New Post Advanced Search

Family meal budgeting

edited 25 April 2017 at 3:48PM in Old Style MoneySaving
23 replies 6.5K views
Penguin8410Penguin8410 Forumite
94 posts
edited 25 April 2017 at 3:48PM in Old Style MoneySaving
hi everyone.


longstanding (for years!) lurker here in need of some help!


i know this has been done an awful lot but we have had pretty much most of our unamendable house bills increase this month (council tax, service charge etc) and it has now meant that we can scrape together £150, £170 at a push, per month for food. There are 4 of us, me, oh and two kids, 2 and 4, and twice, sometimes 3 times a week we feed 2 other children, 6 and 4, dinner as well.


i have basics in the store cupboard, pasta, rice, noodles, flour and usually go to the butchers for their special offer day they do at the end of the month, but i don't know if we'll have enough money to do that this month (it is a £10 tray day, 30 sausages, 2 whole chickens, 2 gammons, chicken breats etc)


i used to manage really well when it was just the 2 of us and would regularly spend £25 to £30 a week for the 2 of us but i've struggled to find the planning time as much since having the kids and also the price increases have caused us to struggle too. we aren't major branded people and i buy ys things as and when i see them.


any tips on how to manage this and cheap meals would be much appreciated!

If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply! [purplesignup][/purplesignup]
[STRIKE]£14046.59[/STRIKE] £14046.59
Snowballing :snow_grin
«13

Replies

  • GinmonsterGinmonster Forumite
    481 posts
    Hi there


    I would suggest checking out the monthly Grocery Challenge thread to begin with. The first couple of posts have loads of info and links to recipes that will help you. Joining in and making yourself actually account for every penny is a revelation and makes you make the most of the money you've got. Also, the people are lovely. :-)


    Make a list of all the food you already have and use that as a starting place to plan what you're going to eat, even if it's just for a few days at a time. There are loads of great recipe sites outside of here too :


    https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/
    https://cookingonabootstrap.com/
    http://www.thriftylesley.com/
    https://eatnotspend.wordpress.com/


    It is difficult when you've got kids as you just don't have as much time to think but any planning you do will pay you back in spades.
  • Tink_04Tink_04 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭
    I'm in a similar situation 2 kids and a tight budget- I find eggs great - omelettes or scrambles eggs are great and bulk cooking stuff like spag Bol and chilli helps loads.

    I try to meal plan but to be honest I'm busy and things change a lot so it probably doesn't work out too well. Fish is easy and great for kids too!
    Living the simple life
  • joedenisejoedenise Forumite
    8.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    Try and have 2 or 3 days a week meat free. Meat is the most expensive protein. Beans and pulses are good, cheap sources of protein.

    Make use of seasonal fruit and veg as it's far cheaper than out of season stuff.

    Denise
  • First off, don't let your store cupboard supplies run out, stock up on one or two items a month so you aren't having to fork out for a big shop to include these things

    Shop in lidl or Aldi if you have one and ys shop in the rest of the supermarkets

    Meal planning , if even loosely, will help a lot. I do a kind of meal plan when I see what meat/fish offers are available.

    Frozen veg can work out cheaper with less waste. Only buy fruit and veg which is in season or on the super offers in lidl or Aldi

    As above, do meat free days and make use of eggs and cheese for protein. Bulk out mince using red lentils, a long slow cook and they disappear so picky kids don't notice. My grandson is 10 and refuses most veg and ESP onions, yet wolfs down my spaghetti bolognaise with is packed with onions, lentils, carrots, tomatoes courgette, because it's cooked long and slow and the veg all but disappears

    My 3 yo grandaughter barely eats a thing, she is a picker. So I make sure there is fruit and yoghurt and cheese for her. She would live on sausages. So when ever I see the cocktail sausages reduced I buy a pack for the freezer. Or even the thin sausages ys, I turn them into cocktail sausages for her

    Look at turkey and pork mince as well for cheaper meat. It can be used the same as beef mince, it's cheaper and has less fat content

    Use thighs instead of breasts for wet dishes like curry or casserole , much cheaper and take to being slow cooked much better then breast

    Fish can be very cheap. I can feed 3 adults with a fish pie mix from Tesco ys to £2 or less so that would easily feed 2 adults and 2 little ones. A couple of hard boiled eggs, a white sauce, mash potato topping covered in cheese, a green veg, £3 max

    If you have a street market, the fruit and veg will usually be very much cheaper
  • Children need plenty of nutrition whilst they are developing, especially the brains and nervous systems, and ensuring they get all the vits and mins they need is the best thing any parent can do for the kids.

    Get into the habit of feeding them exactly what you have and keeping the carp to a minimum, even though it might be cheap. They will eat it if there is nothing else forthcoming. Parents make fussy eaters out of their kids,,,they aren't born that way.

    There are a ton of threads on here with cheap, easy recipes for those on a budget.
  • jackyannjackyann Forumite
    3.4K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    Don't forget that roasts can be stretched, and make a treat for adults (and most kids). I suggest cheaper cuts pot roasted, mostly, chicken that can be stripped and made into soup and finally stock, but also try gammon in Coke.
    It must be sugary coke, so it penetrates the meat fibres, but can be as cheap as you like, and keep the amount of Coke down by cooking in a relatively tight-fitting saucepan. Cook slowly. I just strip off the rind, and I don't 'glaze' it as I find that can dry it out. Kids love it.
    Slice very thinly. Serve at least a couple of meals with lots of veg & sauce / gravy, or do one with wedge potatoes /oven chips / jacket potatoes and HM cole-slaw.
    Sandwiches - and you can make a main meal if you use thick-cut home-made bread, plenty of filling (try fried onions if salad won't work) + some thick fries & cole-slaw.Roasted onion wedges can be good with this.
    When you are down to 'bits' then put them in risottos, on pizza, in omelettes, jacket fillings etc.
    That last sentence applies to the little 'bacon pieces' that most butchers sell very cheaply, and were a weekly staple for my growing family!
  • edited 26 April 2017 at 9:57AM
    jackieblackjackieblack Forumite
    9.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭
    edited 26 April 2017 at 9:57AM
    Why are you feeding 2 other children 2 or 3 times a week?
    They may not each much but that's and extra 16 - 26 meals a month.
    Can you ask their parents to make a contribution towards the expense?
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading
    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
    MFW #4 :) OPs: 2018 £866.89, 2019 £1322.33
    2020 YTD £837.07 Jan £69.76, Feb £67.31, Mar £700.00
    Everything will be alright in the end so, if it’s not yet alright, it means it’s not yet the end
  • jackieblackjackieblack Forumite
    9.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭
    jackyann wrote: »
    little 'bacon pieces' that most butchers sell very cheaply, and were a weekly staple for my growing family!

    Agreed, I buy these and often they have really thick/chunky gammon-like pieces in https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=292310837
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading
    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
    MFW #4 :) OPs: 2018 £866.89, 2019 £1322.33
    2020 YTD £837.07 Jan £69.76, Feb £67.31, Mar £700.00
    Everything will be alright in the end so, if it’s not yet alright, it means it’s not yet the end
  • BodMorBodMor Forumite
    19 posts
    jackieblack "Agreed, I buy these and often they have really thick/chunky gammon-like pieces in"


    Aldi do 1 kg packs for £1.15-£1.20 similar to Tesco cooking bacon, lots of variation in piece size/thickness/smoked or not but perfectly good for bacon roll or lardons etc. Often quite a lot of water content, but at the price it's tough to complain.


    Regarding roasts Tesco often discounts cooked large/small chickens about 14:30 or so to 50% of normal price ie £3/£2 (far cheaper per weight of meat than fresh or frozen cuts). The large ones do 3 meals (moderate amount of first cut meat + whatever sides you have in stock (eg cold with salad and budget cous cous) day 1, stripped meat in a cheap jar sauce with quarter of a pack frozen mix veg on rice day 2, bones for a stock making a good soup with the last bits of meat, the rest of frozen mixed vegpack , a couple of noodle blocks and a dash of hot sauce day 3.

    On meal planning if you have the freezer and fridge space do the planning in reverse. Buy offer of the week veg from Aldi/Lidl and ys meat/fish from Tesco/Asda (7-9pm weekdays, a bit earlier on a Sunday), then plan your meals round what you have rather than buying ingredients for a meal you want in advance at full price.
  • 2childmum2childmum Forumite
    240 posts
    BodMor wrote: »
    jackieblack
    On meal planning if you have the freezer and fridge space do the planning in reverse. Buy offer of the week veg from Aldi/Lidl and ys meat/fish from Tesco/Asda (7-9pm weekdays, a bit earlier on a Sunday), then plan your meals round what you have rather than buying ingredients for a meal you want in advance at full price.

    This is pretty much what i do - always buy special offers and ys stuff when I see it to freeze, then plan around what I have first in the freezer/cupboard before filling in the gaps, with stuff I know is a bit cheaper. I've also started checking on the special offers in Lidl/Aldi before meal planning so I can make the best of those. And I've started just writing e.g. 'green veg x 3' on my shopping list, and buying the cheapest version, rather than planning for broccoli, beans etc on specific days. Frozen veg is cheaper but I'm limited on freezer space, so only have 2 or at the most 3 types in the freezer.
    May spend - £291.40/£320.00
    June spend - £106.40/£320.00
Sign In or Register to comment.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support