Help meal plan - £50 left for month!

(19 Posts)
FaithLoveandHope Thu 04-Jun-15 11:20:27

Hi All, have hit a bit of financial difficult this month and have only £50 to spend on food / toiletries for the rest of the month. I'm not good at meal planning so would hugely appreciate some help! In the cupboard / freezer we still have left from last month:

About 1kg of pasta (roughly 1/3 of one of those large bags)
1 pack of spaghetti
Jar of curry sauce
Jar of roasted red peppers
Pasta bake sauce
Chunky veg pasta sauce
4 fish cakes
Bag of quorn mince
8 breaded chicken pieces
1kg bag of veg
And pack of Linda McCartney veggie sausages.

There is just DP and I most nights, DSS who's 5 is here every other weekend but his food is sorted (he's picky and won't eat most of what we do).
I figure if I buy cheese (£2 in lidl) I can do pasta bake which will serve DP and I for two nights. The chunky veg pasta sauce could stretch to another 2 nights. If I buy a large bag of potatoes (I think they're cheap in Morrisons aren't they?) we can use up the chicken pieces so that's another 4 nights, the Linda McCartney sausages another night, and fish cakes one night. So that's 10 nights. I'm not sure what to do for the rest of the month though and need inspiration. What can I make as cheap and easy lunches?

Thanks in advance!

OP’s posts: |
Funkytown Thu 04-Jun-15 16:40:11

spag bowl with the quorn mince

then buy basics pasta 35p basic pasta sauce 50p
this will be your easiest bet for a few lunches then bulk out with lots of vegetables

go to the supermarket at reducing time you can get bread for pennies!

jacket potatoes with various fillings

when things are a bit tight i make a 'stir fry' with left over veg what ever seasoning i have and value noodles

justjuanmorebeer Thu 04-Jun-15 17:37:11

I'd maybe head to aldi instead if you have one. A large block of cheese is £1.55 so you could get 2 for the month and that may see you through. Is it from today until 1st July?

I would recommend looking on the agirlcalledjack blog for recipes for cheap ingredients.

Do you have a local market for fruit and veg or just supermarkets?

Sigma33 Thu 04-Jun-15 17:56:22

Veg & lentil soup

I like carrot & (red) lentil best, no need for stock. Or courgette & lentil.

Curried parsnip also good.

Colcannon (basically bubble and squeak. Grate some cheese in if you want to be fancy.

FaithLoveandHope Thu 04-Jun-15 19:53:11

Thanks all. Yes just that's from now until 1st July. Unfortunately just supermarkets. I used to follow agirlcalledjack, I'd forgotten about that, thanks! That's a good point about Aldi, I think there is one fairly close by.

funky perhaps a daft question but how do I make quorn spag bol? Is it just quorn, passata, chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs?

Really sigma does it taste fine without veg stock?

OP’s posts: |
Madmog Fri 05-Jun-15 10:12:54

Make a note of anything you want to buy and check out the price in your normal supermarket (you can check prices on Then when you're near a Lildl/Aldi/Poundland/Wilko or Savers (the latter three sell cleaning products and toiletries cheaper than most supermarkets) buy the products in there if they're cheaper. So either buy the cheapest place possible or buy value, basics - they are just as good.

I make veggie spa bol, fry half or whole onion, add garlic, basics, value or Lidl chopped tomatoes, half packet quorn, I like a little tomato puree, herbs and a little hot water for extra moisture - this gives us three portions, although you could really stretch it out if you mixed it in with lots of value pasta.

If you've got curry sauce, add any veggies you can muster - carrot, broccoli, value peas - doesn't have to be packed with them and I find chickpeas work well with something like this, then plenty of rice. If you buy a large can of chickpeas (cheaper to buy dried if you don't mind cooking) and can't use all of them in one go, I've been known to add half a can to chopped tomatoe, rice and add curry powder. Onion works well adding flavour to a lot of things.

If you chop the chicken up in smaller pieces and add it to a stew, casserole, other dish, it will look more, ie two pieces could serve three of you.

A couple of veggie or meat sausages can be added to a tomato based sauce (fried onion, can tomatoes and any flavourings you have) and mixed in with pasta. You only need a couple chopped up small to add something for 2/3 of you.

If you have flour you could make a batter and odd chopped up sausages to that, ie toad in the whole. If you've got loads of batter, you'll get away with far less veg.

New potatoes look more on the plate if you chop them in half first.

We've had times when money is tight and toast is a great filler. If you look in your cupboards you've probably got things like jam, peanut butter, marmite and other spreads that need using up.

Goes without saying, don't waste anything. Even if leftovers don't go with another meal, have them as a snack or with a piece of bread for lunch yourself.

Think about how you can get what you want cheaper, ie you fancy a shop bought cake with coffee - value biscuits will be cheaper and still give you a treat.

I think Lidl have a cheese offer on this week of £1.39 for a large block by the way. Look out for packs of fruit for £1 - I got 7 apples last week. Value frozen veg is definitely cheaper and things like peas, sweetcorn and broccoli are great for adding small amounts to dishes.

Allalonenow Fri 05-Jun-15 10:37:27

Spanish omelette made with any vegetables fresh or frozen and potatoes either fresh or tinned.

Tins of baked beans to make the fish cakes and sausages more filling.

Buy some long grain rice to make risotto with your veg, either fresh or frozen, use stock cubes for this, add grated cheese when serving for some protein.


BikeRunSki Fri 05-Jun-15 12:11:31

If you are happy to eat a lot of pulses, some of AGCJ's vegan recipes are very very cheap, and she does several with the same main ingredient so you can use up your ingredients.

FaithLoveandHope Fri 05-Jun-15 19:11:24

Ahh thank you so much all, these suggestions are fab! I like the sausage and chopped tomatoes one, it reminds me of a one pot recipe I saw with pasta, 2-3 sausages, chopped tomatoes, Cajun powder (which I have in the cupboard) and mushrooms. Using a bit pot of mushrooms I used to make it last 2 of us for 2 meals.

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Fri 05-Jun-15 21:50:25

Lidl are doing cheap pork chops this week, I think it's £1.69 for 4?.

YY to trying the supermarket after 7pm, bread for 10-20p a loaf.

Allalonenow Fri 05-Jun-15 23:05:15

Porridge is a really quick and cheap breakfast, especially if you have a microwave. A one and a half kilo bag is less than £2, make it with water, then just add a splash of milk when serving. It might not be what you would choose, but it will fill you up till lunchtime.

Add dumplings to any stew type meal to make it more filling, suet is quite cheap, or use grated frozen marge if that is what is available.

Chickpeas will make curry etc go further, and a large tin is about 60 pence, useful if you are short of time or cooking fuel costs are a problem.

Make a cheese scone mix for a cobbler topping to any stew to make it more filling and ring the changes.

Add pasta, beans or rice to soup to make it more filling, and float a slice of cheese on toast made with stale bread and any grated cheese, the added chewing factor will make you feel more full.

Serve meals on your smallest dinner plates to fool the eye into feeling full!!

Look at all your store cards such as Boots and Nectar and use up your points to get you through the hard times.

BikeRunSki Sat 06-Jun-15 00:21:32

If you use they carry a brand of ethnic foods called East End. Very cheap and good quality - chickpeas 4 tins/£1, tinned tons, red lentils, spices all v cheap.

Make your own bread using basics flour? Cook other stuff in the oven at the same time. I make scones whilst the bread is rising, then throw in some jacket spuds and maybe a crumble at the same time.

Madmog Sat 06-Jun-15 11:23:22

I'm sure you've already done this, but are there any others areas you can cut back on to give you more money for food - rob Peter to pay Paul. Eg, if you're planning on spending £7 on a gift, cut it back to £6. If the family uses a car, walk everywhere within a mile or two to keep petrol a bit lower. Maybe even go out on a walk or bike ride for a change of scenery instead of using the car.

Look at everything in your cupboards and if you don't know how to use something up with cheap food, ask on here.

Smellyoulateralligator Sat 06-Jun-15 12:30:24

So you've got 10 days of dinners (breakfast / lunches?) do that's a great start.

For one week I would probably do the following:
I would have porridge for breakfasts with bananas / jam to sweeten / egg and beans on toast

Lunches - cheese and ham sandwiches / leftovers from dinner.
Water to drink. You can pick up fruit for 69p as part of Aldi super saver deals

Dinner - roast chicken / leftover meat for special fried rice with veg and ham or a mushroom and chicken pilaf / carcass to make a soup with added veg and pasta or rice.
Brocolli pasta made with frozen veg

Have a look at Aldi's super 6 offers on fruit and veg.
Frozen veg is good value. I would buy (per week)
Porridge 75p
Aldi basic jam 29p
Bread 50p
Milk 4 pints 89p
Bananas (super 6 offer) 69p
Small chicken £2.75
Frozen broccoli / other veg 2 bags £1.80
Margarine 75p
Value pasta 29p
Cheese £1.55
Beans x 2 60p
Value long grain rice 40p
Value ham - quite a big tub and thick pieces - £1.65
Eggs £1.00

I think it's doable because you've got quite a bit of stuff already but it may be a bit I exciting and you'll need to meal plan. If you can get a treat or two it will give you a bit of a boost. Sainsburys value cake mix is about 40p and is a perfectly good base - you could make banana cake or jam sponge for a treat.

Unescorted Sun 07-Jun-15 08:10:57

Our really skint meals are pasta / rice based ones

Dahl & home made chapati
Pasatta & spaghetti (loads of garlic to make it nicer)
Chickpea & spinich curry
Tuna Pasta bake - either with a white sauce or tomato
Home made pizza
Garlic & olive oil pasta
Pasta with pesto
Vege rissoto (roasted peppers work well in this)
Green rissoto - spinich, beans peas, although it does need some parmasan (rind in the rice)
Kedgeree - use a smoked mackeral from Aldi (about 99p) or a tin of mackeral in oil
Cowboy beans - baked beans with cumin ,corriander, cocoa and fennel added as well as some bacon. Top a spud or toast.

stressedHEmum Tue 09-Jun-15 10:49:39

Buy basics pasta, basics rice, lentils, dried kidney beans, dried chick peas, onions, carrots, cooking bacon, sliced chorizo, frozen peas, frozen cauliflower, cheese, stock cubes, chilli powder, curry powder, potatoes, eggs, milk, flour, butter/spread, frozen spinach, basic fruit like apples and bananas, basic salad stuff like Asda's 50p lettuce, 50p cucumber and value tomatoes, pasatta, bread, sugar, cheap jam and porridge

If you buy full fat milk, you can mix it with half as much of water to make it go much further without it being too watery. Grate cheese for sandwiches so that it goes further.

porridge (half milk, half water), hm scones for breakfast

lentil soup, cheese sandwiches
cauliflower and bacon soup, bread
patatas bravas (with a little of the chorizo)
scone based pizza and salad
bacon and potato bake with peas and carrots
cauliflower cheese
quiche and salad
lentil and spinach dahl and rice
bean chilli (kidney beans and chick peas) with rice
rice and beans (kidney beans)
spanish omelette with bread and butter
pasta with caramelised onions
beans and bacon (using the kidney beans and the last of the cooking bacon) with either potato wedges or bread and butter
pasta in cheese sauce with peas
chick pea curry - you could add a tin of peach slices to this if you have a spare 30p or so for the value ones, spinach if you don't.
egg curry (sauce made with milk - like a white sauce with added curry powder) with rice and peas
potato, carrot and onion soup, cheese sandwiches
pasta with tomatoes, onions, and chorizo
scrambled egg rice with peas
cheesy rice and spinach bake - basically cooked rice and spinach, mixed with a softened onion, with cheese sauce, baked for about 20 minutes, (season with nutmeg if you have any)

Sorry this is a bit late to the party, hope it is still helpful.

stressedHEmum Tue 09-Jun-15 10:50:41

Should have said that most of the meal (if not all) will have leftovers for lunch.

FaithLoveandHope Tue 09-Jun-15 16:36:08

Thank you so much all, this is all super helpful! Have been using up freezer / cupboard items so far but am off to the big Tesco this evening. Have my list and meal plan ready smile

madmog we try to keep our car use to a minimum. I car share to get to work or if I'm the only one in that day I'll get the train as it works out cheaper and DP always walks to work. Tbh other than work we only use it for big shops or if picking up / dropping off DSS as it's cheaper than public transport.

OP’s posts: |
starfish4 Wed 10-Jun-15 11:03:14

I went through something similar to you a couple of months ago. I know it's highly thought of but I'm really not into meal planning. I found it helped to divide the packet stuff I had in two, using one lot in the first couple of weeks and keeping the second for the last two weeks. Also, rather than spend it all at once, I found it better to have £10 a week - that made me really focus on what I really needed to get by that week. Some stuff takes a while to come, but I signed up to some freebie websites and got one or two food extras from there.

You have lots of food advice above. We already had lots of cereal in so we had minimum milk with those. Value biscuits are great for something sweet and I found value toast was a good filler and helped used spreads up I had lucking in the cupboard. Value tinned fruit can make a few small portions and is still fruit. I know you need nutrition, but I made a lot of tomato sauces for pasta or rice and just added small amounts of peas, sweetcorn (a frozen packet worked really well in lots of things for me), pepper, chickpeas, kidney beans. A can of value baked beans with cooked onion, chilli and small amounts of pepper, sweetcorn, tomato with rice can serve two very cheaply and is actually very nice. If you have left over rice or pasta, you can use the next day with whatever you have mixed in - mayo, veggies, cheese, ham, bacon, tuna.

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