Help me set a food budget/meal plan please!!!

(24 Posts)
StormInATeaCup2 Tue 13-Feb-18 17:47:00

Trying to get on top of finances once for all and stop living hand to mouth. Have tried before and really got into it but have got out the habit blush. Would really like to get my food bill as low as possible....some details,

Just me and DD 8
Don't need to do lunches for either of us.
I don't really eat breakfast.
Like to eat healthy ish.
Don't want all meals to be carb based if poss (I know that makes them cheaper confused)
I'm a reasonable cook and can cook from scratch
Very time poor so slow cooker stuff, stuff that can be batch cooked is ideal.
Need to do mid morning snack for DD and snacks after school before sports club most evenings (healthy).
Have an Aldi 5 miles away, Iceland 1 mile away, Asda 5 miles away.
Have local pound shop for cleaning/household products etc.

Please throw ideas at me!! Would be appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
eyeoresancerre Tue 13-Feb-18 17:54:24

I'm watching with interest as on a budget in similar circumstances. I've been following a meal prep thing and trying to do that so each night we just get stuff out the fridge or freezer and reheat. When it works it's great but I'm not sure I'm saving as much as I could be. My monthly budget for food is about £250.
I do it monthly as some weeks I bulk buy eg frozen salmon fillets but they would do for 4 meals over the month.

StormInATeaCup2 Tue 13-Feb-18 17:58:17

Wow £250 @eyeoresancerre!! I've put in my budget calculator thing £120 per month, but not sure it that's stretching things too far!!!

OP’s posts: |
RedPandaMama Tue 13-Feb-18 18:08:40

Me, DP and 6mo DAD manage on £35 a week, including some sort of takeaway (KFC or similar). We shop in LIDL.

Batch cook - make a curry or pasta bake and it lasts us 2 nights (4 meals).

Stir fry is quick and cheap to make - ready to wok noodles 80p, stir fry veg mix 75p, a packet sauce 33p, throw in some extra veg e.g. chopped carrot, tomatoes, mushrooms - that will do 4 meals. Sometimes we have meat in it but that bumps up the cost.

Snacks - carrots and houmous costs about 20p a portion, bags of crisps or popcorn, rice cakes with cream cheese.

Frozen fish is great - Pollock is super cheap and nutritionally very good. We have it with homemade chips (literally slice a potato, squirt with fry light and bake for 30 mins at 180, turning half way through) and peas.

Pasta bake - bulk it out with cheap veg like brocolli and carrots.

Eggs are great. Omelettes, boiled eggs. Egg and chips is a nice simple meal!

RedPandaMama Tue 13-Feb-18 18:09:02

Meant 6mo DD not dad, obviously!

StormInATeaCup2 Tue 13-Feb-18 18:28:26

@RedPandaMama that's great thanks. Gives me some hope I can get to £30 per week for me and DD.

So I'm a convert to frozen vegetables and fruit lately- seriously, will never chop an onion again!! But frozen do you then cook it? Is it good enough to be the main part of a meal or better in pasta/sauce/pie?

Thanks for the ideas!

OP’s posts: |
chickenlegscarla Tue 13-Feb-18 19:06:34

Yes to frozen fish.

I've been buying the frozen fillets from Waitrose. Takes about 20 to 25 minutes in the oven from frozen. So easy and no waste.


eyeoresancerre Tue 13-Feb-18 20:31:37

Sorry storminateacup2 - didn't mean to come across as a twat! blush

Raver84 Tue 13-Feb-18 20:38:22

If you do like the frozen fish and enjoy curry you can cook tge frozen fish portion with pataks curry paste spread on it in the oven and a drizzle of oil in some foil. Serve with rice and some frozen veg. If you like more of a sauce for the curry you can make a sauce with tin coconut milk.

Jacket potatoes is a good cheap meal.

If you don't want carbs try a bean chilli made with mixed beans from a tin. There is lots of recepies on line. Serve with some crusty bread.

Sausage and bean casserole in slow cooker.

SusanDelfino Wed 14-Feb-18 12:21:44

Storm, I'm also a lone parent with 2 DC (4&6) and I've made it my mission to get my food budget down to £30 a week. Would be good to keep each other motivated!

PurpleDaisies Wed 14-Feb-18 12:28:12

I use loads of chick peas and beans. Filling and really cheap (often 4 tins for a pound in Asda world foods section).

Going veggie really cut the bills here. Favourites are curry (jar of sauce, one onion, whatever veg is around and a tin of chick peas) with rice and naan (buy reduced, freeze and cook from frozen), bean chilli with rice/jacket/sweet potato wedges, pasta with spicy tomato sauce (tin of tomatoes, chilli flakes, dried herbs reduced for 10minutes) with roast veg and olives. I find iron quite a good cheap alternative to meat but I know not everyone is keen.

Passthecake30 Wed 14-Feb-18 20:26:24

Frozen haddock from Asda is nice, I wrap in foil with a drizzle of soya sauce, and put on a tray with chopped peppers, onions and frozen sweet potato cubes, add some cherry toms at the end. Healthy and not too pricey.

BG2015 Thu 15-Feb-18 21:14:57

Me and DP sit down on a Thursday and write a meal plan (I printed one off after searching on Google).

There’s me, DP, DS 14 and my DS 18 sometimes stays here over the weekend -so we try and find out whose eating with us over the weekend and set out a plan.

We use the slow cooker a lot for stews and we cook everything from scratch. Any leftovers we freeze and eat them to drag out the food budget. I budget about £55 a week. We shop mainly in Aldi.

We also have one ‘easy’ meal a week like egg on toast etc. And have no problem buying own brands.

AdoraBell Fri 16-Feb-18 20:07:47

I do a microwave veg curry sometimes.

Frozen veg, rice, water and curry paste. Cover, puncture the plastic film, and zap on high for 10mins, stir and repeat.

Also, while frozen veg is usually cheaper I think I’m right in saying that pre chopped onions are far more expensive than buying whole onions. Do you have a food processor, or could you just cut them bigger?

Agree with eggs for a cheap filling meal. Omelettes, scrambled eggs on toast, spiced up with small bits of chorizo or spices if you want, I like eggs with black pepper. Mushrooms on toast is delicious, IMO. Also, things like sausages/bacon/chicken/fish go much further if you slice or dice them. So the frozen fish with curry paste suggested, you could use 1 piece for both of you mixed with veg and rice.

Tonight I did pasta for four adults, 3 rashers of bacon chopped small with onion, courgette and peppers and a can of tomatoes. You could add herbs like oregano, I didn’t have any so used black pepper instead.

You can add almost anything to a quick tomatoe sauce for pasta. Grated veg, canned tuna, minced beef, chicken thighs - much cheaper than chicken breast- olives. Whatever takes your fancy, and the same for rice based dishes. Upping the veg contents makes it easier to cut the carb portion down.

TeddyIsaHe Sun 18-Feb-18 06:15:43

It’s just me and Dd and I’m sticking to around £30-45 a week depending on what we need. Some cheap favourites are:

Giant root veg rosti: grate 2 potatoes, 2 carrots and I also add in a courgette for colour. Squeeze out as much moisture and spread out on a buttered oven tray. Season and into an oven for 30-35 mins until crispy round edges and cooked. We have it with poached eggs and roasted tomatoes that I pop in 15 mins before the end of cooking. Leftover can simmered with veg stock and whizzed up for soup!

Lentil Dahl - so cheap and can use up odds and ends. Tons of recipes online

Frozen fish curry - I defrost the fish so I can cube it but you can cook from frozen. In a pan sweat a finely chopped onion, minced ginger and garlic with a spice mix or paste, tin of tomatoes, tin of coconut milk and simmer till thickened. Add in fish and gently patch till cooked.

Odds and ends fried rice - chop any veggies that need eating, fry on a high heat with onion, garlic and ginger, and in cheap bag of micro rice, soy sauce and towards the end push all the rice to one side and scramble a couple of eggs and then mix through.

I buy a big pack of chicken thighs and slow cook them, there’s usually enough for 3 meals so a stew/casserole, a pie and then a pasta with either cheese sauce, spinach and peas (use frozen) or a tomato based one with mushrooms and peppers.

somewhereovertherain Sun 18-Feb-18 06:48:32

We use bbc good food website for ideas and great as gives you a shopping list. Find menu planning the best way to keep spending in check.

fuckoffdailysnail Sun 18-Feb-18 07:56:05

I do a 4 weekly meal plan for me, DH and 2DDs (1&3) currently spending around £70ish a week and keen to get this down.
My contribution is pitta bread pizzas that we make ourselves, pitta bread with tomato purée, grated cheese and whatever toppings you like. Put in the oven for 7 mins and done! we eat them with beans

pinkroseapp Tue 20-Feb-18 08:38:12

Hi, I am very curious to see how people manage to spend £80 per week for food bills for family 4. My household food bill is around £150 per week (mainly shopping in Aldi). I am trying to cut back in order to clear my credit card balance. Any suggestions?

dantdmistedious Tue 20-Feb-18 08:53:17

I shop in Sainsbury's and my bill is around £85-90 for a family of four and that's not being particularly careful.

What are you buying for £150? Do you make a list?

Samesituation Tue 20-Feb-18 14:11:54

I have a budget of £75-£80 per week for me, DH, DC, 3 and 5yro and twice a week 2 SC so 6 in total twice a week and I want to try and reduce this to about £50 if possible for 3 out of the 4 weeks in the month. Once a month im planning on using the extra to stock up on toiletries, cleaning products, anything unexpected or maybe a treat ie meal out or takeaway. My problem is time I meal plan and buy what I need but then usually find I run out if time to cook from scratch. I'm a reasonable cook, can follow a recipe quite often I add my own ingredients or substitute things we don't like. I'm interested to know how people prepare with working, evening activities etc etc. It's getting far too easy and unhealthy to reach into the freezer shockconfused

VaguelyAware Tue 20-Feb-18 14:21:13

The below link is really good for meal plans & individual meals.

AdoraBell Tue 20-Feb-18 22:04:37

Your veg rosti sounds lush Teddy I’m nicking that one grin quite fancy it with poached eggs on top.

spiderbabymum Tue 20-Feb-18 22:07:11

Oh thank you Vaguely
That’s Exactly the link I was looking for .... for this thread

RupertsMum2 Thu 22-Feb-18 13:18:03

pinkroseapp how old are the children? I think that makes a difference.

We are a family of five with three boys aged 22, 20 and 11 and I spend over £100 most weeks on food and that is being very careful. I meal plan. We have baked potatoes, an eggy meal and a pasta meal each week and I buy loads of "reduced to clear" items but they still empty the fridge on a regular basis.

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