Save £500 on groceries with a "2 week buying cycle" I was a kid, my parents would always make us try to eat everything in the refrigerator before going on holiday. That last dinner before the leaving could be quite interesting: tinned spaghetti with bologna sandwiches and orange juice, or rice and bananas (yummy). That sort of thing.

But nowadays, the weekly grocery protocol everyone has grown up with leads to waste. A study analysis of Brit eating habits by a "government waste reduction task force" last year discovered that families throw out a good one third or so of all the food items they purchase. 40 percent of the discarded food consists of fruit and vegetables, the very stuff we’re all supposed to be eating more of. Even PM Brown said in 2008 that we could save up to £420 a year by buying only food we need and not throwing out the excess.

A similar principle applies to switching to a two-week grocery buying cycle, suggests Get Rich Slowly. The idea is that you eat the stuff you have before going and getting more. Granted, this can be depressing if all you’re left with on day 14 is baking soda and half a packet of crisps. But the point isn’t so much waiting a full two weeks as it is waiting until you actually need more food.

The suggested strategy was to eat the fresh fruits and veggies first, then supplement with canned or frozen. You can usually find dairy products with “use by” dates two weeks in the future, and if you’re good about not leaving the milk out on the counter, you should have no trouble keeping it fresh for that long.

As for meat, freeze any of it you won’t use in the next 48 hours, and if you divide the meat into smaller portions before freezing, you’re more likely to use it than if you’re confronted with one giant, frozen glob of frostbitten meat on hamburger night.

And considering food prices have gone up this year, more reason to be saving. If you got used to not eating leftovers when the economy was good, now is the time to break that habit. Potatoes au gratin taste better leftover anyway.

[Get Rich Slowly]


  • tinop
    How about frozen food rounds every 1 month as well? Iceland, Makro or Farmfoods can be a great source for frozen meat and vegs. For some reason, frozen broccoli is a lot cheaper than fresh broccoli. And fres broccoli is more expensive than chicken/beef.
  • Geoff J.
    That is just basic common sense, anyone who doesn't adhere to a similar policy is plain stupid.
  • blackgerbil1
    only cycle i care about are steroid cycles.
  • sensible e.
    I'd rather shop everyday/every couple of days. I only spend a small amount and get lots of decent quality fresh produce. If I only shopped every 14days I'd end up eating loads of frozen/tinned junk.
  • Danielle
    I shop once a month on £50 between me and my BF. we buy little bits here and there for weekends, but the rest I make dinners/lunches with and freeze so we have food for the month. Yes it costs a little to package it, but you can work on a minimal budget if you work at it.
  • Simon
    Danielle, I'm sorry but I don't see how that is possible? You're saying you're able to feed two people on 83 pence a day each? A pint of milk a day would use up half of that budget before you'd got started!
  • sensible e.
    Whilst I agree £50 a month is low for two people, a pint of milk a day is hardly food. If you are on an extreme budget you are better not wasting your money on milk.
  • fran
    Yea...sounds lovely. 2 week old veg? No thanks!
  • Liam
    The real trick is, once you get paid - filter all of your essentials into a separate bank account and don't touch it. Mortgage, rent, council tax, insurance and the like. Then try and save as much as you can from your leftover or 'disposable' income. Say you have 30 days left till payday, works out as 10 a day. Stick to it. The less you spend 'per day', the more you have to save. I stick to a couple of quid a day and stretch it as far as possible! Daily food buying is the key. Still, savings rates are awful so it's a double-edged sword..
  • Liam
    Sorry, forgot to add 300 pounds left, 30 days, 10 a day.
  • Pizza_D_Action
    Ditto what Simon said... no way you could like off £50 a month for two people unless you eat beans on toast for every meal... If you are telling the truth "Danielle" then I suggest Bitterwallet do an article on you and your weekly shop... And i'll eat my hat...
  • poopy
    'kid' 'groceries' 'refridgerator' try speaking fucking Anglais instead of of American
  • gravy
    All a bit unnecessary really. We shop once a week and the missus makes sure things are not wasted. All it takes is a bit of awareness about expiry dates. Even if food is a day or so over the best before it's not like it'll go rancid at the stroke of midnight. Use coupons too. No need to make & freeze either...and it helps if you make from scratch. I was surprised how cheap the market's fruit & veg stall is compared to tesco (esp at 4pm ;) )
  • Randomite
    Me and my girlfriend do one "big" shop per month which costs us about £50 (meat, tinned etc) and we then spend about another £10 a week on fruit/veg/milk (or anything we forgot during the other shop), but we also have takeaway one night a week. However we eat very little crisps, chocolate, cakes, puddings etc and if something is on a really good offer we get loads of it (ie Ragu for 60p, we bought 12 jars of it as we have either spag bol or meatballs pretty much every week. I can see how 2 could survive on £50 a month but it would be very tight, and probably not very good for you. My mum on the other hand spends £100-150 PER WEEK for 4 people!
  • Jason
    I spend 45 quid every 9 days for myself and im a student, a poor one so abut 150 quid a month. I dont know how two people can live of 50 quid a month. I buy good quality food no ready meal or chips, i make all my food myself.
  • Simon
    Right.... I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah. All for £50 a month... :)
  • Danielle
    I think you've overlooked where I've said that we buy other things at the weekends. But we will only do one big shop a month which is around £50. This consists of meats/wraps/pulses/rices/pastas. I buy veg locally very cheaply which I will buy as and when i.e a large sack of onions is £1. As I said, I'll freeze lunches/dinners for the month, which can get a little samey, and can take an entire day, but it works, and the weekends are more relaxed. I refuse to buy ready meals - apart from the odd pizza at the weekends (instead of a takeaway). We spend under or roundabout £100 a month, which isn't anything special. I should of explained this more in my first post.
  • Steve
    Whats the big deal Pakistani's spend about £10 a month on food So 50 should be plenty if you cook everything your self
  • toast
    # Posted by poopy | March 27th, 2009 at 9:31 pm ‘kid’ ‘groceries’ ‘refridgerator’ try speaking fucking Anglais instead of of American laughing here... the use of french to describe english while castigating for not using more localised colloquialisms. And if Vince is an American? should he be forced to, for example use the 'Anglais' for refrigerator? which is what exactly? Homer: Hmm. I wonder why he's so eager to go to the garage? Moe: The "garage"? Hey fellas, the "garage"! Well, ooh la di da, Mr. French Man. Homer: Well what do you call it? Moe: A car hole!
  • Bongo
    This is for just me., I used to spend £200 a month: * £100 a month on lunches/coffee/tea whilst at work. * I also used to spend about £100 for dinner. I have got it down to ~£100 by: * making my own coffee at work (although I still get charged 15p for hot water!) * taking pack lunch twice a week (leftovers from dinner) * shopping once a week in 'bulk' (instead of once a day, on the way back from work, like I used to) I would never be able to live on £50 a month just for myself, but well done to the person that did.
  • the B.
    "Whats the big deal Pakistani’s spend about £10 a month on food" The local BNP candidate had to chip in. Anyway, about £350 a month on 2 people, I buy my chicken breasts and steak joints from Smithfields one every couple of months and then freeze them (1 x £17 pack of Chicken in Smithfields = approx 10 x £5 in Sainsburys, not to mention the quality is better, 5lb Fillet joint @£30, Rump (Brazilian) 10lb = £20). I buy my King Prawns, Scallops and other frozen fish/duck at Wing Yip, saving at least 50% on what it would cost in a "main" supermarket. If I could find somewhere selling fruit & veg for a reasonable price (and that was open outside of 9-5 Mon-Fri I'd buy from them).
  • Martin
    I buy half a pig and half a lamb from a local farmer. Butcher them myself, freeze most of it, cure some of it. Fish comes from the sea and gets frozen / smoked. Veggies from a come from a local organic greengrocer or farmers market every week or my garden when ready. I don't know how much I spend and don't care really, I don't measure my food intake in terms of cash. We don't waste anything and have decent tasting food, no prepared crap full of fat, salt and sugar. That's all I care about.
  • Honky S.
    Steve may be an BNP arse, but he's right! We generally buy meat in bulk from Southall (gone up a lot, but still cheaper...) and missues spend about 2 hours breaking it up into little bits for cooking. We tend to use the 'free' fruit clear plastic bags as dividers (also come in handy for my packed lunch - yes I am a paki!). Also pick up 20kg of flour and rice, plus 20l of oil. The supermarkets do their BOGOFs, but they still tend not to match the asian markets. I don't think I have even bought a 1L oil bottle of 1KG pack of rice or flour (aside from when they were 4p or something). All the dalls (pulses) + spices are added to this - plus with free parking in Iceland (we get a couple of bottles of £1.25 milk), Spend around £50 a shop - about once a month. Buying in bulk can be ok, if you know what you are buying. Can't do it for a tenner - err, for five its prob about £100 though including Tesco/Asda shops, though vouchers keep this sane. School (packed) lunches are the killer... Well done Danielle, Liam and Gravy - some good stuff here along with the swill...

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