Author Topic: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?  (Read 3084 times)

StiffUpperLip

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UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« on: February 08, 2017, 09:41:50 AM »
We're getting a handle on meal planning and shopping (mostly) at Aldi but January spend of 355.40 is still sitting high.

We're a family of two adults,  a four year old and a (very hungry) 20month old.  Both adults working and doing our best to take leftovers for lunch every day.

Care to share your best tips on saving on groceries in the UK?

PJ

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2017, 09:56:00 AM »
(No advice, I'm in Canada, but well done for posting for specific help in this area!  Shows you took our advice in the other thread to heart!  You might think of adding some details about what kind of diet you keep to - vegetarian, paleo, organic, or do you eat a lot of processed food, etc.)

swick

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2017, 10:14:18 AM »
For the UK, "Jamie's Money Saving Meals" (Jamie Oliver) Is a book, and I think there are some TV episodes you might be able to find online? is a really good resource. He takes the basic idea of "The Sunday Roast" and provides recipes for that and then the rest of the chapter is devoted for different ways of turning the roast leftovers into new meals to eat throughout the week.

So a chicken roast and what to make from it, as well as a salmon, pork, beef etc.

There are also lots of tips sprinkled throughout to help shop better, cut down on food waste, little hints and tricks for making house pickles and saving herbs and what to keep your freezer stocked with.

cerat0n1a

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2017, 12:02:43 PM »
355 is way lower than ours (2 adults + 2 hungry late teens) so not taking my own advice, but check out Jack Monroe's cookingonabootstrap.com website. She had a lot of stuff published in the Guardian in the past and a daily mirror series about feeding a family of 4 for 9 per head per week and a lot of interesting recipes.

https://cookingonabootstrap.com/2015/11/11/feed-a-family-of-4-for-less-than-9week-me-for-the-daily-mirror/

MrsPB

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2017, 03:14:56 PM »
Watch the show Eat Well for Less!

kiwigirls

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2017, 03:23:58 PM »
Check out http://www.shoestringcottage.com She cooks for a family and keeps food costs low

MMMaybe

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2017, 03:08:52 AM »
UK supermarkets are fairly liberal with discounts on food, which is close to the use by date. You can save a lot on meat, if you buy it and freeze it (or use immediately).

Eating in season can be a bit boring at this time of year but it works out cheaper than expensive imports.

Less processed foods and more home cooking saves money.

Otherwise, online shopping can be helpful in keeping you out of the supermarket and impulse buyng. You can use the My Supermarket website to compare prices across different supermarkets.

Laura33

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2017, 09:00:34 AM »
I don't know about the UK, but the basic principles are always about planning an appropriate menu to re-use everything, cooking from scratch and avoiding most boxes/partially-made stuff, planning the menu around what is cheapest (which is usually what is in season), and making expensive ingredients the "treat"/accent vs. the core of the meal.

I am also working at getting grocery spend back under control, and it's not hard, it just takes discipline.  Every Sunday, I have to plan out all of the meals based on what is cheap, thinking through how I can re-use the same basic ingredients in different ways (my DH detests leftovers, so I have to make it look like something different most of the time).  Then I have to cook or partially cook much of what I buy so we are set up for the week.  So e.g., I grill up a mess of chicken, peppers, and onions on Sunday for fajitas; then I eat the leftovers every morning in omelets, and I have at least one other family meal of quesadillas from that as well.  Last week it was chili, which served twice by itself, twice as a hot dog topper when we needed a quick dinner, and made a lovely base for some eggs this morning to boot (and we still have several meals' worth left, which we will actually eat because DH is out of town).  All from about $8 worth of meat, $1 can of tomatoes, $1 beans, and maybe another $1 in onions and other veg -- oh, and a beer.  So under $15 easily.  But it does take time, and thought, and avoiding the temptation of that super "thing" that looks tempting in the store but isn't on the list.

The hardest part has honestly been being realistic about what we will eat and avoiding waste.  I am notorious for buying lots of greens and planning healthy salads.  But the problem is I don't actually like salad very much, so they sit in the fridge until they rot.  Or sometimes I plan to cook four nights, but then we have so much left that I never cook one of the meals and it hangs over until the next week, when the produce is starting to look dodgy.  So I am re-training myself to buy less up front and focus on using it all up, supplementing from the freezer/pantry if I run short. 

PJ

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2017, 12:43:40 PM »
The hardest part has honestly been being realistic about what we will eat and avoiding waste.  I am notorious for buying lots of greens and planning healthy salads.  But the problem is I don't actually like salad very much, so they sit in the fridge until they rot.  Or sometimes I plan to cook four nights, but then we have so much left that I never cook one of the meals and it hangs over until the next week, when the produce is starting to look dodgy.  So I am re-training myself to buy less up front and focus on using it all up, supplementing from the freezer/pantry if I run short. 

I don't remember who it was, or in what grocery shopping/budget thread it was, but someone pointed out that there are several basic ways to reduce food costs (I think they listed 4 things - I may not have it exactly right though):

1.  Change what you buy (choose cheaper options)
2.  Change where you buy it (shop at discount supermarkets, or farmer's markets, or direct from the producer - YMMV depending on what's local to you)
3. Change how you shop (price match, coupons, rebates, etc)
4.  Waste less (buy the right amount for what you need, and make sure you use it in time, and use all the parts - eat the beet leaves, as well as the beets, and the stems on the broccoli, and if you eat meat, use the turkey giblets and neck, and make stock with the carcass)

Again, I'm not sure that I have got these categories exactly right.  I wish that I'd bookmarked the post, or put it into the "Best post you read today" thread, because it was such a great simple summary of what we're all getting at when we post in these grocery budget threads!

Personally, I've done well at where I shop, and how I shop.  As much as I'm able, I do couponing (though not extreme couponing) and price-matching, and my costs are pretty low for food.  But they could be lower, because I'm awful about wasting food, always having too much on hand and often having to throw out food that I just didn't get to in time.  I'm doing a re-set right now, along with others, by joining the "Eat All the Food in Your House" thread in the "Throw Down the Gauntlet" section.  If this is your problem too, please feel to come over and join us there!  There's also a "Rein in the Grocery Budget" thread going, where you'll also find other ideas and support.

StiffUpperLip

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2017, 02:46:37 PM »
Thanks for all your help everyone!  I'm too tired to quote each piece if great advice business pulled some new recipes from the website suggestions for trial next week and bookmarked for future reference.

My first moves were to shop at Aldi (mostly) and move to meal planning to cut out some of the waste. We're doing more cooking from scratch but will admit to too many frozen 'staples' creeping in e g. fish fingers due mostly to me being weak in giving in to the preferences of kids/hubby and a stressful few weeks at work.  I did find good deals on them though, they're just not the healthiest!

I've never been much for coupons as I never find they're for the things I want to buy, e.g. staples, meat, vegetables, and I suppose I haven't got the habit yet of looking out for them but maybe an area to look at once I've got the menu and waste sorted.

Thanks again, will let you know if February turns out better :-)


Laura33

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2017, 03:12:54 PM »
Thanks for all your help everyone!  I'm too tired to quote each piece if great advice business pulled some new recipes from the website suggestions for trial next week and bookmarked for future reference.

My first moves were to shop at Aldi (mostly) and move to meal planning to cut out some of the waste. We're doing more cooking from scratch but will admit to too many frozen 'staples' creeping in e g. fish fingers due mostly to me being weak in giving in to the preferences of kids/hubby and a stressful few weeks at work.  I did find good deals on them though, they're just not the healthiest!

I've never been much for coupons as I never find they're for the things I want to buy, e.g. staples, meat, vegetables, and I suppose I haven't got the habit yet of looking out for them but maybe an area to look at once I've got the menu and waste sorted.

Thanks again, will let you know if February turns out better :-)

FWIW:  I have had great success at Aldi's, but you can't just assume everything is a great deal -- first time I went, chicken breasts were $1.49/lb, the next time they were like $1 more!  But they always, always have *some* things that are completely awesome deals.  So as you continue to shop, look for those sorts of patterns and adjust your plans to what happens to be the screaming deal that week, and you will save ridiculous amounts of money.

Laura33

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2017, 03:14:12 PM »
I'm doing a re-set right now, along with others, by joining the "Eat All the Food in Your House" thread in the "Throw Down the Gauntlet" section.  If this is your problem too, please feel to come over and join us there!  There's also a "Rein in the Grocery Budget" thread going, where you'll also find other ideas and support.

PJ -- thank you for this!  This is my current personal focus, so I am definitely going to check out those threads.

Hafnia

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2017, 11:19:58 AM »
For a family your size your grocery spend is not bad.

I suggest you take a look at the forum at MSE (moneysavingexpert) if you want some inspiration on how to get your grocery spending a bit more down and get some uk advice. The primary focus on MSE is different from the focus of people on the boards of MMM, but I find both forums to be inspiring.

The old style board have monthly grocery challenges. Take a look and you will find lots of links to old treads and recipes. I also love the tread ' whats your charity shop bargain of the week ' as its proof that you can find almost anything at a bargain price.

The people on the mortgage free wannabe board might inspire you too.

StiffUpperLip

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2017, 02:26:34 PM »
I suggest you take a look at the forum at MSE (moneysavingexpert) if you want some inspiration on how to get your grocery spending a bit more down and get some uk advice. The primary focus on MSE is different from the focus of people on the boards of MMM, but I find both forums to be inspiring.

Thanks for the tip,  I'll check it out.

Del Griffith

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Re: UK Mustachians - help a newbie with groceries spending?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2017, 07:32:07 AM »
You can try incorporating a day or two each week where you hold off on serving meat (i.e., Meatless Mondays) to cut some costs, since that is usually the expensive part of your meal. Also, when I am looking for inspiration for meals, I like to browse Pinterest for ideas. On the app, they have different search prompts and one that always comes up for me is 'budget recipes.' This can be a great way to get exposure to different inexpensive meals I wouldn't have otherwise ever came up with on my own. As others have mentioned, meal planning is key and allows you to plans multiple meals around fewer ingredients. I also find having a well stocked spice cabinet gives me more options as well. Good luck!