To ask for your help with my food budget?

(76 Posts)
BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 17:49:53

I need to reduce my weekly food budget to £30. This has to feed me and my 18 year old DD.

DD is vegetarian and I am happy to eat (mostly) veggie food. I am good at planning, not a bad cook and rarely throw food away. Also have a fairly well-stocked larder.

We are not fussy eaters, but prefer that eggs, milk and yoghurt are organic. Can't afford organic cheese sad I also think it is important to have some form of protein with each meal. We don't really eat much processed food (apart from veggie sausages and quorn).

We have a fantastic local shop which sells a huge range of loose fruit and veg and is only slightly more expensive than the supermarket and I would like to carry on supporting them cadging free over-ripe bananas, tomatoes etc

I should be able to manage on £30 a week (have survived on less in the past) but am struggling, particulary with evening meals.

Would really appreciate any cheap, dinner recipe ideas!

ivanapoo Fri 14-Jun-13 21:20:10

Oh and I often shop in Aldi, and in local shops that make Aldi seem expensive! Local green grocers is ridiculously cheap, and our bargain shop does jam, tea, cleaning products etc for pennies.

ivanapoo Fri 14-Jun-13 21:14:38

I would carry on with the organic milk and eggs - but do you really need yoghurt? It's quite costly.

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a good recipe for a pearl barley broth in his "Veg Everyday" book which is a cheap, nutritious way to use up whatever veg is lurking in the fridge.

Quinoa seems expensive but is a good protein source. We eat it with butternut squash, feta and whatever other veg we have going.

Sainsbury's does veggie frozen stuff 2 for £3. The meatballs are good with rice or pasta and one pack will do 3-4 servings. Make a tomato and garlic sauce to accompany.

Dilidali Fri 14-Jun-13 19:44:05

Ok, my two cents:

Sunday is always pulses: curries, tagine, fajitas, bean salad ( always cooked in double quantity and used either as Tuesday dinner, work lunches etc)

Monday is egg night. Omelette, frittata, french bread, eggy rice
If nothing left from Sunday, Tuesday dinner is pasta: macaroni cheese, pasta with just butter, or pesto, whatever you have in the fridge that needs eating.

Wednesdays are for cupboard and fridge raid meals. I cook whatever needs using up, try to empty the fridge, because my shop is done on a Thursday.

Thursdays are for freezer food. Something I cooked a few weeks etc ago.

Friday is fish and chips: salmon with new potatoes, smoked makerel with veggies, fish and rice salad.

I make my own bread(machine).
2-3 days a week, lunches are leftover cooked dinners.
The rest are sandwiches, salads, pasties.
If it takes more than 20 mins to cook, I ain't cooking it.

Saturdays afternoon I bake cakes, to have for tea and cakes on Sunday afternoons and occasional afternoon coffee at work.
I always meal plan. If something is on offer(think 50p aubergines) I buy 10, grill them, drain and freeze. I love aubergine salad (baba ganoush) and it's perfect for lunches on a slice of freshly baked bread.
I currently pay £30 a week for food shopping for us 3. I use Lidl and Sainsbury's.

Jellyhandsandfingers Fri 14-Jun-13 18:06:42

Oh yes. My final bargain vegetarian recipe is mushroom risotto. I usually fry off an onion and some garlic then add some mushrooms (and any other vegetables) Add in rice (I use ordinary rice for 40p a time). Mix together. Add vegetable stock. Add seasoning. Serve with some sort of cheese on top. I find it really filling.

Jellyhandsandfingers Fri 14-Jun-13 18:03:22

Also do you like paneer? It is really easy to make at home and put in curry. It is also the same method to make ricotta only there is one less step in the process.

Jellyhandsandfingers Fri 14-Jun-13 18:01:32

Use lentils a lot. I make lentil shepherds pie and lentil chilli. The lentil chilli is great as I tend to serve it with rice one day and the following day in an enchilada. Also roasted vegetable lasagne is easy to do, filling and will last a couple of meals.

Shop around - don't get all your products from one shop as stuff will be cheaper across various shops. Buy cleaning products and shower gels/shampoos from Poundland

Do you know anyone with a cash and carry card? Buy in bulk there if you can (but don't eat it all quicker than you would usually).

florascotia Fri 14-Jun-13 17:47:54

Agree with very many of the above suggestions.

Could I also add; soup is also your friend. You can buy a stick blender from supermarkets - mine came from Morrisons - for under £10. It transforms all sorts of cheapo seasonal veg into tasty broth - thicken with red lentils (before adding salt). For flavour, add dried herbs plus tins of tomato puree (currently 29p at nearest supermarket), or cheap tins (Lidl, Aldi) of chopped tomatoes. Or else buy low-salt Marigold vegan stock powder (IMHO = v. good); I get mine by the kg from Goodness Direct www.goodnessdirect.co.uk/‎ who are also very good for bulk purchases of beans, lentils and seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin (3kg packs). If you want to be frivolous, Goodness Direct also usually sell 'cook your own' popcorn - just heat a few kernels and a little oil in a strong pan witha lid; when 'popped', sprinkle with dried herbs/paprika. Great with drinks (if you like them) or fun for young persons. Serve soup - sorry, we seem (above) to have strayed off-target - with fresh herbs (grown in pots on windowsills) plus grated cheese or yoghurt for protein. Or else carefully add cheapest dried milk, to make soup 'cream of' veg (or whatever). And bread.

Can I also - for winter or after strenuous exercise - recommend an old Scottish favourite: stovies? Finely slice lots of onions and potatoes. Season with dried herbs of choice, salt and pepper. Add fat of choice - virgin olive oil is what I use (bargains often available). Cook as slowly as you can until pots/onion are soft. (Perhaps use a slow cooker for this? I think I'd buy that rather than a bread machine. ) Seve with a green veg, if possible; kale is traditional. If worried about lack of protein, then yoghurt for pudding.

mummy1973 Fri 14-Jun-13 16:40:41

Has given me some inspiration to liven up my veggie weekly meal plan grin

sashh Fri 14-Jun-13 07:04:48

Pancakes are cheap and filling.

Find out if your local FE college has students baking, I used to get a carrier bag of bread loaves for very little and freeze them (don't live near the college now).

A tin or two of beans/pulses and a packet of passata makes a filling stew, serve with baked potatoes.

Do you have allotments near you? Some people sell excess produce.

I don't think it'll be too hard. Our bill is £35 a week for me, DH and toddler DD, including nappies, loo roll etc. Shopping in Aldi really, really helps!

BlackeyedSusan Thu 13-Jun-13 23:05:32

value wholemeal loaves are 47p each in some shops.

value oats have been fine for porridge, though we have cereal from aldi.

MacaYoniandCheese Thu 13-Jun-13 22:54:25

Yy to beans. Get used to soaking and cooking the dry ones...no effort at all if you're organized. Dry lentils can be added to virtually anything. Make your own Hummus and if you must buy organic milk you can then use that to make your own yogurt...google homemade yogurt for instructions. Baking bread is easy too. Do you like tofu? It's great for quick stir-fries etc. (bake it in the oven first in a little EVOO) and very cheap.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 13-Jun-13 22:47:07

cheapest beans are value kidney beans. some places do 3 tins of other sorts of beans for a pound. yellow mung beans and red lentils cook fairly quickly and do not need soaking. check the pckets of other beans forr soaking and cooking times as cooking for an hour takes a lot of fuel. pearl baarley is cheaper per kilo than wholemeal pasta or brown rice. use the value wholemeal bread. value baked beans from morrisons or asda are not too bad and at about 25p a tin could give both of you some protein, if combined with wholemeal bread. (if I remember correctly)

cheese is expensive per kilo. so are eggs.

bumbleymummy Thu 13-Jun-13 22:27:15

Some good info here

bumbleymummy Thu 13-Jun-13 22:18:09

Organic hens do have more outdoor time than free range and the welfare standards are higher. Also aren't given antibiotics etc (unless needed).

Free range is better than barn/caged/whatever though so if you have to cut back temporarily then don't fret too much.

Do you live in a city or do you have access to local farm eggs? People pretty much give them away around here! Sometimes health food shops sell eggs from farms they know keep happy hens and they can be less than supermarkets.

BeKind I think opinions vary on the benefits of organic. I'm sticking with them despite being on a low budget as I've already had cancer and the general anti-cancer advice seems to be organic where possible, with dairy eggs etc being more important than fruit and veg. If you have no specific reason to be concerned about cancer than free range is probably fine smile

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 21:00:20

softsheen take on board your comment re: organic eggs. I thought that organic eggs might have been laid by hens with a more free-rangeing/happier life but am now thinking this is not the case. If there are no nutritional benefits, I might as well just buy free-range as opposed to organic

A bag of basic flour is 80p for 1.5kg. Yeast is (roughly) £1.50 - £2.00 for a sachets. That makes 3-4 loaves for less that £2. All you need on top of this is water and a smidge of salt/maybe oil. £2 for 3-4 loaves or a shop bought loaf which costs a minimum of £1.50 each. Tis quite therapeutic and actual "doing" time is not massive if you do by hand.
Alternatively check out ebay for a second hand breadmaker- just had a quick look - there are ooodles on there for £1starting bids (think is free insertion at the moment). Lot of these are for collection only but you can search on location.

There is a book around called make the bread, buy the butter - never read it but the author spent a year working out the economics of it all....

Good luck

portraitoftheartist Thu 13-Jun-13 20:55:39

Cooking dried pulses, even after soaking, takes hours so is not all that economical. Buy cheap cans, add to onions, tomatoes and any other veg and make soups, shepherd's pie, chilli with rice, sauce for pasta, homemade burgers. Stock powder (cheaper than cubes) makes plain food tasty.

SoftSheen Thu 13-Jun-13 20:45:54

Chickpea curry with rice or flatbread (BBC website)
Homity pie (also BBC website)
Veg stir fry with cashew nuts/peanuts and rice/noodles
Macaroni cheese with leeks
Cottage pie made with lentils instead of mince
Baked potatoes topped with leftover chilli/curry etc or cheese
Ratatouille with pasta (in summer when veg are cheaper- aubergines currently 50p at Asda)
Cauliflower cheese (when in season) with roast potatoes (not a diet option!)

Buy whole lettuces rather than bags of salad- cheaper and take longer to go off
Buy rice and pulses in bulk- usually cheaper from Asian supermarkets

Asda usually sell two 4 pint bottles of organic milk for £3 (you can always freeze one bottle).

They also sell 6 free range eggs for £1. You might want to reconsider buying organic eggs since there is no proven nutritional benefit and the extra 70p is a lot when your total budget is only £30.

Chunderella Thu 13-Jun-13 20:38:06

Egg fried rice with loads of veggies. And there are lots of veggie pie/pasty options. Pastry is cheap to make, plus it's filling and a good source of calories if you're on a budget. Cheese and onion pie is a popular one. Or any vegetables really. Pie with a jacket spud and baked beans will serve as a good stodgy meal on days when you're craving that!

LoveSewingBee Thu 13-Jun-13 20:22:48

Red lentil soup (also quick as red lentils don't need soaking)
Green lentil stew
Chili con carne with quorn
Tuscan bean soup
Egyptian broad bean stew

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 20:19:52

Thank you everyone for your input smile I know that dried pulses are cheap and healthy, but don't know how to make a main meal from them.

My menu for next week consists of the following:

Breakfast - porridge/mushroom omelette/toast & peanut butter

Lunch - pitta & hummous with peppers & carrots/egg or cheese and cucumber sandwich. Yoghurt and value frozen berries. Cake or a choc biscuit for my DD

Snack - Fruit

Dinner - Spaghetti with pesto, pine nuts and spinach
Tofu stir-fry with brown rice, brocolli and green beans
Veggie sausage casserole with carrots, mash and peas
Quorn burgers, sweet potatoes and sweet corn (all very orange!)
Pasta with leeks, blue cheese and marscapone (cheese lurking at the back of the fridge)
Cous cous with haloumi, roasted veg and spinach
Veg curry with lentils, spinach and brown rice

Have some ingredients already so hoping that I can buy everything else for less than £30.

LoveSewingBee Thu 13-Jun-13 20:18:57

There are good recipes to make bread by hand from Paul Hollywood on the BBC website. Much tastier then bread from a breadmaker.

Just read your question about the bread maker OP. Honestly I'd recommend you not pay a lot of money for one until you've had a few goes at making bread by hand, or looked into borrowing a bread maker from a friend for a few days, or get one second hand. I have had one for several years, I love it & use it every week. However I know of lots of people who have them gathering dust & have barely ever used them.

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