to think it is entirely possible to feed 2 adults for a month on £50

(66 Posts)
smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 14:21:53

Long story short we are skint, I have some weird chronic fatigue illness (still waiting for diagnosis) so have had to drop a day at work and dp had an accident at work in January and has been off sick since then.

Because of this we are £1200 a month worse off.

I can cover all the bills and rent and dp can cover his child maintanance payment to ex and petrol for me to get to work but there is no money left after that, we have lowered all bills as much as we can.

I did some extra work on Sat and earned £50 which I plan on using for food shopping, I will be going to Morrisons as dp works for them so we get a discount, I don't usually shop there but I can't afford the petrol to get to aldi or asda so the options are Morrison's or Tesco.

Money was tight before so I've been shopping on a budget of £100 per month.

Just spoken to a friend who asked to borrow a book, I said I'd drop it in to her on weds as would be passing her house on the way to Morrison's and she asked why I wasn't going to asda as normal so I told her, she was horrified and kept offering to lend me money.

Now it's very kind of her but aibu to think that it's entirely possible for me to feed dp and myself for the month on £50? I have basics such as flour, herbs, pasta and don't need any cleaning products so will be spending the whole amount on just food, I cook from scratch and we are used to making a chicken last several meals and I split packets of mince and freeze so it does 2 meals.

We might not have any fancy dinners but we will eat or am I being to optimistic and we will in fact struggle to buy enough?

valiumredhead Mon 03-Jun-13 14:24:29

What will you buy and what do you plan to make?

I would find it very hard.

valiumredhead Mon 03-Jun-13 14:25:36

Also, is this just one meal a day?

fieldfare Mon 03-Jun-13 14:26:18

As long as you're not wanting anything unusual, it might get a bit boring but is manageable.
Toiletries, cleaning products and loo roll etc would be the expensive bit. If you get staff discount too then that will help.

I don't think you could eat well on less than £1 a day each, TBH.

HormonalHousewife Mon 03-Jun-13 14:26:50

Wow. That sounds really tight to me.

I couldnt manage it but I would love to be able to.

If your DH is cooperative and not too critical then I think you will do OK. Sometimes you have to cut your cloth accordingly, which is what my mum used to say to me.

There are some fantastic recipes on here you could look at.

Good luck and I hope you are feeling better soon.

valiumredhead Mon 03-Jun-13 14:27:05

How do you make a chicken last several meals? How big is the chicken?grin

Sorry for the questions, shopping threads interest mesmile

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 03-Jun-13 14:33:17

It is certainly possible. You won't eat well but you will eat.

lots of value pasta and beans and lentils, basically. grin

You can get food into your stomach for that amount of money.

the question is one of nourishment. Will what you put in be rich enough in vitamins, etc.

But, tbh, there comes a point when you have to fill your stomach and forget about eating 'well', because you just need to eat.

Beatrixpotty Mon 03-Jun-13 14:33:36

That's £1.50 per day for all food for 2 people,right?
The cheapest things I can think of are economy spaghetti at 19p per packet,economy noodles for 23p ,tinned tomatoes for about 25p,economy rice pudding for 18p..if you made these into an evening meal and ate toast for breakfast and lunch you could just about do it!Going vege might save money too

MinimalistMommi Mon 03-Jun-13 14:35:56

This might help:
http://agirlcalledjack.com/
With two adults I think to will be tough. But if you already have enough staples maybe?

GemmaTeller Mon 03-Jun-13 14:35:59

I think £50 is a bit of a stretch to do.

I think you'd have to start by planning your meals before shopping and then check out the offers v own brand.

I also don't think you're going to get three meals a day out of it but, you could skipping lunch by having a late breakfast (porridge and fruit go a long way) and then an early tea/dinner (bulked out with rice/pasta/pulses/veg).
Homemade veg soup goes a long way as well if you use veg thats in season and on offer.

We get three meals out a chicken, roast on day one, strip the carcass for curry or risotto on day two then boil the carcass for stock for veg soup on day three.

MinimalistMommi Mon 03-Jun-13 14:36:08
smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 14:41:48

In the freezer I currently have ........
a large pie (will do 2 meals)
4 sausages
2 chicken breasts
6 fish fingers
A full bag of peas
Half a bag of sweetcorn
A full bag of oven chips

In the cupboard I have.......
2 tins of tuna
4 tins of beans
1 tin of tomatoes
Rice
Pasta

In the fridge I have.........
2 blocks of cheese
Broccoli
Carrots
Cauliflower
Ham
4 pints of milk

I also have potatoes, onions, cereal, flour, herbs/spices and we make our own bread so I have the ingredients for that ( more than enough for the whole month)

Trills Mon 03-Jun-13 14:42:08

A number of bloggers recently have been doing the "live below the line" challenge, trying to feed themselves for 5 days on just £5 of food. You are suggesting living for a month on less than £1 per day per person (although you do have the advantage of being able to buy big packs of things).

It will be difficult.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 14:43:29

We also have spaghetti and couscous

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 14:47:15

I don't eat breakfast (never have) and will eat lunch at work 3 days a week (am a nanny)

Dp has toast for breakfast and probably a sandwich for lunch.

We also have jam, chocolate spread and marmite somewhere in the cupboard

Hazelbrowneyes Mon 03-Jun-13 14:51:20

I think you could do it and I think you could eat reasonably well too.

We get 3 or 4 meals out of a chicken, you can bulk up dinners using pulses (cheap as chips and healthy) and if you buy frozen veg that should keep you going.

I'd make the following:

Soup
Stew - stewing steak/leftover chicken, loads of veg. Easily make a few meals out of that
Pie - make a lot of filling using chicken/veg/whatever, freeze it in portions and just make the pastry as you need it.
Lentil curry
Chicken curry
Spag bol
Chilli
Pizza - if you can make a pizza base, you can make pizza for a fraction of the cost of buying one.
Veg risotto

Can you make your own bread? If not, buy bread and freeze it, taking out what you need as you go.

This website Budget eating is fab and has loads of ideas

Actors Mon 03-Jun-13 14:54:48

I could do it by spending £50, but (and it's a big but) I have very well stocked cupboards atm. OP says she has many basics, so perhaps it is possible.

Porridge and lentils will feature heavily I think.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 14:54:49

imtoohecsyforyourparty that's exactly how I feel, this month we just have to fill our stomachs if it's not healthy then tough we will survive for a month, next month should be slightly better although not much but I just have to get through this month.

We had my dsc here for half term but they live the other end of the country so the cost of petrol to get them and take them home plus feeding them (a healthy diet) has crippled us financially this month.......it cost £103 in petrol.

Hazelbrowneyes Mon 03-Jun-13 14:59:44

Out of what you have already I’d make:

Sausage casserole – 4 sausages cut up, 1 tin of beans, 1 tin of tomatoes, stock, serve with rice or mix pasta in…easily 2 meals there.

Chicken breasts – curry, bulk it out with some veg and you’ve got 2 meals.

Fish fingers…fish fingers, chips and beans…sorted! grin

Pie, chips and peas…2 meals.

Tuna pasta bake – 2 meals

Broccoli and cauliflower soup or broccoli and cauliflower cheese.

Is the ham thick ham? You could make carbonara with that?

Pea and ham soup is another option

Pea risotto would be up there for me as a must have meal but then I do love risotto grin

So you already have 10/11 meals in your cupboards… I think it’s doable, especially as you make your own bread.

SqueakyCleanNameChange Mon 03-Jun-13 15:08:06

How much is your discount? With a 20% discount, and allowing for the fact that you've got a good week's worth of food in the cupboard then it's effectively 60 quid for 3 weeks - very doable but you'd have nothing in the cupboard by the end of the month.

Layl77 Mon 03-Jun-13 15:10:11

I don't think skipping lunch is a good idea coil you see how you go and then use food banks?
Do you have any insurance or anything

Pootles2010 Mon 03-Jun-13 15:17:37

Oh its just a one-off? And you've already got lots? Yes you'll be ok I think. But what will you do next month?

Jux Mon 03-Jun-13 15:17:53

Buy pulses and cook them from scratch. Make large stews with them to which you can add fresh veg.

Steffanoid Mon 03-Jun-13 15:25:15

Morrison's do some good cheap veg, they do casserole packs but also if you get things individually with your veg it works out quite cheap to do soup, like carrot and coriander, get 4 or 5 loose carrots frozen coriander etc, like someone said above also bags of frozen veg are good

me and my oh lived on about £10 week when we were in uni, big bags of pasta and rice are your friend

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 16:07:16

Discount is 10%

pootles next month we won't be having dsc so I will have more money to use for food shopping.

I did a big shop in april as dp was still on full pay so that saw us through April and may, I did a smallish shop in may as dp was then getting ssp and that was fine but now I don't have enough for June so will have to make it work, next month I will have £100 to spend on food which isn't far off what I would usually spend.

I'm not even thinking about august when we have dsc for the whole month and we have to find the petrol money and extra food shopping sad I'm hoping dp is back at work by then but that looks doubtful.

Pootles2010 Mon 03-Jun-13 16:19:28

Ah ok. Just looking on another thread, and someone on there suggested babysitting as a very easy/quick way to get some cash - is that something you can do?

I used to do it when I was a student, if you do it twice a week you're looking at about £60, if you get an 'easy' family its a breeze!

Can I just ask, has the maintenance payment been reduced to take into account your dp's change of circumstances? If not it really should be.

My tip is to buy bulk when you can to tide you over, so next month when things are slightly better off buy a 3kg bag of pasta (£3.50), A 5kg bag of rice for £5, dried beans and pulses and value tinned toms etc... If you want fresh food try a market or the supermarket near the end of the day for reduced items.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 16:28:40

I earned the £50 from babysitting I'm a nanny so I charge £10 per hour. The problem is with my illness any extra work makes me ill so I just can't do it more than once a month, I would end up having to take time off work then we would be sunk.

Before I got ill I was babysitting most Friday and Saturday night's.

We did a bootfair last month so have nothing left to sell

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 16:33:53

Yes dp reduced the maintenance payment because he just couldn't cover the full amount, thats why we don't have dsc next month his ex kicked off, she only allowed half term and august because she doesn't want them during the holidays!

I always buy the big bags of pasta and rice fortunately, that's why we have some in the cupboard.

I've got a sack of potatoes so we can have jackets.

CajaDeLaMemoria Mon 03-Jun-13 16:34:11

Be really careful eating like this if you have CFS or ME or anything similar.

It makes it a lot worse. Unfortunately, I know from experience sad

Badvoc Mon 03-Jun-13 16:35:42

Depends what you have in your freezer and store cupboard tbh.
If they are empty or not full then no I don't think you can. Sorry sad
Are you sure you are getting all the help you are entitled to?
Boffinmum posted a fantastic emergency meal plan but that was £30 per week iirc...but that was for a family of 4 I think?
Check out her austerity housekeeping website.
I am sorry.
I hope things pick up for you soon.

Have you got an aldi or lidl near you?

Jux Mon 03-Jun-13 17:30:37

Seriously, with your illness, you need lots of fresh green leafy veg.

Actors Mon 03-Jun-13 17:45:50

I agree with you Jux, but how is OP supposed to achieve that?

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 03-Jun-13 17:47:39

Have you looked at the skint foodie? V interesting. Might be useful.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Mon 03-Jun-13 17:56:26

I agree I need a healthy diet and I usually do but I can't afford all the food I usually buy, stress is far more likely to make me relapse so my focus is on feeding us for the month regardless of whether it involves green leafy veg.

If you meal plan some budget meals for a week then multiply by 4.5 to work out amounts you could go on MySupermarket and do a mock shop to see price wise how it would work out.

Think student style.

The sausage caserole above
8 sausages 50/60p
3 tins tomatoes £1
Bag frozen onions £1
Garlic & herbs in cupboard
1kg ? Rice in cupboard

10 servings

Mintyy Mon 03-Jun-13 18:36:07

What is wrong with Morrisons? I had a thread on here about it recently and everyone was raving (in a good way).

Do you have an Aldi or Lidl?

Living on a budget is one of the most re-hashed topics on Mumsnet so if you use the advanced search facility, you will probably find 1000s of helpful tips.

serin Mon 03-Jun-13 21:38:07

Oh God this is going to sound awful but for green leafy vegetables you can't do much better than nettles. They are full of vitamins and iron and Hugh FW has a lovely recipe for nettle soup online.

It is a lovely soup but what has happened to our country when we have to go around foraging. sad

Jux Mon 03-Jun-13 23:55:47

Can your dh get to CAB while he's off and findout if you can get any benefits while you're struggling like this?

I do think if you use a lot of dried pulses for protein then you could probably afford more fresh veg.

This next won't help you now but when you have a few spare ££ you could grow veg. Worth it in case your situation continues - heaven forfend.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Tue 04-Jun-13 09:48:47

Dp has applied for some benefits we are waiting to hear whether he is entitled to anything.

We do grow veg but none of it is ready to eat yet.

Have just got back from shopping I spent £53.49 and have enough meals for 4 weeks including the things we already had.

I got a chicken, big pack of mince (which I've split into 3and frozen and pork steaks (also split and frozen) in their 3 for £10 offer. Tinned tomatoes, veg, tuna, chicken breasts, bacon (split and frozen for pasta dishes and hunters chicken) and various other bits.

jenduck Tue 04-Jun-13 10:29:44

Go to the supermarket at the end of the night when they mark things down! I did this twice last week. On one occasion I spent £15 & got 15 turkey meatballs, a pack of casserole pork, 3 loaves of Kingsmill, gluten-free rolls, 2 packs of crumpets, cheese scones, 4 packs of ready-prepared fruit & veg & about 6 ready meals (curries, cottage pie), as well as full price bits totalling about £7. The other time I spent about £5 & got approx 10 ready meals/pies of various sorts, ham, cooked chicken, sausage rolls plus some nectarines, bananas & broccoli.

Although ready meals wouldn't normally be my food of choice, we too are facing a bit of a lean month & with plenty of fruit & veg to accompany them and a couple of hm meals each week too, they are fine. Certainly for the £20 I spent plus what you have in your storecupboards already, it would be adequate for 2 adults.

Mintyy Tue 04-Jun-13 10:31:58

Best way to eat on a budget is to go veggie.

Theas18 Tue 04-Jun-13 10:33:25

of course you can feed 2 reasonably for £50/month. It wiont be sparklingly exciting but it's possible.

Good luck and try he MSE frugal forums. There are people on there who are real experts- you can list what you have in stock and they compete to make the best meal out of it!

mayihaveaboxofchoculaits Tue 04-Jun-13 10:55:38

Second mintyy, about morrisons. I would put it over asda any day, for food anyway. Having said that we get a weekly sainsburys delivery (inc del charge)for approx £70 inc dog/cat food.3 adults 1 child. It depends on what you need to eat to keep healthy. Agree make veg a staple of your diet and plan around that.

MinimalistMommi Tue 04-Jun-13 11:46:43

I made the 'A Girl Called Jack' bean burgers last night but with organic ingredients. Without organic ingredients they would be stupidly cheap. A tin of kidney beans, a grated carrot, onion, cumin and handful of coriander. It tasted amazing inside a homemade burger bun from our bread maker and very filling. The recipe made four patties. I wizzed in some breadcrumbs to the mixture to help bind it all together. Being vegetarian for a while would definitely keep costs down but you've done you shop now.

You could cook up a big pot of lentil soup for about a pound which which would make four servings too.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Tue 04-Jun-13 11:58:22

Thank you for all your replies.

I would happily go veggie but no way would dp.

I don't have anything against Morrison's the only reason I don't usually shop there is because our local one is fairly small and doesn't have much choice whereas our local Tesco and asda are huge so have a wider range

Jux Tue 04-Jun-13 17:14:59

I hope you manage OK over the next few months. Your dp may profit from thinking of the old adage about cutting one's coat according to one's cloth, though. ATM, your cloth just about supports meat eating, but your health would do better with more fresh veg, so he may have to rethink his priorities on a temporary basis.

Good luck with it all, though.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 04-Jun-13 17:30:42

Do you know anyone with an allotment? At the moment there isnt a lot to pick except rhubarb but lots of people I know have this coming out of their ears.

If you can put the word out then we will be soon heading into the season of glut.

Also if you havent got them planted ask if anyone has a surplus of runner/french bean plants.

HighInterestRat Tue 04-Jun-13 17:33:24

I don't think I could blush.
We spend almost double that per week but we do have two toddlers in the house.

MinimalistMommi Tue 04-Jun-13 17:45:27

I agree with jux
Offer to give the £50 to your partner and see how he copes if he insists on meat. In a time of crisis, vegetarian food is so much cheaper and a way to get the veg in.

TheCrackFox Tue 04-Jun-13 17:47:16

Are there any food banks near you?

I always find these threads impressive. I can't even get our food bill below £50 a week.

Jux Tue 04-Jun-13 18:27:55

How ill is he? Could he do a spot of baby-sitting? Also, sorry to go on, but it is healthier to have much less meat.

MummyAbroad Tue 04-Jun-13 18:35:59

off on a slight tangent here....but regarding the cleaning products (which you said you dont need just yet anyway) I have cut my expenditure down to practically nothing by cleaning everything with watered down vinegar and baking soda. I buy both in bulk and I also buy some clear bleach for disinfecting toilets (and DS's potty) and stuff (and use that watered down too) Try it, you will save ££££££'s.

Jux Tue 04-Jun-13 18:39:01

MummyAbroad, that's interesting. What do you use for clothes? I kow you can use white vinegar instead of fabric conditioner, but is there something you can use for the actual wash?

NumTumDeDum Tue 04-Jun-13 19:58:36

If you've got time, could try the Valued Opinions website. I do surveys, and when you get to £10 credit they'll send you a voucher. I can't remember which supermarkets they do, I normally choose John Lewis and save them for christmas/birthday presents but if you've got the patience and time it all helps.

NumTumDeDum Tue 04-Jun-13 20:01:17

Jux you can add soda crystals to bulk out your powder.

valiumredhead Tue 04-Jun-13 20:06:07

My mum uses a tiny squirt of washing up liquid in the drum of the machine, she says it works as well as any detergent.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Tue 04-Jun-13 20:25:33

I tend to buy cleaning products and washing powder when it's on offer and stock up, I probably only buy it once a year, same with toiletries.

Dp has a back injury so isn't able to do any form of work, as much as he would like to.

We both do online surveys and mystery shopping.

We do eat lots of fruit and veg and dp will happily eat jacket potato, soup and salads but he likes meat and isn't willing to give it up, I spent £13 on meat and £21 on veg so I think even on a tight budget we are still going to be eating a healthy diet.

MummyAbroad Tue 04-Jun-13 22:59:09

Jux good point. I forgot about the expense of washing powder. I bulk buy a cheap one in huge quantities, and add vinegar to really smelly or stained washes. It is a good cleaning agent as well as softner, and great for getting smells out, but yes, I do use powder.... and toilet roll... and deodorant... and soap, shampoo, conditioner... actually there is a still a lot of stuff left in the "cleaning" category! But at least I save £££ on furniture polish, floor cleaner, window cleaner etc

BiddyPop Mon 10-Jun-13 11:10:57

While your DP cannot do heavy work, can he do very light gardening? If so, see if you can get some pots/troughs on ebay, chuck in some compost, and seeds for crops over the summer. You might even get lucky and find free tomato/courgette/peppers/other plants on freecycle too (enthusiastic gardeners who plant enough to oversome inevitable failures and end up with too many seedlings as a result). You may also find people with excess seeds that they'd give you part of a pack of a few different things.

Things like lettuce, radishes (fast), turnips (fast), carrots, peas, beans of various types (french, runner, broad etc), are all good for seeds. Tomatoes can be grown in pots (or bush types in hanging baskets - so less bending). Courgettes are prolific too and can also be in pots. Brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower etc) are not great in small spaces, but brocolli (calabrese is the summer green one) is good and the side-shoots are good to eat too not ust the top green crown. Brussels sprouts are good for winter if you have a small space to pop one in. Sping onions can mark the spaces between plants and grow away merrily too. And if you started a pot of leeks now, they can go into small spaces that are freed up later as broad beans or whatever come out, again for autumn/winter eating.

Peas and climbing beans against fences are nice and almost hide there, and I plant lots of veg in between the shrubs and flowers in the back garden.

BiddyPop Mon 10-Jun-13 11:28:34

If DP needs meat, would a pack of bacon lardons be enough to "flavour" a meal? So maybe a caesar salad with bacon, omlette with mushrooms and bacon and cheese, macaroni cheese with bacon and lots of veg, or pasta with tomato sauce and bacon and veg. Or bacon sprinkled over a jacket potato?

Taking that further, (we'd often get the Lidl bacon lardons pack, and one portion can be enough for carnivore DH to feel like it's a "meat" meal). If you get a joint of bacon (often large ones are very good value), boil it and have bacon meal, use the water with a pack of frozen peas to make "ham and pea soup" for another meal, and portion up the rest of the bacon for sambos, and in chunks for meals as above. Leftovers can be frozen and are fine defrosted for mixing into things.

Stretching a chicken is another great thing to do. Roast your bird, and enjoy the roast dinner. (I usually try to only roast enough spuds for the meal, or use leftovers as "homefries", either grilled or fried, but do loads of veg especially when using medditeranean types, to use with pasta etc next day). Take ALL the rest of the meat from the carcass (it can be frozen) and use it for various dishes (sambos, omlettes, pasta dishes, curries or asian stir fries, risotto, pies, chick and mushrooms with cream sauce (or campbell's chick or mush soup) etc). But then use the bones to make stock - with a carrot, onion, celery (if have it), some pepper and some herbs - boil it up and then take some for freezing/using as stock, but blitz the veggies into remainder as soup (take out stalky herbs before that point).

For mince dishes, I add loads of veg to it too. So spag bol is made with 500g mince, 2-3 carrots, a courgette, half a pepper, handful of mushrooms, big onion, 3 cloves garlic etc, and the tin of tomatoes. And that then serves about 6 adults. I know my DSis does it using all "orange" veg - carrots, butternut squash, red lentils etc, and is able to stretch it even more. For shepherd's pie, I do the same only tend not to use pepper, but add frozen peas instead and I do use lentils (green/puy? something like that) in that. Leftovers are also frozen.

Frozen veg is good (the kind you buy in freezer aisle), check yellow stickers and freeze veg at home too. I also pick up the stalks of the brocolli plants (in our SM, they have a hacksaw to cut them off, but allow people to take them home "for the rabbit" - I often bring a bag if they are thick). So I'll buy the head as usual, but the bag of stalks comes too. The outside skin and the stringy bit just inside are peeled off, and then I use it sliced up in stirfries, or diced into my mince dishes as part of the veg mix. (I noticed after I started doing this, that I suddenly recognised one of the ingredients in my Chinese takeaway!!). It's tasty and nutricious, just not something most people think of using.

Hope those bits help.

BiddyPop Mon 10-Jun-13 11:29:42

Oh, and things like leftover roasted veg, could make lovely roast veg tarts when laid on a sheet of pastry with some cheese on top and baked, serve with salad and it's a lovely dinner.

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