Chomping our way to financial freedom one meal at a time

We started 2015 with £39k of debt as the house needed some major work and spent the next 5 years hard core budgeting to clear it, booked a fantastic holiday in 2020 (saved for in advance) to celebrate and were looking forward to having more available cash to enjoy ourselves! 🤣

Mr Star WFH during COVID allowed us to finally build a 6 month emergency fund and we finally had our 2020 holiday last week!

Unfortunately we aren’t going to be looking forward to having a bit more spare cash as it’s just going to go on increased bills. (although I’m so glad we no longer have the debt).

Our fixed rate mortgage expires in 2027 as we just renewed it, so it is just the general inflation we need to grapple with.

I’ve decided to start a diary to chart our progress, maybe to share recipes and ideas with others. 

Our household is me, Mr Star and Star-dog.

We have a few things booked in, Mr Star has gone to the football with his brother today, and me and my mum are doing a trip to London to the theatre in a couple of weeks. We’ve also got a long weekend in to Italy in October and seeing my sister in Germany in December (all of these the travel and accommodation has been paid for though).

So my food/toiletries budget is £35 a week (sometimes I go over if I need a lot of cleaning products/loo rolls) just got back from supermarket and spent £32.40 which leaves me enough for a milk/bread top up.

meals will be: 
lunches:
veg and lentil soup
leek and potato soup
beans on toast
scrambled egg on toast 

dinners:
steak and onion pie with mash and veg
cottage pie
slow cooker butter chicken and rice
chicken and broccoli pasta

snacks:
Greek yoghurt & honey (my parents keep bees so I have loads of honey)
bananas, plums and peaches
bara Brith or fairy cakes (depends on what I can be bothered to bake)!

breakfast is usually, toast, porridge, cereal, fruit & Greek yogurt (whatever we fancy/is available).

Im going to try to stick to £35 a week but it is getting harder to do a week of meals for that so we may need to increase it.
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Comments

  • star24.7
    star24.7 Posts: 15 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Just made the vegetable and lentil, the butternut squash was pretty big so I’ve popped half in the freezer.  

    I’ve made enough for about 8 lunches so will freeze half and have it in a few weeks. I’ve found when i expect to eat the same lunch for 3-4 days in a row Mr Star gets fed up and will “pop for a meal deal” whilst I’m at work so need to keep the variety up. 

    I probably need to look into how much it costs per hour to use the hob and oven because I just switch them on (although I do usually cook multiple things in the oven at the same time). I can easily have the oven on for 3 hours on a weekend and I haven’t considered tailoring my meal plan to cheaper cooking methods.

    Maybe that’s a job for this afternoon.


  • Shirl62
    Shirl62 Posts: 21 Forumite
    First Post
    Hi Star 24.7 good luck with the budgeting.  Nothing is easy right now hey?  Do you have recifor the soup?  I want to start using lentils more but never know what to do with them and if they need soaking 


  • star24.7
    star24.7 Posts: 15 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    If you want any other recipes let me know. 
    My gran was a great cook and when she passed away I took the book she used to write them all down in, she must have started it during the war, there are some things that don’t really suit a modern taste but some great recipes full of veg and very cheap!
  • Shirl62
    Shirl62 Posts: 21 Forumite
    First Post
    Thanks Star do you soak the lentils or just throw them in?
  • star24.7
    star24.7 Posts: 15 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I just throw them in, I use the red split lentils. 
    They are also good in a curry. BBC have a nice coconut chicken curry with sweet potato peas and lentils that’s very tasty.
  • WinterWarrior
    WinterWarrior Posts: 5,612 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Photogenic Name Dropper
    Soup is so easy, I don’t know why I don’t make it more!
    Good luck, the food budget seems very tiny. 
    Not all who wander are lost - J.R.R.Tolkien
    🌊 A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor 🌊
    2024 challenges - (1) £8k savings challenge = £900 so far (2) 1 stone weight reduction = 1lb so far
    My WW and friends diary is here 😁 … 
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6259606/must-try-harder/p1

  • star24.7
    star24.7 Posts: 15 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    It is a low budget, we managed with around £35 when we were paying down the debt before and then it drifted up when the pressure was off ……. I want to get it back down to as close to £35 per week as I can get. We don’t drink which probably saves us a bit. 

    Soup is your friend, it’s so varied you can do a cold soup, chunky soup, a light broth. I’m lucky because Mr Star loves soup, you need nice bread for it though, we like tiger bread or when we weren’t budgeting so hard the part-cooked crusty rolls you put in the oven. 

    We are in a fortunate position that we can spend more if we need to but I’d rather try to spend less now and have a bit of wiggle room. We are aiming to save an extra £500 a month so we can set it against the fuel bill.

    I’ve just looked up the cost of running the oven (because it isn’t something I’ve considered before) and my main oven uses 0.91kwh which isn’t too bad (it is fairly new). I’ve found meals that have cheaper ingredients tends to take longer to cook so with the extra cost electric I was concerned I was going to just be spending my food savings there.
  • CMD79
    CMD79 Posts: 751 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    star24.7 said:
    We started 2015 with £39k of debt as the house needed some major work and spent the next 5 years hard core budgeting to clear it, booked a fantastic holiday in 2020 (saved for in advance) to celebrate and were looking forward to having more available cash to enjoy ourselves! 🤣

    Mr Star WFH during COVID allowed us to finally build a 6 month emergency fund and we finally had our 2020 holiday last week!

    Unfortunately we aren’t going to be looking forward to having a bit more spare cash as it’s just going to go on increased bills. (although I’m so glad we no longer have the debt).

    Our fixed rate mortgage expires in 2027 as we just renewed it, so it is just the general inflation we need to grapple with.

    I’ve decided to start a diary to chart our progress, maybe to share recipes and ideas with others. 

    Our household is me, Mr Star and Star-dog.

    We have a few things booked in, Mr Star has gone to the football with his brother today, and me and my mum are doing a trip to London to the theatre in a couple of weeks. We’ve also got a long weekend in to Italy in October and seeing my sister in Germany in December (all of these the travel and accommodation has been paid for though).

    So my food/toiletries budget is £35 a week (sometimes I go over if I need a lot of cleaning products/loo rolls) just got back from supermarket and spent £32.40 which leaves me enough for a milk/bread top up.

    meals will be: 
    lunches:
    veg and lentil soup
    leek and potato soup
    beans on toast
    scrambled egg on toast 

    dinners:
    steak and onion pie with mash and veg
    cottage pie
    slow cooker butter chicken and rice
    chicken and broccoli pasta

    snacks:
    Greek yoghurt & honey (my parents keep bees so I have loads of honey)
    bananas, plums and peaches
    bara Brith or fairy cakes (depends on what I can be bothered to bake)!

    breakfast is usually, toast, porridge, cereal, fruit & Greek yogurt (whatever we fancy/is available).

    Im going to try to stick to £35 a week but it is getting harder to do a week of meals for that so we may need to increase it.
    I definitely need to plan meals like this!! 
    November 2023

    I'm always in it, it's only the depth that varies....

    Current debt: £10,806.75
    Debt free date April 2025 (though expecting this to come forward)


  • Parkyp
    Parkyp Posts: 883 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Good luck with your food budget. I’ve decided to take physical cash from the machine each week so I can see how much I’m spending. 

    Spend far too much on crisps, sweets and biscuits, which I see you don’t buy so probably saves money. I don’t like vegetables except carrots but I do like soup so I’ve saved your recipe, good way for me to eat veg. (I’m like a kid if they’re hidden I’ll eat them 🤣🤣). 

    Ooh and I love tiger bread to. 
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