to try and settle the 'which is cheaper, junk or cooked from scratch' debate once and for all

(643 Posts)
IceBeing Tue 27-Aug-13 13:05:54

I have seen both sides of this recently on MN and on the box.

So. submit your meal plans here.

1. Choose junk or home cooked

2. Give a shopping list plus price for a weeks worth of food for a family of 4, assuming no reliance on a 'store cupboard' and no meal sharing.

3. Give an estimated weekly cooking time plus shopping time.

4. indicate if your plan relies on a local aldi/lidl etc.

Lets sort this the JEFF out please.....

sarahtigh Tue 27-Aug-13 14:27:44

take a meal like fish chips and peas for 4

1. takeaway from chip shop about £20-24 most expensive
2. fresh cod from fishmongers, potatoes and peas fresh second
3. frozen fish in batter from farmfoods or similar, oven chips and frozen peas cheapest

the point is that while ready meals are often cheaper than cooking same from scratch, to buy the same taste as home cooked lasagne etc you would not be buying icelands cheapest but something like tesco's finest and cooking from scratch is probably cheaper than buying tesco's finest

like gracie said about her stilton and broccoli soup not the cheapest but taste wise to get equivalent it would be cheaper

the argument about eating half the quantity of better free range chicken is not really that valid 80g of chicken is not as filling as 160g of chicken it has a point about taste but whether poor or rich people want to fill full when have had dinner

littlemog Tue 27-Aug-13 14:29:53

loopy are you sure that you can buy free range chicken in Aldi? I have certainly never seen it and we have looked.

It's a bit sad that you don't seem to give a shit about the welfare of the animals that you consume. You are like the majority of people though I tend to find but it is depressing nonetheless.

And just to annoy you loopy this morning my neighbour brought round some green beans and cucumbers in exchange for a box of our girls' eggs. Yes we live very rurally but my brother does the same and he lives in London and has a brilliant allotment. Just because YOU don't want to live this way, don't pour scorn on it.

Half of this 'local food' is just to keep small british businesses alive and to make people feel bad for using supermarkets
I don't see a problem with this at all.

IceBeing Tue 27-Aug-13 14:30:42

I don't think anyone anywhere is arguing that eating out / getting takeout is cheaper than cooking from scratch...

I don't think that even qualifies as a straw man given how obviously irrelevant it is to the debate.

COME ON FROM SCRATCH PEOPLE....

littlemog Tue 27-Aug-13 14:31:18

Bear pretty sure that Aldi do not sell free range chicken.

IceBeing Tue 27-Aug-13 14:31:35

blues hmm factor in buying one spice per week even and that is pretty expensive...but cost it up....lets see the numbers!

WhiteandGreen Tue 27-Aug-13 14:33:49

Wow, are you a teacher OP? grin

LoopyLupo Tue 27-Aug-13 14:34:04

No I don't give a shit about the animals mrsoakenshield.

Do you know why?

Because I'm poor. And I have enough to worry about.

One day I hope to be in the fortunate position of caring about the cows in the field. But its not top of the agenda right now.

We eat the same meat every week; a chicken and a packet of mince, I can get four meals out of those (see my first post). The rest of the time we eat dinners with no meat.

So the theory of 'eat less meat' is wonderfully MC but not very helpful.

ChunkyPickle Tue 27-Aug-13 14:34:11

Oh no - not 11pm - I wander down after playgroup on a Thursday, to Waitrose, and all their veg is knocked down. Tescos knock down more randomly, but still you don't have to go down at a certain time. I realise I'm lucky because I live in a town.

I don't try to stick to a budget, I'm not great at meal-planning, I have to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2 adults, one kid, we eat pretty well, generally on home-cooked stuff (easy stuff, DP works long hours, and I'm about to pop so don't want to be mucking about in the kitchen) and it's 70 quid a week (includes washing powder/cleaning stuff etc)

On weeks where I have had to be more careful, we've eaten just as well on
half that - although I have leant on stuff bought on offer that's been bunged in the freezer at that point.

If we didn't do this, then DP would buy lunch out - at about 4-6/day, we'd buy dinner - 3-6/night, and breakfast would cost the same, and I'll assume I have leftovers for lunch (as would DP at the weekend), and DS has bought dinners 1/day - so lets give that an average of 5*5 + 4.5*7 + breakfast (4) + weekend lunch for DP (4) - so even living on cheap junkfood, and hoping I have enough leftovers for lunch that I don't need to buy extra we're at 70 quid again - only we've all eaten less than we wanted, it was all the cheapest available, and I'm yet to buy any washing up liquid!

IceBeing Tue 27-Aug-13 14:34:32

Not really a teacher...well sort of...

<really scared of children>

LoopyLupo Tue 27-Aug-13 14:34:52

Litylemog Aldi do sell free range chickens. I have one in my fridge as we speak.

118sbigmoustache Tue 27-Aug-13 14:35:10

mrsoakenfield, see this is why I get confused! I've had family, HVs and people at toddler group telling me off for even thinking about the same meal three nights in a row and telling me how much more important variety is so that's why I've been doing it this way instead. I do check the salt values of the ready meals and make sure that its within her daily amount though. I feel muddled now. I've had it hammered into me for ages how its cruel to give her same meal multiple times and now I feel I'm cruel for using ready meals sad I hate being poor. And food stupid.

IceBeing Tue 27-Aug-13 14:37:02

loupy I would love to see a costing for your week...it seems the closest to a low cost scratch cook week we have had so far?

littlemog Tue 27-Aug-13 14:37:13

Loopy not eating meat is not a middle class thing.

The rest of the time we eat dinners with no meat
This is not a hardship so please don't present it as such.

IceBeing Tue 27-Aug-13 14:38:26

118 variety is incredibly important....

also it is a bit irrelevant to the ready meal side of the equation...the meals cost about the same each and an infinite variety is available.

littlemog Tue 27-Aug-13 14:38:33

Loopy so you DO care about animals then? smile Why would you buy a more expensive chicken otherwise?

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 27-Aug-13 14:41:39

Buying a bag a nuggets, fish fingers, chips and frozen veg would cost under a fiver (value) and feed a family for a few days easily.

ChunkyPickle Tue 27-Aug-13 14:41:42

118 - there's variety and then there's variety - for instance you start with a roast chicken (large chickens 4/each at the moment in Tescos - raised with extra space and toys to play with - not the uber cheap ones). The next day that is cold in sandwiches, or with salad, the next day the less appetising bits are curry or some other 'meat in sauce' dish, and then the fourth day the very last bits become chicken soup, eeked out with rice or pasta and veggies.

Mince does the same - lasagna, spaghetti bolognese, chilli - all pretty much the same thing, with extra veg/beans added and a different carb.

BrianButterfield Tue 27-Aug-13 14:42:34

Our Aldi has free-range chickens for 4.99 or breasts for £3. They are tucked away in the display but we have been buying them for years.

BackforGood Tue 27-Aug-13 14:45:51

Loopy - I live in a very big City, and, in the last 5 days have been given rhubarb by 3 different people, a homemade cake, and two lots of runner beans. People in cities do have gardens (and/or allotments) you know. I also live in what is considered to be quite a deprived ward, and there is a scheme that's just been set up, to show local people where they can pick blackberries, etc growing wild, and how to use them. You can also register with the scheme if you have 'spare' fruit in your garden or perhaps an apple or plum tree or something that you are not able to harvest yourself, and they will come and pick the fruit for you, and share between you and the 'pickers'. So it does happen in urban areas wink
Oh, but I agree with you there are chickens in Aldi advertised as 'Free Range'

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 27-Aug-13 14:45:54

I can make a but pot of potato and leek soup for a couple of quid too though, and have enough for a few meals.

In short, when you're down to pounds in your purse, cheap crap is cheaper, easier and more filling.

But you're not factoring in motivation, skills, challenges, restrictions and the issues other than money which prevent people reading well.

Look at that girl called Jack blog. Yes, she prepared health and balanced meals for pennies but she's the first to admit it was time, all consuming, a huge effort and pretty draining.

MrsOakenshield Tue 27-Aug-13 14:46:29

Loopy - I don't eat meat for any meals, bar the odd ham sandwich. DH is veggie and I made the decision to bring DD up as veggie, and one of the main reasons for doing so was because I knew we wouldn't afford to buy decent quality meat. I would rather eat meat-free than eat meat that comes from badly treated animals. Anyone can, rich or poor, whatever their class. YOU DON"T HAVE TO EAT MEAT.

118 - I tend to look at what DD is eating over the course of a week. There's nothing wrong with some repetition, I think you've been given some bizarre 'advice'. One main dish repeated with different sides is fine - heck, even with the same sides 2 or 3 times would be fine!

Ice - I'll cost something up this evening when I'm not at work blush, made veggie bolognese yesterday, with canned puy lentils rather than mince, to last for 3 meals (2 adults and a toddler), will dig out the recepit.

PigOnStilts Tue 27-Aug-13 14:48:23

Chicken and lentil stew.

Chicken 2.50
Passata. 50
Garlic, leeks, mushrooms, left over crap, call it 50
Tin chickpeas 69
Risotto rice 35

Fed two adults and 3yo v nicely under a fiver

LoopyLupo Tue 27-Aug-13 14:48:53

Just google Aldi and you can see the free range chickens online.

I wasn't pointing out that I don't meat everyday as a hardship. My point was that the whole argument of 'eat less meat' doesn't always work does it? We do eat 'less meat' but that doesn't mean I can buy 'ethically sourced meat' does it? For some people it does. For the poor it doesn't because 'ethically sourced meat' grown down the road is still too expensive for some people to eat even once a week.

And no I don't care about the animals. Cheap chicken pumped full of water is a false economy as it shrinks. I buy free range so I can get two days worth of dinners out of the bird.

PigOnStilts Tue 27-Aug-13 14:49:23

Then the following night you can eat left over stew over a asked potato, r combine with more herbs etc to make pasta sauce.

IMO
Trick is to change carb every day.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 27-Aug-13 14:50:52

That's hardly budget though is it? At a fiver a pop. Three a thousand things ready made I could lick up and feed 2 adults and a tot on for way under a fiver, ready made crap, no effort required.

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