the week, not just Sunday.

    We're 2 adults and 3 girls, and we'd manage on about 150ish a month. For us, reduced is the way to go!!

    We make 5 rounds of sandwiches for lunches every day That's not counting toast for breakfast or supper if they're wanting that too!! If we were buying bread at full price that'd be 5 a week minimum. Whereas reduced shopping we'll get the bread for between 10p and 25p usually.

    We NEVER buy ready meals. Waste of money and they taste horrible. And we can make the same meal, far tastier, for a fraction of the cost.

    Me and OH often laugh coz we're commenting on how we're 'eating like royalty' for pennies
    Wealth is what you're left with when all your money runs out
    • poppasmurf_bewdley
    • By poppasmurf_bewdley 12th Sep 12, 10:49 AM
    • 5,308 Posts
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    poppasmurf_bewdley
    Don't buy toiletries, etc from the supermarkets.

    Go to the Poundshop or Wilkinsons where you will find everything for the bathroom and kitchen at much lower prices than Tesco, etc. Wilko also have many own label items which are much cheaper than their leading brand prices.

    Iceland is also much cheaper for frozen foods than the big supermarkets, but you have to be careful as some items are not good value.
    "There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe a 'Princess Coronation' locomotive in full cry. We shall never see their like again". O S Nock
    • FireWyrm
    • By FireWyrm 12th Sep 12, 10:56 AM
    • 6,422 Posts
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    FireWyrm

    We make 5 rounds of sandwiches for lunches every day That's not counting toast for breakfast or supper if they're wanting that too!! If we were buying bread at full price that'd be 5 a week minimum. Whereas reduced shopping we'll get the bread for between 10p and 25p usually.
    Originally posted by HeadAboveWater
    And 1.5Kg of strong flour is 68p. You get 3 loaves of bread out of that. A decent breadmaker is about 30. Assuming you're like my family, bread should be made at night at is sufficiently cool to be used in the morning. You know what went into it, it doesnt revert to it's 'dough-like' state if you squeeze it and no-one cut the flour with cellulose to keep it cheap. You can then swap olive oil for butter to make it cheaper.

    Good bread, wholesome, nutritious, easy and cheap.

    With regard to alcahol. I brew wine and beer routinely now. I havnt bought a bottle from the shop in months. Brewing is so easy and I have two Demi-Johns on the go right now plus 40 pints of beer which will be ready on Saturday.

    As the others have said, buy toiletries from cheaper shops but my experience of bleach is not to bother. However, one of the biggest spends I've seen in supermarkets is the likes of Vanish for washing and tablets for dishwashers. Look on Ebay for something called VWP instead. It knocks vanish into a cocked hat and I've not needed to buy dishwasher tablets in ages. VWP is about a 1 per 100g and doubles as a general purpose sterilising solution for many purposes.
    Last edited by FireWyrm; 12-09-2012 at 11:02 AM.
    Debt Free! Long road, but we did it
    Meet my best friend : YNAB (you need a budget)
    My other best friend is a filofax.
    Do or do not, there is no try....Yoda.

    [/COLOR]
    • YORKSHIRELASS
    • By YORKSHIRELASS 12th Sep 12, 11:09 AM
    • 4,623 Posts
    • 38,727 Thanks
    YORKSHIRELASS
    I spend 300 a month on grocery shopping for two adults, two older kids and a dog. This includes all toiletries, laundry products etc. I could do it for less if I really had to but this figure is about right for us. We do eat meat every day and that is not going to change but I know that makes a difference.

    Mealplanning is essential for me and thats what really brought my monthly grocery bill down from 400+ a month. I only buy what I need.

    I also have the principle of "I wont buy it if I can make it myself". Although I do buy some shop bought bread for convenience!

    Nothing is ever ever wasted in this house. Even small portions of leftovers are frozen to be combined together later on.

    We are limited by living in a very rural area so this cuts down your buying choices. I like shopping online and getting it delivered because I know what the final total is going to be and I am less tempted by the so called special offers.

    My advice if you dont already do it would be to start mealplanning. It really focuses your mind but it does take a bit of practice to get it right.
    • Norfolk_Jim
    • By Norfolk_Jim 12th Sep 12, 1:07 PM
    • 1,209 Posts
    • 1,121 Thanks
    Norfolk_Jim
    Thats all great advice and tips, thanks. Much of this I already do but I still find myself running out of food budget before I run out of month, so those of you who can manage this have my admiration.
    One thing I want to try and get a handle on is batch cooking as Mrs Jim isn't a good cook and I have limited time, so doing batch cooking at the weekend would be a good skill to aquire. Thanks to all.
    • CarolynCh
    • By CarolynCh 12th Sep 12, 2:20 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 32 Thanks
    CarolynCh
    I have just spent 104 on food for a month for 3 adults (one 18yr old) but as another poster said this did not include any alcohol. If we wanted that it had to come out of our own pockets. Its amazing how we only drank once or twice a week then!
    Originally posted by determined new ms
    I would say apply the same principle to soft drinks too - cans (or bottles) of fizzy drink can be very expensive - don't add to the shopping trolley and members of the household can buy their own if they want it - drink water instead - much cheaper and healthier too!
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