Frugal 6 weeks with no storecupboard

(19 Posts)
6weekstogo Thu 16-Aug-18 08:51:26

Firstly, this is 100% not a begging thread, but a request for advice and ideas from the frugal and credit savvy on Mumsnet to help me to get through the next 6 weeks as cheaply as possible.

We have relocated overseas and I wont be paid for at least 6 more weeks, though will be well paid after this point, so we are stuck living on savings, (though trying not to use too much as we need to buy a car and this is our deposit for one). Cant ask for a salary advance or do any work to increase our income as my paperwork is not sorted, DH looking for work but not found a job yet, though he may get some tutoring work soon. Housing, heating, school etc all paid, can manage without spending more on cleaning or toiletries.

It will all be fine but the next 6 weeks spending is a challenge and we need to feed 4 of us as cheaply as possible for the 6 weeks eg £40-60 a week. Kids 4 and 10, get 1 meal and 2x snacks at school/nursery each weekday. Both DH and I can cook but because we have just moved dont have the usual store cupboard stuff that allows you to spice up cheap ingredients and so need to think about building that up.
Have access to a reasonably equipped kitchen, fridge and large freezer, but food is expensive here, however we will have lots of time to shop around. One child allergic to eggs so sadly cheap egg based meals not an option, though they are pretty good at eating most things

What cheap meals would you plan? and what stuff would you try and pick up for store cupboard?

OP’s posts: |
TheDuchessofDukeStreet Thu 16-Aug-18 09:11:10

Hi, sorry you’re going through this. I would buy in bulk pasta, rice, oats and a sack of potatoes, also flour. Dried mixed herbs, inexpensive tinned tomatoes, baked beans, bags of frozen veg. Ask around your neighbours for the best shops and places to go. Go to local markets at the end of the day, they may mark down fruit and veg. Make casseroles
, pasta bakes, potato bakes that don’t involve much meat. Soup and bread and a pudding afterwards is an economical dinner. Jackets with cheese and beans. Sausage casserole. Could you have omelettes and home made wedges one day with the family member who doesn’t eat eggs having something like sausages .

NoSquirrels Thu 16-Aug-18 09:13:29

Check out Cooking On A Bootstrap blog by Jack Monroe. Lots of advice on building up a store-cupboard from nothing and shopping tips in her early books, so probably all on the blog still.

6weekstogo Thu 16-Aug-18 09:37:40

No worries about going through it, its not a bad situation and we have a end in sight. There is an emergency credit card so we will not starve though I would rather not use it unless I have to as it will cost us more in the long run.
Will have a wander around the website Squirrels, though since we are overseas, what is available or cheap and expensive is not the same as in the UK.
Off to farm shop today, will be looking for bulk seasonal veg bargains. And in a lovely bonus have found an apple and plum tree at the bottom of our rather overgrown garden so we will have extra fresh fruit and possibly a crumble tonight for a treat if I get some flour.

OP’s posts: |
SuperLoudPoppingAction Thu 16-Aug-18 09:43:04

Do you mind saying what country it is? Some places have particularly cheap shops but others have fairly standard prices for food.

Baked potatoes though!

Dahl and rice.

This is our normal food budget BTW but am in UK and know where to get cheap food. It's tricky when you first relocate.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Thu 16-Aug-18 09:44:09

Tinned tomatoes and red and green lentils are your friends. Staple cheap meals we have: veggie chilli; mixed bean ratatouille; carrot, celery and lentil soup (unbelievably filling); lentil shepherd's pie.

Basically, go veggie for a few weeks!

6weekstogo Thu 16-Aug-18 09:48:42

I think the relocation is whats making it trickier, and the lack of store, spices etc. Would rather not say where we are but baked beans are really expensive here and the local cheese while lovely is not really great for melting or sauces, people tend to buy imported cheddar or guyere etc.

OP’s posts: |


Shedsonfire Thu 16-Aug-18 11:59:30

I think without knowing what is cheap and what is expensive where you live it's really hard to advise on cheap meals.
Things like pasta, rice and potatoes make very cheap meals in the uk but if these things are expensive with you then it's pointless advise.

If you can bulk buy veg get loads of potato's, carrots, onions, tomatoes. These things bulk out meals. Make double of whatever your cooking and freeze what you can.
Is frozen food cheap where you are? If so grab what you can there so if things start getting tight in a few weeks you'll have a back up.
Soup and bread is good advise again bulk out with loads of bread.
If you have fruit tree use the fruit with breakfast to fill the children up. It will make things like porridge tastier.
If flour is cheap you can make bread, wraps, pittas, naans, biscuits. None contain egg but are good for bulking out simple meals

DunesOfSand Thu 16-Aug-18 12:13:01

Eat like a local, and ignore all the imported stuff you recognise the labels of!
I can eat very cheaply if I buy local meat, rice and beans.
If I want rice krispues for breakfast, and cheese sandwich for lunch, things start getting expensive.

Good luck - thinking about the credit card, when does the next billing cycle start? If you start using it, some of the usage won't be billed for up to a month, and a couple of weeks to pay after that? Could help on the later weeks.

ivykaty44 Thu 16-Aug-18 12:15:29

What types of foods are cheap?

If you can give us ingredients then we can offer recipes

6weekstogo Thu 16-Aug-18 12:51:43

ok, foray to the shops went well

There were some really good offers on meat, so we agreed to buy some things in bulk and freeze them in portions. While we are going to have more veggie meals I am not keen to go all out as the kids have had lots of changes recently and completely altering their diet would be just another thing to cope with

So: I have chicken, bacon and beef mince in bulk, divided into 4-5 meal size portions each. Not sure the children will eat the sausages on offer though they look good so Ive got a pack of those too.

The childrens routine is porridge/milk/fruit for breakfast anyway so that sorted. Bulk bought oats, raisins, and milk is reasonably cheap

Seasonal things that are reasonable priced: Potatoes, carrots, spinach, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, sweetcorn cobs, cucumbers, apples, plums/apricots, tomatoes and peppers. Not bought all of these but can reliably buy them daily if I have a recipe that will use them
Not found anywhere really cheap for pulses, lentils etc but have bought cheap tinned tomatoes, bulk pasta, tinned kidney beans and chick peas, some basic white rice, flour and soy sauce. Jam and peanut butter for snacks/cooking, the bread is great!. Packets of herbs/spices seemed reasonable though limited selection so Ive got oregano, paprika, chili and a curry mix, plus cinnamon and some basics like olive oil, butter, plain yoghurt, salt and pepper. Found a packet of saffron which I had stuck in my bag so that an expensive little treat!

Thinking tonight a traybake with chicken, tomato, potatoes and peppers, and a bit of green salad with the spinach and cucumber. Quite keen to get back to cooking fresh foods, there have been a few too many frozen pizza meals lately during the moving process….
Noodles and rice seem expensive, but I think Im going to try my hand at making tortillas as burritos or something might be good

any recipe ideas would be lovely!

OP’s posts: |
6weekstogo Thu 16-Aug-18 12:54:14

Oh, local onions and celery cheap too, so have bought them

OP’s posts: |
Shedsonfire Thu 16-Aug-18 13:20:32

Okay, homemade enchiladas go down a treat here. Tinned tomato's, chopped onion and a bit of spice is all you need for the sauce, make your own wraps, chicken fried off and you don't really need cheese to top it if don't want to.
Bolognese/ chilli with pasta or jacket potato's
Sausage casserole
Home made sausage meatballs and pasta
Homemade burgers and chips
Chicken curry with potato's (either Bombay or another way)
I did have an amazing recipe for peanut butter and raisin cookies I'll try and find it

Shedsonfire Thu 16-Aug-18 13:22:13

ivykaty44 Fri 17-Aug-18 07:05:03

Plenty of recipes for chickpea curry, cauliflower or spinach added, serve with pita bread

6weekstogo Fri 17-Aug-18 08:43:31

curry sounds great ivykaty, that might be tonight meal
Im saving the cookie recipe to make with the non egg allergic one at the weekend

OP’s posts: |
ivykaty44 Fri 17-Aug-18 14:04:46

I use onion, tinned tomato, olives and anchovies to make a sauce ( my fussy dd doesn’t know the anchovies are cut up small and popped in this) all in fry pan and simmer to reduce. Cook up spaghetti and serve with bread/salad

The anchovies give it a great depth of flavour but don’t overpower the sauce

If you don’t like olives swap for sliced mushrooms

Yura Fri 14-Sep-18 16:53:56

Soups - fresh veg (you can use all the not so nice looking bits as well) with fresh bread to dip in. can also go into a tray bake with cheap mince. apples also do really well in a soup (if they are too tard to eat as snacks)

Lovemusic33 Sun 23-Sep-18 14:07:23

I feed 3 of us (me and 2 teens) for £50 a week, one of the dc’s has a cooked meal at school but still wants another when she gets home. I’m one who can make a chicken last for 3 meals. Pasta is always cheap (I eat pasta and pesto once a week with some fet cheese tossed in), we make pizza using pita bread as they are cheap and make wedges to go with them. I often make soup out of left over veg. We manage to have a roast once a week, leftovers are made into curry or stir fry. In the winter I use the slow cooker a lot and make a large curry or stew that can last a couple days. I also raid the out of date sections in supermarkets on a Sunday (best day for bargains) and often find things like lamb shanks for £2 and steak.

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