Meal budget for feb...arghhhh...

(50 Posts)
Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 13:57:19

...could you feed a family of 4 (dh and ds1 take pack up to work and school respectively) for £50 per week?
I have - if I have done my sums right - £200 left in feb for food, petrol and misc like haircuts etc.
I can go into my overdraft, but really don't want too.
Have had to buy dc some new clothes (well, e bay!) this month and of course with it being after Xmas and a loooonnng month and my car breakdown cover coming out (£70) I find myself a bit short.
I can obv cut down on car use weather permitting so can try to cut petrol costs but my hair has not been looked since nov and - frankly - it shows smile
We eat a fair bit of fresh veg and fruit and I don't want to stop that. We also eat a lot of eggs, and potatoes. Ds1 is addicted to chicken goujons smile and ds2 has a sweet tooth like me.
I can bake so can make cakes etc
I live in a village and we only have a co op which I like but is expensive. There is an aldi in the next town but obv that will neccessitate a car journey so petrol costs.
I tend to buy own brand products anyway, not a brand person really, except Heinz beans smile and twinings fruit teas.
Don't have a large freezer so can't batch cook.
Need to cut down in the amount of snacks etc I am buying for the dc...even in offer they add up.
Any tips gratefully recieved! smile

specialsubject Mon 21-Jan-13 14:05:41

forget the hairdo.

No snacks, no chicken goujons, fewer sweets and choc, lots more of your fresh veg and fruit.

get an online delivery, Tesco do £3 if you can meet that slot. Much of their own brand stuff is the same price as Aldi.

next time - less on Christmas. If your budget is tight enough so that Christmas causes problems, you need to cut right down on the unnecessary clutter presents.

ScalesAndMirrorsLie Mon 21-Jan-13 14:11:13

Pasta, jacket potatoes

Filling puds like rice pudding, bananas and custard, sponge and custard, jelly is a cheap pudding

Avoid buying soft fruits. Hard fruits like pears as apples are always cheaper. Own brand Tinned fruit?

Go to supermarkets when it's nearly closing time to get the reduced price things off the deli/fish/meat counters etc

I'm not a lover if mince, but if you buy a big pack you could do a cottage pie and a bolognese.

Own brand garlic bread is a cheap filler too.

jojane Mon 21-Jan-13 14:12:41

Ok, obviously nothing you can do about your spending up to now, sainsburys used to do meal plans for feed you family fr £50 a week, very basic and a bit samey but needs must, there is also a brilliant website for mums menu planning which I can't remember the name of for the life of me which has lots of different menus ranging from £25 and up, different types like winter warmers or spicy or family faves etc

WantAnOrange Mon 21-Jan-13 14:15:37

Agree with specialsubject do one big shop online for the month ahead using the £3 slot. It's cheaper to buy in bulk so I'd get a big bag of pasta and get quite a few meals for example. Value brand oats for porridge for breakfast. Whst do you already have in your cupboards?

Plan everything, including snacks, one mid-morning, one mid-afternoon the when its gone, its gone.

I dont see how you can afford a haircut unless you have a local college or something that could use models for their students?

Value beans really arent that different. Use strong flavours, eg a little but of strong cheese, rather than lots of mild cheddar.

How much are school dinners for DS1? I've found that, taking into account that DS gets a cooked dinner and pudding, its cheaper if he has school dinners than packed lunches. He eats less at home and just has a light tea.

I havent had a hair cut in two years. Not through choice either. I cant afford it.

Our weekly shop comes to £60 per week but that includes baby formula at £8 a tin and toilet roll one week, washing liquid the next, toiletries the next etc. So really our food bill is around £40 a week for 3. We eat well for that though. Last week it was £35 and we ate well.

Make soups, add lentils, they are so filling. Buy a large pack of pasta instead of the 500g. A 3kg pack in asda is £3.50 but the 500g packs are 95p each so double the price.

Cut out snacks and goujons. Eggs and potatoes are cheap anyway. It might not be the most exciting month food wise but it can be done.

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 14:27:02

It's not the cost of school dinners that's the issue really...his class is last in and there is hardly ever anything nice left sad My dsis has just stopped my dnephews from having school dinners for this reason too...fed up of the moaning from the dc! The dinners are cooked at another school and brought in and I don't think they get enough of the more popular dishes tbh...
Ds1 isn't ine for snacks really, and likes cheap things anyway like popcorn and rice cakes.
I tend to get bananas, apples and oranges each week.
Also potatoes, carrots and broccoli. I use frozen peas and sweet corn.
I get bread, rolls, muffins, cheese, butter, eggs, flapjacks, small amount of choc for ds2...he is not fussy! smile
Puddings tend to be yoghurt, ice cream or cake.
Ds2 is a grazer so can get though quite a bit in one day...fruit, yogs, sandwiches, cake, etc
I won't shop at tesco - loathe them, sorry! smile
Is the fruit and veg at aldi any good?
I buy co op own brand washing gel and softener, loo rolls etc. I tend to buy whatever is on offer when it comes to shampoo, toiletries etc.
I have heard them places like BM bargains are good for loo rolls that right?

MorningHasBroken Mon 21-Jan-13 14:35:18

One of our meals, pretty much every week, is jacket spuds with beans. Also have an 'on toast' night (beans, cheese, egg). Meat is expensive so replace it with pulses, chickpea curry rather than chicken etc. homemade soup is good and filling, plus fill them up with lots of pasta and potato. Pasta bake with lots of veg is a fav here, as is home made gnocchi. Add a pastry lid to leftovers from a casserole and you have a cheap pie.

Rice pudding, fruit crumbles, pies etc also good fillers.

Find old recipe books (Marguerite Patten etc) for tips on cheap but filling and healthy meals.

Sorry for stilted writing style, have a crying baby in one arm!

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 14:39:32

Thanks for posting morning...especially when you are obv busy! smile
My mum had a marguerite patten book - will ask her.

Cake, yoghurts, chocolate all not necessary.

Fact is, to bring it within that budget something has to go. And you sound like you dont want to change anything at all.

poshfrock Mon 21-Jan-13 14:45:02

BMI Bargains is great for cleaning stuff and toiletries. They sell food too. Try the Resourceful Cook website for budget meal plans. On phone so can't post link but you can Google it. Agree with giant pasta bag. Also tins of tomatoes and kidney beans (18p in Tesco). We made pork and celery stew this week. (pork fillet, 3 tins toms, 4 sticks celery, salt and pepper). Serve with bulger wheat. Did 2 meals for 5 people including 2 teenage boys and DH who had BIG appetite for about £5.

MorningHasBroken Mon 21-Jan-13 14:50:49

" I get bread, rolls, muffins, cheese, butter, eggs, flapjacks, small amount of choc for ds2...he is not fussy! 
Puddings tend to be yoghurt, ice cream or cake."
From this list I would drop the rolls, muffins,flapjacks, choc, yoghurt, and ice cream! Make a cake for lunches, make puddings from scratch, buy a value pack of digestive biscuits, get the kids to ice them themselves and they're a great treat!

AdoraBell Mon 21-Jan-13 14:56:08

If Tesco is out how about one of the others, have a look on t'internet and see who delivers.

If you're buying English muffins for breakfast/tea then ditch them for a couple of weeks and use bread. If it's American style choc chip/fruit muffins, ditch those too and home bake them instead. Ditto flapjacks. Tell DS not to help himself, I've had to do this with my two. If he complains that he's starving, no he really isn't, he's just peckish and can easily wait for the next meal without needing medical interventionwink

Who is it that needs a haircut, you? Can you pin it back, use a ponytail? DCs? Can't they just wait for a few weeks? DH? Is it really that urgent? I tip my shampoo/shower gel bottles up when when they are nearly empty. Aggravates my OH but I know I can get at lest two more showers and hair washes out of the "empty" bottle.

Have a look on for ideas on using things up and they have a handy portion guide too.

TheSecondComing Mon 21-Jan-13 15:00:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 15:01:13

Will make flapjacks and cakes this weekend.
Will also cut down on muffins (the English variety)
Ice cream is in freezer already.
I will have a bash at making a sponge cake too.
Will not buy any choc for ds2.
He loves digestives luckily.
It's me that needs a's cropped but my fringe has gone a bit mad smile
I colour it myself anyway.
Will sit down to it and try and do a meal plan for each week (or one I can use 4 times!)

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 15:05:17

I agree TSC...I find baking costs me an absolute fortune! sad
Don't have farm foods or anything like that near me, but there is an aldi.
There is also an asda, but I don't like them either.
Fussy? Moi?
I would ask my sis to cut my fringe but last time she cut it in a V so I went around looking like a bit player from buffy the vampire slayer for a month smile
I hate January. It's official.
My car breakdown cover had gone up because I have had to call them out twice since November sad
Just found something I can send back to amazon for a refund though smile

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 21-Jan-13 15:06:59

If you get a massive bag of oats and you already have a tin of lyles golden syrup in the cupboard you can make flapjack. Even better if you have some dried fruit/sultanana to go in it.
Then you also have the oats for porridge .
Forget cereal. Porridge is better for you and MUCH cheaper, and you can add fruit, honey etc.
I usually get several cartons of own brand passata, massive bag of rice, potatos, bag of onions, some veggies that are in season (morrisons have got cavalo nero at £1 a bag right now-really tasty and good for you) and lots of pinto beans, chick peas, baked beans etc for protein.
I get block butter, not spreadable as it's half the price.
Then I get some braising steak from butcher and some sausages and do stew for 2 days on the trot, then sausage casserole 2 days. Rest of the time it's veggie food.
I do buy spices and herbs and chillies because I can't stand bland food.
Aldi is great for snacks and junky treats-really cheap, and also bog roll, moisturiser, everything like that.
I get eggs from a nearby small farm £2 for dozen, but obvs not everyone can do this!

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 21-Jan-13 15:11:04

x popst about the flapjack. Agree, baking and having to buy all ingredients in one go v. expensive.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 21-Jan-13 15:12:02

Although, thinking about it the Aldi I used to go to was amaaazing for baking ingredients.
Miss Aldi sad

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 15:13:06

Yes I get block butter too.
Putting oats on the list!
We don't eat cereal.
Tend to have hot breakfasts...omelettes, pancakes, porridge, cheese on toast, beans on toast etc.
Hang on, porridge is a cereal isn't it!?
So we do eat cereal!
I have a slow cooker that I - ahem - have never used.
Ds1 likes soup so that's easy. Also jacket potatoes.

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 15:13:52

Hmmmm...can see a trip to aldi coming on! smile
They had lovely stollen and pannetone at Xmas...yum yum.

I would say its worth the petrol money to Aldi to save money(assuming it isn't miles away), things like Washing Powder and Toilet Rolls are much cheaper. If you do want to bake their flour, sugar etc is fairly cheap too, otherwise I agree baking is more expensive than buying a cheap sponge. They tend to have weekly offers on fruit and veg (which are fine), the cereal is really cheap and so are the basics. You can get a free range chicken for £5.99 to make a couple of meals - same price as a battery chicken everywhere else.

Have a look on the website, you can't shop online but you can see what the offers are and see if you think its worth the drive. I find it same price as supermarket basics ranges but much better quality.

x -post!

Ragwort Mon 21-Jan-13 15:20:02

Car break down sounds very reasonable at £70 - Where do you get it from? Have just have paid nearly three times that for AA grin, and that's after negotiating them down (two cars).

Why not be a 'model' for your hair cut, I never pay for hair cuts and have never had a disaster.

I think school meals are incredibly expensive for what they are, you can do packed lunches much, much cheaper.

Never used fabric softener in my life <is it a new fangled invention grin>, read somewhere that it is bad for your clothes anyway !

Ragwort Mon 21-Jan-13 15:20:56

Sorry, misread your second post, realise your DS has a packed lunch anyway blush.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 21-Jan-13 15:25:04

You could make laundry gloop. I keep mine in a bucket that had held fat balls for the birds.

It would last you ages too.

I use aldi every week, dh tells me the digestives are better than mcvities and we like the beans so we don't miss Heinz at all.

I use smart price cleaning products from the co-op, they are BUAV approved which big brand names usually aren't apart from astonish.

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 16:02:35

Green flag...very good they are too! When I joined it was only £50 and I did it online.
Fluffy...I really like the cleaning stuff from the co op. the ultra non bio gel is ace and I do like the co ops ethical stance wrt animal testing, additives etc.,far from aldi I am getting fruit, veg, beans, k towel, loo rolls, cleaning stuff, baking stuff, digestives, apple juice, jams, choc,
Ragwort...ds1 has a brown bread sandwich, flapjacks, rice cakes and fruit compote each day at school (he will not/cannot eat fruit so it's the only way to prevent scurvy sad)
Dh takes salad with tuna/meat etc
Annoyingly ds2 will eat porridge, but only the really expensive boxed one sad I like him to have it though.

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 16:02:56

Aldi mayo is gorgeous btw...

TheSecondComing Mon 21-Jan-13 16:12:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 16:19:08

Glad I am in experienced hands TSC smile so to speak.
Thanks to all those who have posted x

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 21-Jan-13 16:26:16

Tea bags! Sainsburys basics. We switched 25 months ago, dh hasn't noticed yet.

Lidl will have half price offers at the weekend.

bluecarrot Mon 21-Jan-13 16:27:44

Mornflake oats are 2kg for about £1.80 and lasts ages. We have it as porridge with raisins and agave, as flapjacks with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, and as hm granola on plain natural yogurt (I think tescos own big pot is 60p ish) Also can be added to burgers.

Soup is cheap and can be filling if you add lentils and/or potatoes.

If things are really tight make it "fun" and have breakfast for tea. They all have to go to bed while you make "breakfast" then you wake them up and serve them breakfast in bed. DD loves this as shes never usually allowed food outside the kitchen.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 21-Jan-13 16:31:40

Oh my God, the one thing I will not even scrimp on is tea bags. They must be Clipper unbleached ones. Anything else now just tastes like bleach. That is my only luxury ever though apart from Friday bottle of wine.

bluecarrot Mon 21-Jan-13 16:40:47

I quite like tesco quality tea (in red box) BUT I, pretty much pour the hot water in on top of it then immediately take it out of the mug, otherwise its too strong. Its perfect for making a pot of tea though

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 21-Jan-13 17:42:42

Ooh granola. I must get round to making that, I love it in yogurts.

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 18:41:04

I feel like an MN failure for not knowing, but what is granola?
Have made a list for aldi and will top up at the local co op.

Badvoc Mon 21-Jan-13 18:47:47

For dinners I am planning so far...
Jackets, salad or veg and chicken goujons.
Pasta and meatballs and garlic bread.
Home made wedges and onion and courgette frittata
Roast potatoes and fish fingers and veg
Roast dinner
Cottage pie and veg cream, home made cakes.
Snacks...popcorn, rice cakes, choc
Sound about right?
Wrt breakfast, they tend to be hit ones as dh and dc have cold lunches.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 21-Jan-13 19:09:19

Crunchy museli.

Bugsylugs Mon 21-Jan-13 23:01:34

Hairdressers round here will trim fringe for free if you had your hair cut there.

MrsHoarder Mon 21-Jan-13 23:13:22

Use whole milk and half water for morning porridge. Half the price.

Try to encourage more porridge and less "meat" breakfasts.

Don't throw anything away. Ends of meat and leftover veg can make soup for the next night's dinner. Fry an onion, food prices the leftovers and add some pulses.

Ice cream no good when its this cold. Make microwave syrup puddings or a fruit crumble instead.

bluecarrot Tue 22-Jan-13 00:10:24

Could also water down whole milk or use dried milk. I used to make the porridge sachet type things for dd when she was younger - small Tupperware type pot with, porridge oats, dried milk powder, raisins and a wee sprinkle of sugar in it. Just add boiling water, stir it up and let it cool to edible temp ( or zap in microwave for a bit first depending on oats used) She made "packaging" for it too- a plain cardboard box that she drew all over then put the pot of porridge mix inside, still in container. smile

AdoraBell Tue 22-Jan-13 03:10:39

OP you mentioned DS's liking of expensive boxed porridge. Have tried refilling the box while he's out and just not telling him that it's a cheaper version?

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 08:11:30

Haha yes we have adora.
And with his crackers that he likes - ditto.
Doesn't fool him for a second smile
This morning ds1 has had 2 "posh" cheese on toast (which is an English muffin, split, toasted with pizza topping and grated mozerella on and baked in he oven for 10 mins) and water.
Ds2 has had porridge, a banana and 2 slices of whole meal toast with butter and apple juice.
They will both have sandwiches for lunch as usual.

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 08:12:44

Neither dc have milk, except in baking or food.
We use UHT skim milk as its cheaper than fresh and I prefer it (I am a bit odd I think) and we don't run out as I buy the large packs.

treesntrees Tue 22-Jan-13 19:02:08

make your own chicken goujons from cheap aldi chicken or Asian butchers

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 19:34:23

Well I have done a my shop and asda came up cheapest so I have shopped with them for this week. Came to just under £40 inc del.
Am a bit worried as I am not really an asda fan, but will reserve judgement.

gingerpinz Fri 25-Jan-13 10:51:44

Do you have a Lidl anywhere near you? Even if it's a drive it might be worth it. I shopped there yesterday and spent about £54 and when I checked on Mysupermarket later it showed that I would have been at least £68 anywhere else (Tesco being the cheapest, then Sains, then Asda). They are doing bulk bags of rice and onions at the moment and lots of their fruit and veg is British and good quality. They also do 1kg tubs of greek style yogurt (we get plain but I think they do flavoured too) for £1.58 and it is lovely. Aldi's greek style yogurt (500g) is great too and under £1. Oh and Aldi do pole and line caught tuna for under £1 a tin too. I know you can get cheaper than this but it sounds like good quality and ethics are important to you so just thought I would mention.

Hth. Good luck!

Badvoc Fri 25-Jan-13 10:53:40

Thanks ginger

jojane Thu 07-Feb-13 11:33:10

Have just found the menu website I was on about. It's the resourceful cook. Got loads of different menus ranging from £24 for a family of four (although 2 toddlers would probably mean using a menu for 3 ) can change some of the meals etc, add in lunches and desserts.

homeaway Thu 07-Feb-13 19:37:08

I am glad you ventured into Aldi, the quality is good and often better than other supermarkets. They have started doing orgnic food as well . All their cleaning stuff is fine. I try and do a shop there and then top up at the other supermarkets with the things that I could not get. You could make pizza dough very cheaply . For the porridge buy some cheaper porridge and mix it in the box with the expensive one. You would be amazed at how many families think they are eating branded things when in fact they have replaced and decanted by canny mums into the original package and nobody has noticed !

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