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Help cutting down the food bill

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    Posted: 11 January 2011 at 7:35am
or making my money go further.

Im trying to spend $130 a week on food. Thats for 2 adults and 1 child. No nappies.

I find im spending $150-$160 which i know is still cheap but i really want to cut this down.

Do you think $130 is to little to spend for that many people????

What are you food buying tips to keep the costs down??
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MuppetsMama View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MuppetsMama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 8:36am
i think $130 is very do-able.
My budget was $150 for 2 adults and 1 child, with some nappies, but I found I was spending almost $200 every week!!
I felt awful, as it is my responsibility to manage the finances, so I decided to take action.
Every week now on a sunday arvo or monday morning I sit down and plan out the weeks' meals, then I make a list of the ingredients I need for those. I always have pasta and sauce or similar in the cupboard so if our week goes pear-shaped I can whip up something else instead of what I had planned.
I do my own baking, and try to make things that have cheaper ingredients (ie, not too much butter- crikey that costs the earth these days!!)
I also make my husband's lunches; and he eats A LOT. Every day he has 2-3 pieces of fruit, 2 muesli bars, 2 bits of baking, and either 4 buns or rounds of sandwiches that have meat of some kind in, or 4 pies (Thanks to my awesome Sunbeam pie maker! Great way to use up leftovers!).
There are a few things I refuse to buy in cheap brands, but will still only buy the good brands if they are on special - tuna, toilet paper, marg (only get canola or olive spreads). I also only buy eco type surface spray, washing powder (although I often use soap nuts) and washing up liquid.
Just telling you all this stuff so you get an idea of my spending habits.

ANYWAY after my meal planning started, I now only spend $100 - $120 a week on food!!!! I couldn't believe it! Some weeks it may be $140 or so, if I need to stock up on things like cleaning products or bathroom stuff, or if there is something on special I really need.
Oh I should also say that we buy 1/2 a beast every now and again, so I only need to buy meat once a week, so we are not eating just cow! I also make one meal a week meatless, much to my husband's disgust.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jazzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 11:57am
I need to redo the food budget this yr as I budget $400 a fortnight but go way over & I think it is because I don't meal plan. This is for 2 adults & 3 kids.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kiwikt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 1:00pm
I think planning is a big part of it. Some weeks I look in my pantry and am shocked at how the food has built up. When that happens I only shop for the basics that week (ie fruit and vege, milk and bread) and plan all my meals around what is in the pantry. That tends to balance out the weeks where I over spend.

However, the best thing I have ever done to reduce my bill is online shopping. It costs $12 do deliver, but I easily save $30-40 a shop by not impulse buying. It is also easier to see what is on special and plan your meals around that. I started online shopping in the UK because we didnt have a car and it was too hard to carry food home - I fed 4 girls for $60-80 pounds (just breakfast and dinner 6 nights a week). I stopped online shopping when I got home because it wasnt very good, but countdown's online shopping has improved heaps and now I am sold!

We have a bit of spare money these days so I budget $170 a week. When I averaged my spending on food for 2010 recently it cam in exactly on budget. But I think you could easily feed a family of two adults and 1 child for $130.

The things to watch are large ticket items - Meat, dairy and cleaning products. Try to stock up on these when they are on special so you are not caught out.

I should also say I dont buy fruit and vege from the supermarket. I do my online shop every two weeks and then vege shop and the local store every week. It saves money.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote peanut butter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 1:32pm
Wow!! our budget is $250 a week. It was $200 but I just couldnt keep it to that. I struggle with $250 some weeks. And thats with occassional nappies for 2 adults and 2 kids.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote busymum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 1:33pm
Buy things like cheese just a little less often. If it's in the fridge, it'll get eaten. If you have to wait a few more days til the next shopping day, everyone will survive.

Have fresh fruit as your default snacks instead of chippies etc. Buy ice-cream only when you have a special event coming up, or perhaps once a month or something.

Try to eat fresh veges and just have one pack of frozens available as a back-up. You can also buy fresh fruit & veges at markets or grocers for much better prices.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jazzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 1:36pm
Originally posted by nzpiper nzpiper wrote:

Wow!! our budget is $250 a week. It was $200 but I just couldnt keep it to that. I struggle with $250 some weeks. And thats with occassional nappies for 2 adults and 2 kids.


what do you buy?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote _SMS_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 2:11pm
I dont buy any snack food. Only things which are for dps lunch. Dd gets crackers or popcorn, fruit etc. All things that are pretty cheap to buy

I found planning meals id spend alot more. I think meat is the major downfall for us. Its just so expensive.

I havent even brought potatoes in weeks i refuse to pay $17 for 10kg bag. or $10 for a 5kg bag.

I guess i need to go on the hunt for cheap meals.

Veges arent really the issue. I normally stock up when cheap and freeze so i always have some available. Today i spent $17 on fruit but we eat alot of fruit, especially being summer
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote xLUCKYx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 2:29pm
I am trying to cut down our budget too. I am usually spending $200-250 but want to cut down to $150 and use the extra $$ to pay off our debt faster this year.

The most of our shopping budget is spent on meat so I will start reducing that and will bulk up our meals with vege instead of using so much meat.

Anyway I don't think it will be easy but I am really going to try....

We have 2 adults 2 kids (1 in nappies)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kebakat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 4:04pm
We are spending $300 a fortnight for 2 adults and 2 kids. One which is in nappies and goes through a tin of formula week. Plus Daniel needs night time nappies.

Its not hard to save money with groceries. Ours would be lower again if I actually cooked "real meat" rather than just packaged stuff. I'm a vego and won't touch raw meat at all so if meat gets cooked during the week its chicken nuggets, sausages, tegal chicken take outs and the like which is more expensive.

We make most things from scratch like pasta sauces which is really easy. We go through one block of cheese every 4-6 weeks and its mainly daniel that has it on crackers, I don't really use it for cooking. We only buy the cheap cereals like rice bubbles, corn flakes, weetbix. I use vingear and baking soda to clean which does a surpringly good job
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pudgy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 6:04pm
I've just cut ours to $100 per week for 2 adults + 2 children ( no nappies) and thats with 2 of us GF and DF.

We'll be having 2 meat free meals per week and have things like meatballs/chicken stir fry/ steak + salad etc for the rest. I check the pantry before we leave and then buy the meat that's on special and plan from there.

I found making spag bol and halving the meat content then grating carrot into it and adding frozen vege bulked it out a lot and no one complained either.

For meat free meals I do fritata which is good for leftovers too, and corn fritters which are a hit with the kids also mac n cheese.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cuppatea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 6:22pm
Originally posted by jazzy jazzy wrote:

Originally posted by nzpiper nzpiper wrote:

Wow!! our budget is $250 a week. It was $200 but I just couldnt keep it to that. I struggle with $250 some weeks. And thats with occassional nappies for 2 adults and 2 kids.


what do you buy?


ours is the same, DH did the shop this week and spent just over $300. We do buy some nappies but we use the homebrand ones that are $20 for 50 and one is only in them over night and the other is in cloth/pants/disposables depending on what is happening.
I make my cleaning products so save money there.
We are very picky about which processed food we buy and don't buy much, is mostly all fresh food. We spend a lot on meat, our oldest can't have dairy so we spend extra on his milk and I'm gluten free which adds a bit to the bill when I buy gluten free pasta or cereals, I also quite often will pick organic options which come at a premium too and I also refuse to buy non free range chicken, eggs or pork products.

I do however want to cut ours down to $200 and I think I need to plan meals out better to do so, although they reckon food prices are going to keep going up over the next few months so I might only achieve keeping it the same.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote floss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 8:56pm
our budget is $100 for 2 adults and 3 kids, last week was awesome and I only spent $70, altho with the kids at daycare they get a cooked lunch so I am only having to feed them lunch on the weekends.

We also get a beast done roughly every 6mths so Im not buying alot of meat a week, we also have alot of fruit trees and vege garden so we don't buy alot of these either.

It has become a bit of an obsession with me now to keep our shopping bill down but im finding that we eat so much better.
My beautiful big girl Sienna 15.04.06

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote myfullhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 9:46pm
I am trying to spend $400 at my monthly supermarket shop, plus $90 at the butcher per month. Fruit and vege (plus milk and bread) is bought weekly at about $60 so all up that is about $180/wk for 2 adults and 2 kids (1 TT and 1 in MCNs) - gosh that sounds like alot now that I put it in a per week amount

I have been following alot of Babe's blog which has given me ideas on where to cut down e.g. making my own cleaning products.
I have tried the meat free meals but DH complains so much that I often give that one up.
I have found that I don't impulse buy (or don't impulse buy as much) by doing a monthly shop
I do my own baking which is cheaper than buying it
I have cut down our portion sizes as well. 300g mince will easily make enough hamburger patties or meatballs for us. If I am a shepards pie then I chuck in a can of baked beans or grated carrot like Pudgy mentioned and that bulks it out
Lindsey


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AandCsmum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2011 at 12:16pm
If you are spending heaps on fruit & vege, check out your local weekend market. They are way cheaper than the supermarket & way fresher.

Also have a nosy around your local butchers as well, these tend to have meat cheaper as well. We've found a muslim butcher that does lamb really cheaply. Mad butcher is cheap on somethings as well, like this week they have chicken on special. If you keep your eyes peeled, you soon figure out their patterns of discounting meats.

Start making stuff from scratch if you have time.
Kel


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Plushie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2011 at 12:56pm
*Butchers are awesome - you can ask for just the amount of want and the meat is more often better quality. If you have to drive miles to get to one though can be a false economy.
If you can hit mad butcher when they have a meat sale and get packs you can break them down to last dozens of meals.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat and make a casserole

*Farmers markets are often good places to get cheap vege but do your research sometimes people get greedy. Our local one has GIANT heads of cauli flower for $1.50 which is much cheaper then the small ones in the store.

*If you have any room at all, grow some vege. I only *just* got a proper vege garden (i'm so proud!) but before that we had random silverbeets in among the roses and potatos growing down the side of the garage - you don't need a designated space.

Of course our grocey bill is still through the roof because i'm an incredibly picky eater and we are a gluten free house.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote xLUCKYx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2011 at 1:06pm
How much do you spend a week on meat? I think we eat way too much meat!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Plushie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2011 at 1:34pm
I'm probably not the best bench mark since its three adults no kids at the moment AND all meat has to be gluten free (so GF sausages and no processed food meats) AND we arent big meat eaters but i am saying no more then $30 a week max. Just because we only have one meat meal every second day on average.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kebakat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2011 at 2:29pm
We only spend about $30 a fortnight on meat but then its just for daniel and DH since I'm vego. And any meat eater that says they need meat to feel full, BOLLOCKS!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote myfullhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2011 at 3:59pm
I spend about $90 (but often less) at our local butcher for 4wks so thats about $22 per week, plus his meat is never on special.
Although I often buy a couple of chickens at the supermarket per month so that would likely bump it up to just over $25/week I would think
Lindsey


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