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Family of four to feed, clothe and entertain on £85 per week?

(44 Posts)
messybedhead Wed 10-Apr-13 15:08:41

Due to the new financial year my tax credits have gone down and we find ourselves left after all direct debits have gone out (essentials only but also some debt confused) 85 pounds per week.

Can anybody help me budget?

In order not to drip feed:
I work but DP doesn't as we have a DS who has not started school full time yet but will in September.

I have already budgeted my travel costs but not DPs which will be 19 per week.

He is looking for evening and night work so that we would not new childcare as obviously we cannot afford it (2 DC therefore 2 lots of school pick ups at different times )

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 13-Apr-13 08:56:22

I actually like that cheap curry sauce, it's a bit like chip shop curry sauce.

applepudding Fri 12-Apr-13 22:10:30

Tesco does a jar of value curry sauce for about 25p - dont know what it tastes like though!!

ChristmasJubilee Fri 12-Apr-13 16:37:49

What jenduck says. I go to Tesco a couple of evenings each month for reduced produce. This week I got 26 loaves of bread at 16p - 22p a loaf, 10 packets of rolls, 20p a pack, scones, hot cross buns, muffins, wraps and some nice cakes 9p - 20p a pack. Broccoli, carrots, rocket, swede and 2 bags of chopped onions all for 60p. Joint of finest ham on the bone, beef joint, 2 large packs of chicken thighs and drumsticks, 4 lamb chops, 2 packs sausages (expensive ones) and some packs of cold meat for less than £7. 2 packs of bananas, cape gooseberries and some prepared fruit £70p.

Some nights there is loads of stuff sometimes very little so occasionally I have to go twice in the week but, it really is worth it.

I couldn't do it cheaper at lidl or Aldi.

cozietoesie Fri 12-Apr-13 12:58:20

Why not do both? (Cut back plus seek to earn some more.) A little reserve of cash is no bad thing if it can be achieved.

irregularegular Fri 12-Apr-13 12:15:25

If my weekly spending money was that low than I think my main focus would be on making a little extra money. It has to be easier to earn an extra 20 quid a week than to cut your spending down from 100 to 80. Could you or your DH to something like babysitting in the evening? That's an easy 20 pounds spending reading/working/MN-ing and there seems to be an endless demand here. Put a card up in a local shop or join an agency. Or cleaning/lawn mowing/ironing - all things your DH could easily fit in during pre-school hours or evenings.

jenduck Fri 12-Apr-13 12:04:06

If you don't already do so, check out supermarket reduced counters for bargains. I went to Tesco on Wednesday evening, at about 7.30pm & got enough meat (at least half of it organic, too!) to last our family of 4 (me, DH, Dses 4 & 2) for the rest of the month at least, plus 5 loaves of bread (Hovis/Kingsmill), 2 packs of sliced chicken for sandwiches, 3 little bottles of milk & some limes for less than £20.

Also yesterday got a takeaway-style Chinese meal for £2, which fed all 4 of us easily (large egg-fried rice, prawn crackers, sweet & sour chicken, chicken curry).

cozietoesie Thu 11-Apr-13 11:10:52

There are several online Chinese groceries. If you're there, have a look at the prices of the savoury noodles/ramen. Great for quick snacks, especially for ravenous teens, take 2 minutes to make (straight in the bowl is best), taste great (completely different ball game to pot noodles) and will bulk out a shop if you're ordering to be delivered.


(Can you tell I use Chinese supermarkets a lot?)

anklebitersmum Thu 11-Apr-13 10:58:05

oooooooh..hadn't heard of Wing Yip. grin

<scuttles off to other tab to browse virtual shelves>

cozietoesie Thu 11-Apr-13 10:56:28

If you use Chinese supermarkets, get a couple of jars each of the Lee Kum Kee sauces (particularly the chilli garlic sauce and the black bean garlic sauce.) Superb, very cheap - because they last for a lot of meals - and a life saver for chilli with rice and using up meat to do a stir fry.


titchy Thu 11-Apr-13 10:52:50

75p in Wing Yip!

(Just as sad!)

anklebitersmum Thu 11-Apr-13 10:43:59

coconut milk 89p Lidl.

gosh I'm sad

cozietoesie Thu 11-Apr-13 10:42:40


Our bills have gone down significantly since I took to shopping online for the main purchases. If I feel the urge to get something, I just go online, add it to the list - and then remove it next time round. I think I've found maybe a 25% reduction in spend by not actually going to the supermarket. (Leaving aside the cost of petrol and the hassle of trawling the aisles because I manage to wangle free delivery but you may not be able to so that would be an offset for you.)

The one thing that really grated was that I don't get 'reduced' items online but over the piece I've now found that that wasn't really as much of a saving as I'd thought. In reality, I would often would buy things because they were reduced and then not use them - so they were cheap but a waste of money.

I'd give it a try. If you sign up to one of the big supermarkets (if they do your area) they'll often do an introductory offer on online shopping so you could save some money on that trial anyway.


PearlyWhites Thu 11-Apr-13 10:40:23

Thanks for recipes sounds easy enough smile
Messy if you shop in Morrisons and spend £35 a week for 3 weeks you get a £10 voucher so your 4th weekly shop will only cost £25 ( you would have to use cash not saving stamps)

titchy Thu 11-Apr-13 10:23:53

All I do for a curry is a tin of tomatoes, a large onion, leftover cold chicken (chicken is fine to reheat once - any food is, so freeze uncooked, defrost and cook, then once cooked either freeze again or chill and reheat the next day, or day after), tablespoon curry powder, table spoon coriander, tables spoon cumin, garlic, tomato puree, chille powder to taste!

Adding a tin of coconut milk turns a rogan into more of a korma (esp. if you add table spoon ground almonds) and will probably mean you get double portions. Chinese and asian supermarkets generally have curry spices, thai curry paste and coconut milk MUCH cheaper than supermarkets.

Or same recipe, but instead of spices above, add oregano and basil (grow your own?) and have with pasta.

Risotto - add whatever's in the fridge - this is a great leftovers meal. Simmer rice with leftovers and add stock.

Pootles2010 Thu 11-Apr-13 10:13:25

Agree about the taking cash out - I have a little coin purse that has the cash in for our grocery shop, works very well for us. I know my mil puts grocery receipts in hers too, so she can work out where it all went.

anklebitersmum Thu 11-Apr-13 10:12:20

oh, I have 4 permanent nippers and a regularly visiting dss.

PearlyWhites Thu 11-Apr-13 10:11:20

Morrisons does stamps, asda do cards not sure about the others. They are marketed as Christmas saving cards but you can redeem them at anytime.

Toasttoppers Thu 11-Apr-13 10:10:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anklebitersmum Thu 11-Apr-13 10:06:37

Pearly Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food book. Tells you how to make foolproof curry pastes and all the curries too. Generally brill for 'proper' home cooking too.

Lidl and Aldi is a great way to go shopping-wise.

Try freecycle for an extra freezer (or even fridge-freezer) if you don't have a huge one already and then buy bulk when offers are on. I 'bulk' bought all the bread for this month in Morrisons at the start of the month. 14 half price split tin loaves and 20 packs of BOGOF cobs (4s). Sausages for casseroles were half price in Lidl last weekend so we bought 24 packs @ 52p each.

Always look at the per kilo/litre prices. You'd be amazed at how much extra money you spend by just picking up what looks like the best buy initially.
e.g. Lidl's minced beef £3.09kg, chicken is £2.35kg, I never buy cheese at more than £5 per kg..once you start really looking at what you spend where you'll be amazed grin

messybedhead Thu 11-Apr-13 10:06:17

Pearlywhites you're a genius!

Is it just iceland that does that or all supermarkets?

messybedhead Thu 11-Apr-13 10:05:27

60 a week mine went down by.

What I think I'm going to find hard is my budget of 85 per week comes in dribs and drabs.

33 cb on a Tuesday, 27 tax credits on a Wednesday.

100 left after my wages that has to be split over 4 weeks!

PearlyWhites Thu 11-Apr-13 09:48:46

Another tip I remembered if you shop in a supermarket that has saving cards/ stamps buy the amount you need for the month on 4/5 separate cards when you get paid and only take the card/stamps no money with you when you do your weekly shop.

PearlyWhites Thu 11-Apr-13 09:44:16

Titchy do you or anyone have a recipe for making curry/ risotto out of leftover chicken? How do you reheat the chicken etc and I confess I have only used jars for curry but would live to know how to make it cheap from scratch also have no clue how to make risotto. Sorry to hijack thread. To boost income try signing up with pinecote online surveys they pay £3 a time, I usually get sent one weekly. Also eBay the kids clothes when they have grown out of them and buy the next set on eBay.Keep the money you earned from selling in your Paypal account to help with cost. Do check postage costs though they have gone up at the post office.

nkf Thu 11-Apr-13 09:39:20

Using cash only is very effective I find. And writing down everything I spend. It really helps rein the spending in.

Fairylea Thu 11-Apr-13 08:50:35

Reading this with interest. Our tax credits have gone down 50 a week ! I knew it was happening as dh's salary has gone up but it's still a shock ... trying really hard to cut back on everything, we don't drink, smoke.or go out but it's the perils of walking into Tesco and spending £20-40 when I only needed one thing!

Tempted to take out just the cash I need rather than pay on card or do shopping online but not sure I could stick to it... I need to though !

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