Food Shopping

I don’t know about you, but I hate spending money on food! It annoys me that I have to buy food when I could use the money to buy something else. Something that I really want!

But no. Instead of being able to freely splash the cash on new clothes every week, I spend a fortune feeding my hungry clan!

Being a family of six and with a strapping teenage lad to feed, there’s no getting away from large food bills. But I do try to stay away from the ‘big’ shop like I used to do. Because I always spend much more that I intend. I think we’re all guilty of shoving things in to the trolley that we don’t need. Things that catch our eye as we’re walking round the isles!

I have tried online shopping and I do this occasionally, but I prefer to stroll round the supermarket…. I like to see for myself what I’m buying!

Last weekend I was offered £40 Tesco vouchers by Appliances Online to spend in store. I was challenged to spend wisely and see how far £40 could take me! It’s not much for a family of six but I was curious to see how many days we could realistically get out of it! I wasn’t going to start looking for every single bargain I could find, or start looking for things I wouldn’t normally buy, or never buy again.

And I believe I did quite well actually. I tried not to buy as many snacks, although with kids this is difficult because they’re ALWAYS asking for something, and I like to have things to hand to give them.

My nearest Tesco, other than the small local metro, is enormous so I decided to take a small trolley round to ensure I wouldn’t overspend!

tesco food shopping

I managed to buy three main meals….

Shepherds Pie

For this I needed

Mince £2.00, onions – 3 for £1.00, carrots (which I grate into the mince while it’s cooking for some hidden veg!), potatoes £2.00, cheese (I did splash out here as the kids do like cheese, I bought 2 packets of medium chedder for £5.00. I bought some veg which was 3 for the price of 1. I had gravy, stock and some other bits already in the cupboard but roughly this meal cost around £7.00 ish…. remember the cheese and other ingredients would be used many times more!  I think this is a good price for a family of six.

Cod Fillets

This recipe I nicked off Jamie Oliver, out of one of his cook books that I’ve had for years! It’s a meal we love and is so easy to make. Literally put some cod fillets, the ones you buy in the freezer in Tesco’s £5.00, fresh basil 70p, mozzarella £1.00, cherry tomatoes 90p. Sling all in an oven proof dish with some olive oil and bake for 20 mins! Yummy! Serve with new potatoes £1.00, along with some veg… my children like peas and sweetcorn the best! Meal cost around £7.00 ish again.

Pasta with pancetta

Pasta always goes down in our house. I cook it regularly. I can guarantee the kids will eat it and it’s fast and convenient! For this I bought pasta £1.20, pancetta £3.00, mushrooms £1.00 along with a bit of stock and some onions. Meal cost around £5.00.

Other things I bought….

One of our favourite ‘starters’ is large flat mushrooms with parma ham and stilton cheese (my daughter can’t get enough of these!) My twins don’t eat them but the rest of us love them… so tasty. Large mushrooms 2pkts £2.00, stilton £2.50 and parma ham 3 small pkts at £3.00. Cost around £8.00, which seems a lot compared to the others and considering this was only a snack/starter, for 4 people not 6!

mush

I purchased orange cordial 2 for £1.50. Cereals… I went with the Tesco’s own brand for a change and grabbed 3 for £3.00. We get through cereal so quickly and I do feel as though I spend way too much on it, so trying the own brand range was a must. They all got the thumbs up, no difference at all in taste, my children said! But the box sizes were smaller so realistically can’t say whether it was a better deal.

I bought some sausages, milk, crisps, butter, biscuits and crusty bread (I never leave a supermarket without some fresh bread!), salad and a few other bits & bobs.

I surprised myself actually at how much I managed to buy. £40 went pretty far considering we are a larger family. I looked for the deals on things like snacks, only buying the ones on special offer… the kids don’t care at all as long as we have some! The meals won’t last the whole week obviously, but I think buying like this, in small doses, definitely made me think more about what I was throwing in the trolley, and hopefully it will prevent throwing food away. This always happens when you do a huge shop when items go off before you’ve had chance to cook or eat them.

I’m definitely going to shop like this again. Yes it’s more time consuming but I can already see it saves money in the long run. It would save even more if I planned precisely what I was going be cooking each day.

How do you shop? Do you plan meals? Do you find you waste food that goes off? Or are you incredibly frugal? I’d love to hear your thoughts…..

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