Seriously skint, meal help needed please(29 Posts)
So, we're currently in dire straits and any advice on how we can get by would be really appreciated as I'm rubbish at this kind of thing!
I've got about £15 in my purse at the moment, £5 in the bank and no money until 19th September. We're going to try borrow some money off our parents if we can, so I might have around £50 to spend on food to last us from 10th Sept to the 19th Sept. The shops I have close-ish by are Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Sainsburys. We don't drive so can't really 'shop around'.
The freezer is running low, we have a few tins of beans/spaghetti and around 2 bags of rice in the cupboard, as well as a bag of tageliteli, chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and canelloni beans (sorry about the spelling! ) Oh and two or three tins of soup.
If any of you could be so kind to give me cheap meal ideas to last us 10 days for breakfast/lunch/dinner for 2 adults (one who's pregnant) and 2 children aged 4 & 1, then that would be fantastic. 1 year old will be at nursery from Monday and have the majority of her meals there, 4 year old at school so has school dinners covered. I'm a student and DH is job seeking so we will need meals for us, although we have been skipping around one meal a day to stretch food.
Thank you in advance.
I do a massive '2 day' pasta bake. I soften onion and garlic then sauté veg, I usually use peppers, tomatoes and courgettes. Put this in a large baking dish. Add a large pan of pasta that you have already cooked e.g. fusilli or penne to the dish. Then I make a white sauce, pour it over and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 190 for 30-40mins. Sometimes the dish is veggie, sometimes I add tuna or bits of crispy bacon. Anything goes really.
I know it's'a bit late, but this bacon and lentil soup is lovely, easy, and about 50p per person, and would make a main meal if served with rolls.
100g bacon (get cooking bacon it's'incredibly cheap in Sainsburys)
1 leek, 1 carrot, 1 onion
2 sticks celery
200g red lentils, rinsed
1.5 litres water
Slice the veg and bacon. Fry the onion for 5 mins, add everything else and bring to a simmer, simmer for about 1 hr or until the lentils and veg have softened.
You can serve this with chopped frankfurters added if you have extra cash, otherwise it's'perfectly nice without.
If you do a 'weekly' shop, try and stretch it out to two weeks. Obviously you will need to buy more food, but not as much as two weekly shops. It's really enticing to pop more treats or foodstuffs that aren't really essential into a trolley, while sticking to a two week shop makes it easier to focus on the essentials.
Keeping basics like bread, milk, rice, pasta, potatoes, flour, butter, eggs, cheese, frozen veg (cheaper and easier), and meat or fish will mean you can make a meal out of anything.
I have lots of marinades in the fridge (they keep for way longer than the recommended six weeks) to liven up the most tired and cheapest cuts of meat and fish. Cheap chicken wings or drumsticks are delicious given a coating and bunged in the oven to cook. Likewise fish in a marinade can be cooked in minutes in a microwave.
If you can get to a supermarket at odd times (if they are within walking distance) it's always worth scouring the reduced sections first - especially for things like meat and fish which can be frozen. I have sold my old tumble dryer to make space for an additional freezer which is stocked with very reduced meat or fish). Bread is also usually substantially reduced at more unsociable times (ie after 7 - 8 pm).
Toad in the Hole is a nice comforting, quick and cheap meal to make for the family.
Pasta meals are also filling and quick - you can make your own cheap pasta sauce by frying onions, any seasonal veg you have to hand (aubergines, mushrooms, peppers) and simmering it in 1 - 3 tinned chopped value tomatoes (depending on how much veg you have, then blitzing it with a blender. It can be frozen easily in portions so takes just minutes to prepare a family meal.
Blackberry, that's a really good idea, slicking the potato on cottage pie. I'll try that next time I make it. Mashing always seems like such a faff, so it might save time too.
If you're making cottage pie or shepherds pie, slice the potatoes instead of mashing them, and parboil them (don't cook them too much or the slices will fall apart) and lay them on top of the mince mixture and pop in the oven. This way, you only need three large potatoes (do slices around 1cm thick) rather than mash where you need a lot more potatoes.
A cheap meal is corned beef hash. Tin corned beef, some leftover mash, an onion. Squidge together and bake, serve with baked beans.
Bubble and squeak with stuffing and gravy always cheap. Mash pots, cabbage, onion, fry in a pan. We have this with pork chops, belly pork is very cheap and tasty. But the bubble and squeak on its own with stuffing is lovely.
For you because you are pregnant... Baked rice pudding. 50g pudding rice, 1 pint milk, 25g butter and 25g sugar. A bag of pudding rice from the co op has 500g and costs about 80p. I add a sprinkle of nutmeg on top. The kids will love it and it will cheer you up now winter is coming.
Scrambled eggs on whole meal toast is possibly one of the healthiest most filling things to eat and is alwas our Saturday morning breakfast.
Spaghetti/pasta with chopped bacon, fried onion and mushrooms and cream of tomato soup as sauce is tasty and inexpensive. Add a sprinkle of herbs (oregano or mixed) for flavour. Also omelette with ham, cheese, tomato/peppers/onions.
Here are my dinners for the next four days:
Mushroom, potato and onion frittata (I think the recipe is in the recipes section on this site) with salad and either oven chips or cous-cous. You could use your rice and go without the salad.
Jacket potatoes with baked beans and cheese.
Wholewheat fusilli with avocado, butter beans and pesto.
Quorn nuggets, wedges and either baked beans or (frozen) garden peas.
You could also get some veggie mince, a couple of peppers and an onion and make a big chilli, as you already have most of the ingredients. Quorn mince is under £2 at Tesco and Lidl at the moment.
Breakfast: a big bag of porridge oats?
Lunch: soup/ spaghetti on toast/ baked beans on toast/ cheese on toast/ fried egg on toast? I made LOADS of soup today, with an onion, four small potatoes, a big bag of kale, some paprika and one veggie stock cube.
Also, not the cheapest, but try to have a couple of pieces of fruit (banana and apple/plum/pear, for example) and a glass of fruit juice daily.
WE go almost vegetarian if skint. Lentils, rice, beans, cheap veg from Aldi, lots of spices.
Both Tesco and Sainsburys do 2kg(I think) bags of frozen chicken portions for about £3.20-£3.50. You should be able to get 3 meals out of that for 2 adults and 2 children. Some of the pieces are odd shapes. You need to defrost before you cook them.
A bag of 20 frozen sausages is about £2. That should do two meals. The ones I've tried can be cooked from frozen.
You could do sausage and mash with gravy and peas.
Chicken and tomato sauce. Cook an onion or two with some garlic, add a few chicken pieces and brown, add a couple of tins of value tomatoes and add some herbs, let simmer until chicken is cooked through. Serve with pasta, rice or potatoes.
Have a look on the Tesco and Sainsburys online shopping. Plan what you're going to buy. Maybe come up with a few back up plans in case when you get there things are sold out.
If you can go to the supermarkets around 8pm, that's when they do their last reductions.
Cheap pasta sauce-onion & garlic sweated for 5 mins. Add herbs (tsp dried oregano/basil/mixed herbs, whichever you may have), tin or two of toms, bring to boil & simmer for 15-20 mins. You can have this with pasta, or sex it up with any other ingredients you may have (peppers added at onion stage, cooked meatballs, mushrooms, stir in some Philly once cooked, add basics mozzarella etc). Also nice with rice .
Jar of pesto sauce is relatively cheap as will stretch to a couple of pasta meals (more if you can make it go further by adding a but if olive oil & cheese).
Jacket pots with basics beans is very filling & cheap.
Gammon/ham joint-buy one from the value range, boil in large pan or slow cooker, preserve cooking liquid & use meat for meal that day (ham & eggs), sandwiches, jkt pot fillings, shredded on pizza, add remaining meat to lentil/split pea soup made from cooking liquid.
I'll happily transfer you some grocery money across if you want to message me-makes me worried to think of pregnant lady missing meals, especially if you're missing out on protein/carbs etc x
YY to veg chilli, one of the cheapest meals you can eat.
With kidney beans you can also make burgers or something like felafel.
I would definetely buy lots eggs-boiled, fried, omellete.
Some potatoes and carrots maybe? Cabbage/leeks?
Bag of frozen peas (£1)- lovely with pasta (30p) and some cheese. Or with chicken legs.
Lidl has lovely cheese (£2) which is strong and goes further than cheap tesco one.
Does your Sainsburys close on Sun eve like ours? Then you might find bargains reduced bread and meat.
Do you have any Asian shops near you? You can get a huge bag of lentils and beans for a few quid. Large sack of potatoes from market or supermarket.
Variations on lentil and potato soup, days, curries may get a bit monotonous but are incredibly cheap and you know you won't starve. The spend the rest on other veg and flavourings.
Thank you both boer and red
Don't have a holland & barret near us unfortunately. Will take a read through that thread now
No club card vouchers or anything sadly, I tend to use sainsburys and have a nectar card with them but had to spend the built up points on a shop a couple of weeks back. I have pregnancy vitamins, so at least getting some in that way.
Rummage went well, found another £40, which is amazing! But that's everything now, means at least travel is sorted too for school and nursery runs.
Need to really learn how to budget and meal plan much better than we do now. Thank you again for taking the time to look for a list and come up with meals, it will help immensely!
I'm on phone, so hope I don't mess up link
forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4084527 a thread from the MSE forum on spending £7 a week on food. It's for single people, but some good ideas and you can tweak for a family.
ALDI's super 6 this week includes new and salad potatoes for 39p. Cheap way to fill up.
If you have a Holland and Barrett near you they do a bag of dried soya mince for around £3.70. It's great for chilli, lasagne etc and one bag does the five of us five or six meals. I bulk it out with whatever veg I have and lots of spices/herbs.
Sorry Snigger, cross posted!
Thank you very very much . Currently rummaging through drawers etc to see how much spare cash we can find!
Yes, DD's should have good meals for dinner, DD2 especially. All of those meals sound very do-able
Thank you again.
Do you have any clubcard vouchers etc lurking about?
I'd definitely go down the home-made stock, home-made soup, cram in cheap veg line then - lentil and tomato soup with bacon can be zapped with a bit of chilli powder to make it a bit different if you're sick of it, and I'd say a well handled chicken can cover three meals if you include soup as the third one.
Hope the stress levels stay low, I was struggling to find a way to get a pregnant lady her calcium and five a day!
Thank you honor
Snigger - I'd say I'm quite a confident cook I think, DH may argue otherwise.
If you're certain you could borrow some cash, I've run a quick shop through Tesco online, bearing in mind this could possibly be done cheaper with a little more thought and depending upon what you have on hand - a shopping list costing £30 would give you :
1 x everyday baby tomatoes
1 x everyday value round lettuce
1 x creamfields medium cheddar 400g
1 x value streaky bacon
2 x anchovies
1 x value beef mince 800g
1 x value curry powder
1 x value carrots
1 x value plain flour
1 x atora vegetable suet
2 x value small potatoes
1 x value 10 fish fingers
2 x whole chicken (£7 for 2)
1 x crazy jack red lentils
1 x value onions
1 x value chicken stock cubes
1 x strawberry jam
1 x garlic
1 x value cornflakes
2 x value eggs x 10
1 x flora buttery
3 x everyday wholemeal bread
4 x 1ltre UHT semi-skimmed milk.
Using what you already have, and assuming the tinies are going to get something decent at lunchtime at school/nursery, you could have the following meals in rotation:
2 x eggy bread, 1 x boiled eggs & toast, 3 x toast & jam, 4 x cereal
Lunch/Dinner (vary dependent upon whether little ones are present and need proper meal or light supper)
2 x canned soup, 2 x homemade lentil & tomato soup, 2 x beans on toast, 1 x fish fingers, spaghetti & mash, 2 x home made chicken soup, 2 x chicken stew & herb dumplings, 2 x roast chicken, carrots, potatoes & yorkshire pudding, 2 x chili & rice, 2 x pasta puttanesca, 2 x bacon, onion & cheese omelette with salad.
Any extra money, spend it on milk, fruit and fruit juice.
Sorry this goes over your base budget, but I'm not the best at this either!
one of our cheap end of month meals is a basics veg chilli. ingredients largely from the sainsburys basics range! : fry an onion and peppers if you have some. add 2 tins basics tomatoes ( ? 30p a tin) and 2 tins basics kidney beans ( ? 20p a tin) good spoonful of tomato puree and some chilli and cook for a while. any slightly dodgy veg in bottom of fridg freezer can be added too ( normally we use peppers/ courgette/ aubergine or sometimes no extra veg). serve with rice ( that you'ce already got) or on a baked potato. yum and very very cheap.
homemade pizzas are cheap too. either make a pizza dough base or if I'm short of time I buy a packet of basics pitta bread ( around 20p for 6) and top with tomato puree and cheese/ any leftover meat or veg. quick and very cheap!
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