When we first moved out, our shopping habits were totally different. We’d buy around a fortnight’s worth of stuff in one go, purchase nice (but unnecessary) products, and spend just short of £100 each time.
When you break it down, that isn’t too bad. The ONS (Office of National Statistics) shows the average household spends £56.80 per week on a shopping. So £100 for two weeks, feeding two adults everyday and a child on weekends and including non-food household items (cleaning, toilet roll, etc.), is pretty good.
But, for us, it wasn’t good enough. We were struggling. Money was tighter than ever and neither of us could afford the £100 hit.
We made cutbacks, stayed home a lot and got a credit card to help us out, but still we were skint.
I’ve always been in charge of the shopping and knew had to start making some serious savings on our food shop.
Nowadays we shop weekly, and limit ourselves to £25 per week. That still feeds two adults and one child on weekends, provides three meals a day, and includes lots of fresh, home-cooked food. It’s not always easy to squeeze it all in, but we’ve managed for about a year and really noticed the difference. Now, we…
- Mostly stick to cheap supermarket and value brands.
- Aways use price comparison sites beforehand to find the lowest cost items.
- Jot down meal plans a week in advance to limit impulse buys.
- Think of low-cost ingredients for multiple meals – lentils and tortilla wraps feed us for several lunches and dinners in the list below, for example.
- Cut out “luxuries” – things that can be swapped for cheaper alternatives or just lived without altogether – which includes orange juice, chocolate biscuits and grapes. Yes, we really do consider these things luxury products!
One of the biggest changes was to also remove meat from our list entirely. We started by cutting down but realised we didn’t need meat; that money could be much better spent. It cut costs drastically, but also resulted in my boyfriend becoming a vegetarian. It’s been a full-on lifestyle change in many ways.
Just to prove that it can be done, and to perhaps give you some ideas if you’re looking to cut back on food shop spending, I’ve listed one week’s meal plans and the exact shopping list that accompanied it below.
WEEKLY MEAL PLAN
Lunch: Sandwiches, snack, fruit, cereal bars
Dinner: Cheese and spring onion crisp bakes, new potatoes, salad
(shopping list – bread, fruit, savoury snack, cereal bars, frozen crisp bakes, new potatoes, salad)
Lunch: Noodle snack pot
Dinner: Lentil and vegetable curry
(shopping list – noodle snack pots, lentils, onion, chopped tomato, mushroom, peppers; already have stock cubes and rice for the curry)
Lunch: Leftover lentil curry
Dinner: Pasta with onion and mushroom in a tomato sauce
(shopping list – pasta, onion, mushroom, passata)
Lunch: Leftover pasta
Dinner: Sweet chilli halloumi, pepper and salad wraps
(shopping list – tortilla wraps, sweet chilli sauce, halloumi cheese, pepper, salad)
Lunch: Leftover wraps
Dinner: Lentil bolognese
(shopping list – lentils, chopped tomato, onion, mushroom, spaghetti, cheese)
Lunch: Beans on toast
Dinner: Tortilla pizzas with veggie toppings and side salad
(shopping list – baked beans, bread, cheese, tortilla wraps, passata, mozzarella, mushroom, pepper)
Dinner: Bean, chickpea and pepper stew
(shopping list – soup, kidney beans, chickpeas, pepper, chopped tomatoes)
FRUIT & VEG
ASDA Farm Store Apples (500g) – 59p
ASDA Chosen by Kids Easy Peelers (500g) – 89p
ASDA Fine Cut Salad (230g) – 65p
ASDA Farm Store Brown Onions (1kg) – 75p
ASDA Grower’s Selection Cooking Peppers (700g) – £1.45
ASDA Farm Store White Mushrooms (250g) – 54p
ASDA Grower’s Selection Baby Potatoes (1kg) – 80p
ASDA Grated Mild Mozzarella (250g) – £1.77 (2 for £3)
ASDA Half Fat Mature Grated British Cheese (250g) – £1.77 (2 for £3)
ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Fruit Yogurts (x6) – 54p
ASDA 30% Less Fat Halloumi (225g) – £1.66
ASDA Medium Sliced Wholemeal Bread (800g) – 55p
ASDA White & Wheat Tortillas (x8) – 89p
ASDA Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce, Reduced Sugar & Salt (x4) – 98p
ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g, x3) – 84p (28p each)
ASDA Smartprice Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g) – 30p
ASDA Lentil Soup (400g) – 45p
ASDA Spicy Tomato Soup (400g) – 45p
ASDA Chickpeas in Water (400g) – 33p
ASDA Smartprice Chocolate & Nut Muesli Bars (x6) – 70p
ASDA Wholewheat Penne (500g) – 45p
ASDA Wholewheat Spaghetti (500g) – 45p
ASDA Smartprice Passata (500g, x2) – 70p (35p each)
ASDA Dried Red Lentils (500g) – £1.15
Batchelors Super Noodles Chicken (75g) – 50p
Batchelors Super Noodles Sweet Chilli (75g) – 50p
ASDA Sweet Chilli Sauce (200ml) – £1
ASDA BBQ Rice Cakes (125g) – 85p
ASDA Smartprice Instant Coffee Granules (100g) – 74p
ASDA Smartprice Teabags (x40) – 39p
ASDS Smartprice Apple & Blackcurrant Squash Double Strength with No Added Sugar (750ml) – 38p
ASDA Smartprice Soya UHT Unsweetened (1l, x2) – £1.18 (59p each)
ASDA Vegetarian Cheese & Spring Onion Crispbakes (2x) – £1
(Original list included tinned new potatoes for 59p but these were unavailable so swapped for a bag of baby potatoes)