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Monday, 17 March 2014

My 5 week shopping planner.

I live on the tightest food budget imaginable. Managing the food and necessities in this house has become a military operation which i do actually enjoy doing. I have rediscovered a love of cooking. Gone are the days of smartprice pies and mash because that's all we could afford. Or not eating a meal most days so the girls would eat! Our budget hasn't got any better. We are still clinging onto the breadline for dear life, but my shopping habits have changed. Our food has more colour, more flavour and most importantly more variety. It does come with a price. There is no room for mistakes, no leway for its just a treat or look at this offer, ill grab 2 packs. The girls do still get biscuits and sweet treats but if the money isn't there, the answer is simply a no. Yes i feel guilty but my girls need to know money does not grow on trees and no matter how amazing their mum is.. i simply can not pull a £10 note out my pocket to buy them things all the time.

Before i continue, i have to mention that we do not eat very fancy meals. I make the best with what i have. The meals i make are pretty much the same each week, maybe a few differences, but if anything they may give some ideas as all meals are cost effective.



Planning
  • Its important to plan your meals when budgeting, especially if budgeting for a few weeks in advance. Open your recipe books, look on the net or ask around for some cheap filling meals you can make. Write down any that take your fancy then work from there. 
  • Go and look around your cupboards/freezer and on a separate list write down anything you are running low and write down whats in your cupboards. Because i plan for 5 weeks ahead, i know my cupboards will be nearly empty as i buy what i need for those 5 weeks. Remember to include toiletries and pet foods if including them in your shopping budget. 
  • Work out what ingredients are needed per meal. A big part of my budgeting comes from knowing how much of a specific item i need for the whole month. Tinned tomatoes for example are a staple cupboard ingredient in my house. We eat tinned toms for breakfast, the majority of sauces i make with tomatoes and i know i use roughly 20 tins a month. 
Tips
  • I have never paid full price for bread/rolls/finger rolls or fish. All large supermarkets reduce their bread down to half price or if you go late enough to 10p a loaf. I buy what i need for the week and freeze it. Fish is something most people will not buy reduced. However if frozen on the day its perfectly fine (check it first and use your judgement) As it is just me who eats fish, i can go into Tesco at around 7pm (after the counter has closed) and fish from the counter will be reduced down. I usually buy haddock, cod fillets and sometimes plaice for around 70p a piece. 
  • If your happy to shop for reduced items. Fresh fruit and veg goes down to 10p-50p in my local large Tesco at around 7.30pm. I will normally buy punnets of strawberry's, bags of loose bananas and grapes around this time for less than nothing. I freeze strawberries and grapes and bananas do not last long enough in my house to ripen and go mushy. 
  • The same applies to reduced vegetables. I have always brought fresh and frozen them at a fraction of the cost i would pay if i just picked up from the shelf. 
  • A joint of meat will often go further than you think. For my family -2 adults, 2 children- a large chicken could go over 4 meals (3 dinners 1 lunch) 1 large pack of mince will go over 2 meals if bulked out with veg. If I'm having company this differs but its rare i have folk over for dinner.
  • Around big events- mothers day, Christmas. Large usually expensive joints of meat are on offer. After this period has ended these joints will get knocked down by half the price. I usually buy legs of lamb which usually retail at £15+ for £7. 2 years ago i brought 3 turkey crowns in January which were priced at £30 for £8 each. I portioned these up and had at least 20 meals. If that sounds like too much effort then its worth giving yourself the option to maybe buy those joints when they are cheaper. From experience, supermarkets stock up on Lamb, pork and beef for mothers day. In the week after these joints will need to be sold so they reduce the price. It varies from store to store. After Christmas, all those posh Christmas only joints, retailing at £10 usually get knocked down to £5 if not sold by the end of January to make room for the normal years frozen food. 
  • Make use of the cheaper deliveries if doing an online shop. I have mine delivered between 10pm-11pm and it costs me £1. They usually arrive earlier because they want to finish their shifts. 
  • I'm heavily into my vouchers and discount codes which is where a big part of my budgeting comes from. Search online for discount codes if doing an online shop or consider using some coupons to make the extra treats more budget friendly. 
Week 1 


Week 2 


Week 3 


Week 4


Week 5 

Total food cost for 5 weeks - £139.23.

I shop in Tesco. It costs me £8 to get me and the kids into town to go to aldi/lidl/farmfoods meaning i make no saving, otherwise id shop there. You may well find some products cheaper if you shop elsewhere. I buy mostly value brands unless there is a fantastic offer going on. Due to the time i can go shopping i buy reduced bread, fish and fruit and veg.

I have a 20 ish budget for milk, butter, cat food and cat litter (included in total cost). Then i have a £30 allowance for if i need to buy any washing stuff or cleaning stuff and need anything extra. (not included in total cost) I actually went over budget a little this month but i won £20 on a scratchcard so used that to top my shopping up :D

Think ill be abit more adventurous next month and pop some lamb on the menu. :D

4 comments:

  1. id love to have your military precision when it comes to meal time, I just pick whatever falls out the freezer or make spaghetti lol

    ReplyDelete

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