Need help to be more frugal and thrifty

nataz Forumite Posts: 435 Forumite
Im hoping you can all help me become more frugal and buy and feed my family for less.

Im in my early 30's, married with two small kids, and have a little cooking knowledge. But when it comes to buying the right food to make the most meals at the cheapest cost Im lost.

Its made harder because I dont like pasta, rice or lentils & beans.

I will eat meat, almost all veggies.

Do you have any books to recommend, websites to visit or just good old fashioned advice?

I want to be able to see a reduced item at the supermarket and think.. yes I can make that that and that out of it!

Debt at LBM - £11,505
Debt 2011 = [STRIKE]8K[/STRIKE] £7760 - DF in July 2013
DMP Paddle no. 1 Sealed Pot No. 1375
Grocery Challenge Aug £418.31/£450 Sept £ /£450


  • boultdj
    boultdj Forumite Posts: 5,280
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Try the Grocery challange thread, there are link's to allsort's of meal plan/recipe site's, as well as a long list that people doing the challange have posted, it's all on the first page. hth.
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  • Seraph123
    Seraph123 Forumite Posts: 52 Forumite
    You say that 'you' dont like rice beans or pasta but does that mean the kids and OH don't either?
  • nataz
    nataz Forumite Posts: 435 Forumite
    No they're 'normal' lol!

    But me and DH do generally eat the same stuff. And prob with not liking them is I dont really know how to cook them other than boiling :(
    Debt at LBM - £11,505
    Debt 2011 = [STRIKE]8K[/STRIKE] £7760 - DF in July 2013
    DMP Paddle no. 1 Sealed Pot No. 1375
    Grocery Challenge Aug £418.31/£450 Sept £ /£450
  • Seraph123
    Seraph123 Forumite Posts: 52 Forumite
    ah that makes more sense. Maybe you should start with the basics like spag bolg/lasagne/pasta bake.....all have the same basic sauce and maybe you could just ease yourself into it gently. You have yours with a baked spud instead of pasta....sure the kids would like that too. Rice,pasta and noodles are just the fillers so if you make a really delicious sauce then the fillers just take on that flavour. HM wedges or oven chips are just as good as pasta and chilli with topping of no frills nachos and grated cheese is delicious so no need for rice.

    Lots of luck x
  • ubamother
    ubamother Forumite Posts: 1,190 Forumite
    I think you can take two different routes to this - you can 'frugalise' what you eat now - i.e. make a list of your normal meals and find ways of making the same meals cheaper, or you can change eating your eating habits to fit more frugal foods. The second option will probably save more money over time, but can be more challenging as you are not only changing what you eat, but that of your family too. Only you know the best way to add to/delete from/adapt your current eating habits as a family. Perhaps if you make a list here on the types of meals you normally have, and possibly foods that are absolute no nos and the very clever posters here could have something to 'work on'. In terms of pasta, some people have very different reactions to pasta depending on its shape, as this affects its 'feel' in the mouth, or the way it was cooked when they tried it wasn't good. It took me over 10 years to get my husband to try pasta - and now he cooks it himself regularly - turns out his mother boiled it to death so it was horribly flabby and overcooked. When my daughter was small, she loved spaghetti, but hated fusilli or macaroni - texture thing I think, so it might be worth thinking about what you don't like about it.
  • nataz
    nataz Forumite Posts: 435 Forumite
    Thanks already!

    Not sure what it is about pasta but I just cant swallow it, however, the potato idea sounds good.

    Meals from scratch are usually:

    sausage / beef casserole
    roast chicken with trimmings
    mince beef stew and dumplings
    chicken curry (with jar of sauce) DH has rice I just have naans

    then things like
    grilled fish with potatos
    jacket potatos
    frozen foods with chips/mash

    kids have a mixture of ready stuff like beans and homemade things like the casseroles and pasta and spag bol etc

    Quite limited at the mo which is why I'd like to cook more but not cost lots esp with ingredients that just sit in the cupboard (like my slow cooker.. hangs head in shame)
    Debt at LBM - £11,505
    Debt 2011 = [STRIKE]8K[/STRIKE] £7760 - DF in July 2013
    DMP Paddle no. 1 Sealed Pot No. 1375
    Grocery Challenge Aug £418.31/£450 Sept £ /£450
  • miss_corerupted
    miss_corerupted Forumite Posts: 3,486
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Debt-free and Proud!
    I used to hate rice, it was the texture OH totally ignored and still added it to my plate. I eat it now wouldn't say i love it but I've become used to it you need to keep trying with things especially if it just texture
    I have dyslexia, so get used to my spelling and grammar :)
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  • liz545
    liz545 Forumite Posts: 1,726 Forumite
    With rice, have you tried cooking it differently - like a risotto or pilaf/pilau instead of boiled rice? That can really change the texture, and it's not complicated.

    To make a risotto, you need risotto rice, which is starchier than long-grain. Fry an onion in some butter/oil, then add a cup full of risotto rice and stir it around in the oil to get it all coated. Add some hot stock, a cup at a time, and keep stirring - the rice will go all white and starchy, this is good, it means it's working! Keep adding more stock as it gets absorbed, and keep stirring until the rice is tender when you try a bit, and it's got a creamy appearance to it.

    To make it into more of a main meal, you can add some sauteed bacon/mushrooms/pretty much any veggies/frozen peas/cheese/leftover roast.

    With pasta, do you like it when it's baked, like in lasagne or tuna pasta bake? That changes the texture in a different way to when it's served boiled.

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  • HelenYorkshire
    HelenYorkshire Forumite Posts: 423 Forumite
    Slightly different approach - there is a way of eating called "paleo" or "primal" (gimmicky name but I agree with the principles). Anyhow, the focus there is mainly meat and veg, so if you google "paleo recipes" or "paleo budget recipes" you might get some ideas.

    Sound slike you could do with learning techniques rather than set recipes. Do you enjoy reading recipe books? I have the River Cottage Meat and Cookbooks (the original one, don't think it has a fancy name?) and they have a lot of useful background information to help you understand *why* that cut of meat needs that type of cooking.
    Once you get that under your belt, you can go to the whoopsie section and not be afraid of that bargain brisket, because you'll know that slow-cooking will bring out it's best :) You could also then bulk buy - e.g. half a lamb for £60-odd works out much cheaper per kg.

    Do you eat fish?
    Mackeral is fantastically cheap, as are herring and other small "unfashionable" critters.
    "She who asks is a fool once. She who never asks is a fool forever"
    I'm a fool quite often :D
  • Jnelhams
    Jnelhams Forumite Posts: 1,363 Forumite
    Oats, you can make Harrow cakes for the kids to take to school, cup of oats, cup of milk or water, add half a cup of dried fruit mix together add more fluid if needed, mix until a semi-dry dough roll out until 1cm thick and cut with a small cup on a lightly floured board and bake in medium oven until light golden colour. Can store for ages, really healthy as no sugar or fats (apart from milk), for the adult version use whisky or spirit of choice instead of fluids, add some mixed spice and sprinkle with sugar yum!

    When make an omelette you can get away with adding some milk to replace every third egg.
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