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  • FIRST POST
    • RedCola
    • By RedCola 8th Mar 17, 1:32 PM
    • 113Posts
    • 560Thanks
    RedCola
    Food budget plan
    • #1
    • 8th Mar 17, 1:32 PM
    Food budget plan 8th Mar 17 at 1:32 PM
    We're in a bit of a mess. Been paying off debt for quite a while.

    This month we've had a rather large amount taken out of my husbands wages (Council Tax) We still need to pay off our regular debt payments on top off this, and of course our usual bills.

    I am so sad we are still struggling with this, however we are determined to get it over and done with.
    I'd really appreciate any advice on how to manage our food this month. We get paid on Friday, so would really like a plan in place then, so can get straight to it.

    Any advice on what to buy, how to keep healthy, best way to stretch what we have etc would all be really helpful.
    T.I.A
    Last edited by RedCola; 08-03-2017 at 1:44 PM.
Page 3
    • mardatha
    • By mardatha 10th Mar 17, 8:27 AM
    • 13,796 Posts
    • 127,571 Thanks
    mardatha
    I can bake but I can't cook. I used home made soups as a great filler-upper. Soup and pudding is a great meal, crumble or sponge on top of any fruit, drowned in lovely custard
    Soup and a couple of rolls would fill the hubby up but would be too much expense right now to buy flasks for all the kids.
    What if you just meal-planned until you've used up all the stuff in the freezer, and then did a looser weekly pick n mix plan? I did find that menu planning takes ££££s off the weekly shop though, it def does help.
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 10th Mar 17, 8:52 AM
    • 14,789 Posts
    • 119,285 Thanks
    JackieO
    I agree menu planning really does help and using up existing stuff if you can first.

    Never, ever, go near a shop if you are hungry ,you will impulse buy and then be cross when you get home with stuff you don't need

    and always take just enough cash to cover what you want to buy that way you won't overspend as you haven't got it on you .

    Back in the 1960s wives used to have to eke their cash out, as we had no credit cards to cushion the blow of being broke by midweek.I can remember counting how many slices of bread I had in the bread bin until pay day and working out if there was enough for the children's packed lunch and my OHs pack ups as well.

    In the 1970s when things really got tough and mortgage rates hit 15% our belts were so tightened they almost cut you in half but we survived and I especially grew careful about how every penny was spent .Nothing was ever wasted and there were times I was glad my late Mum had taught me how to streeetch food to expand meals. :P)

    I hope you got my PM yesterday ,let me know and I will do the deleting bit

    We all have to start somewhere and if possible give baking a go its all trial and error and no one expects you to be another Mary Berry. Back in the 1960s when I made my first fruit cake I accidently burnt it a bit and my late OH loved it slightly 'tarred ' for ever afterwards he always said can you make accident cake again and to this day fruit cake is still called 'accident cake' in our family ( I don't burn it though now ,but my grandsons really think fruit cake is called accident cake

    JackieO xx
    Quot Libra,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 10th Mar 17, 10:53 AM
    • 3,001 Posts
    • 5,601 Thanks
    jackyann
    I would definitely give flapjacks a try - we all love them on here as they are filling, tasty, cheap and not too bad for you! I stir in a handful of dried fruit & a pack of choc chips. They are very forgiving as well - I only once spoiled a batch - in a seriously dodgy oven that I later discovered burned everything on the bottom and left the top uncooked!

    JackieO - you story reminded me of a tale I was told by the wife of a very successful man - he was top of his very difficult (and well paid) profession and by the time I knew them, they had a huge and beautiful house, and all the trappings of an expensive life style.
    But he came from humble beginnings, and early in his career had decided that in order to do really well (which he never forgot) he needed to take 6 months off and do a full time course - his friend decided the same, and both families had to manage young children (wives not working as the course was full day time + assignments in the evening). So the men took packed lunches, and he would come home on Fridays and say "My friend had proper cake in his lunch box, not home made flapjacks" and his wife would say "well, we can't afford cake"!
    They both passed the course, and when back in work had a celebratory dinner. The friend's wife revealed that she decided not to save the top tier of the wedding cake for the baby's christening (as was the custom) but to cheer up her husband's rather drab lunch box!
    This would have been in the 50s, and I think of how differently that situation would have been managed today. I also have to say that it must have been quite a large cake!
    • RedCola
    • By RedCola 10th Mar 17, 11:37 AM
    • 113 Posts
    • 560 Thanks
    RedCola
    Today is payday. I've spent the day paying all bills / debts etc, or putting it to one side. Once we have done that, we have £150 for groceries.
    £7 of that has already gone (My husband bought lunch for work from Supermarket early hours)

    I haven't yet read all the replies, so will do that now. Then I need to get sorted on this.
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 10th Mar 17, 11:42 AM
    • 993 Posts
    • 3,650 Thanks
    angelpye
    You can do this!
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 10th Mar 17, 12:09 PM
    • 2,086 Posts
    • 31,611 Thanks
    Islandmaid
    Jackie O - I hope you have shared your misers cook book - its brill

    Red Cola - For Hubby and DS2's lunches (when he is here) I make tuna pasta salad (basic cooked cooled pasta, drained tin of tuna, sliced spring onion, some Sweetcorn and a large tablespoon of mayonnaise- mix together and into storage boxes - they love it
    Also make some ham and cheese sarnies, cut as usual, wrap and stick in the freezer - don't put salad in - then you have a stock of ready made sandwiches for then you have one of 'those' mornings - they defrost by lunchtime - chop or slice carrots, cucumber, celery etc bung in the fridge ready to add to lunch boxes and for kids to snack on - ditto by a bag of sultanas and split into small portions for lunch boxes and snacks - it goes a long way.

    My son is at uni, and he buys frozen Veg including chopped onion as he can then use what he needs without waste.

    When (if) you find a quiet space, start writing a list of your families fav meals, cottage pie, sausage and mash, spag Bol, curries, stews casseroles etc then you can start to form a meal plan
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!


    June GC £250/£75.00
    • Mungoteamwork12
    • By Mungoteamwork12 10th Mar 17, 12:43 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Mungoteamwork12
    Buy chicken thighs rather than breast, much tastier and cheaper...Have a look at recipes for pasta bake (chicken, pasta, tin tomatoes, puree, cheese)..Baked potatoes with a filling make a good cheap meal...Buy food that is in the reduced section of the supermarkets...Freeze what you can't use that day.
    • janb5
    • By janb5 10th Mar 17, 3:35 PM
    • 1,770 Posts
    • 6,334 Thanks
    janb5
    Today is payday. I've spent the day paying all bills / debts etc, or putting it to one side. Once we have done that, we have £150 for groceries.
    £7 of that has already gone (My husband bought lunch for work from Supermarket early hours)

    I haven't yet read all the replies, so will do that now. Then I need to get sorted on this.
    Originally posted by RedCola
    I think this will only work if you get everyone on board. It isn`t fair if one family member spends £7 on lunch when it could have been provided from home ?
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 10th Mar 17, 5:06 PM
    • 14,789 Posts
    • 119,285 Thanks
    JackieO
    Jackie O - I hope you have shared your misers cook book - its brill
    Originally posted by Islandmaid
    Yes, sent off yesterday, and received and glad to help out .

    JackieO xx
    Quot Libra,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • kerrypn
    • By kerrypn 10th Mar 17, 8:24 PM
    • 1,180 Posts
    • 1,993 Thanks
    kerrypn
    I've been through my kitchen and written down what we have. I've tried to keep it in some kind of order. The cupboard stuff is mostly what we have left every month and I don't really know what to do with it, so it just carries over

    Freezer:

    Pitta bread x 2pk
    Steak chips
    Fries
    Sliced kiwi
    Bananas
    Plums
    Corn on the cobs
    Sweetcorn
    Sliced mushrooms
    Green beans
    Peas
    Mixed peppers
    Julienne Carrots
    Potato cubes
    Pigs in blankets x 1pk
    Fishfingers
    Heck Sausages 1/2 pk
    Pork chops (8)
    Chicken breasts (2)
    Leg of lamb 1/2
    Minted lamb shanks (4)
    Lamb sausages (6-8)
    Farmhouse sausages (3)

    Cupboard:

    Mackerel (1 tin in olive oil. 1 tin in hot & spicy sauce)
    Baked beans x 6
    Spaghetti loops
    Beans (1 tin of each: Cannellini / Pinto / Refried)
    Egg noodles x 3pk
    Red lentils
    Various pasta (small amounts of each)
    Lasagne sheets
    Macaroni (500g)
    Ready made polenta
    Couscous

    Short crust pastry Mix
    Pizza mix
    Baking powder / Bicarbonate of soda / Easy dried yeast
    Flour - Self raising / plain / corn
    Sugar - muscavado / icing / granulated
    Evaporated milk
    Apple slices
    Dried fruit & nuts - Apricots / Pecans /Cranberries /Almonds
    Porridge oats
    Jelly cubes & sachet
    Choc sauce / sprinkles etc

    Assorted oils, chilli, herbs, spices, stock, vinegars,
    Rubs - Pulled pork / Beef BBQ / Pork rib

    Potatoes - white & sweet


    Plus we have a few apples, bananas and satsumas as well as milk, leeks, lettuce and a bit of cheese (stilton / Gloustershire / parmesan)
    Originally posted by RedCola

    You've had some great food suggestions already, but just wanted to add, if you can buy some dried pearl barley from local market if possible, I absolutely swear by this to bulk out meals like spag bol cottage pie etc. If you're not keen rice works as well but tends to be more visible..it means I can afford good quality mince for a good portion (there's 5 of us too!) Would also highly recommend looking for eggs at the market, I've always found they are far cheaper than supermarkets and so versatile! The other thing I've always found stretches my budget is buying a joint (chicken is easiest imo) for three meals, one roast, one pasta/rice dish and then use the carcass for soup.


    From the ingredients you have already, you could make some roast pepper/mushroom quiches , potato and leek soup, macaroni cheese, baked potatoes with beans, lamb hotpot/stew, pork stir fry (depending on quantities you have obviously)

    For pudding bread and butter pud is a great way to use up stale bread and very easy to make. Basic brand custard comes is sachets very cheaply, baked bananas and custard, jellies with fruit bottoms (nice with peaches) if family have a real sweet tooth most supermarkets do angel delight basic brand very cheaply but personally I'd push fruit even if it means spending a bit less else where.

    Sorry hope I've not bored you to tears with all that hope that helps x
    • katkin
    • By katkin 10th Mar 17, 8:35 PM
    • 650 Posts
    • 7,147 Thanks
    katkin
    How are your stocks of loo rolls, washing up liquid, laundry, toiletries etc?

    It's worth doing a stock take and list of those too to ensure you can eek em out.

    Keep on in there and you will get through X
    • miffedatparkingcharge
    • By miffedatparkingcharge 11th Mar 17, 8:00 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    miffedatparkingcharge
    Talking of toilet roll. When kids were little, I told them the max that could be used at 'one tear' was three sheets.

    Also, laundry stuffs: I have changed back to powder, & find the non bio Aldi/Lidl ones perfectly fine. I also use a lesser amount per wash, and likewise with conditioner I bought a 5L concentrate when on offer, transfer some to a smaller bottle and add a bit of water. Again I use a lesser amount than per wash - perhaps a third. Eeking it all out.

    Obviously the reduction doesn't apply if very dirty items require washing.

    On a different thread, I read a suggestion that when baking; the poster used 25% less sugar that was stated with no huge detriment to the bake.
    • mardatha
    • By mardatha 11th Mar 17, 8:04 AM
    • 13,796 Posts
    • 127,571 Thanks
    mardatha
    Absolutely agree re the sugar, I found that myself.
    • miffedatparkingcharge
    • By miffedatparkingcharge 11th Mar 17, 8:58 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    miffedatparkingcharge
    Do you live anywhere near rural to buy a sack of potatoes/tray of eggs (some other items sometimes available) from a farmer? With a large family, this may be of use. I was aware Mozzers had some spud sacks late last year, but heard various messages of quality.

    As the weather warms up the carboots have fantastic veg offers. (Take change in your purse, but don't be persuaded to buy anything else). One guy at ours comes with boxes of stuff - eg tomatoes (not quite the season yet) or mushrooms .... I have even purchased one & split it with the person stood next to me as it was the last one so we both got enough.

    Have to say since big son went to Uni (always had 2eggs on toast weekdays for breakfast & he also made for my daughter too), Myself & daughter now have porridge in the pot weekday mornings. Ok, no choice (toppings variable), but cheap. Result is - I now have eggs available for other meal choices.

    Also, Pizza making can be such fun for all, use up that packet and then if successful, try from scratch. The Jamie Oliver recipe is fab (will look for it & post), however if I've run out of the semolina, I just 'up' the flour qty. If you can make a batch with kids involved. The quantity given for the JO recipe is fairly big, you can halve it or freeze some dough or wrap it (clingfilm, it carries on proving/rising even in the fridge) -its good for the week and use it for dough balls or garlic bread as alternatives through the week. Easy tomato puree 35p aldi, garlic & few herbs for the base. Mozzerella balls approx 45p each. Any other toppings as available. We become competitive to see how thin we can make a crust and still transfer to the oven. This can on occasion take up a whole shelf of the oven!

    www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/recipe/pizza-dough/ (it really is a big quantitiy. Half the quantity should be fine for all of you)

    Good luck, keep posting, intrigued to see how it goes.
    Last edited by miffedatparkingcharge; 11-03-2017 at 12:24 PM.
    • miffedatparkingcharge
    • By miffedatparkingcharge 11th Mar 17, 9:38 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    miffedatparkingcharge
    More thoughts - if you are not time limited. I find check out Home Bargains & B&M if they are near for store cupboard supplies. Iceland for frozen.

    3kg bag of essential pasta in any of the main supermarkets, price per kilo £1 thereabouts.

    Rice - look for a big bag that may be on offer. Measure out 1 cup rice to 2 parts water. Bring to the boil & then turn off the heat, Fluff up with fork, put lid back on & cover with a towel. 20mins later - fab rice (or mixed with chopped up, sauteed veg, stock, beans or bones from your lamb/chicken and a bit of dried fruit is a firm fave in our house).

    Worth checking MySupermarket to compare prices of main supermarkets if you have a list prepared.

    I think Angelpye's suggestion of delivery options genius if you haven't done this before. Take your time when it comes to ordering, but don't get caught out on 'substitutions'.
    Last edited by miffedatparkingcharge; 11-03-2017 at 10:01 AM.
    • RedCola
    • By RedCola 11th Mar 17, 12:38 PM
    • 113 Posts
    • 560 Thanks
    RedCola
    I've made a kind of plan, just for dinners so far. I'd like to post it up and see if it's ok, or if I should cut my it down / change meals?

    * Spuds with Baked Beans and Cheese
    * Tuna Fishcakes
    * Lamb Shanks with mash & veg
    * Chicken & Sausage pie served with veg
    * cheese & cracked pepper pasta
    * Mulligatawny with Chappatis
    * Fish fingers / chips / spaghetti hoops

    My shopping list, with costs, from Asda:

    Mature cheese - £4

    Sunflower oil - £1.15

    Tikka curry paste - £1

    Free range eggs - £2
    Creme Fraiche - 95p
    Single cream - 85p

    Spaghetti - 20p

    Spring onions - 49p
    Salad mix - £1

    Dijon mustard - 55p
    Ketchup - 38p

    Tinned tuna - £2.74 (4 tins)
    Tinned toms - 58p (2 tins)

    Baking potatoes - £1
    Onions - 65p
    Carrots - 50p
    Garlic - 81p
    White potatoes - £1.25

    Frozen broccoli - £1.10

    Total - £21.19
    • RedCola
    • By RedCola 11th Mar 17, 12:46 PM
    • 113 Posts
    • 560 Thanks
    RedCola
    This doesn't include toiletries, cleaning stuff, lunches, breakfasts and snacks, so not sure I did as well as I thought at first.

    I really can't use up all the money first week, as then where do I go?

    I've read all the posts now, and taken notes. It's just difficult to switch it up.
    For example, a typical packed lunch is sandwich or wrap. Babybel or cheese string or cheese dunker. Crisps or Kitkat. CapriSun or juice carton. I gave up packing fruit - they eat it at home ( other than DS2) and it gets bashed in lunchbox

    My husband normally takes rustlers burgers and supernoodles. Bottle of Pepsi Max. Crisps and chocolates.

    All not good on our budget
    • caronc
    • By caronc 11th Mar 17, 12:55 PM
    • 1,661 Posts
    • 10,673 Thanks
    caronc
    This doesn't include toiletries, cleaning stuff, lunches, breakfasts and snacks, so not sure I did as well as I thought at first.

    I really can't use up all the money first week, as then where do I go?

    I've read all the posts now, and taken notes. It's just difficult to switch it up.
    For example, a typical packed lunch is sandwich or wrap. Babybel or cheese string or cheese dunker. Crisps or Kitkat. CapriSun or juice carton. I gave up packing fruit - they eat it at home ( other than DS2) and it gets bashed in lunchbox

    My husband normally takes rustlers burgers and supernoodles. Bottle of Pepsi Max. Crisps and chocolates.

    All not good on our budget
    Originally posted by RedCola
    I still go with the sandwich/wrap - buy a block of edam and cut in to cubes and use instead of babybel/strings, packet of cheap crisps and a water bottle filled with squash and the kids shouldn't notice much difference. Would Hubby take a packet of the cheap asian noodles or a home made pot noodle (lots of recipes on line), would a home cooked burger in a bap work for him or a pitta stuffed with leftovers or a pasty for him to nuke?
    Feb GC £122/£100, Mar GC £131/£150, April GC £150/£160, May GC £150/£150, June GC £117/£120
    • RedCola
    • By RedCola 11th Mar 17, 12:59 PM
    • 113 Posts
    • 560 Thanks
    RedCola
    I wish I knew how to do the home made burgers / pastys / noodles etc.
    I just cant.
    When I made my meal plan, I looked at all the ideas posted on here, and thought how well they would work. except I don't have a clue without following recipes, so I dug out a student cookbook and looked at recipes there, and wrote the ingredients down.

    I could make this so much cheaper, I just don't know how.
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 11th Mar 17, 1:16 PM
    • 9,789 Posts
    • 23,793 Thanks
    suki1964
    Those are expensive packed lunches

    First of, can I suggest either Lidl or Aldi for your shop

    This week in lidl a 24 bag of crisp is 94 pence, meatballs and pork pieces, £1

    I can't mind exact prices but DH gets the twix, Mars and snickers equivalent for about 80p pack of six. Their wraps are half the price then tescos. I picked up the Capri sun equivalent last week for 70p but they aren't that much dearer. Still you would be better off with a water bottle filled with squash

    Baby bel and cheese strings, you can cut up cheese, wrap in film. Not as processed and a lot cheaper

    Do try the twinks hob nobs. They are so simple a child can make them. If you haven't got scales, use a cup, twice as many cups of oats to flour and sugar. They would be ideal for a lunch box - DH and his work mates love them


    Lidl diet cola is 55p for 2 litres. I'm a hardcore Pepsi/Coke drinker. I can't really tell the difference between lidl and Pepsi

    Rustler hamburgers and pot noodles aren't really an ideal packed lunch. Can you not make either a pasta or noodle dish up on Sunday that he can take in with him? one of my favourite ones in Nigellas Noodles ( google it ) you can even use ready to wok noodles in its that easy

    My DH is a manual worker, he needs a lot of packing as he burns it off and also if I don't make him something filling and healthy, he'd be snacking all day

    Breakfast, tea and toast

    His pack up is, homemade vegetable broth. Full of fresh veg as well as dried like split peas and barley to make it more substantial. I make a big pot of is every Sunday for £1.50. I freeze half as it only lasts 3 days in the fridge. He takes a flask a day. He has two rounds of sandwiches, usually meat and salad or egg salad. Small pack of crisp, either a lidl chocolate bar or whatever I've baked - he loves banana bread, fruit, maybe small handful of nuts

    Dinner, a normal persons serving of meat, with a pile and a half of veg
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