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What am I doing wrong?!

(80 Posts)
TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 17:44:41

I want to cry, stamp my feet, and shout. Todays Aldi shop came to £100, then the bits we can't get at Aldi came to £37 in Asda. We will need £5-10 worth of fresh fruit, salad items and bread midweek also.

I just added up the previous 2 weeks shopping bills. It averaged £200! I can't justify this cost! It's insane!

We have 2 adults, one 12 year old, and a 1 year old. 1 year old is on a dairy/soya free diet. Cat and large dog also.

I'm guessing it doesn't help that me and DP have been doing slimming world for a year. So we sometimes have to get the more expensive non aldi item such as frylight, which there is no alternative for at Aldi. Add to that the seperate toddler food we often have to do as low fat meals which aren't dairy free just aren't suitable for him. Older DS eats the same meals as us however.

I'm happy to spend £110 a week. £100 main shop, £10 top up. So, any advice?

We meal plan, take a list and completely stick to list by the way.

treaclesoda Sun 04-May-14 17:49:48

Could you give a rough idea of your meal plan?

Do you tend to buy too much and end up throwing stuff out?

We're a family of four and we're keen cooks and our cupboards are bulging (I have a tendency to shop like I'm expecting for the zombie apocalypse blush). I shop in Tescos and honestly, and I would struggle to actually spend £200 in a week. That's not to kick you when you're down, but just to say that cutting back hopefully shouldn't result in you feeling that there is no food in the house.

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 18:22:01

Yes, I think we do buy too much. Too much fresh veg anyway. We go through all the fruit by midweek.

I've suggested to DP that we do the shop on a sunday as usual, then on a wednesday when we get the fruit etc, we get the rest of the weeks veg for meals too. So that way, we can evaluate the veg cupboard midweek, and know what needs using. Will give that a go next week.

The fridge is usually empty, so not too much waste going on there.

This weeks meal plan:

SW chicken 'fahitas'. This is basically chicken, mushrooms and peppers in cajun spice, with some shredded lettuce, salsa and some homemade potato wedges.

SW 'fry up' consisting of grilled tomatoes, 'fried' mushrooms 'fried egg' and bacon with wholemeal toast.

SW chips, beans and quorn low fat sausages - these are syn free on the plan rather than other sausage which has a 'syn value'.

Potato topped chicken and spinach pie with roasted root veg (carrots, parsnip and sweet potato).

Veggie chilli with homemade wedges. (Usually do rice, but I've got potatoes to use up from previous meals).

Baked potatoes with chicken breast fillets and salad.

SW salt and pepper chicken with rice.

Lunches are usually our healthy extra of bread (wholemeal) and I have poached or fried egg, or soft boiled eggs. Occasionally do bacon and tomatoes with them. DP makes sandwiches from sliced lean meats, or egg mayo.

This week I am on night shifts, so will make a soup to take for the middle of the night. I also take hard boiled eggs, pickled onions, cucumber sticks or similar to snack on. (This is my 'lunch'.)

DS1 takes packed lunch to school - sandwich, 2 pieces of fruit, yogurt, crisps and breadsticks.

I know people will mention the amount of chicken above - but this is the only meat I eat other than bacon. And I dislike the cheaper stuff like thighs/drumsticks etc. I've tried. I was veggie for years and eat chicken as a compromise to make cooking for the family easier. I use veggie mince and sausage in meals containing the meat versions.

We do cook pasta a lot, and lentil dishes, this is just this weeks plan. It's a bit more chicken heavy as we have a pack to use up. We use 3 breasts per meal when cooking.

treaclesoda Sun 04-May-14 19:17:06

Hmm. That lot won't come to £200. So do you think there is something else? Throwing stuff into the trolley on the way round just because it looks like a good buy?

Does that figure include toiletries, toilet roll, kitchen roll, bin bags etc?

Clutterbugsmum Sun 04-May-14 20:00:11

I agree treaclesoda, What else are you buying. I only spend £100 if I buy meat for 5.

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 21:26:03

No, no extra things are added to the trolley, nothing on offer etc. It doesn't matter if me or DP does the shop, we get the same basics every week, the things that change are the meals, and then the nappies/wipes, cleaning products, kitchen products, bathroom products. We are both very strict at sticking to list.

I'm not sure how on earth we managed to spend £200 the last 2 weeks. I went through our bank statements, and added up any money that was spent in a supermarket. I did notice lots of small amounts for £5-10 which I think is DP. Buying extra shit food instead of taking lunch. We've had words, he is trying to deny it, but I'm sure that is what it is. Our regular shops are between £120-150. I didn't think we were spending any more than that. But clearly it has been. I could go further back in the bank statements to see trends, but I'm just going to take the last 2 weeks as a starter, and go from there.

This is todays Aldi shop (brand names used, but aldis own bought).

Shampoo x1
Eggs x3 boxes (of 10)
Bread x1
Crumpets x1
Bananas x2 packs
Apples x1 pack
Tangerines x1 pack
Grapes x1 black x1 green
Weetabix x1
Jaffa cakes x2
Cucumber x1
Cherry tomatoes x1
Sliced lean meats x2
Bacon x1
Frozen pizza x1
Fat free greek yogurts x2
Tinned spaghetti x1
Frozen steam veg x1
Pickled onions x1
Sweetner x1
Cupshotz x3
Pasta x1
Tinned sweetcorn x3 pack
Toilet roll
Kitchen wipes x2
Onions x1 pack
Celery x1
Garlic x1 pack
Vegetable stock x1 box
Tinned tomatoes x4
Crisps x1 pack
Frozen chips x1 bag
Peanut butter x1
Melon x1
4 pack of baked potatoes
Chicken breast fillets x2 1kg
Red onion x1 pack
Cream cheese (low fat) x1
Carrots x1 bag
Parsnips x1 bag
Spinach x1 bag
Sweet potato x1 bag
Mushrooms x2 packs
Tomatoes x1 pack
Spring onions x3 bunches
Chillis x2 packs
Potatoes x3 bags
Peppers x2 packs
Quorn mince x1
Kidney beans x1
Chilli mix pack x1

This came to £100, then the extras in Asda included 2x frylight, 3x oat milk, dry shampoo, 4x pepsi max, kit kats, organix oat bars, deodorant, bin bags (aldi's are shit!), 3 pack of Cadbury caramels, muller lights x 4.

treaclesoda Sun 04-May-14 21:48:02

Sorry, I'm stumped! I thought I'd maybe see your list and think 'oh, that's where the money goes' but it all sounds fairly standard. Although I suppose some of the items you are buying quite a lot of, like the eggs. But even so...no, sorry, I can't think of anything.

treaclesoda Sun 04-May-14 21:49:11

Sorry, I'm stumped! I thought I'd maybe see your list and think 'oh, that's where the money goes' but it all sounds fairly standard. Although I suppose some of the items you are buying quite a lot of, like the eggs. But even so...no, sorry, I can't think of anything.

Evening Detective <waves>

Nothing much to add except quite a few of the Brooklea yogurts are the same as Muller. Made in the same factory so maybe try their version of Muller light. <taps nose>

crockydoodle Sun 04-May-14 22:14:46

Are all the vegetables and fruit you buy pre packed? They are often cheaper if bought loose.

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 22:18:14

Fatima <waves back> that's what pisses me right off! The brooklea are synned on bloody SW! GRRR! It's like 1.5 syns for the vanilla, which is free if you have the muller light!

We do get the FF greek style one's in the 4 pack though, which are free! But I like to mix the ML one's with fruit, the greek one's are too thick for it!

Anyway, I'm going to blame all this on DP. And kick his ass for buying shit to eat when he's at work. Grrrr.

Treacle yes, we do buy a lot of eggs, we use between 20-30 a week. I regularly have them for lunch, cook with them (we use egg white to coat the potato wedges for example) and the toddler is an egg fan too! Eggs are definitely a staple in this house!

I think we eat a lot of potatoes too. hmm

I feel sad that we are spending so much, in an effort to be healthy! We used to spend £100-£110 and we were both 4 stone heavier. Clearly healthier eating IS NOT CHEAP!

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 22:19:09

Crocky, Aldi only sells prepacked stuff. It works out cheaper to get from Aldi still.

We've tried a couple of grocers, and there wasn't much in it price wise, Aldi generally comes out the cheapest.

treaclesoda Sun 04-May-14 22:22:14

Well, this is off topic but egg white to coat the potato wedges you say? That sounds intriguing! Does it make them extra crispy? Or is instead of using oil or something?

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 22:28:05

Yes, it makes them crispy! I use a bit of frylight on them too, although the recipe I have doesn't say to use it, I put a bit on the tin foil to stop sticking!

I always use it now - wouldn't go back to without!

I also use 2/3 eggs instead of butter and milk in mash. Although that's quite a common thing in the older generation I believe! I didn't know until we tried SW!

myron Sun 04-May-14 22:31:26

Potatoes x 3 bags
Sweet potato x 1 bag
4 baked potatoes

Do you really get through this many potatoes in one week? If the answer is yes, you need to buy it from a farm - by the sack!

Do you go through 30/45 eggs a week? If you do, you need to source/buy it by the tray and get it cheaper!

Buy one whole chicken instead - give the thighs, wings and drumsticks to the kids! There are some household items that aren't weekly buys e.g toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, shampoo, garlic, stock cubes, sweetener, etc.

I shop at aldi and would buy most of your list - no quorn, sweetener, chicken breast or packet soup/mixes. I find it hard to spend over £80 unless I bought alcohol and items from the central aisle!

You need to meal plan before food shopping - that would help.

jobobpip08 Sun 04-May-14 22:36:50

No help re food, but I use baking parchment to line baking trays with rather than foil. I have not yet found a food that sticks to it. (Greaseproof paper on the other hand disintegrates when cooked so don't use that).

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 22:38:38

We do meal plan before shopping smile I do it at home, in front of the kitchen so I know what we have in already.

I'll look in to the potatoes/egg thing, and see how much cheaper I could get them.

We do go through a lot of potatoes, yup! We make roasties/wedges/chips/mash 4-5 times a week, for 4 of us. We use 2/3rds of a bag of potatoes at least. So I think we go through 3 bags for sure.

One whole chicken would surely work out far more expensive? And not have enough meat I would think? I will ask DP. He understands chickens and stuff, I try not to think about it too much!

Usually our Aldi shop is around £80-90, and Asda anything from £30-60, depending on what we have run out of. It was the fact it came to £100 today that prompted me to check what we have been spending.

noseymcposey Sun 04-May-14 22:41:36

Agree that £100 is about right for that amount of shopping but that is quite a substantial amount of food for 1 week!

I noticed the large number of eggs and potatos too. So none of the things that you are buying are particularly expensive, there just appears to be a lot of it. Agree meal planning must help with this.

When I'm good and meal plan properly I spend substantially less.

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 22:41:52

What is the different between baking parchment and greaseproof paper? And is baking parchment more expensive than tin foil? I get 30m for £1.99.

ClashCityRocker Sun 04-May-14 22:48:33

Chicken seems to have gone quite expensive,particularly fillets. We've started going to farmfoods and their 1kg bags are £3.95.

Are you managing to eat all that veg before it goes off? If not, could you get frozen veg which is often a lot cheaper and of course, will keep for longer.

We spend about £150 per month including top-up shops for two adults at a mixture of farmfoods and tescos. I'm not doing slimming world but am on a healthy eating kick so convenience foods have gone.

Do you plan your meals and write a list?

I agree, see if you can get eggs by the tray. Also might be worth looking at butchers to see if you can get a better deal on chicken breasts. One near my dps house does freezer packs of 5kg of chicken fillets for £20.

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 22:49:08

Hmmmm. Maybe I am meal planning wrong.

I try to plan to use up what we have in.

I have to consider who is working and what hours they are working when meal planning.

For example this week I am working monday, tuesday, wednesday night, and sunday late shift. DP is working tuesday 11am-7pm, friday 11.30am-3pm and saturday 8am-6pm.

So tuesday has to be a quick easy tea as I have to get up from my night shift, get the toddler, get home, get tea made while supervising him, give him his tea, get him ready for bed, put him to bed, get ready for work, then eat tea at 7.30pm when DP gets in. Before going off to work at 8.25pm.

Sunday I am on a late shift, so DP has to cook tea - and we have it at 10pm when I get home. The children eat something quick - soft boiled eggs, or pasta and sauce etc in the evening, but DP cooks for the 2 of us when I'm home.

It's all a PITA to be honest. We do eat a lot - I'll admit we have big appetites. We are both still a little overweight, but still losing weight.

There has to be a better way!

ClashCityRocker Sun 04-May-14 22:49:31

Sorry x-post.

TheDetective Sun 04-May-14 22:51:54

We do get frozen veg, but that's mainly for the children, as I prefer fresh stuff. We don't eat all the veg before it goes off, so I'm going to try getting it twice a week to avoid any waste. Most of the veg does last the full week though.

Scotmum83 Sun 04-May-14 23:06:37

Maybe you could try cooking larger amounts of things like chilli, chicken pie etc and have over two nights or freeze half. Noticed you have a different meal each night. Could cut the cost a bit and means cooking less too smile

noseymcposey Sun 04-May-14 23:26:29

Also how about in a week, going back over your receipt from today and seeing what didn't get used (i.e. what's still in your cupboard, and also what was chucked) so you can work out what you could have hypothetically spent?

Might give you an idea of whether you need to spend as much as you do.

If you find everything has been used then you know there's not a lot you can do!

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