Monthly food/grocery shopping budget

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I confess to not being at all frugal in my food and household budgeting for the last few years. I think my budget has been running around £300 month (food and groceries for one person plus supplies for 2 cats).

I’ve mostly bought what I wanted when I wanted, more often than not from the smaller local Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s just for sheer convenience.  I’m also not much of a meal planner but manage to juggle things so I can whip something up pretty quickly when I get home at night and food doesn’t (very often) go to waste.  There’s the odd science experiment in the fridge during busy weeks at work with lots of early starts/late nights.  But generally I keep on top of rotating the food around and eating before the science experiments can start.

I also have a Riverford organic veggie box because organic does taste so much better.  One “medium less roots box” will keep me fed for the best part of two weeks with a small amount of supplemental buying.  The organic box is staying – at least through the winter until the allotment is in production next year.

Today was payday so I took a slightly different approach. My spend for the last two days – which I hope will keep me going for most of the month is:

  • Riverford £21.70
  • Sainsbury’s £23.20
  • Tesco £63.18
  • Starbucks card top up (an occasional weakness) £10

It’s 33 days to the next payday and I want to see how far that £118.08 will take me in terms of food and groceries – that’s about £3.57 a day.  My tiny freezer is almost empty and the fridge was heading that way, but I do have some staples in the store cupboard.  I’m away for 3 days between 6-8 November so that”s time I won’t be eating at home!

I figure there’s at least 25 evening meals and lunches catered for and breakfasts will mostly be covered by the porridge in the cupboard and eggs (though I may need more eggs mid month). There may also be some structured meal planning in my future on Sunday evening!

The Riverford delivery (medium less roots box and a small fruit bag) arrived yesterday morning and consisted of:

  • 2 x sweet potatoes
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 white onions
  • large head of celery
  • large kos lettuce
  • 2 x cavolo nero
  • 2 red peppers
  • 8 medium english apples
  • 1 box red grapes
  • 1 large mango

I’ve also got 2 large sweetcorn ears, 1 large butternut squash, mushrooms, eggs, a few carrots, half a courgette, 3 x peppers, figs and dates in the fridge plus a reasonable stash of things likes rice, couscous, pulses in tins, dried fruit, flour, porridge and other staples. Add about 6 portions of frozen chicken (which should be cooked up this weekend), a small bag of frozen green beans and half a bag of petite pois in my tiny freezer (I’ve been eating the contents in prep for a shop).  The only thing I need to add to the above is a small pack of tomatoes for some salad next week.

Sainsbury’s = £23.30 – aka never shop on the way home from the gym.

I made the mistake of calling in at Sainsbury’s on the way home from the gym – you’d have thought I’d  know better than to shop when hungry, sweaty and tired. Alas not – I only intended to buy some water and OJ but Covent Garden Soups were on offer and I was sweaty, tired, and one soup carton will generally provide for two lunches at work. Dear reader I may have had a binge!

9 cartons of Covent Garden Soup at £1.50 each: Chicken & Leek with pinhead oats; Scream of Pumpkin with blood orange; SouperGreens; Red Thai Chicken with coconut and lime; Tennessee Pulled Pork and Beans with smoked paprika and chilli; Tomato and Spinach with 5 beans; Carrot and Butternut with coriander and cumin; Multigrain Risotto and 5 beans; Vegetables and SouperGrains with 3 grains and kale. Yes I know I have two fresh butternut squash in my kitchen and yes – £18 on soup is extravagant – but it’ll mean lunch a £0.75 per day (supplemented with salad and home made bread).  I know my life is going to be crazy busy until 12 November so I’m balancing a cost benefit equation of time I can spend prepping food at home (and enjoying doing so) with being time poor vs extreme convenience of showing a carton in the mircowave and saving the downtime at home for enjoyable tasks like gardening.

The rest of the Sainsbury’s shop was as follows: £1.25 Copella Apple Juice and £1.25 Tropicana Orange Juice (see hot, sweaty, fresh from a serious boxing session in the gym and gasping for something sweet).  £1.75 Sainsbury TTD Easy Peel Oranges, £3.20 Whole Earth Smooth Peanut Butter 454g; £1.20 Egg Custards x 4 pack (a treat!);  £1.00 Fresh figs (pack of 4).

After the Sainsbury’s blow out I figured I’d be safer doing an online shop for the cat food and supplemental bits of protein to go with all those veggies. I remembered how useful mysupermarket.co.uk can be just in time and indeed it came in very handy with some suggested ‘swap and save’ alternatives.

Tesco’s online shop £63.18

  • £3.50 Tesco Everyday Value Frozen chicken portions 2kg
  • £1.70 Tesco Everyday Value Frozen White Fish Fillets 520g (5 fillets)
  • £8.00 Tesco frozen fish offer 3 packs for £8 usually £3.50 each)
    • Tesco Haddock fillets x 5 (400g)
    • Tesco Cod fillets x 5 (450g)
    • Tesco Hake fillets x 5 (500g)
  • £1.00 Tesco frozen Brocolli and Cauliflower florets 900g
  • £1.00 Tesco Everyday Value Fozen mixed veg 1.3kg

Household

  • £3.50 Andrex Pebble Toilet Tissue 9 pack (on offer down from £4.50)
  • £1.50 Tesco Fabric Conditioner Pure (42 washes) 1.5L
  • £5.00 Persil Biological Washing Capsules 920g (35 washed) half price offer

Cats

  • £7.98  Tesco Absorbent Odour Controlled Hygiene Cat Litter 2 x 10L
  • £20.00 Felix pouches mixed selection in Jelly 2 x 44 pack
  • £10.00 Cat food 12 packs on offer 3 for £10
    • Felix As Good As Looks Doubly Delicious Fish 12 pack x 1
    • Felix As Good As It Looks Meat Selection in Kelly 12 pack x 2

Plus it all gets delivered to my house on Monday night at 9pm for the princely sum of £1 – which is cheaper than a cab ride to collect or my usual car hire costs once a month to do things like the shopping and recycling runs.

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