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You guys who are excellent at feeding your family on a budget - I need your help

(69 Posts)
MascaraOHara Thu 18-Sep-08 19:34:38

I need to tighten the purse strings this month after an expensive few months with some unexpected bills. I am terribly overdrawn.

I need your cheapest meals please so I can spend as little as poss on food

I'm already getting my bread, fruit & veg at market etc so just a case of cheap, cheerful, quick & easy meals for me and dd

I have a fair amount in freezer (including yogurts for dd's lunchbox) and cupboards are fairly well stocked with ingredients. hoping to spend less than £50 for the month on food including our packed lunches.


hecate Thu 18-Sep-08 19:36:32

fiver for a sack of spuds from your local farm, that's your starting point!

RupertTheBear Thu 18-Sep-08 19:39:47

When I am skint we eat bean chilli, corned beef hash and mince with loads of veg and lentils. We also eat loads of pasta with tinned tomato based sauces/

choufleur Thu 18-Sep-08 19:39:47

huge bags of pasta from places like Aldi/netto.

Lizzylou Thu 18-Sep-08 19:40:41

Veg/lentil soups

run4it Thu 18-Sep-08 19:43:26

porridge instead of breakfast cereal - you can make with half water half milk to make it even cheaper. Sausage casserole makes meat stretch for ages. You can freeze it as well so you don't get bored with eating it!

undercovercat Thu 18-Sep-08 19:44:04

pasta, a jar of sauce, half one night half the next with cheese sprinkled on top.
Baked spuds beans cheese...or anything really.
Mash scrambled eggs peas.
Corned beef hash.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 19:44:15

tuna pasta bake - tin of tomaotes, tin of tuna, tin of sweetcorn, bit of basil/garlic/black pepper or frankly whatever herbs are hanging around in the cupboard. Cook the pasta, heat up the other ingredients in a pan, stir in together, grate a manky hard bit of cheese into it if you have one. Freezes fine.

My DH's favourite dinner, unbelievably.

Do a meal plan for the whole week, shop for it, and do not go near shops again. Bulk buy loo roll/tinned goods from Asda online or from Lidl.

S1ur Thu 18-Sep-08 19:44:23

baked potato
Bulk buy mince:
meatballs with pasta
cottage pie
spag bol

tuna pasta bake - I have yum version with mustardy marinade on pasta somewhere.
sausage anything
ooh very very cheap is savoury rice using tumeric and frozen mix veg

choufleur Thu 18-Sep-08 19:44:38

spanish omelettes (use the spuds hectate recommended). can be eaten cold in packed lunches

Majeika Thu 18-Sep-08 19:45:37

lots of cheap soups and beany casseroles

egg, beans and toast

value cheese is ok

mon- lentil soup
tues - pasta w tomato sauce
wed- butternut squash risotto (1 bnut will do 2 meals)
thurs-egg, HM chips & beans
fri-roast chicken& veg
sat- chicken & mushroom pie
sun- chicken/veg soup
mon- sausage & mash

choufleur Thu 18-Sep-08 19:45:46

if you're not proud go to your local veg market at the end of the day and ask if you can have things that would be thrown away

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 19:46:20

Buy value tinned stuff - absolutely no difference except the price. Truly, first I went from branded tinned tomatoes to own brand, then to value own brand. No difference.

I have even started buying Tesco value nappies blush they don't give nappy rash to DS and just as absorbent so why not? £1.48 for 20!!

Peachy Thu 18-Sep-08 19:46:33

three tins of different beans, thinly sliced breen pepper, onion and garlic in a casserole. add cumin seeds to taste, mixed herbs, mint and juice of half a lemon; stir on hgh until heated through, veg softened and aromatic. add chopped tomatoes (2 tins), simmer a bit and serve either with rice or in wraps.

many meals- curries, casseroles, pot roasts- can be eeked out with pulses: lentils in curry, chickpea in a lemony lamd casserole etc- you can halve your meat expenditure easily.

S1ur Thu 18-Sep-08 19:46:53

tuna bake based on this

but omitting anything too poncey or expensive (olives etc)

and baking, possibly with cheese on top, or not because cheese is expensive.

muggglewump Thu 18-Sep-08 19:48:16

Value products!

This week we had potato bake on Monday, all value ingredients apart from the cream and broccoli we had with it.
Tuesday was spag carbonara, again all value except for a teeny bit of parmesan.
Wednesday lentil soup. Not value lentils but cheap anyway and I made it last week in the slow cooker and froze so cheap on fuel.
Tonight spag bol made with family pack of mince-not value but two big packs for £7 bulked out with extra lentils and carrots, value tinned toms and onions, again made in slow cooker and I have some in the freezer which can be served as is or turned into chilli and served with wraps, tacos, rice etc.

I'd say 90% at least of what I buy is value and the rest is naturally cheap anyway.

georgimama Thu 18-Sep-08 19:53:28

Don't forget that manky hard bit of cheese in the bottom of the fridge, though, Slur, there's always one and it will grate just fine.

lucysmam Thu 18-Sep-08 19:53:49

I agree with mugglewump, value products are the way to go!

They form the basis of my fortnightly shop & I can't tell the difference between them and branded products

muggglewump Thu 18-Sep-08 19:56:50

Lucysmam, I got the idea to make potato bake from one of your threads!
We had ham (value bit done in slow cooker, stock saved for lentil soup) and onions in it, layered with the potato, poured cream, over and topped with cheese. It was fantastic and will be made again grin

lucysmam Thu 18-Sep-08 20:00:04

It's yummy muggglewump! My oh wasn't too keen on the idea but soon changed his mind hmm <men!>

I put leeks/mushrooms in mine but may try those with some ham or just ham n onions next time

iwantasecondone Thu 18-Sep-08 20:03:29

As soon as I got my head round the fact that we don't have to eat meat all that often my bills dropped dramatically. Funnily enough, Waitrose, who are hideously expensive, do the best markdowns. I went in just before closing last week and got 22 salmon steaks for 10p each. Made massive fish pies and fishcakes and froze. Sweet potato and red lentil soup is very filling and lovely.

GirlySquare Thu 18-Sep-08 20:06:03

Mealplan as georgimama recommended, there's a great mealplans forum on moneysavingexpert here with a new one every week

IAteDavinaForDinner Thu 18-Sep-08 20:08:53

Add lentils and/or beans to everything.

Eggs make great meals.

Check your portion sizes - ours creep up very easily if I'm not careful.

Frozen/tinned veg and fruit are perfectly adequate.

Practise a few quick cheap puddings (think sponge and custard, fruit-based things etc) - soup and pudding nights are really cheap and filling.

Buy differently - eg a whole chicken instead of fillets will give you a roast, a curry, sandwiches and stock for soup.

Risottos are great for using up odds and ends (you don't need the fancy rice either).

Cut fruit juice with water - hardly notice the difference with most supermarket juice-from-concentrate.

MascaraOHara Thu 18-Sep-08 20:21:28

Wow! thanks.

Some really great ideas here.

I've been off writing a list of what I have in the freezer & cupboards.. I'm feeling inspired.

I am so shocked at how much i have in my freezer iykwim.

need to sit down and work out how to mix it up

I will definitely be trying some of the recipes as well as shopping value/own brand etc

Thanks & keep them coming grin

MascaraOHara Thu 18-Sep-08 20:22:50

btw - I love the idea of soup and pudding nights!

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