Shopping on a budget.

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I did my weekly shopping today. It came to £43 for 4 of us for the week (barring 4-5 extra for milk bread and little bits that we run out of midweek). When I work it out, that works out at £1.50 per person per day. I thought that I would share my tips, as I only changed my shopping habits by reading tips/ advice online when I realised that the money I had just didn’t cover the money I was spending.

1. My number one tip is to consider where you shop. I have changed from morissons to aldi. Every 4th week I go to morissons for washing power and toiletries (my baby has eczema and so I stick to what I have always used). This has reduced my shopping bill loads, and I find the quality really good, especially for fresh food.

2. Cut out what you don’t need. I used to buy loads of fruit weekly – as well as apples! bananas and oranges I would buy loads of different berries in summer! peaches – all sorts of extras that were on offer, but added up. Now I buy cheap packs of apples, satsumas and bananas. Other than that I buy one extra fruit – this could be grapes, strawberries or blueberries. But I don’t buy everything. It makes a difference.

3. Go for cheaper versions. I’ve experimented with most products. I find most absolutely fine. Budget biscuits for example I find the same as the expensive ones. And tinned tomatoes, I buy the cheapest bread (47p for a loaf of whole meal). The only thing I don’t compromise on is tuna (I don’t know why really), beans, washing powder, and certain cereals as we didn’t like cheaper versions. However, having said that we mostly only eat porridge, weetabix or cornflakes. I used to buy loads of cereals every week, but now only buy them every 2-3 weeks.

4. Work out ways to get more for your money. With meat, I try to double up to freeze half. I made sweet and sour chicken last night, and bulked it up with onion, peppers and mushrooms then froze half. Or with mince/ sausages I double and freeze. Two meals from meat makes much better value!

5. Have meat free nights. I used to be better at this, but Craig does miss meat when I reduce it. However, once or twice a week we have pasta (tonight we had courgette and pancetta pasta – almost meat free!) or beans / egg on toast. The other nights I try to find better value meat that is the best quality I can afford. I find the Aldi meat very good – at morissons I really struggled to get meat cheap enough to fit my budget.

6. Take your time. When changing your budget, take your time to shop. And don’t be afraid to put things back! I used to spend ages picking things up out of habit, then really thinking about if I needed that thing. And putting it back again.

7. Meal plan. I tend to have a rough plan, rather than an exact one.

8. Don’t bulk buy. Don’t be tempted by offers unless you use it anyway. Don’t get sucked in by advertising, and don’t think that stocking up makes it cheaper down the line – it never does. I buy what I need, use it and only buy more when it’s gone, the less you have, the further you make it go. And it makes you use everything, creating less waste. I hate throwing food away, and now I don’t throw much away at all.

9. Remember, there’s always room for improvement. I’m doing well, and I’m proud of where I am. But there’s still room for me to become more efficient. I’m still human, and I do still make mistakes (for example, I bought sesame oil last week and I don’t know why – ill use it, but it didn’t really need it last week.

I hope this helps someone. I searched lots of blogs, got loads of advice and took it one step at a time to get to here. And it’s been about a year now since I started changing. I’ll never go back t my old habits – although I was never awful, I didn’t always think careful enough.

Xxx

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