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can you feed a family of 5 for £55 a week or am i setting myself up to fail.

(23 Posts)
Proudtobeme Thu 29-Jan-15 12:21:36

Where dh works are making people redundant so far he has been safe and they've had a memo saying there will be no more until the end of Feb. I'm really hoping that he's safe then to, I've been sensible and looked up if the worst happened and we had to claim JSA what our weekly budget would be and after all the bills its around £55 a week for food shopping. At the moment I currently spend more than double that on the 5 of us. I tried last week to spend less which I did by switching to Lidl I spent £61.79 which would still be over budget. I do have a good stock of things in my cupboards, for example 4 500g bags of pasta, 12 tins of beans, spaghetti hoops, ravioli, soup and I have 2 jars of most cooking sauces. Does anyone manage what I'm trying to achieve? If so could I have some advice.

Mum4Fergus Thu 29-Jan-15 13:36:12

My best advice would be meal plan, meal plan, meal plan! It cut my budget from £430pm to £130 for 3 of us! I bulk buy/cook/freeze as much as I can. I have one week a month where I buy nothing but fresh bread and milk-every meal is made from freezer and store cupboard. Can you start putting things away now while you've got a bit of extra cash to tide you over any lean periods? I invested in a 2nd freezer to help me out too (£50 off FB selling page)...

Greencurtain Thu 29-Jan-15 13:41:40

I think that's very tight. Are there other costs you might be able to cut more easily?

HappydaysArehere Thu 29-Jan-15 13:55:03

So sorry you have this worry. You don't say how old the children are and whether they eat as adults. All I can offer is how I struggled to manage when there was only one wage earner many years ago. That was plenty of casseroles which can be bulked out. Your beans come in handy for that. Everything cooked from scratch. Home made cakes, puddings etc. I used to look for bargain joints such as shoulder of lamb, hocks of bacon which used to be cheap, liver and bacon with onion. I minced up left overs of joints and copied my mother in laws strategy of putting it in a Yorkshire pudding thereby making a kind of tasty meat loaf. I made bread pudding (dehlia has a good recipe). Not to be confused with bread and butter pudding which is also good. Bread pudding is lovely cold as well as hot. Just make sure there is plenty of dried fruit and eggs in it and mixed spice is necessary. Bread past its best is good for this. Minced meat can be added to - tins of tomatoes, baked beans or chilli beans etc. your pasta is good for that. I rember not being able to afford fruit but as you know there are some good offers. Now that you are preparing for the worst it is unlikely to happen. At least that is my experience. Good luck and try not to worry. Believe it or not things work themselves out. flowers

HappydaysArehere Thu 29-Jan-15 13:58:02

Mum4 is right. All good advice.

momb Thu 29-Jan-15 13:59:00

If the £55 does not include cleaning products then it should be possible. Presumably if he's on JSA your Dcs will get FSM? So you're looking at breakfast x35, lunch x20, dinner x35?
Do you have a freezer, slowcooker. microwave? How you approach this depends on what resources you have available. If you can bulk cook and freeze it will be relatively pain free, if you need to buy and cook every day it will be much more difficult.

Cheapest meals we eat regularly:
home made French onion soup with bread and cheese.
Dahl with rice and cauliflower or whatever veg bahjis
Mixed bean chilli with jalapenos and sour cream: eaten out of bowls the first night and in wraps as enchiladas the next.
cheats carbonara

I intersperse these really cheap meals with 'normal' dinners. Generally when economising I cut down the meat by 25% per person, and go for saucy things rather than presenting a lone lamb cutlet for example: slow cooker is great for making less expensive cuts into delicious meals.

Do not throw anything away (freeze stock, meat trimmings, anything), and before serving up any meal that you have made put one portion into a plastic box to go into the freezer: a ready-made ready meal for when someone needs something really quick and you are tempted to swing by a takeaway!

The stock builds up in the freezer after every time I cook any meat on the bone and when the ration of food/stock is too low I make loads of soup and refreeze it. Very convenient and costs pennies.

CremeEggThief Thu 29-Jan-15 15:02:05

I think as long as you meal plan, batch cook where you can and cut down on meat and fish, you should manage. I try to stick to £40-45 for me and my 12 year old DS. However, we are vegetarian. Take confidence from your Lidl shop of £61. It's only just over your ideal budget; I'm sure you could make some savings there.

Rockchick1984 Thu 29-Jan-15 16:49:24

We comfortably spend £60 a week on food shopping (2 adults 2 children under 4) but it's taken practice to get it to this - I tend to do an Aldi shop then nip to asda for things I couldn't get or I know they are cheaper at asda. Alternatively if I'm on a broke week I am more likely to order a home delivery as I can add / remove things until it comes in under budget!

SoonToBeSix Thu 29-Jan-15 16:58:03

Are you sure you would only have £55 food budget? You would receive £337 a week in tax credits and child benefit plus jsa and HB . Although i don't know your rent costs if the total comes to over £500 a week it will be reduced to £500.

SoonToBeSix Thu 29-Jan-15 16:59:29

Also for any children age three and under you can claim healthy start vouchers for fruit veg and milk.

SpottyTits Thu 29-Jan-15 17:16:10

Soontobesix your information is well off for 3 kids tax credits would be about £170 a week and child benefit £46 also healthy start vouchers go up to 5 years of age.

FurryDogMother Thu 29-Jan-15 17:29:44

If you've got any kind of garden or windowbox, get some salad leaf seeds - planting season is almost upon us, and you can save a lot of money by growing your own salad (and other) veg to supplement the bought foods.

SoonToBeSix Thu 29-Jan-15 17:44:26

Sorry miss ready family of five as five children. No unfortunately healthy start vouchers are only for children age three and under. Changed several years ago from
Age four and under.

SoonToBeSix Thu 29-Jan-15 17:46:43

£205 is the total CB and tax credits combined for three dc.

Artandco Thu 29-Jan-15 18:23:30

Soon - that £337 has to cover all rent/ mortgage, bills and food etc surely though? Our rent alone is more than £337 a week

Proudtobeme Thu 29-Jan-15 18:43:18

Thanks for replies. I don't really know much about the benefits system never had to use it before. Some of the documentaries I've seen on TV recently make the whole experience look awful. We live in rural Shropshire so property prices are quiet reasonable and we have enough in savings to cover a few months mortgage and car payments. I do have a freezer and a chest freezer which are both reasonably full of meat. Dh friend is a butcher we buy in bulk and save a fortune so food bill doesn't have to cover the cost of meet. Dc are 7, 5 &2 so don't eat overly large amounts. Dh said someone from his department got fired today for misconduct so now there is only Dh and 1 other person doing his particular job so hoping that's brilliant news for us as Dh he is the more senior and can do other jobs needed in the department.

BackforGood Thu 29-Jan-15 18:56:09

Without including meat, and with your dc being so little, then yes, I'd say it was do-able. Probably not fun, longer term, but do-able yes.
I only spend about �50 a week in my main shop and my dc are teens - probably average another �10 across the week.
Wil depend of course, on your access to shops - being 'rural' can be a disadvantage. I live in a City, and all the supermarkets are competing against each other and offering deals to tempt you in - it's also perfectly feasible where I live to go to more than one supermarket or shop in one shopping trip.

SoonToBeSix Thu 29-Jan-15 19:03:40

ARTANDCO the £337 was wrong I based it on five dc not three. But tax credits and CB is paid in addition to HB for rent and JSA.

Artandco Thu 29-Jan-15 19:42:30

Ok so £220. That's even less. How much do housing benefits pay? If one of us lost our job I would also be worried like OP. We have high renting costs, yet flat is 1 bed so can hardly downsize if needed.

SoonToBeSix Thu 29-Jan-15 19:49:41

HB depends on the area it's based on a percentage of market rates in each LHA. A family in receipt of JSA would be entitled to full HB but only up to the LHA maximum. JSA would also be payable £113 a week per couple.

Artandco Thu 29-Jan-15 19:55:42

Our rent is £1680 alone. We would be fucked I think!

SoonToBeSix Thu 29-Jan-15 20:02:44

Yes Art I think so, benefit cap is £2166 a month for everything. I guess you live in London , that's why the cap is so unfair.

CremeEggThief Thu 29-Jan-15 20:04:10

I think £500 per week would be the maximum hb, in a very expensive area, such as London. In my area, it's £86 per week, but properties rent out for as low as £325 per month. Mine is £500, so I make up the shortfall.

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