I don’t know about you, but I feel we spend a lot on consumables here, or more specifically, food. Now, I know we need food!, but I have started to more closely analyse our expenditure in this area, and I’m working on a five-pronged attack to reduce the bills. Here’s what I’m trying:
Doing it Weekly!
The first clue was in the title! I used to do a main shop fortnightly on-line, and then pop and do a top-up shop every other week – milk, fruit, bread – that sort of thing. The problem with this, was that the ‘top-up’ shop would invariably also have me just grab another few things while I was there, and before I knew it the ‘top-up’ was another £50! By moving it to weekly, I don’t over order in the first place as I know it only needs to last us a week, and I no longer need to pop to the shops to buy extras.
As you’ll have gathered from my point above, my food shopping is done on my PC, or on an app on my phone if I’m out and about. It’s delivered when Little Man is napping, and Boo is either happily engaged elsewhere, or she gives me a hand getting it in. And that’s it, job done. No wasting an hour or two of my life every week walking round a supermarket with two children in tow, however well-behaved they are, and to be fair, mine are normally OK when we’re out and about. But why put ourselves through it?! I know loads of my friends who just prefer to go and get everything themselves so they can see what they’re buying, but these are also the people telling me there aren’t enough hours in the day – so why waste them shopping?!! Each to their own…! Anyway, as well as doing it this way as it suits our lifestyle, I also find it’s cheaper, as I don’t grab things I don’t need, I can clearly see the amount I’m spending, and I will go back after I’ve finished and take items off the list if it takes me over budget. I know what I need, and I don’t have that ‘oh, do we need more…’, as I just pop up off my chair and go and check in the cupboard. I use Tesco, as I’ve written about my love for their Clubcard rewards, and I have their delivery saver plan, which reduces my delivery costs. I then always do my shopping via My Supermarket. This makes suggestions to you for buying alternative items for less money. Sometimes this will be a trade down to everyday value range, and sometimes it will be a brand that has a current offer on. Either way, it gives you an option to save some money, has all the main supermarkets on there (along with other shops for other purchases), and is easy to shop through as you can import your favourites from your normal shop anyway.
I’ve started to plan! If you read my post on the love I have for my weekly planner, you’ll know that I now incorporate meal planning when I’m organising myself, and enjoy using various other blogs as inspiration. This makes me feel more organised daily, and means that I simply look at my meal plan and know what I need to order each week. No more randomly buying up offers or grabbing bits and bobs in case we fancy eating that this week. I have a plan, so I have a list, and I stick to it. At the start of this, I also took on the challenge of using up our existing food, both frozen and in cupboards, which was fun to do, felt very thrifty and considerably reduced that week’s shopping!
Yep, I now cook. We’ve dramatically reduced our takeaways and ‘freezer food’ meals, partly due to budget, partly due to wanting to be more healthy, and very much due to Little Man being BLW and eating his meals with us, so I wanted to ensure they were cooked by me, with no salt and few ‘added extras’ that might not be good for him. This has been wins all round for all of the above reasons. And I’m enjoying it. I now have a Pinterest food board, several cookbooks that are actually utilised and my repertoire is growing each week.
The most difficult one of all! No more Ben & Jerrys on a weekly basis (sobs silently while typing), and when we have gone for a tub of ice cream if it’s on offer, we’ve actually shared it. Times are a-changing here! This one has been one we’ve been meaning to do for a while, as it had become a habit that after the children were tucked up in bed, we’d sit down, look at each other, and say ‘what snack shall we have?’ Now, we do have our dinner pretty early here – usually 5pm, which I know is ridiculously early to some people! The husband comes home from work at 4.45, so it works for us, as it means we can all sit down to a meal as a family, which is something that I really value. It does mean we’re feeling a tad peckish come 8ish, though..! But now, if we are, we go for cheaper and less calorific options – toast, bagels, home-baked cakes, a couple of biscuits. Yes, I know these cost too, and are hardly ‘good’ for us, but they’re cheaper and better than a big pack of Maltesers or tube of Pringles, so celebrate these small victories with us, please 😉
Now, I am aware that if I went out to Aldi, for example, I could probably shave more money off, and then the 99p shop for various toiletries and cleaning conducts and such-like. I do know this and do occasionally do this. I like Aldi’s range, the fruit is very reasonably priced and the nappies are brilliant – I’d highly recommend them. But, as with most things I do, I like to balance the food thriftiness with time and stress-levels, and so I’m sticking with the on-line shopping for now, though maybe when the children are at school, that’ll be a new step…
We have reduced our bills, and we are eating better food now as a family. I’d like to shave another £10 off each week, and we still spend a huge amount on fruit, and I’d actually like to buy more (my children are prolific fruit-eaters!), so I’d be very interested to hear about other tips that I can try, and it’d be nice to know whether these tips have been useful for you?