Posted in Diary

Feeding my Family for £40 a Week

How much should we spend on our family food shop? How can I save money but still eat well? How can I survive on a tight budget every week? Is it possible to shop locally and still keep to a budget?

Absolutely!

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Food shopping doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, in fact it can be rather “cheap” and you will be surprised how much food you can get for your doe.

I have managed to do each food shop every year for around £30-£50 every week, which has saved me hundreds of pounds a year and we haven’t really seen a change in the quality of food which we have purchased.

How do I do it?

Costly Loyalty

One of my biggest tips for saving money on your food shops is to shop around. Staying with just one retailer or using a familiar brand every single time costs you money in the long run.

However sometimes loyalty can help save you money. Downloading the loyalty apps for the shops you go to is a great way to save money. They produce coupons and deals especially for their returning customers and the more points you earn the better deals you get. But don’t think that it means you have to only shop in one place every week. Sometimes the products you need for the week might be cheaper else where.

I have about 4 apps on my phone for the different shops I go to – Lidl and Aldi included and this is brilliant! It means I am always able to save money and shop where ever I desire.

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List it up

Making a list of the food you want to buy for the week is absolutely crucial! If you don’t do anything else that I suggest then please at least take this one away with you.

Making a list ensures that you only get the products on your list. You don’t get anything that’s not on the list, even if you have a sudden desire for that extra packet of crisps.

I always organise my list in the order of the store to make sure that it is easy for me to follow and less likely that I am going to forget something or miss something from the ingredients needed for the week. Making a list literally only takes about 5 mins of your life and will save you soo much money as long as you stick to it. Plus this also ensures that you know what is in your cupboards, fridge and freezer as you check you haven’t already got the product before shopping.

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Ignore offers

Unless you actually need 2 packs of whatever is on the BOGOF offer, don’t touch it. Double check the prices per 100g or 1l, and check out what product really is saving you money.

Only buy what you need.

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So many times I have heard from customers at my shop “I’m buying 4 packs so I can put 2 in the freezer”, or “most of this will probably end up in the bin (awkward laugh)”. The problem is, if it goes into the freezer and it’s not already frozen you don’t need that product. If the product is probably just going to go to waste, then again you don’t need that much.

We all have different requirements for our food needs and buying more than we need is just throwing our money away.

Eat before the shop

NEVER shop on an empty stomach. Doing this for me adds about £20 onto my shop. When you are hungry you are more likely to buy snacks and food you didn’t intentionally go out to buy.

Having a snack or going out after your meal (any time of the day) is probably the best way to go shopping in order to save money. I always make sure that I am not food shopping on an empty stomach as going out hungry has resulted in me purchasing items to eat “now” but ending up with 2-3 weeks worth of snacks and food instead. It isn’t worth it.

Write your list, stick to it and eat before you go shopping. x

Know what’s in your cupboards

This is important as you don’t want to end up purchasing food you already have. This also includes checking your fridge, freezer and fruit bowl as you don’t want to end up with too much food, resulting in a lot of food waste.

I usually check my cupboards when I have done my meal plan for the week as it is part of my routine for planning my food shop, it ensures that I know exactly what I need for my meals for the week and what I have surplus off in the cupboards so I can plan a meal to use up all the food in my cupboards.

Planning Ahead

This is something I have always done. I plan my meals for the week, and I make a list of the ingredients I need. Having a plan means that you are less likely to end up buying a takeaway, as you know what you are going to make for your meals.

To see how I plan my weekly meals out see my post My Weekly Meal Plan.

Planning ahead has really been a life saver for me, it saves me time during the week as I don’t need to think about what food I am making, and it saves me the arguments of “I want this” or “I don’t want this” as I can ask whether my plan sounds good, or even leave at least 1 day as a day for others to choose the meal.

Budget

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Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to buy items that are in the reduced to clear section, as most of the time the products have a day or 2 on them and can be used a little past their date too. (Things like bread don’t go out of date just mouldy, and veg can last a lot longer than their best before dates)- knowing the difference between a best before and a use by date is important when looking at items in the reduced to clear section. You can bag yourself some real bargains from these sections.

I’m not saying to bring a calculator with you when you go shopping, but just to be conscious of how much you are spending on products, a 20p can of baked beans is just as good as a £1.09 can, sometimes healthier with lower salt/sugar levels.

I hope that my tips help you in saving money for your food shop.

Please let me know what you think. Or anything extra that you do to save money.

Much love

Emma xx

Posted in about me

About Me

Hello there!

My name is Emma and I am the owner of The Mum Diet Style.

I set out on a journey with my blog to share my easy recipes for families who are constantly on the go. But since then have decided to share my passion for fashion and beauty with the world to show mums that we can still be fashionable with little ones. Even if it is a big challenge.

I am a single mum who is passionate about everything she puts her mind to. My little girl constantly keeps me on my toes and these blogs are the perfect way for me to unwind in the evening.

I look forward to sharing with you my experiences with both food and fashion and hope you will become a frequent visitor.

Much love xx

Emma

Posted in food

The Veg Dread

Getting children to eat their fruit and veg is always a tricky one. When they are just babies and trying food for the first time you give them every vegetable under the sun, but then something happens as they get older. They discover other food and realise that veggies are not as nice as, say, a biscuit.

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It is our duty as parents to try and persuade our little cherubs that they should be choosing the healthier options, or to just “eat one more mouthful of peas”. The fight is never ending and our little ones can be incredibly stubborn. I’ve had food thrown over the floor, her just refusing to eat anything, eating everything but her vegetables, sneaking her veggies onto someone else’s plate, and I’m pretty sure if we had a dog, the dog would be very well fed with unwanted veg.

Fruit is much easier to get little ones to eat, they are sweet and moist and much tastier than the slightly bitter vegetables that we have to offer. What’s more they are much more vibrant in colour making them more appealing to little fingers.

So my question is

How do we get children to eat their veg?

Do we force feed them into oblivion?

Do we threaten them?

Do we make every single meal into a soup, just so we know they’re having something?

Do we continue with a daily battle and struggle making meal times ever so slightly stressful? Or do we find a solution that works best for our children?

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I have spent the last year and a half looking for alternative ways to get my little girl to eat her vegetables. I will admit not everything that I have tried works, but the ones that do work I stick to.

Trial and error is the best option we have as parents to try and get our little ones to eat. Even a supermarket has tried a campaign to get children to eat their veg. But the question is does it work?

Below are a few ideas that I have tried, with some good results.

Hide and Seek

Adding vegetables to a sauce or hiding them in a Bolognese, this has been a great way for me to get my little one to eat up her vegetables. She loves a Bolognese and my homemade sauces always go down a treat.

Another way to hide vegetables is to make a soup. (I will tag my soup recipe once I reveal this to you al, below) My daughter loves a soup but is adamant that she dislikes the various veggies that I add to it. That is where I laugh a little. She will gobble a homemade soup up in no time giving her plenty of nutrients and veg.

Shaping it up?

Making fun shapes out of vegetables and fruit is a really good way to get little ones to eat them. Rather than doing the classic vegetable sticks and chunks, make them into something fun. Try some letters and numbers to help with their learning, or simple shapes such as a star, heart, or smiling faces.

Sometimes I get my little one to help make the shapes, that way as she has felt involved she is more likely to eat them. I like to get her to make a picture with her veggies before she eats them so she has fun with them first. She gets great pleasure in eating her creations (haha).

Making a game out of it?

My favourite game to play with my little girl is that her veggies are going to eat her favourite part of her meal if she doesn’t eat them first. At first she started eating her favourite parts first so the veggies wouldn’t touch them, but after a bit of learning (I started removing bits from her plate when she wasn’t looking shhh – she got them back after her veggies were gone) she will now eat her veggies alongside the main part of her meal.

We also try a game of who can eat their veg the quickest, and I used inspiration from the Aldi advert (I think it was aldi) and told her that the vegetables are going to take over the world if she doesn’t help mummy eat them all.

Making it fun to eat her vegetables is definitely one of the best ways I have used to get her to eat them up.

Nicknames

Giving the vegetables a nickname helps her to see a fun side with them, and more likely to touch them. While it doesn’t always work it does help her to understand that they are good for you.

Some of the nicknames we have are:

Broccoli – green trees

Cauliflower – white trees

tomatoes – tomtoms

Cucumber – cumbie

What are some of the things that you do to get your children to eat their veg? This is an ongoing battle for most parents and while I have found some solutions to it, I will admit IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK. Children are stubborn and they know what they want (even if it’s not what they need) and will do anything they can to get what they want where possible.

I look forward to hearing all about your solutions and struggles that you have with getting your little ones to eat their fruit and veg.

much love xx