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!

Crikeyblimey Thu 13-Jun-13 17:53:32

Is this for ALL food? 3 meals a day + keeping your larder stocked? Tea / coffee etc.?

ShatnersBassoon Thu 13-Jun-13 17:56:37

The obvious place to save money is on the organic produce. Is your reason for wanting them good enough to justify the expense?

Don't bother with Quorn etc. Bulk out meals with pulses instead.

headlesslambrini Thu 13-Jun-13 17:57:02

what about growing your own veggies / herbs? You don't necessarily need a lot of space.

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 17:58:42

crikey £30 for ALL food, inc tea/coffee etc.

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 18:02:48

headless tried growing my own veg last year, complete failure due to non-existant summer. Plants need sunshine, there was none sad

LastDaughterofKrypton Thu 13-Jun-13 18:03:27

Butternut Squash soup. Chop up a squash (leave skin on)into chunks 1-2 inch thick. Stick in a roasting tin with 1 roughly chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Cook at 190• until very tender then blend down with half a pint of vegetable stock. Then serve with crumbled goats cheese on top and bread.

For cheaper protein use beans or lentils to make casseroles, chillis or tagines. (Open window)

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 13-Jun-13 18:04:24

I agree that pulses are far cheaper than quorn. I love lentil dhal with rice as a v cheap meal. I am sure you can think of lots of cheap meals - I think the key will be a thorough meal plan and then sticking to it.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 13-Jun-13 18:05:11

Could you bake your own bread to go with homemade soups? It's not that difficult.

maddy68 Thu 13-Jun-13 18:06:48

Spaghetti Bol with quorn and cheese
In fact lots of pasta/rice/quorn
Curry/ sweet and sour/ carbonara etc

Do your shopping online.then you can see your final bill and remove things if you go over. Forget organic you can't do it on that budget

ARealDame Thu 13-Jun-13 18:07:19

Anythings possible. Though you might get tired of it after a while. I think your diet would be pretty limited to porridge, bread, rice, pasta, vegetables and a few pulses.

Part of me feels I should be doing this myself, but I weaken in the supermarket or when I see my recipe books.

Let us know how your experiment goes...

Saw a blog the other day living on a fiver a week or something, I can't find it now but Google threw up this £1 per day blog which might be helpful smile I shall watch this thread keenly as starting back at uni but like you I stick to organic dairy and eggs, cheese if possible. I rarely eat Quorn as I prefer pulses.

DoubleMum Thu 13-Jun-13 18:09:43

Have you looked here:
The lady who runs this website was on MSE for many years and all the recipes were tested and costed by MSE-ers. They are mostly veggie so should suit you well.
£30 should be very doable for 2 people.

Eggs are good for protein, also dried beans (after an overnight soak). Tinned value tomatoes or kidney beans are good for sauces. Ditch the organic, it's more important to have a varied diet right now.

I think that's great. It must be possible. We (me, DH and DS) eat mostly veggie and survive on about £40 a week (not including cat food and alcohol which bumps it up a bit). Lots of veg stews, pasta with onion and tomato sauce, chilli with tinned kidney beans, tinned toms, rice meals, cous cous. We don't buy organic though. Oh and we grow our own veg. Have another go. This summer HAS to be better!

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 13-Jun-13 18:15:12

Lose the organic would be the first thing and isn't quorn expensive?

meddie Thu 13-Jun-13 18:15:12 a lot of these are veggie recipes

meddie Thu 13-Jun-13 18:15:20
PoppettyPing Thu 13-Jun-13 18:16:47

Agree with Shatners on the pulses. Much better for you and cheaper than meat substitutes!

I often make rice and bean dishes when skint and they are actually really filling and delicious. Especially if you have some spices on hand. I find a good little roster of spices can make the cheapest most basic meal really tasty.

Rice is delicious cooked with some tumeric, and kidney beans are great cooked with chopped tomatoes (sometimes 30p a tin/box), onions, chili powder or fresh chilis, garlic and thyme.

If there's a Lidl near you and you don't mind some meat they do great big whole free-range chickens for cheap and roasting one of them is dead easy and goes a long way. I do sandwiches with the leftovers and make stock sometimes which isn't as hard as people think and really flavours up any other meals you make that week.

Halloumi is another fave of mine as a relatively cheap protein, I just love it. It's great chopped up on pasta with garlic and tomatoes and courgettes, or alongside roast veg.

Moominsarehippos Thu 13-Jun-13 18:18:22

I guess you should look to get large bags of pasta, rice, lentils, soya, potatoes, onions, carrots... as cheaply as possible. Do you have a costco or happy shopper you can use?

Stock up on tinned toms, puree, cubes... Whatever is on offer!

Can you make your own bread, soup, stock?
Whatever you cook up (pasta sauce, stwe, curry...) Cook up extra and freeze.

Grated cheese goes further than huge chunks in a sarnie (also more healthy!).

Organic free range eggs are dear - can you use 'non' in the meantime?

Try not to buy anything ready made - they are more expensive or awful!

Fresh herbs are expensive, so get dried mixes (herbs de provence/italian herbs/curry) from the health food shop to flavour food.

Buy up cheap stuff in the supermarkets at the end of the day and freeze what you can and/or prepare or cook up for the freezer.
Make jam with squishy fruit and soup with floppy veg.

I suppose the meals will be:

Pasta / with veg or tomato based sauce/ lasagne
Rice with veg (like a biriyani)
Jacket potatoes with beans/cheese/salad
Curry/dahl and rice
Baked veg with an egg cracked into them
Veggie chilli

The website meddie posted is the one I was looking for, some good veggie recipes on there smile

I can give you recipes for Veggie Chilli and lentil lasagne if you want. We spend around £35-40 for me, DH and DD. £30 for two of you is doable.

My biggest tip is batch cooking...we have a freezer full of "ready meals" for when we have a skint week.

lemonandice Thu 13-Jun-13 18:26:03

As a veggie, I second avoiding Quorn. Frozen veg is the way forward though- you can buy big bags of basic/value frozen sweetcorn and peas for about £1 each, and they taste no different to the other brands.

I am making this : for tea, and you can happily leave out the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce etc and it still tastes great. A giant bag of pastry mix is about £1.20 from Morrisons and does 2 of us 3 times, which would be 4 if we stretched it.

Beans and rice is also underestimate IMO. Fry up leftover veg, tip in a can of mixed beans (60p ish), and you've made a meal out of stuff going a bit dodgy in the salad draw. You can add passata/chopped tomatoes if you've got them kicking around, plus whatever herbs you have in your cupboard. Quick too.

Mushroom soup: fry up mushrooms and onions in whatever quantity you like, add in cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder/cloves, 1l of veg stock. Simmer, and stir in creme fraiche or something similar. Really good with bread, and can be frozen up to the point of adding the dairy.

Easy calzone pizza: 200g plain flour, little packet of yeast, 120ml-ish of water. Mix up into a dough, leave to prove, separate into 2 balls, roll out, load up half of one rolled out ball with chopped veg (I usually use mushrooms, peppers, onions and some mixed herbs or similar.) Cover in passata/tomato puree and a bit of cheese, fold over and seal. Cut a little slit in the top, and cook at about 180 for about 15 minutes until it looks 'done'. If I have a lot of veg left over it gets fried up and mixed with tomatos until I have sauce.

Reading back through this, I've just seen how much of my cooking comes from using stuff that's just about to go off blush I have found that once I got a meal plan and cut back to buying basics where I could, I cut about a third off my food bill. Good luck!

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 18:29:22

Thank you for all the links....I shall investigate!

Really don't want to give up organic eggs (£1.70 for 6) organic milk (£1 for 2 pints) or organic yoghurt (currently £1 for a big pot of Rachel's at Morrisons).

Remember reading somewhere that organic dairy produce is actually beneficial, whereas there are no extra nutrients in other organic food products

Moominsarehippos Thu 13-Jun-13 18:29:30

You'll need to plan to stop getting bored or think 'sod it, I'll buy a pizza'.

Breakfasts are not too hard - you need a huuuge bag of porridge (made with water, the proper way!). There was a survey that said that the store own brand came tops, rather than the fancy very expensive brands (so about £1 for a kilo bag). You can tart it up with chopped fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts... (Even sprinkle some museli on top for texture) or honey if you like sweet (don't try marmite). I often have some cooked up strawbs or raspberries in the fridge (cooked up from the tail end of a punnet that's gone squishy) and pop that on top (or have it with yoghurt). Yum. Home made yoghurt can be cheap too.

Cutting back on tea/coffee isn't a bad thing!

Try new beans/lentils! Experiment with ingredients. Our local sainsbos has sections with foods from asia, carribbean, poland... and some of the dried/tinned legimes are cheap and come in large packets.

Buy fruit, but whatever is in season and on special offer. Be flexible and hopefully you will have time to shop around for good deals.

Don't buy breakfast cereal - it's expensive, mostly really sugary & not satisfying. Eat porridge, fruit/yoghurt/muesli, toast instead.
Make your own bread, especially if you like the nice bakery style bread with seeds, herbs etc in.
Grow your own herbs on a south facing windowsill. Use compost for these as they can live for a while.
Grow your own cress on a south facing windowsill, save the plastic pots from couple of cress tubs from the supermarket & grow it in cotton wool, as this is cleaner a
easier than compost.

Moominsarehippos Thu 13-Jun-13 18:32:16

Your eggs and milk are cheap!

I love making big thick veggie omlettes! Theu are nice hot or cold, so will make a couple of meals (esp hot with toast!).

chirpchirp Thu 13-Jun-13 18:32:20

Baked potatoes, omelettes, pasta with homemade sauces, soups.

I manage to feed me, DH and DS (2) for around £40 a week. DS does eat lunch and dinner at childminders/MIL's three days a week which reduces it slightly.

I also batch cook so when doing a soup/bolognes/chilli etc i make a vat of it and freeze it.

There are budget ideas on the tesco food and good food websites that are really good.

Soditall Thu 13-Jun-13 18:33:01

Morrisons have 4 tins of tomatoes for £1 at the moment they also have different tins of pulses 4 for £1 as well.

HM soups and HM bread
J/potatoes with fillings
Pasta and vegetable bake
Veggie lasagna,veggie bolognese using pulses
sausage casserole,toad-in-the-hole(quorn sausages)
cottage pie with quorn mince

Oh also, if you can, shop at Aldi!!

EMUZ Thu 13-Jun-13 18:34:11

Bircher muesli is good for summer
Own brand/smart price porridge oats are fine for it, and one grated apple would do 2 portions
I get the porridge oats, grate apple in and soak overnight in fridge (can use water/apple juice/milk). Sometimes add dried fruit or nuts or chopped banana
It's good because the oats are cheap but its really filling as well

I know you said about cheese being expensive but if you fancied it something like cauli cheese soup is gorgeous and you don't need much cheese at all, especially if you add some mustard

Moominsarehippos Thu 13-Jun-13 18:35:06

There's the Frugal Friday website which has a Frugal Food section which tells you what offers are on at which supermarkets.

Moominsarehippos Thu 13-Jun-13 18:42:46

Has anyone got a really good chilli recipe? I had one that used bulgar wheat but lost it. I tried to make it from memory but it just tasted watery and yukky!

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 13-Jun-13 18:50:02

How big is your freezer? Could you, even if not every week, get your organic milk from sainsburys? It is £3 there for two times four pints. That would be a saving and you ate probably looking for lots of small savings.

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 18:53:53

thank you lastdaughter for your soup recipe - sounds delicious smile

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Thu 13-Jun-13 18:54:15

Oh, and don't rely on being able to do what you did in the past. When dd1 was born, organic butter cost what value costs now. Being mostly veggie, I bet you can do £30, but don't expect it to be as straightforward. The staples you need to eat well are going up all the time, whilst junky processed food remains cheap.

Moominsarehippos Thu 13-Jun-13 18:56:36

Minestrone soup - how could I forget? Lovely, yummy, thick n lumpy! Delish!

meddie Thu 13-Jun-13 18:56:57

This site looks good you can set the filters for meal plans for 2 and vegetarian and by cost. once you have picked your plan you can print out and ingredient list to go shopping with

Sorry damned phone won't play.

For protein try:
Lentils/dried beans etc. Make into stew in the winter, salads in the summer, dahl etc any time. To cut down cooking time, soak in water overnight. If you serve with rice this makes a complete protein as it provides all the necessary amino acids.
The link at the top is for a germinator jar for growing your own Beansprouts. You can get dried beans (even I can afford organic & I am really skint) at a health food shop, they may also stock the jars. Very easy & cheap, highly nutritious. I usually have 2 different jars on the go -1 of mung beans & 1 of something else.

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 19:05:14

moomin I need a good chilli recipe too and I promise not to put marmite in our porridge!

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 19:08:33

Scarlet please could you post your veggie chilli recipe? Mine are always so insipid

Bue Thu 13-Jun-13 19:13:46

We have just had dinner - toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches (omit the bacon!) on homemade bread and a clear garlic soup with diced potatoes and a poached egg it. Delicious, filling and cheap.

I love soups as well as pulses for cheap veggie food. Veg stirfries are also great, and you can eat them with rice or noodles.

FarBetterNow Thu 13-Jun-13 19:17:42

50shades: yes, beansprouters are fantastic.
Buy dried pulses rather than tinned, they are much cheaper, but you do have to think ahead.
Can you get a breadmaker? Ask on freecycle.
There must be loads of hardly used ones in the back of cupboards.
I used to buy a sack of flour from a health food shop to make bread and bake with.
Also is a yoghurt maker worth looking for?

Is there a Suma wholesale buying group in your area?

BeKindToYourKnees Thu 13-Jun-13 19:29:05

I don't have a breadmaker and as I work full-time, is it really that cost-effective to make your own?

I do buy 1 Burgen loaf each week (£1.50!) as am hoping that the soya and linseeds will help stablise my peri-menopausal hormones!

LoveSewingBee Thu 13-Jun-13 19:30:34

Are you able to buy fresh fruit and veg at a market?

Being vegetarian does reduce costs somewhat if you use lots of dried pulses but I find that fresh fruit and veg are really expensive.

What about:
2 days per week a pasta dish
2 days per week a rice dish of which one is a risotto
1 day either veg filled omelette or pancakes
1 day per week home made quiche or tartlet with salad
1 day per week a soup (freeze some if possible so you always have a quick meal waiting for you)

Mornings: cheap muesli (without nuts,dried fruits etc, just grains really) and prepare Bircher Brenner ? way with yogurt (which is very easy to make yourself if you use full fat milk and the first time a small tub of bio live yogurt, you definitely do Not need a yogurt maker!) mixed with squeezed orange and grated apple if preferred add a few nuts. Very healthy, low in sugar.
Alternative: porridge or toast
Lunch: sandwiches with cheese and cucumber or tomato or cress (cheap to grow yourself, just use cottonwool as a base for the seeds), occasionally egg. Toast with sugar and squeezed lemon is also nice.

BornToFolk Thu 13-Jun-13 19:30:41

With dried pulses, you can soak and cook a load, then freeze in portions. You can either defrost or use them straight from frozen in stews etc.

I make a very lovely chickpea curry that is basically one tin of chickpeas, one tin of chopped toms, an onion, a bit of curry pasta and some spinach. Really good with some naan bread.

Do think carefully about growing your own veg. I find it easy to get carried away and end up spending more on compost, pots, seeds etc than I'd spend on the actual veg. The best thing I've found is salad on the inside windowsill. You can get packets of mixed salad seeds v cheaply and keep cutting/sowing as needed. The downside is that you won't get a load at one go but it's good to have a handful of fresh leaves to go into a sandwich etc.

Keep an eye on They sell food that is approaching or past it's best before date. They have loads of chocolate and junk food but I've also had things like bags of dried pulses, rice and tortillas for very ltitle money. You do pay about £5 delivery so I tend to stock up every few months, when they have good bargains in (and try very hard not to look at the cheap chocolate goodies!)

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 19:35:57

Shop around on your dried pulses as well...yellow split peas are about half the price of red lentils - I find they're pretty interchangeable.

Cheese is expensive and freezable...stock up on reduced close to sell by date cheese and freeze it.

If the quality of bread really really matters to you then by all means make your own - but it's not cheaper than buying it, Asda's in store bakery wholemeal 800g sliced tin loaves are currently two for a pound (and again they freeze well) a packet of wholemeal flour and a packet of yeast will set you back about £2.

formica5 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:45:07

Lots of bean and pulse based dished for great protein - stews/soups etc. An egg most mornings is great breakfast protein too.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 13-Jun-13 19:53:00

Lentil bolognese. With garlic and some mushrooms or peppers. Pasta and canned tomatoes from aldi. Yummy.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 19:56:19

Oh and most recipes are for 4 people, and there's not masses of point in keeping half a vegetable or whatever if you don't meal plan, so just make it for 4 people and freeze half for another week.

<briefly wonders what she'd do without a freezer> lol

If you're serious about the organic thing & fancy making your own bread, try shipton mill. The initial outlay isn't cheap, however they do really good prices for organic flour especially if you buy in bulk. A big bag should last you ages & they have loads of recipes & support on the site if you don't have a bread cook book. Sorry for drip feed but my phone won't let me do long posts & my toddler DD is climbing all over me today.

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.

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.

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 20:22:48

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

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!

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

Some good info here

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.

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

Yy to beans. Get used to soaking and cooking the dry 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 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 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.

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!

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.

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

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

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 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.

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).

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 18:06:42

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.

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.

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.

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.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now