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food budget challenge

(85 Posts)
DINNNO Sat 13-Apr-19 21:01:22

disclaimer, I'm vegan

I have decided that I want to start saving some more money. To do this I think cutting down the expense of my weekly food shop would help. Embarrassingly, I typically spend around £90 a week on food shopping so allot of waste. I tend to buy expensive products so obviously will need to stop doing that it I want to save money.

It's not necessary to cut down on the expense but it would help me splurge a bit more on other things. I've thought about reducing my food budget down to £20 a week (not including toiletries etc, just food) to hopefully prevent waste leaving £70 a week to put towards other things.

I was wondering if this is actually a do-able thing and if anyone has any suggestions on how to make it work, I know going from £90 a week to £20 a week is a bit drastic but I really do think I need to cut down on spending and waste.

aibu? Do I need to up my budget?

Callistemon Sat 13-Apr-19 21:11:07

How many people are you feeding on £90 a week?

I think that suddenly reducing the bill from £90 down to £20 would be quite difficult - would it be better to do it in stages?

Eglantine21 Sat 13-Apr-19 21:11:16

Well, it would have been dead easy before, but now veganism has become fashionable the price of lentils and pulses has rocketed!

£1.56 for a bag of lentils in Tesco! It used to be 36p to make a nourishing soup. Haricot beans, nearly £2.00!

You might have to wait till veganism goes out of fashion?

janeainsworth Sat 13-Apr-19 21:12:26

Is that £90 just for you?
It’s hard to comment, as I have no idea what I would eat if I were vegan, but two points.
1. Any target has to be realistic. Cutting your food budget by 77% isn’t realistic.
2. If I needed to economise, food is the last thing I would economise on.

DINNNO Sat 13-Apr-19 21:15:31

Callistemon, two people, usually.

Occasionally guests and other members of the family but that wouldn't be part of the £20 budget and I think I would need to go over it to feed them too.

Family is coming next month so would be easier to try this challenge at least once this month before they come to stay

Callistemon Sat 13-Apr-19 21:18:16

I think I'd go about it by trying to shop more economically, planning meals, writing lists so that I didn't waste food, seeing what I could do without that is extravagant and go from there, rather than trying to stick to a £20 budget.

It would be a challenge to see how much you save on a weekly basis rather than the other way round.

lemongrove Sat 13-Apr-19 21:20:36

Why do this challenge if you have no need to?
Food is an enjoyable part of life, I would rather eat well than have extra pounds to spend on other things ( what other things?)
Some people have to live on a low budget, but you obviously don’t, so little point doing it.
If the waste only is what is concerning you, make a list of all the things you are regularly throwing away, and do something about that.

Callistemon Sat 13-Apr-19 21:22:47

Do you need to save money for a project, a holiday - or just a challenge?
You can't take it with you

DINNNO Sat 13-Apr-19 21:28:21

I don't need to save money, although it would be nice to save some more. I've come to my senses and think I'm producing allot of waste spending £90 a week.

Saving for a holiday would become allot easier if I did this challenge most or all of the time although I understand if that isn't possible. Allot of the food I buy goes off before we've eaten it because we buy too much.

I could buy some nice things with the left over £70 I suppose, a few impulse buys from amazon?

I only plan on doing the challenge once to see what it's like.

crystaltipps Sat 13-Apr-19 21:31:42

Well it depends where you shop - if it’s Waitrose try changing to Lidl or your local market for fruit n veg.. Agree write menus then you don’t have to chuck stuff out. Do you mind having the same meal two days in a row - that can save cooking time and money. I’m vegan and we do curry two days, veggie sauce mash n mushy peas, put lentil shepherds pie, sweet potato tagine with couscous, fried tofu with stirfry all quick, easy and cheap, don’t know if I could do 3 meals a day for 2 for £20 as breakfast, tea, coffee, almond milk, bread, salads etc for other meals adds up. And that’s not to mention the odd bottle of wine and vegan cornettos!

MamaCaz Sat 13-Apr-19 21:39:50

Can it it be done? Possibly, though £20 is a very low food budget, especially for someone used to spending £90 a week.

Can you do it? That depends what you personally can/ are prepared to eat!

You need to plan meals ahead. All meals, not forgetting breakfast and snacks, if you eat them. Then write a shopping list based on those meals (having first checked the cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what is already in stock), and stick to buying what is on that list. Add no 'extras' whatsoever to your trolley unless you genuinely need them for the planned meals. Don't forget to include tea and coffee if they form part of your diet.

Never throw away a leftover portion of a meal that can be frozen or put in the fridge for another time.

Once you have done this for a few weeks, see if £20 is a realistic food budget for you. Somehow I doubt it!

Callistemon Sat 13-Apr-19 21:44:40

I only plan on doing the challenge once to see what it's like.
That wouldn't work, though, because you will have food in your store cupboard which you can use.
That reminds me of when some politicians lived for a week on what people received in benefits - it just doesn't work like that.

For example, I had three very ripe bananas left last week - not a frequent occurrence, but I have thrown them away in the past as I can't bear eating ripe bananas. However, this week, I made a banana and walnut cake - which I am sure is not good for us, but I already had the other ingredients in the store cupboard and fridge.

You'll have to do it for at least a couple of months! smile

Maggiemaybe Sat 13-Apr-19 22:02:55

I can’t stand the thought of good food being wasted, so I hope your challenge is successful. £20 sounds way too big a drop from £90 though. Why not aim for £60 as a starting point, then see if you can get even lower if that works for you? I’d say two people could still eat well on that, especially without the expense of meat or fish.

I don’t understand why you let things go off though - surely you have a freezer to put any surpluses in? Any fresh stuff slightly past its best that doesn’t freeze well can make soup, sorbet or sauces that do.

BradfordLass72 Sat 13-Apr-19 22:12:24

Google "Veganism on a budget" - there are heaps of good sites giving all manner of ideas.

DINNNO Sat 13-Apr-19 22:17:34


the freezer always seems to be full to the brim with things so no room for things that are going off in the fridge. The draws in the freezer can only contain a few items and there are five draws.

Jomarie Sat 13-Apr-19 22:24:03

I think this is a "wind up" thread to get us "normal" grans to come up with ideas to reduce our spending - and will, in due course, be used for an article about how to cut down on our household expenditure (re food) - sorry, you may call me cynical but I've heard worse accusations .....hmm

petra Sat 13-Apr-19 22:42:41

i only plan on doing the challenge once to see what it's like
Visit a food bank and see how people have to do it for less 52 weeks a year and not for some sort of lark just to see if you can angry

ffinnochio Sat 13-Apr-19 22:55:15

I went to Lidl the other day ... early.... and bought home a box of oranges, red onions, bananas, big bag of potatoes, a mango, a pomegranate, 4 pears and a tub of red grapes. All for £1.50.
All v. good apart from over ripe bananas, which I dislike but my husband enjoys.

However, I agree with others who have said that dropping your cost by such an amount is unrealistic.

DINNNO Sat 13-Apr-19 23:00:03

Jomarie and petra,

this thread was created in hopes of reducing my OWN weekly food bill. I think if it was directed at other people I would construct my OP in a way that did so.

I was just wondering if anyone on gransnet knows if it's possible to reduce the weekly cost of food and if so, how? Some people seem to be able to feed a family of 4+ on £40 a week so I thought 2 people would be able to feed themselves on £20 a week if that makes sense.

It's nice to have some extra money for other things. I think it would be a good challenge to try £20 a week. I think it's OK to want to save money and petra are you implying that I should continue spending £90 a week just because some people can live on allot less? BTW whatever savings I get could go towards places like food banks.

crazyH Sat 13-Apr-19 23:08:51

My f.i.l. Used to say : 2 things you should not economise on: food and clothes, the former is for yourself and the latter is for others ......

MamaCaz Sat 13-Apr-19 23:11:05


Regardless of whether you want to do this as a one-off challenge or part of a sensible lifestyle change, I suggest you start by buying nothing else until you have used up what is already in your freezer.

Evie64 Sun 14-Apr-19 00:04:49

Shop atAldi, it's easy! I used to shop at Sainsbury's and my food bill (and we eat steak etc) has at least halved. The quality may not be quite as good, but who wants their broccilli to last three weeks? I mean really? How much stuff have they been sprayed with to make their fruit and veg last THAT long?

Coolgran65 Sun 14-Apr-19 01:53:23

Today I did a weekly shop and spent £120.
There is dh and myself. A toddler one day a week and two pre teens another day each week. In a Sunday I have 8 for dinner but the provide the roast.

The shop includes everything .... Food, toiletries, cleaning materials, toilet rolls, bargains I see to put away for dgc birthdays, Easter, etc. stationery, sometimes an article of clothing.

To reduce this would mean a different way of shopping. Do I ignore bargains that would do for gifts for dgc? Then there's Amazon, I send for Stain Devils, seconds in M & S underwear which is cheaper than Asda, medicated body powder x 6 at a time as it's so cheap to buy it this way.

GrandmainOz Sun 14-Apr-19 04:42:37

Why don't you have a really good rummage through your freezer as it is so full, and devise recipes specifically to use up what you already have? You could probably save a fortune, only buying fresh things like milk etc while you cook from your stores? Then start a clean slate when you resume shopping with a strict weekly list so you only buy what you really need.
I also find if you plan formally for say the first four days of the week, you can then turn leftovers into meals for the rest of the week. I've done this for years and I'm not especially creative, just resourceful I guess confused

Riverwalk Sun 14-Apr-19 09:06:49

£90 to £20 - that's quite a challenge to set yourself.

TBH I can't imagine how you spend that much as you're vegan - what do you buy that goes off so quickly?

I would have thought any money you save would go towards helping with your newly-arrived triplet grandchildren!