If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you’ll know that I actually started off as a weaning and food account. That was short lived though because Henry took to food so well and he was really easy to get off the milk. That’s when I changed direction and headed more towards parenting and lifestyle. But one of the questions I was asked a lot was about the food shop and how I kept the cost so low. Back then, I could do our weekly shopping for less than £35.
Obviously a lot has changed since then, we’ve moved house and added another mouth to feed so my shopping isn’t quite that low now but I do still try and stick to a budget. I’m going to be sharing with you how I plan and shop our meals and hopefully it’ll help some of you be a bit stricter with your budgets.
I won’t do a food shop which costs any more than about £60. At the beginning of the month, I’ll stock up on the household essentials such as toilet roll, laundry detergents and cleaning products which obviously works out as a bit more but cuts costs later on in the month when money is a little tighter. I get paid every week and that is enough for us to live on for a week, discounting any of Gareth’s wage. I’ll see how much I’ve been given (it’s entirely dependant on how much I write!) and then I’ll sit down and see what meals I want to cook. As much as I’m into body positivity and accepting your body shape no matter your size, I also love cooking meals from scratch. This week, I chose 6 meals which I’m making myself and one freezer dinner which just makes life a lot easier for me. I sat down with my three favourite cookbooks at the moment which are Bosh!, Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients and Tom Kerridge’s Lose Weight For Good. I ended up deciding on 2 meals from each which worked out nicely.
Once I’d decided what we were going to eat this week, I raided our cupboards to see which spices and tinned staples I already had. One of the biggest ways I cut costs is not overbuying. If I need chopped tomatoes but I already have a tin or two, why do I need to buy more? A while ago, I made a list of the spices I had and the cupboard staples to save me having to rummage around in my cupboards every week. They’re not the biggest anyway and keeping the shopping to a minimum also stops me feeling claustrophobic!
The next thing I do (as you can probably see in an above photo) is I’ll use the supermarket’s app and do an online shopping list. I could just order it online but I like the boys getting used to going shopping and it’s also a great learning experience for them too. The list on the app shows me how much it’s all going to cost and it also saves me scanning the shelves and prices for the cheapest option. It also reduces unnecessary waste by eliminating a paper list. While going around the shop, I’ll stick to the list and will very rarely deviate from what I’ve chosen. Yesterday wasn’t one of those days though as Henry wanted some jam tarts and I found some reusable straws (only £2.50 in Asda). I’ll also go to more than one supermarket if I have to. Tesco is round the corner from me and their deals on vegetarian frozen food was better than Asda, as was their 3 for £5 on chilled Quorn which we need for lunches and things.
I don’t have the Tesco receipt (the boys like playing with them) but I know I spent £10.99 in there. 3 for £4 on their own range frozen vegetarian food, 3 for £5 on chilled Quorn, their picnic eggs were also on offer for £1 and so were Sensations crisps for 99p. Having enough snacks in the house is important for cutting costs too as it stops me going out and doing a top up shop later on in the week and buying more unnecessary food.
In total over the two shops, I spent £55.21. Later on in the week, I might need to top up on milk or nappies but the majority of my food shopping is done until next Wednesday.
What do you do to try and cut down your shopping costs? Or do you prefer quality over cost? Let me know!