The Diary of a Frugal Cook

in Debt Free Diaries
30 replies 3.7K views
Hi I'm a single mum to two teenagers and try to cook healthy and nutritious meals on a very tight budget. My aim is to remain debt free whilst putting both kids through school and help the kids through university. So it's a long term plan that has to be sustainable.

Building a good basic store cupboard is important to this. I have a freezer in the kitchen but I also acquired a second freezer for the shed which is invaluable in my quest. Keep an eye on local free groups and facebook pages for a spare. A second freezer means I can batch cook and make my own ready meals but also when I see any whoopsies (yellow sticker food reduced as needs eating on the day) I can freeze them for use later on and save on my weeks shopping bill.

I enjoy cooking healthy normal meals on a daily basis using everyday ingredients. The key to this is meal planning before I go shopping. I plan my meals taking into account what I already have in my freezers, cupboards then just buy the things I need. If I see any whoopsies I pick them up for use on the next week's meal plan. We still have treats and don't live on beans and toast :D The key is knowing what shop sells what for the best price and planning ahead.

Welcome to anyone who comes on this journey with me. I can guarantee it'll be fun and eventful :D My life tends to throw up unusual events that guarantee laughs and giggles. Feel free to ask me anything at all. Look forward to getting to know you all.
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Replies

  • squigssquigs Forumite
    3.2K Posts
    Thanks for this new thread!:)

    I think it will be very helpful and great fun as well.:D

    I love to know what other people are eating and their recipes, as it gives me new ideas and inspiration to try different meals.
    N1LDA:D
  • AesopAesop Forumite
    23.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
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    Hi dizzyditzy

    Looking forward to joining you on your journey and learning storecupboards and meal planning.

    Do you have a plan for the dreaded c word? So we are not al spending silly amounts of money in December, throwing it on the credit card and hoping for.the best in January? X
    Make upto £10 a day - September 2020 £106.56

    Make upto £10 a day - best thread ever. :A

    Back to make money in the new Covid19 2020 as we are going to need it!
  • Hi guys lovely to see you.
    I certainly have a plan for the dreaded C word and will share it with you. My C word shopping actually started in January but even so it's not too late to make it easier and cheaper if you start now.

    I make my list now of food that I'll be making and pick up a bit each week towards it. Even vegetables if I see them whoopsied I will buy them and freeze them for the big day. I would recommend getting a book from your local library that explains how to freeze vegetables as they are all different. Of course you can do this all the time with any reduced veg or if you buy a bigger pack than you need because it's cheaper. Plus homemade frozen vegetables taste so much better than shop bought but are still great to fit in with our busy lives. Even if you just add a bar of value chocolate to your weekly shop towards C it all adds up by the time it gets here. I also pick up a couple of bits a week for stocking fillers if I see them reduced. Stationery is great at this time of year as the big stores are clearing out there back to school range. I'll keep you all up to date as I prepare for christmas.
    I have also started running my freezers down in preperation for C as the whoopsies are amazing before and during christmas. The big supermarkets order in loads of party nibbles and christmas food that is best before C and nobody wants it that early so if you have room in your freezer you can do a boxing day buffet for pennies.
    Also start thinking about your turkey now, I have used Aldi frozen turkey and it's fantastic but they are £9.99 for up to I think 4.2kilo. So I keep my leather gloves in my pocket and when I go in I rummage through all the turkey's to see if I can find one at the maximum weight for the price and buy it:D So if you are in aldi and see someone head in the freezer and bottom sticking please say hello to me:p
  • biscuitmadbiscuitmad Forumite
    843 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    What type of meals do you make? Xx
  • dizzyditzy wrote: »
    Hi I'm a single mum to two teenagers and try to cook healthy and nutritious meals on a very tight budget. My aim is to remain debt free whilst putting both kids through school and help the kids through university. So it's a long term plan that has to be sustainable.

    Building a good basic store cupboard is important to this. I have a freezer in the kitchen but I also acquired a second freezer for the shed which is invaluable in my quest. Keep an eye on local free groups and facebook pages for a spare. A second freezer means I can batch cook and make my own ready meals but also when I see any whoopsies (yellow sticker food reduced as needs eating on the day) I can freeze them for use later on and save on my weeks shopping bill.

    I enjoy cooking healthy normal meals on a daily basis using everyday ingredients. The key to this is meal planning before I go shopping. I plan my meals taking into account what I already have in my freezers, cupboards then just buy the things I need. If I see any whoopsies I pick them up for use on the next week's meal plan. We still have treats and don't live on beans and toast :D The key is knowing what shop sells what for the best price and planning ahead.

    Welcome to anyone who comes on this journey with me. I can guarantee it'll be fun and eventful :D My life tends to throw up unusual events that guarantee laughs and giggles. Feel free to ask me anything at all. Look forward to getting to know you all.

    You are such an inspiration - I look forward to your future posts - thanks for sharing :rotfl:
    Luv a bargain
    love2shop
    and love to talk............. :rotfl:
  • CEWCEW Forumite
    407 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    I will be reading your diary with interest.

    I have been working on reducing my grocery bill since The beginning of March and have so far been under budget every month. Last month was my best ever with a spend of just under £125 of a £250 budget.

    The budget since March has been £50 per week but as from October I am reducing this to £25 per week. This may be a little optomistic but as my step daughter moves out tomorrow and there will only be 2 of us for most of the time I really want to try. Plus I really really need to make some savings as things are currently very tight with OH out of work. My budget is only for food not household or toiletries.

    Thanks for the thread and good luck to everyone who decides to try following your lead

    Chez x
    That money talks I don't deny, I heard it once, it said "Goodbye"
  • The type of food I cook is stews,casseroles,roast dinners,pasta dishes everything really.
    For my meal planning when I first started out to ensure we ate a balance I planned the following
    1 pasta dish
    1 rice dish
    1 roast
    1 leftovers meal
    1 snackie type tea
    1 fakeaway
    1 casserole
    I didn't stick to it religiously but found this helped me meal plan. I also try to cook at least one new recipe a month. I also found that when I meal planned and wrote down what we were having each day it didn't work. So I now plan 7 evening meals and chose on the day (or night before) what we will have out of the 7.
    Well done CEW on your budget and good luck with your cut back. I aim for a budget of £30 a week for the three of us but my children have school dinner but I try to include household and toiletries in it.
    Well tonights evening meal was a simple one.
    Ingredients
    mushrooms quartered (mine had been festering in the fridge for a while)
    1 diced onion
    1/2 a pack of te$co cooking bacon diced ( te$co/a$da/morri$on$ all do cooking bacon at 81p for 500g it's just misshapes)
    1 cube of frozen garlic (frozen garlic is brill in the freezer at te$co 400g for £1 or 2 for £1.50)
    2 tins of chopped tomatoes (KTC 4 for £1 in te$co atm)
    pinch dried mixed herbs
    3/4 pack of value pasta

    Fry off bacon,mushrooms, onion and garlic until bacon is cooked and onion softened. Add to the two tins of tomatoes and add the mixed herbs simmer whilst you cook the pasta. If I have any cheese hanging around I sometimes put a little grated on top.
  • Happy new diary - will also be reading with interest.

    I'm also a single with two extras (although mine are teens and ones just flown off to uni) we have a soon to be Mr Me with us a couple weeks a month too - which kind of throws everything quite often.

    Your meal planning sounds a bit like ours - its a general idea for the week but not so strict.

    We buy a lot of stickered stuff (I try and keep the freezers going with it - one indoors one in garage). I've had a wee month off shopping to try and get them down a bit. - Whilst I did OK I could do better.

    We had reduced cauli cheese tonight (reduced milk and cheese too) and free tattties.

    Subscribes - be an interesting one.

    Cheers and goodluck.
    Total debt 26/4/18 <£1925 we were getting there. :beer:
    Total debt as of 28/4/19 £7867.38:eek:
    minus 112.06 = £7755.32:money:
    :money:Sleeves up folks.:money:
  • Morning well today is meal planning day so I have braved sticking my head in the outside freezer to check what I have. Yes in an ideal world I'd be super organised and have a list which I ticked off when I used things but I don't:D The kids are away for the weekend so only me to please. So using what's in my freezers and cupboards and checking what's on offer in supermarket's this week, I have produced the following.
    - Homemade ready meal from the freezer
    - Roast chicken(out of the freezer) dinner
    - Homemade chicken and mushroom pie (made with leftovers)
    - Spag bog (make extra portions to freeze for homemade ready meals)
    - Chilli con carne(made with some of the leftover spagbog)
    - Bangers and Mash with onion gravy
    - Fakeaway which will be home made pizza (toppings leftover chicken,mushrooms,sweetcorn)

    I'll post the recipes as I make them. I'm also going to make malt loaf as my DD has started eating it for breakfast. Ages ago I bought malt extract but never got round to it. Malt extract is from health food shops or the chemist. I also have a load of dubious dried fruit that has been hanging around so I'll use that but soak it in tea first:D

    I'm hoping to get a few whoopsies this week. The best way to get them is to find out what time your store's reduce and the quietest days to go. It's trial and error at first but the biggest reduction tend to be about an hour before they shut but with 24 hour stores it varies.
    I have a whoopsie pot :D I use money from the whoopsie pot to buy my whoopsies, then when I use them I pay my whoopsie pot back from that weeks grocery money. It just means I have a bit aside to buy any when I see them.
  • Good to have a nice quiet weekend

    So the whoopsie pot - what did you initially 'charge' it with - I find that I'm always wanting to have a bargain when I see them but that often means the week/month shopping is skewed by it.

    Interesting to hear how you do it by paying into it - just wondered how much you used to start it - cheers.

    I'll leave the malt bread to you - not a cake/teabread fan here. But i'm sure it will be lovely!
    Total debt 26/4/18 <£1925 we were getting there. :beer:
    Total debt as of 28/4/19 £7867.38:eek:
    minus 112.06 = £7755.32:money:
    :money:Sleeves up folks.:money:
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