Could you eat for a week on £18 per person?

(84 Posts)
StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 07:17:22

Was prompted to think about this by Helen Goodman MP, who decided to live for a week on £18 - the amount she says people will have left for food after the bedroom tax. I'm not a Tory and don't agree with leaving people on the breadline - and I'm obviously very differently resourced, as I have access to a cheap supermarket, lots of time to cook and equipment, like a breadmaker and so on... but Helen Goodman says it is HORRIBLE. She says she had to eat porridge with water, went to bed hungry etc... and it set me wondering what would be possible.

Thinking about yesterday, when we ate as we ordinarily would - our food costs for a family of 3 was as follows:
B'fast - porridge made with milk (Iceland 4 pints for £1), banana, toast - £1 for all of us.
Lunch - homemade bread made into sandwiches with smoked salmon & cream cheese, yoghurt and raisins - £2 for all of us.
Dinner - homemade mushroom and cheese tart with green salad, boiled new potatoes and coleslaw. Pudding - homemade rice pudding £4.50

Drinks - teas and coffee and tap water - 50p

So my total cost for the day was £7. So if the budget is £18 p.w., that's £2.57 per person and £7.71 for the 3 of us... so I did it - even without thinking... and no one was hungry! However, I could be cheating, as I'm not sure our child would have the same budget allocated to them?

She also says that meat and fish were impossible - yet again, I know I can buy a kilo of best quality mince for about a tenner and make a fab chilli that comes in at about 80p a portion. I think I am probably quite a careful shopper - I buy value brands a lot where I don't think it will impact quality, eg. Tesco Value bananas are just fine - I buy stuff which is on offer (like the smoked salmon, and I'm a reasonable cook - so would attempt most things - and have loads of time on my hands atm....

However - not that I want people to have their benefits cut to the bone, you understand - but am wondering if my lifestyle/meals are very different from most families - and whether more effort should be made to teach home economics, so that people can manage on less - just from the perspective of thrift and good practice - rather to shave a fiver off the benefits bill, you understand!

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 07:25:18

lol - just read that back - I might be able to cook, but I clearly can't add up - it actually cost £8 for the day - against a budget of £7.71 - but we weren't much over, and we weren't trying... so I think the argument holds...

Well our weekly food shop comes in at under £60 for two adults, a greedy toddler and a baby. This obviously includes nappies and 'treats' that we don't need so I suppose it can be done. Also we only have tesco and sainsburys near us so we don't get the choice of cheap supermarkets. And I only but bounty kitchen roll and Andrex toilet paper grin

daffsarecomingup Thu 07-Mar-13 07:33:25

£40 a week for one adult and two children. is it £18 per week per person?? yes, that could be done easily. and yes, people need educating about cooking. perhaps the glut of celebrity cookery programmes should be changed to focus on 'proper' food

We eat meat and fish, don't go hungry etc. and have a grocery bill of £200p/m for 4 of us. I see your point, but lots of people can't manage on small budgets for various reasons (education, access to cheap sources of food, fuel/time to cook, space to store food etc), so I suspect this will turn into another benefit-bashing thread. I hope to be proved wrong.

HecateWhoopass Thu 07-Mar-13 07:36:08

She was probably going on how much you can get in waitrose for £18. wink

Seriously though - it's good she highlighted it!

Years ago, I had a budget of £25 per week to feed 4 people, get all household stuff, toiletries and food for 4 cats! It was hard! But I did it because that was all I had. There WAS no more. Not unless I wanted to not pay my bills and end up getting cut off or something!

Today, my weekly budget is £60. For 4 people and all toiletries and household stuff. Take off a tenner for toiletries and household and you're left with £12.50 per person per week.

It is more than that though, because I also save to buy a lamb every so often and sacks of potatoes from the farm, so if you even that out weekly, it probably add another £5 a week on, or £1.25 per person. So £13.75 per person per week. Roughly.

What is hardest is going from one extreme to the other. Before the £25 a week, I was very fortunate and spent hundreds per week. Going from that to the £25 was a huge shock. I suspect that's what it is here with her. It is the sudden drop from what you're used to. It's not knowing HOW to manage on that because you've never had to. It's not knowing HOW to make it stretch because it's unfamiliar. When you have to live like that, you learn all the tricks. If you just drop into it - you don't know, so you try to do it how you used to and you just can't.

MrsPnut Thu 07-Mar-13 07:41:05

It's not so much about being £18 per week per person but more being on your own with only £18 to spend on food. Any thrifty shopper knows that buying in bulk is cheaper but if you only have £18 to spend then bulk buying is out. Buying a kilo of mince for £10 is completely out because it takes more then half of your weekly budget even if you had the means to freeze portions of it. The MP completed her challenge with no store cupboard reserves which made her task even more difficult and I can easily believe that she went hungry.

A kilo of minceshock.
We get a meal for 4 out of 0.75lb!

*meal for 4 includes leftovers for lunch, so really a meal for 5, and we all eat decent amounts.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Mar-13 12:45:35

Definitely. £2.50/day gives quite a bit of scope. Nothing wrong with porridge made with mostly water... dead healthy and comes in sub 10p a serving I once calculated. Lentil/veggie soup with bread for lunch is pretty standard in our house and that costs buttons. The rest might not be very exciting and there wouldn't be much in the way of meat but I think it's pretty do-able and La Goodman wasn't trying very hard if it was 'HORRIBLE'.

More stringent is the £1/day 'Live Below the Line' campaign highlighting poverty in the Third World. That's far more of a gastric challenge.

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 12:46:40

Yes but I most definitely wouldn't want to.

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 13:07:21

I batch cook inmysparetime - the 1kg of mince makes 20 portions!

I'm not really sure I buy the argument that it is hugely more expensive to cook for 1, because of bulk buying. The mince above is from the local butcher - it is £10 per kilo, but if you want to ask for 50g they will happily sell it to you. I think my main problem would be that I would find it hard to motivate myself to cook just for me sad But lots of foods can be frozen and used gradually.

I didn't realise she didn't have a store cupboard. That seems a bit siilly to me - if I'd had to go shopping and buy a whole bag of flour, new bottle of oil etc, it would have been much more expensive. I only allowed a few pence for their actual cost.

Anway - looks like most people agree - someone with a little skill, time and effort can serve pretty good meals for £18 per week.

undercoverhousewife Thu 07-Mar-13 13:14:48

I don't know how people begin to do it.

I could do it for one week by eating very little, but not for 2 or 3 weeks in a row. I spent £1400 last month at Waitrose to feed 4 of us, without there being anything particularly special. I think that is quite a lot more than £18pp per week......Disclaimer: that total does include toiletries, birthday cards, light bulbs, cleaning products etc.

VictorTango Thu 07-Mar-13 13:15:20

I agree about the bulk buying thing. I can do the £18 a week thing easily enough but only because I am not shopping for one person.

If I only had £18 a week then it would be a different story.

Well in our house theres 4 inc a baby on formula milk.

Last week our shopping came to £63 and that included non essentials.

We eat meat at every dinner, cook from scratch, and dont go hungry.

If it was me alone on £18 then yes I could aslong as I had a cooker and pots and pans.

It doesnt mean people should have to though. Or that its possible for everyone.

VictorTango Thu 07-Mar-13 13:20:09

It's easy undercover, if like hecate says, you are used to it.

You just turn every leftover you have into another meal. Last week leftover roast potatoes became risotto on Monday and the leftover risotto became rissoto patties on Wednesday.

I batch cooked a veg curry a few weeks that made 10 portions, so with the addition of naan bread - that's 10 meals. I freeze the leftover portions and it's an easy dinner.

I've recently discovered the joy of frozen onions, frozen peppers, frozen herbs and garlic and chilli. This has helped reduce my weekly shop by loads as I don't need to buy these weekly and they never go off.

VictorTango Thu 07-Mar-13 13:21:07

*roast chicken not roast potatoes obv! grin

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 13:22:52

You only have leftover roast potatoes if you cook too many potatoes in the first place.

StrippedBear, sorry, I misunderstood you there.
There will always be people with the means to make good, healthy, cheap food for their families, and those who cannot. I would like to see community groups supported to pool resources and bulk-buying power to save money.
A scheme where a group of e.g. Young people, new to living independently, team up to buy spices, flour, vegetables, staple foods in bulk, which they can split the cost of and use amounts that suit them, while they learn to cook with them, would be very useful and set them up for a cheaper, healthier lifestyle.
Just a thought, I don't know if such schemes exist, or if they have been abolished by cuts when they are most needed

VictorTango Thu 07-Mar-13 13:23:14

x post trills

£1400 shock bloody hell

victor I've found the frozen peppers too! But when the three packs of fresh ones are BOGOF in Tesco I get them and chop and put in freezer bags, even cheaper that way. Definitely less waste.

gimmeanaxe Thu 07-Mar-13 13:24:54

its not a lot but my student kids manage on less (I hate saying this in case the Tories read it and say SEE). ds spends about £12 a week on food as thats all he has but doesnt make the rather bizzare food choices the MP made. He doesnt buy meat or fish but rice and pulses, vegetables, cheese, bread, butter and beer. Its a bit boring but thats how we eat at home. He doesnt drink tea or coffee so no milk needed. I think his biggest expense is bread and he has lots of beans/cheese/eggs on toast for breakfast/lunch.
I watched her video's and wanted to take her shopping!

VictorTango Thu 07-Mar-13 13:27:56

Eggs are always a winner - esp as dc will happily eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner - not on the same day though obv grin

fieldfare Thu 07-Mar-13 13:32:51

I think it's definitely manageable. I spend approx £200 a month on food, toiletries and cleaning products, oh and pet food, plus £40 approx on Dd's school dinners.
That's not far out of the £18 pp pw budget.

But then like the OP I cook from scratch, am quite thrifty, we don't eat that much meat and I understand how to eek things out.

jammietart Thu 07-Mar-13 13:33:28

We'd have to seriously change our diet and I expect we'd eat more cheap carbs and less protein. And I buy free range and fair trade normally which I would have to stop. So doable certainly in the short term but I would worry that we weren't having a balanced diet.

We normally spend £50-60 a week for DH, DS1&2 and I. That includes all household goods too.

Eggs, frozen veg and looking for good value food that will last is important.

I fed the four of us for £20 for the week last week. We had lovely meals but it is so very very difficult. Fresh foods are very expensive when you have little money.

£1400 a month? That's our household post tax income.

MrsHoarder Thu 07-Mar-13 13:35:43

We spend something like £60 a week (including small top-up shops) for 3 of us. But we use a bread machine to avoid extortionate bread costs and DS and I have homemade "vegetable" soup pretty much every day. Its harder if you're out of the house during the daytime as its much harder to have a satisfying lunch cheaply.

If I slashed our fruit and biscuits blush budget and then we could easily get it down, but it would be a grim way to live.

shock at £1400 in a month. How???

Wewereherefirst would you mind telling me what meals you had on your £20 a week? I could do with a week like that every now and then.

thesnootyfox Thu 07-Mar-13 13:42:49

Our food bill is around £12-15 per person each week. Our weekly shop is around £80 per week but that includes cleaning products etc.

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 13:46:42

£1400 a month! That's £323 a week on groceries! WOW!

Love the frozen pepper tip - we already use frozen peas. Not sure that the onions would be worth the bother - I buy huge bags from Lidl and they keep for months in a cold room or shed anyway.

I agree - it can be done - and it isn't horrible, and you shouldn't be hungry. I'm not on an especially tight budget and I don't do it to save money. When people stay for supper or pop in for lunch, I usually get very positive comments about my meals. A lovely fresh loaf of homemade bread costs less than 50p and with simple fillings, pared with a homemade chocolate brownie (about 15p) can feel something of a treat, compared to the miserable looking wraps and sandwiches and processed cake you get in M&S for the best part of a fiver.

I think left-overs have a bad reputation too - they don't need to be miserable. Left over roast pork makes an instant stir fry and with rice is so far removed from the Roast Pork with all the trimings that you ate the day before, it shouldn't feel a chore to eat it. When I was a student, I would often cook a chicken one day, and make risotto the next, boiling up the bones to make the stock, and using the leftover stock for carrot and lentil soup the next day. Increasingly as food has spiralled in cost, I find myself reverting to type just so I can feel I'm getting value - and better for the environment too.

I know people don't know how to do this - but in all honesty, being able to cook this way is much nicer for a whole raft of reasons - so maybe we should advocate for better instruction!

CunfuddledAlways Thu 07-Mar-13 13:54:24

£18 a week per person? um yes of course i feed a family of 4 for a fortnight on £60 including all top ups loo roll etc etc

I think the difference is that when you choose to live that way it can be a positive experience.

But when you have no choice it starts to feel like a life sentence.

CunfuddledAlways Thu 07-Mar-13 14:00:40

i dont think so - i know my budget is £60 a fortnight, i go shopping on my fornightly payday get things we need, but sometimes if i got good deals the last time all i need is fresh fruit/veg. we get milk that lasts a week or so and make our own bread. I never feel hard done by our cupboards have enough stuff in for about a weeks food maybe more if a unexpected bill or something came up and i couldn't afford shopping! i can't imagine what i would buy to spend more tbh.

but then my budget for my kids birthday present is a max of £15 and £20 for christmas presents.

so i guess it just depends where you shop how much time you have and what your used to.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 07-Mar-13 14:01:25

It is cheaper to feed a family of four, than four individuals eating separately.

So while £18 for one person is hard, £72 for 4 requires planning but is very achievable.

This is probably about what we spend on food each week. It is doable but as others have said, much harder for a single person who can't bulk buy.

However, I found these figures from below one of her video blogs:

The figure of £18 a week is based on a case study in Bishop Auckland of a women living on Employment Support Allowance. Her £66 a week rent is paid by Housing Benefit. In April, her benefit will go up to £71.70. Out of that she pays £10 a week for electricity and £6 a week for water rates. She uses coal for heating (like many in Bishop Auckland) and three bags of coal will cost her £19.50 a week. Her bus fare is £4 a week (she lives in a village with no shop) and her bedroom tax will be £9.24 a week. This leaves her with £22.96 per week.

Additional non-food costs would include:
Washing powder. £1
Toothpaste 15p
Toothbrush 10p
Sanitary / shaving products 40p
Washing up liquid 5p
Bin bags 10p
Bleach 40p
Cleaning products 50p
Deodorant 25p
Shampoo 40p
Foil/cling film 10p
Saving for shoes, clothing, household items £2
Subtotal: £5.25

Leaving a remaining budget of £17.71 for food.
NB: This leaves no money for TV licence (£3.25pw) or phone/broadband (£5pw)

-----------------------------------
I think in reality, a person in such a position would not have £18 to spend on food. The £2/week to cover all clothes, shoes and household items looks particularly meagre to me. What I found when living on benefits many years ago was that I could manage ok until something broke or wore out, which, if you can't afford very good quality stuff, happens quite frequently.

This case is someone on ESA - a disability benefit. People can be on this for years, it's not a short term thing.

moondog Thu 07-Mar-13 14:03:56

Stripped Bear,the Telegraph, in relation to that MP's effort, did an interveiw last week with this very interesting girl who is managinig to feed two people on £10.
A Girl called Jack

MechanicalTheatre Thu 07-Mar-13 14:07:55

Like wannabe says, it's doable, but it is really horrible after a while if it's a necessity.

The price of food is rising so much, it's unbelievable. I spent £40 last week and £40 this week and I'm on my own. I really don't know where the money goes because I certainly don't eat extravegantly.

LineRunner Thu 07-Mar-13 14:21:00

I have discovered lately the art of making incredibly cheap but nice vegetarian home-made pizzas, but I suspect I am spending a fortune on cooking them in the oven - so fuel costs have to be factored in.

I also cook macaroni cheese and lots of pasta and tuna dishes with vegetables from scratch. They are really cheap if you know how to make your own sauces, I think.

LineRunner Thu 07-Mar-13 14:23:04

Plenty That woman would also have to find maybe £4 a week from April towards council tax?

ivykaty44 Thu 07-Mar-13 14:36:07

strippedbear - how did you get to iceland? Did you factor in the cost of your transport to the supermarket?

I don't see any transport costs in your post, you have to get to the supermarket and you have to get back - of you have a car you need to factor in the tax and insurance as well as the cost of petrol

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:59

Had a look at that moondog See - it can be done! grin

I have to say - this has made me think about how much food I waste sad

qo Thu 07-Mar-13 14:44:33

Wasnt there a meal planner on here once for this type of situation? Anyone remember that or did I dream it?

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 07-Mar-13 14:45:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 14:46:18

Here you go - she says:
The secret of cheap but healthy eating is to cook from scratch, she tells me. “Most of my recipes take 15 or 20 minutes. It’s easy to do and it’s significantly cheaper than picking up a ready meal that you have to cook for 30 minutes in the oven anyway.” But with some ready meals selling for £1, surely they are cheaper? “No. My chickpea tagine is 24p a portion. Besides, I don’t know what’s in that lasagne or whatever. This way I know exactly what my son is eating.”

Very, very true grin

DewDr0p Thu 07-Mar-13 14:50:52

A Girl Called Jack's menu is interesting but it's not a very balanced diet is it? A jam sandwich is hardly a nutritious lunch. What struck me is the very small amount of protein in the menu.

I agree with the point that it would be easier to do the £18 pw thing if you already had a decent storecupboard to call on - much much harder without.

OhMyNoReally Thu 07-Mar-13 14:53:20

There are 6 in our family. This weeks we are eating, cereal, porridge or toast for breakfast. Lunch will be split pea or carrot and corriander soup and a tuna or cheese sandwich. Supper will be lentil and vegetable cobbler, meat free cottage pie, broccoli and cauliflower gratin with garlic bread, chicken chow mein, Linda mc cartney saugage with Yorkshires and ratatouille, pasta with pancatte and olive tomato sauce. I also need cat food, wipes and nappies. I might make a pudding or two and I might buy biscuits if I have any money left.

I have £40 hopefully. I will shop in Morrisons and farm foods and I have to say morrisons value nappies for under £2 for 20 are amazing.

moondog Thu 07-Mar-13 15:01:33

Stripped, out of interest what do you waste and why?
I am always perplexed at the concept of food wastage.
I don't waste anything. It helps that we all are greedy. grin
If there's food left over though, it's eaten at the next meal.

duchesse Thu 07-Mar-13 15:09:18

The Girl called Jack is amazing- so resilient! I think she is going to do very well in life- she is already doing brilliantly with so few resources.

moondog Thu 07-Mar-13 15:16:07

Mind you Duchesse, her interview in the Telegraph said she gave up her £27000 job with the fire service to look after her child as she didn't want others to look after him so I was a bit hmm about that.

notenoughsocks Thu 07-Mar-13 15:18:47

I think in reality, a person in such a position would not have £18 to spend on food. The £2/week to cover all clothes, shoes and household items looks particularly meagre to me. What I found when living on benefits many years ago was that I could manage ok until something broke or wore out, which, if you can't afford very good quality stuff, happens quite frequently

I think this is a key point. I could, and do, quite easily, and often do feed us on that much. But to do it week in week out with no treats, no phone, very limited transport, no funds for any social outing that might risk involving a visit to a cafe for a cup of tea, no clothes, no presents for your family or for when your DC's got invited to a party, would be terrible prospect for me (I have some expereince of living on benefits, happily pre-family days). It was DS's birthday yesterday. I liked getting him presents. I like the the thought that he will enjoy the party that I will throw for him and his friends. If my washing machine dies, or I need some new shoes for an interview it is not a financial disaster for me. It is all very well saying 'yes, I we could eat like kings for £18' but I worry that discussions like this one rather miss the point.

notenoughsocks Thu 07-Mar-13 15:22:32

On a more food sort of point, I found that getting my first freezer really really cut the food bills down because I could cook up double portions of things, store bargains etc. But the freezer itself cost nearly £100.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 07-Mar-13 15:32:48

Yes, it's true about money having to stretch to so much more than just food. I've never owned, so luckily I've never been responsible for anything like washing machines/freezers, and I don't have a car so that's not a problem.

But I've had many incidents where I haven't seen anyone for a month because I couldn't afford the bus/a cup of tea. Or where my only shoes let water but I can't afford new ones or where I've had to walk for 90 minutes to and from work.

It's not a nice way to live. Thankfully not doing that at the moment as I'm a student and I get a loan and a bursary, but I dread ever having to live like that again.

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 16:01:38

Moondog I am quite wasteful - we have a bulging food waste bin for recyling every week. Part of it is justifable waste, like a chicken carcass or peelings or ground coffee waste, but the more I think about it - and what a generous shopping budget I have compared to some people - the worse I feel!

DD is 20 months - we did BLW - she enjoys hurling food at the floor - I also tend to offer a variety of stuff at meal and snack times, and if she doesn't eat it, I just throw it away sad

I am a good cook, but a bad shopper (blush). If I see something I fancy, like some nice asparagus - I might well buy it, even if there is already a vegetable in the cupboard. I periodically clear out the veg boxes, and I quite frequently discard something or other. I've just thrown away half a red cabbage - I bought it to make a spiced cabbage to go with some roast pork - but I only used half of it, and it's not a dish I fancy eating that often.

If something is disappointing - like bitter oranges or dry flavourless apples - that also tends to get left and end up in the bin. Ditto stuff like homemade scones and biscuits - if they are left over from yesterday - and still perfectly eatable by shop standards, I may well bin them and bake a fresh batch.
Thinking about it - quite a bit of home baking probably finds its way to the bin.

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 16:06:35

ivykaty44 you asked - how did you get to iceland? Did you factor in the cost of your transport to the supermarket?

I don't drive. I can walk to Iceland - it's about 10 minutes. I often nip in for their cheap milk and eggs. The nearest next big supermarket is ASDA and about a mile - maybe a mile and a half - but I have a bus pass, so there is no additional cost. I suppose at a push I could walk. To be fair, I do the big shop with my husband at the weekend by car. In all honesty - I think this is probably the thing that ends up wasting money. I am a bit disorganised, and tend to buy too much - haven't those trolleys got bigger and bigger? I'm sure if I shopped more often myself, we would throw less away!

moondog Thu 07-Mar-13 16:07:20

Would you not boil up the carcass to make soup or put the odds and ends of veggies in a stirfry?
I'd not offer choices-makes people to fussy.
Also finish one lot of baking off before starting on another (unless frozen).
Tasteless fruit tastes better if cooked- even the worst apricot is a deilght when stewed. Same with apples.
I'd squeeze tasteless old oranges. Just did that into some rhubarb I was stewing.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Mar-13 16:09:51

How was the '£18' arrived at? I know people who would quite happily go hungry rather than give up the cigarettes or whatever..

MrsHoarder Thu 07-Mar-13 16:10:46

StrippedBear: I was going to write a sentance in reply but instead wrote an essay. It was meant in a friendly manner rather than a lecture though...

Sounds like you need to consider vegetables in your meal plan. I go with a list and only let myself add something if I swap something else out. Could you not have just chopped up your red cabbage and used it as normal cabbage or even pickled it (red cabbage is for christmas or pickled only in this house)?

How clean is your floor? If DS flings something I fancy to the floor I apply the 3 second rule and scoff it myself blush. And we only give him a few things at once and once he starts flinging everything we assume he's full and it gets scoffed is put in the leftovers tub.

Do you not add your "extra" fruit to your home baking? I stuffed up earlier in the week and had a glut of soft fruits (forgot had ordered some in online shopping and bought more when I went for a walk in the village) so made some fruit muffins. Think I'll grate up the slightly soft apple in the fruit bowl to make more muffins tonight or tomorrow.

Change your batch sizes for home baking or freeze your excess and get it out the night before for lunches.

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 16:12:38

Mechanicalthreatre yep - I remember that - having no warm dry shoes in winter... possibly Dickensian, isn't it? I also remember the joy of buying a new pair and having warm feet again!

I think my conclusion is, it can be done, but it is easy to slip up - imagine if you burn something and you can't afford to buy anything else to eat? How can that be a civilised way to treat people? I also think that things like an internet connection and a tv licence (or at least one or other of those - your choice) is a necessity in this day and age.

How sad that we have come to this - a world where we want to limit some of the most vulnerable in our community to save a pin prick of public money sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Mar-13 16:14:43

But the deal with the reduction in council tax benefit is that, if the person downsizes to a smaller property freeing up the larger property for a bigger family, they don't have the problem any more.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Thu 07-Mar-13 16:15:54

You bin home baking shock

Could DH not take it into work? (assuming you're an SAHM)

Or un-iced cakes freeze really well (as does raw cookie dough so you can make a big batch and only cook what the three of you will eat)

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 16:16:55

You throw away things that you have baked that are ONE day old? shock

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 16:17:39

Moondog Yes, I would make stock from a carcass - but you'd still fill the bin with the veggies and bones from the stock - that's what I meant.

The other stuff - no - would just throw it away - bit naughty I know.

I just bought some Bramleys in ASDA today - 5 cost £1.71, then came home and whilst the pie was in the oven, I threw out some unappetising looking old apples from the bowl sad and filled it with fresh plums and pears.

More money than sense - as yer mother would say... but I am thinking on it... I am

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 16:19:16

I was talking about scones Trills
I wouldn't throw a day old fruit cake away smile or a coffee and walnut cake either smile

Freshly baked scones are much nicer, and you can have them in the oven in about 7 minutes, and they bake in 15 mins...

MrsHoarder Thu 07-Mar-13 16:21:28

Once you've boiled the carcass and veggies there's no goodness left in them! Its like fretting about throwing away the banana peel or the "vine" from grapes.

I'm baffled by your pie thing though. You mean you had some slightly soft apples and a fresh bunch and you decided to bin the soft ones and cook with the fresh? Rather than cook with the soft (doesn't matter if they're eating apples, just use less sugar) and save the fresh for another day?

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 16:25:00

Hi MrsHoarder - don't feel lectured at all....

I don't consider vegetables in my meal plan. TBH... sshhhh... I don't meal plan at all... I just go to the supermarket and buy whatever I fancy... that's the problem.... I think because of that, I over-buy and so if I don't fancy something later, it goes to the bin (blush)

>How clean is your floor? If DS flings something I fancy to the floor I apply the 3 second rule and scoff it myself . And we only give him a few things at once and once he starts flinging everything we assume he's full and it gets scoffed is put in the leftovers tub.

Yeah - but if you've cooked enough risotto for 3... you would save his uneaten meal as a lefover

.Do you not add your "extra" fruit to your home baking? I stuffed up earlier in the week and had a glut of soft fruits (forgot had ordered some in online shopping and bought more when I went for a walk in the village) so made some fruit muffins. Think I'll grate up the slightly soft apple in the fruit bowl to make more muffins tonight or tomorrow.

Change your batch sizes for home baking or freeze your excess and get it out the night before for lunches.

Good ideas - I do this a bit, but not as much as I should

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 16:55:09

LadyIsabella DH has a desk job - part of the reason we have so much home baking over is because he is calorie conscious and won't eat it...

Yep - naughty about the apples MrsHoarder - it didn't even occur to me to use the old apples... I was wandering round the supermarket and fancied making a pie, and knew I didn't have cooking apples so I went and got some... insane... I must stop doing that grin

LadyIsabellaWrotham Thu 07-Mar-13 17:03:59

No no no, he doesn't take it in to eat himself, he takes it in to share with his lovely colleagues and express his appreciation of their skills / bribe them to help him with proofreading tomorrow's Powerpoint.

Hmm. It depends on how that number is reached doesn't it. I'm very confident I could feed a family of four, 2 adults 2 children, on £72 a week without particularly economising. I feel like our £400 a month at the moment is quite luxurious - some organic produce, some top end brands, includes nappies and formula and prepared snacks etc.

However I couldn't feed myself and buy all other supermarket essentials on £18 a week without really really struggling.

Depends whether it includes cleaning products, batteries, toiletries etc etc

StrippedBear Thu 07-Mar-13 17:54:31

it's meant to be just food twelveleggedwalk

ladyisabella At one point DH had a team of 80... that'd be a lot of cupcakes smile

Thinking about it- when I was young and single, we had a boss who had a SAH wife - I think they had 5 kids. She used to bake and send things in for coffee mornings. Nice, they were too... but we all used to talk in hushed tones about X's wife who DIDN@T WORK - shock - horror!! Funny - I couldn't imagine then not having a job, and found it all hugely alien!!

VictorTango Fri 08-Mar-13 11:46:30

I make a batch of biscuit mix, shape them into biscuit shapes and freeze on a tray and then put into a freezer bag. Oat and Rasin works well for this. Means I can pull out enough individual biscuits and have warm cookies when I need them without any waste.

I freeze everything. If you have bananas which are turning you can freeze them and just thaw them when you have the time to make banana bread etc.

I wouldn't save an uneaten meal though. If there are leftovers left over in the pan/serving dishes then fine but once it's touched a plate then it goes in the bin.

Everyone should try the downshift challenge that Martin Lewis advocates. Just drop a down a brand and see if you can tell the difference. On most things I haven't.

I would disagree we eat less protein because we eat on a budget. Our meat has to go further but I don't think we eat less than we would if we had money. A roast chicken can do three dinners. And we eat a lot of eggs which are a good source of protein.

The one thing I would like to do but can't is to shop at closing time to get bargains on reduced bakery goods which I could freeze. But it's just not convenient as a single parent of two small dc.

ivykaty44 Fri 08-Mar-13 12:08:20

scones can be frozen rather than binned sad or made into trifle, or scone pudding - similar to bread and butter pudding but replacing the bread with scones

stubbornstains Fri 08-Mar-13 12:28:53

But the deal with the reduction in council tax benefit is that, if the person downsizes to a smaller property freeing up the larger property for a bigger family, they don't have the problem any more.

I think you're getting your benefits cuts mixed up, Cogito. You must be thinking of the so-called "bedroom tax"- a reduction in Housing Benefir for people with a perceived extra bedroom.

Most people now receiving full council tax benefit will have to pay some percentage of their council tax from April- this could be £5 a week, it could be more, it could be less. £5 when you only have £18 a week for food- and many other things- is pretty devastating.

One thing I notice about the MP's budget breakdown is that it allows nothing for the means to get out of this pit- no transport or phone costs, which are pretty essential if you're looking for a job. So yes, it's unlikely that anyone in this position would actually get to spend the whole £18 on food.

VictorTango Fri 08-Mar-13 12:34:50

It's a shit existence.

LineRunner Fri 08-Mar-13 15:10:43

What stubbornstains said.

Where I live the contribution to council tax for those on benefits will be I think about £3 a week, and £4 for the low paid.

I also agree that it is incredibly difficult to secure work and stay in work these days without a phone and broadband access - many employers expect to be able to phone and email about shifts and changes to hours and availability etc so 'library internet access' is just not enough.

So that £18 becomes £7 a week pretty quickly.

racingheart Sat 09-Mar-13 14:49:29

it's much harder for a single person, but for a family of four, £18 per person for food per week is pretty easy - you don't even have to try hard. And that's assuming all three meals each day come out of that budget. You just meal plan and don't buy anything not on the plan. But if that budget is also supposed to include all household cleaning stuff, toiletries,nappies, pet food etc, it starts to look tight.

LineRunner Sat 09-Mar-13 17:07:57

I think it would nigh on impossible if you start having to deduct essentials like toilet rolls, cleaning products, washing powder/launderette, washing up liquid.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 17:18:20

I wonder if that £18 a week includes the cost of actually getting to the shops to do the shopping? Unless you are "lucky" enough to live more or less in a supermarket car park, you need to get to a shop. For a lot of people that either means an expensive journey to a proper supermarket, or a shorter journey - perhaps on foot but not always - to a very expensive local Co-Op, or Spar or whatever.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 17:19:30

We are being as meagre as we can be at the moment, and we cannot do our entire weekly shop for £18 per person. It is at least 1.5 times that by the time all other essentials are added in.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 17:20:25

Oh, and we currently don't have a freezer, just a small fridge with an ice box. That makes everything a whole lot more expensive as you can't take advantage of a lot of bulk buy offers.

CrispyHedgeHog Sat 09-Mar-13 18:06:50

What about people with allergies/intolerances.

The food that's cheap and filling tends to be the stuff that causes most problems doesn't it? Grains etc? So they're screwed in that circumstance.

My DS is milk allergic, and though Soya milk costs more than cow's milk, we save on cheese etc. and it's cheap to cook with tinned tomatoes.
Potatoes and rice are good fillers, and we cook from scratch a lot which saves on processed food costs too.
We're well under £18/person/week, even including toiletries etc.

serin Sun 10-Mar-13 18:49:38

The problem with our nation is that a lot of us have forgotten how to budget, store food, grow things and how to cook.

The government needs to urgently address this issue.

My friend does voluntary work with the Trussell Trust (foodbanks) and says quite often people will choose instant 'add water meals' rather than fruit and veg because they are easier to prepare.

Home economics in school is almost a joke, (except it's not funny) our DC's have brought home the most ridiculous 'meals' that have required almost no skill to prepare.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 19:15:01

I have not forgotten how to budget, store things or cook. But two years ago our budget for food and household goods was £300 a month. We had to up it to £400 and we often now exceed that now that I can't cook in bulk and freeze things.

TotemPole Sun 10-Mar-13 21:08:11

It's possible but meals could get quite repetitive or boring. It depends on so many different factors.

At our nearest supermarket we can't buy a single onion or loose carrots, everything is in packs. A single person would have to have the same veg over the week to stick within budget.

Without a decent store cupboard, you'd be relying more on jars for sauces. Usually a jar is 4 servings and once opened use within 3-5 days. So you'd either waste it or have the same meal 4 days in a row.

With me and 1 DC we sometimes get the packs of chicken thighs/drumsticks, 2 packs for £6 when on offer. I can get the base of 4-5 meals out of that for the two of us. But these are use immediately, so once you've opened the pack you either need to freeze or cook what's left. It does start to smell if you don't.

Our nearest butcher and fishmongers is more expensive than the supermarket. For others it will be the other way round.

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