Topping up for less than fifty quid

Payday for me comes on the 1st of the month, and that’s when we do our major shop.
I actually make a list having gone through the cupboards and freezer, then we go into the town where they have the four supermarkets we buy from.
Milk, chicken, minced beef, fish, dried apricots, rice, frozen veg, tinned rice pudding, baked beans, belgian buns and Maggie’s dog chews are from one.
Dried dog food, dog biscuits, instant custard, instant mash (stop laughing, it’s very handy and versatile), Italian seasoning and doughnuts are from another.
Toilet rolls, kitchen roll, tri-coloured pasta are from the biggest as the former two tend to be on special offer when I need them, which is good!
Cereal, porridge, yogurt, cheese, bread, pork chops and washing up liquid are from the fourth.
So as you see, our main shop is spread about a bit, but we are lucky in having the time to shop around and take advantage of special offers.
Our food bill last year was £1,763.69, just £2.26 more than 2018. This is food we buy for the house, not anything we might have out like a takeaway, sandwich or tea and cake.

I didn’t buy everything listed above as my freezer only needed to be replenished with chicken and mixed veg. Toilet rolls and kitchen rolls I bought before Christmas saving £1.25 on the former and £2.50 on the latter. Maggie’s food was £1.50 a bag cheaper in the bigger supermarket today, and she was OK for biscuits and chews so I didn’t need those.
Rice and pasta reserves are ample and I had a loaf of bread in the freezer already.
I buy laundry wash liquid only when it’s £3 or less (usually £4.50 a bottle for the size I have), doughnuts and buns are an either or (doughnuts today, 5 for 50p) and stuff like soap, toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo are whatever I can get that we can both use at a sensible price, so shops vary.

Total spent today was £44.52. We have a branch of one of the discount supermarkets here, so I can buy the basics like bread and yogurt locally. Eggs, fresh fruit or veg are also available, so we don’t have to go far, and if it’s only a few things, can actually walk which saves on fuel.

A New Year, a new budget as our income has been reduced, but we won’t starve.
Dinner today was a jacket potato and baked beans, something we haven’t had for a while and something we both enjoyed, so we might be having more of those. Seeing as I’ve stopped buying frozen jacket spuds at £1.69 for 4 and instead using fresh baking potatoes at 49p for the same number, I’m already onto a winner/saver!

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have an elderly dog called Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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7 Responses to Topping up for less than fifty quid

  1. You really do plan this so well. I really need to go down this route.

    • Numbers and budgeting are my thing Gary. I started a spreadsheet years ago following an article in the press about where your money actually goes. Our food bill that first year was over £2,000. I only have a small freezer now, with just three drawers, but as we don’t eat a lot of bread, I don’t need to buy it to freeze anymore. I’ve always divided up my minced beef (1kilo will give us 5 dinners, maybe more as 200g is still enough for a two day chilli as with tinned tomatoes at 28p, red kidney beans at 30p, and an onion is about 10p, it’s a cheap dinner for the two of us), chicken breasts are frozen individually as one is enough for a curry for us, and chops are in pairs etc etc.
      Best way to start is make a list of what you like and what you buy, and how much you pay for it. I refused to pay £1.75 for a small jar of Italian seasoning when one containing twice as much at only 95p was out of stock. Weights are also key, as the bigger the box doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more in it. I’ve been caught on that more than once. Glad to give you some pointers if you want them.

  2. Betty Louise says:

    I am wondering what is a jacket potato? I wonder if it is the same as what we call a back potato?
    Have good year!

  3. You are wonderful – setting an example many of us (me included) SHOULD follow. I spend a LOT on take away (drive thrus over here) and pizza and such. Since my hubby died, I’ve been at a loss as to how to adjust my cooking for just one person. It’s tough. And my appetite is so screwed up that I’m hesitant to buy in bulk, because it will either go bad or get freezer burn because it’s been shoved to the back and I forget it is in there. But this past year I’ve cooked a lot more, and eaten out less. Money is a consideration. I got about $1.35 in a ‘raise’ from the government (disability payment), but then they turned around and started charging a LOT more for my health care insurance. It went from around $35 to $145 this year. I’m not even sixty yet. So in the end? I lost out but not as much as you stated you guys did. I hope things improve for you, but it sounds like you’ve got things well in hand. Bless you!

    • I found it difficult to adjust my quantities from feeding a family of 5 and 2 dogs to just two of us. Now we’re at that crossroads again as Hubby can only eat little but often, and I’m a three meals a day gal.
      We can’t afford health insurance as the premiums would be loaded because of our ongoing ‘conditions’.
      I know what you mean about things getting shoved to the back of the freezer. You could always batch bake and then freeze individual portions which is what my neighbour is doing now.
      We’re both over 60, so get our eye tests and prescriptions free. No free bus pass until we’re of State retirement age (66 at the moment unless they change it again for our age bracket)
      It’s always a balancing act, and everyone is different, so IMO the starting point is to look at what you like, what you buy and what you actually eat and take it from there.
      I’ve checked the sums and I’ve got 2020 covered for the basics. In Nov 2021 Hubby is officially a pensioner, so that will actually increase our income by about £2K a year, which compensates for the two grand the government have taken away.
      Swings and roundabouts. Eventually you just get tired of going round in circles and jumping through everyone else’s hoops.

  4. Pingback: And so it starts………………? | pensitivity101

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