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£15 for a week's food, what would you buy/make?(29 Posts)
Just found out a client I work with has £15 to last for a week's (well, 8 days actually) meals and I have to go shopping with her tomorrow to buy as much as possible but I'm blank on what to get. For info's sake she has a cooker and a microwave so enough cooking facilities but very very little in the way of staples - salt and maybe a bit of sugar, no herbs etc and pretty much no other food. She's not long had a 3rd foodbank bag so not sure she can go to them again yet. Can't get an advance payment on benefits yet due to something complex holding up making an application.
What would you buy and what meals would you make? (and to be absolutely clear, this isn't for me and I absolutely can't take any sort of donations so am not trolling/soliciting for anything)
Aldi are doing big bags of potatoes for 40p this week, so I would be looking at lots of potato based meals jackets, mash, wedges with tuna, sardines, eggs and whatever cheap veg is available ( maybe frozen?). Sandwiches or jacket potatoes for lunch and porridge for breakfast. Aldi passata is very cheap and good with pasta too.
Value rice (£1iish), eggs (80p) bag of frozen veg (£1)- egg fried rice, have this a few times
Baking potatoes pack of 4usually about £1. Value beans x2 (60ishhp)
Value pasta (30p)jar of sauce (£1) should do atleast 2meals
Have a look at Thrifty Lesley's website. The meal plans are based on £1 per person per day.
Sorry can't link, typing one handed whilst doing bed time
Sorry, should have mentioned the only supermarket we'll be able to get to is Asda, no Aldi nearby but should be able to get cheapish potatoes there I think. Thanks for all the suggestions, will look at the Thrifty Lesley site too.
I'd make a lot of soup. Lentil soup in particular is cheap, nutritious and filling. You could make dumplings and have them in thick lentil soup as well as the usual bread or cracker accompaniments. Or you could make some really thick lentil soup to have with rice. Sweetcorn chowder is pretty cheap and filling too.
A bag of oats and some uht milk will make porridge for breakfast.
Is it an Asda with the wonky veg boxes? That would be a huge help.
I'd get apples, cheap bread, cheap jam, small £1 block of cheese, eggs, spuds, oats, milk, cheap choc, rice, frozen veg, pasta, passata and a few rashers of bacon if I could stretch to it(to add flavour to omelette, pasta etc)
I think that's an ok amount with a store cupboard of herbs, oil etc and some butter in the fridge. Without the stores I would move away from the idea of meals and towards just nice nutritious items that don't need to go together. Eggs, chicken thighs, canned fish, a value mozzarella ball, pasta, pittas, frozen peas, frozen green beans, value tomatoes, half cucumber, a couple of loose carrots, baked beans, a can of tomatoes.
The value ranges are a god send for situations like this.
I'd do porridge & milk for breakfast.
Soup & bread or egg on toast for lunch.
Tuna pasta, tomato & cheese pasta, jacket potato with beans, maybe a blind stew for dinner to boost veg intake, also omelettes are good.
Chicken is versatile if you can get a cheap whole one or some thighs. Can make a soup, sandwiches, add to pasta, omelettes, etc.
Get some tinned veg to bulk out meals, and tinned/fresh (if cheap) fruit and biscuits for snacks.
£15 can stretch if you try.
Good suggestions from everyobe here and I can't think of much more to add.
Does she have a freezer? If so, keep an eye out for discounted fish and meat. When I was on a tight budget I used to get discounted fish that was going out of date that day for less than a £1. Most of the time there's enough for two servings or three if you really stretch it. She could also buy discounted bread for less than 50p and take slices out as she needs them. Make sure you check out the reduced shelves for discounted cans of veg that have been dented or similar.
I know how crap it is to be in a situation like that and I really wish there was more I could do to help the women.
Just checked online and Asda do a whole chicken from £2, I'd get that and maybe some oil/ fat of some kind to roast it.
They also do a bag of frozen mixed veg for £1. I'd get that, some cheap spuds and maybe gravy granules (again asda value range - 25p) have 2 - 3 meals from that.
Any pickings left of chicken can make soup with some of the veg in, could make stock from the bones if she was so inclined, add some pasta to bulk it out.
Basic/value pasta or noodles, bread, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, eggs, block of cheddar. Tinned tuna. - could give omelette, eggs on toast, tomatoes on toast, beans on toast, pasta with a tomato sauce - could add some cheese, any leftover chicken or tuna, some veg, tuna pasta bake, pasta + tuna salad (with the frozen veg cooked and cooled or fresh if you manage to fit it in budget). As a student I loved instant noodles with tinned sweet corn stirred in - asda do 25p chicken flavour noodles.
Wonky veg box def if they have it. They're doing a 1.5 kilo of apples for £2. Or any reduced/cheap fruit could be stewed and eaten for pudding (I love stewed fruit so maybe that's weird!) or stirred into
Agree milk and porridge oats seem to be the way to go for breakfasts. Asda have a bag of porridge for 75p.
Just seen Asda currently doing 3 for £1 on ktc brand beans - so different types kidney, butter etc and same brand tinned tomatoes though you can probably get cheaper tomatoes. Looks like ktc is in the world foods section.
Also, whilst not cooked from scratch......
Pasta & Sauce (dried packets) are lovely. You can get Asda brand for about 50p and that's a dinner. They say make with milk & water but I just use water (slimming world way) and it doesn't taste much different! Cheap as chips X
The Asda cooking bacon is pretty good (500g for 65p). I use it in soups and to jazz up a tomato sauce(passata,tom puree,onion,garlic), served with pasta. Usually it's just smallish bits, but you do get a couple of rashers sometimes.
I quite often see eggs for 30-40p in the reduced cabinet, so worth checking. They did have a few types of veg for 29p last week - at the front of the store. The value dried mixed herbs are fine for cooking (30p?)
Maybe get a packet of sausages and some value batter mix and do toad in the hole with veg? Use the leftover sausages and a bit of bacon and make a stew.
Keep your eyes peeled for those yellow stickers on your way round the store!
I've had more than 3 food bank vouchers so worth asking if she can have another.
Some packets of basic instant noodles would be the base for lunch or dinner and are only a few pence, 30 or 40 pence. Have them as they are, or add slivers of left over chicken / a spoon or two of frozen peas/ sweetcorn/ or stir in a beaten egg for foo yong style noodles.
Can be done in the microwave, or just with hot water, so not much fuel cost.
If ASDA do reduced items late in the day, you might get bargains to make soup/veg stew?
A block of value hard cheese cheddar type, would be good for adding to baked beans, topping pasta, cheese omelette, cheese on toast, so would add a bit of variety for little money.
Wow, thanks for all the suggestions, will ask about another foodbank voucher but at least we'll be able to get something either way. She's got a freezer which is a bit of a godsend so can get frozen veg etc (she's in a rental which provides all white goods so got all the stuff just need food to go with it ). Definitely agree with the idea of easy to cook/use stuff rather than really strict meal planning, think that'll be much easier for her. Will definitely keep an eye out for wonky veg boxes and any reduced stuff, we'll be going early evening but I've never been to that Asda (shop online for myself) so no idea what they're like for reductions.
I often make a basic tomato sauce (cooked onion and value tomatoes) to go with value pasta. You can add anything you have to this, herbs, chicken, kidney beans, one chopped up sausage each adds nicely, or grated cheese on top. Also, sometimes I fry onion, peppers, add tomatoes or frozen sweetcorn if I have, then add a can of value baked beans and chilli and serve with rice which I really enjoy.
For me I'd be thinking about value rice, value pasta, value cans of tomatoes, kidney beans, value bread, packs of veggies on offer that can easily be added to these ingredients or can be served on the side, I always find onion handy for adding flavour, sausages, maybe some bacon - a small amount can add flavour, some form of cheese and milk. Look for packets of fruit on offer, much cheaper than buying individual ones. In Tescos you can buy frozen value white fish fillets. They're not massive, but enough to serve with homemade sauces or mixed with potato. Jacket potatoes are filling and can be served with cheap forms of protein.
Just popping back to say, don't forget that porridge can be made very easily and quickly in the microwave, so doesn't use up much time or fuel costs.
I make mine with water and add a splash of milk at the end of cooking, but I know that won't be to everyone's taste.
Is she ok for fuel for cooking, is she on a meter? Worth thinking about, as she may need stuff that takes little or no cooking time.
I've no idea how to make £15 last all week but I often have to issue food bank vouchers to people.
I find food banks will normally honour additional vouchers if there is a good reason.
Could you email the food bank, explaining the complex benefits situation and reassuring them that you are doing everything possible to resolve things?
I lived on £15 weekly shops as a student.
Value/basics everything. Loads of carbs - bread, pasta, potatoes, rice.
If you buy the following list:
You can make veggie bolognese, curry, soup, veggie shepherds pie, veggie chilli etc. (ideally need to have some herbs and spices already in stock) So thats about £8. The remaining £7 could buy cereal and milk for breakfast, a loaf of bread and pack of cheese for lunchtime toasties.
If she gets good bargains on all of the above, there may be enough for a pack of mince - would be good to add to the bolognese/chilli as one pack can last days if you bulk it out with lentils, carrot and onions.
there are lots of groups on fb that are about feeding yourself on a low budget - feed yourself for £1 a day, feed a family for £20 a week etc... families on a budget .. perhaps check library for books like a girl called jack / or fb again cooking on a bootstrap I'd say £15 is perfectly do-able for one person especially if you can get some rtc food.. pasta/potatoes /porridge/ tins of tomatoes / frozen veg/stock cubes/ strong cheese- without meat the budget would go further too.. tbh check reductions and work back from there
Have you tried on the old style forum on moneysavingexpert.com