to think it is entirely possible to feed 2 adults for a month on £50(66 Posts)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Jux you can add soda crystals to bulk out your powder.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I always find these threads impressive. I can't even get our food bill below £50 a week.
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.
I don't think I could .
We spend almost double that per week but we do have two toddlers in the house.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.