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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!

50shadesofbrown Thu 13-Jun-13 18:29:33

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

ScarletLady02 Thu 13-Jun-13 18:33:43

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

50shadesofbrown Thu 13-Jun-13 19:01:08

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

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