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    • Penguin8410
    • By Penguin8410 12th Apr 17, 1:09 PM
    • 94Posts
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    Penguin8410
    Family meal budgeting
    • #1
    • 12th Apr 17, 1:09 PM
    Family meal budgeting 12th Apr 17 at 1:09 PM
    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!
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    Last edited by Former MSE Jessica; 25-04-2017 at 2:48 PM.
    £14046.59 £14046.59

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Page 1
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 12th Apr 17, 2:29 PM
    • 405 Posts
    • 5,911 Thanks
    Ginmonster
    • #2
    • 12th Apr 17, 2:29 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Apr 17, 2:29 PM
    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_04
    • By Tink_04 23rd Apr 17, 5:54 PM
    • 1,071 Posts
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    Tink_04
    • #3
    • 23rd Apr 17, 5:54 PM
    • #3
    • 23rd Apr 17, 5:54 PM
    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
    • joedenise
    • By joedenise 24th Apr 17, 2:58 PM
    • 6,415 Posts
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    joedenise
    • #4
    • 24th Apr 17, 2:58 PM
    • #4
    • 24th Apr 17, 2:58 PM
    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
    • Livelongandprosper
    • By Livelongandprosper 25th Apr 17, 11:28 AM
    • 543 Posts
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    Livelongandprosper
    • #5
    • 25th Apr 17, 11:28 AM
    • #5
    • 25th Apr 17, 11:28 AM
    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
    • Pop Up Pirate
    • By Pop Up Pirate 25th Apr 17, 12:33 PM
    • 680 Posts
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    Pop Up Pirate
    • #6
    • 25th Apr 17, 12:33 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Apr 17, 12:33 PM
    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.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 25th Apr 17, 2:36 PM
    • 3,333 Posts
    • 7,915 Thanks
    jackyann
    • #7
    • 25th Apr 17, 2:36 PM
    • #7
    • 25th Apr 17, 2:36 PM
    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!
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 26th Apr 17, 8:52 AM
    • 8,789 Posts
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    jackieblack
    • #8
    • 26th Apr 17, 8:52 AM
    • #8
    • 26th Apr 17, 8:52 AM
    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?
    Last edited by jackieblack; 26-04-2017 at 8:57 AM.
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

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    MFW #4
    (2018 £866.89 OPd)
    2019
    YTD £748.85 (£550 offset)
    Jan £105.26, Feb £103.31,Mar £135.77, Apr £104.51, May £100, June £100, July £100


    Everything will be alright in the end, so if itís not yet alright it means itís not yet the end
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 26th Apr 17, 8:56 AM
    • 8,789 Posts
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    jackieblack
    • #9
    • 26th Apr 17, 8:56 AM
    • #9
    • 26th Apr 17, 8:56 AM
    little 'bacon pieces' that most butchers sell very cheaply, and were a weekly staple for my growing family!
    Originally posted by jackyann
    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
    (2018 £866.89 OPd)
    2019
    YTD £748.85 (£550 offset)
    Jan £105.26, Feb £103.31,Mar £135.77, Apr £104.51, May £100, June £100, July £100


    Everything will be alright in the end, so if itís not yet alright it means itís not yet the end
    • BodMor
    • By BodMor 26th Apr 17, 10:23 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    BodMor
    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.
    • 2childmum
    • By 2childmum 26th Apr 17, 12:45 PM
    • 182 Posts
    • 2,195 Thanks
    2childmum
    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.
    Originally posted by BodMor
    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
    • KSal
    • By KSal 26th Apr 17, 9:50 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    KSal
    Hi
    Hi,


    We are in a similar situation, we are a family of four with two children. What has helped us greatly is shopping in the evening for reduced supermarket items. I now regularly visit our two local supermarkets between about 6.45 and 7.30 when items seem to be reduced. I have always planned meals and shopped with a list, but now I buy what is reduced, freeze what I can, and plan my meals around what I have managed to find. We have managed to eat well extremely cheaply by being more adaptable, just this evening I got some steak mince for 60p, some fromage frais for 35p, and some pears for 30p, plus there is usually loads of very cheap bread, sometimes only 5p per loaf.


    Good luck!
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 27th Apr 17, 9:06 AM
    • 1,048 Posts
    • 2,459 Thanks
    BBH123
    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?
    Originally posted by jackieblack

    I assumed they were step kids coming to visit so this household would be expoected to feed them.
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 27th Apr 17, 10:44 AM
    • 8,789 Posts
    • 14,340 Thanks
    jackieblack
    I assumed they were step kids coming to visit so this household would be expoected to feed them.
    Originally posted by BBH123
    Fair enough, I didn't think of that, I assumed cousins/friends (due to ages - two of the children being 4 year olds)
    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
    (2018 £866.89 OPd)
    2019
    YTD £748.85 (£550 offset)
    Jan £105.26, Feb £103.31,Mar £135.77, Apr £104.51, May £100, June £100, July £100


    Everything will be alright in the end, so if itís not yet alright it means itís not yet the end
    • Penguin8410
    • By Penguin8410 27th Apr 17, 1:30 PM
    • 94 Posts
    • 206 Thanks
    Penguin8410
    thanks for the replies everyone.


    Sorry, i didn't explain well about the other 2 children. Jackieblack you're right they are my niece and nephew and we split childcare so twice a week my 2 eat at my sister in laws so they cancel each other out really but we have a lot more to feed on the 2 days they are here.


    thanks ginmonster i will have a look at the grocery challenge thread. i used to do this before the kids but had forgotten about it so will crack on with that!


    ksal thats a great idea to plan around what you get ys'd. we have a small local coop which quite often has a lot of ys things late on in the day. i usually pick things up when i can but will go with that basis rather than not buying it.


    i'm not a big meat eater but my smallest and oh are so i think we will try and do a roast once a week and stretch whatever meat we get from that. I've just found out our local butchers do a £10 tray day at the end of the month so i'm going to go and see what i can get from there.


    stocking up the store cupboard is something i need to start doing again as it has run down pretty low recently as i haven't had the extra money to buy anything extra but i will start again with maybe just buying one or 2 extra bits a week.


    We have been fortunate enough to come into some money recently which will clear our debts but i do still need to keep ontop of this to make sure we dont get into debt again. i've made notes of everything you have all posted so thank you for taking the time to do that xx
    £14046.59 £14046.59

    Snowballing

    • maman
    • By maman 27th Apr 17, 3:34 PM
    • 19,955 Posts
    • 119,277 Thanks
    maman
    i'm not a big meat eater but my smallest and oh are
    Originally posted by Penguin8410

    We eat quite small meat portions as, aside from being mse, it's healthier to have plenty of veg. I'd suggest you make meals that don't show the meat portions are relatively small but give the flavour.


    Sausage casserole is a good example. You can probably get away with 6 sausages for the 4 of you. Here's a sample recipe:
    http://www.schwartz.co.uk/recipes/pork/barbecue-sausage-and-baked-bean-hotpot-with-potato-wedges


    Cut the sausages into the size of meatballs and then I like it with pasta and plenty of beans and onions you'll make a filling meal. I always add some mushrooms too because they have the chewy texture of meat.
    • BodMor
    • By BodMor 30th Apr 17, 10:27 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    BodMor
    Some more general principles:


    A bigger quantity isn't always cheaper per unit than a smaller quantity (eg smaller mango chutney on offer at Tesco is less per weight than the bigger jar just now). Compare before picking up (use phone calculator if the sums are tricky!) This said, some things seem to be reliably cheaper in bulk. The first pint of milk 58p, two pints 75p, four £1. Four pints are a lot to use for a single/small family but if you have pasta, dried herbs, cheese and fish in freezer etc. then milk can be a nutritious main component of several meals in a week as well as using on cereals/tea/coffee.


    Approved Food website prices (out of date but perfectly usable food) are generally more competitive than in "best by" food including minimum purchase and postage cost considerations if you have the storage space for "store cupboard items". Consider clubbing together an order with local friends (to hit minimum purchase level) if individual orders are small.


    A larger branch of the same multiple retailer brand is generally better priced than a small one. For example a Sainsbury's Local near a train station that I sometimes wander into (but don't buy from) is priced for passenger distressed pricing (compared with say station concession prices and on train "catering"). A larger branch within 400m has the same stuff at fractions of the price and a much bigger selection of own label budget lines cf premium brands.
    • BodMor
    • By BodMor 30th Apr 17, 10:39 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    BodMor
    >> We eat quite small meat portions
    > Sausage casserole is a good example.


    Also toad in the hole (cut a few "white bag" ie butcher counter discounted item) sausages in half lengways and half again. Roast in some oil/butter at 200C for a few minutes while making a Yorkshire pud batter (hand whisk up 3 eggs, 200g plain flour, 300 ml milk plus a spoon of mustard or some dried herbs if you have and like these), lob the batter on top of the sausages, roast for 30 min & serve with some frozen peas and an instant gravy (both many serve per item store cupboard/freezer staples).
    • BodMor
    • By BodMor 30th Apr 17, 10:51 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    BodMor
    One other point - unless it is obvious that you're getting something of good quality in a white label bag, get the person on the counter to open it up and show you the goods before deciding whether to buy. They can be used for palming off poor bits of the stock on the unsuspecting (eg the smallest bits of oxtail with little meat on them bunched together that no amount of slow cooking will transform into something tasty, or a bit of meat with a disproportionate layer of fat sold at meat prices, or something with a colour you wouldn't contemplate buying.)


    At their best these can offer stuff I couldn't afford on my means at headline prices (10% priced fish, 33% lamb legs or bulk pork belly cheaper and better than the discount stores) - but only if you dodge anything dodgy on offer.
    • Keedie
    • By Keedie 2nd May 17, 5:10 PM
    • 244 Posts
    • 1,016 Thanks
    Keedie
    I love these threads as I learn so much and I'll be reading the grocery one next. But I am a bit confused, what does 'ys' mean? I'm trying to figure it out to put the posts in context but I'm coming up short
    LBM 27/06/16 = £31,400.57 (7 creditors) BUT on 12/03/2018 = £15,939.84/£31,400.57 (6 creditors) = 50.76% repaid
    Aiming to be Debt Free = 31/12/2020
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