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Now a LP to 2 DCs, tips for food shop/cooking etc

(35 Posts)
leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 08:17:11

My H was full time earner I was SAHM, we didn't have lots of money but enough but now he has gone and got himself a house with the OW (less than 3 weeks after he left to "find himself" hmm ). I am looking at shopping and feeding 2 DCs (3 and 6) and myself on minimum money, has anyone got any tips or doable budgets. Since he has left I have been cooking way to much so have started weighing my portions. I have always cooked from scratch, we eat a bit of meat but not a lot as its expensive but now all the packs have so much in for just us three. I googled budget recipes and they were still coming in way to expensive for us

chezchaos Sun 24-Mar-13 08:27:53

Sorry to hear that sad

Do you have a local market? Mine is amaingly cheap - typically half te price of supermarkets.

I also meal plan to minimise waste, and bulk cook for the freezer.

leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 08:36:43

I do have a market but its a drive away and a bit of a struggle with the children. Love it when i can get there though esp in the summer when soft fruit is so cheap and ripe.

I have never bulk cooked as never sure about freezing and reheating, what do you cook chezchaos

chezchaos Sun 24-Mar-13 08:45:52

It's crazy cheap at mine, three punnets of blueberries for a pound, a bag of aubergines or courgettes or peppers for a pound etc.

We're veggie and I tend to cook macaroni cheese, quorn shepherd pie, quorn, veg and bean bolognaise and a simple tomato sauce (made with passata, celery, onion, basil and organo) which all freeze well in sealed tubs or glass dishes well wrapped with foil then cling film.

I also buy Goodfellas pizzas for just £1 from Heron or Jack Fulton for really busy working days; not too bad occasionally with some frozen peas. Freezer shops are also astonishingly good value compared to supermarkets.

poachedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 08:55:16

Sorry to hear about your situation.

Quorn do frozen chicken- style pieces which are cheap, tasty and really quick to cook.

I use sweet potato as a staple. It thickens casseroles when added, is delicious roasted and makes a fabulous curry.

Tesco value pittas cost 40p for 6 and make excellent pizza bases with a homemade sauce of value plum tomatoes cooked with a sprinkle of basil and a couple of garlic cloves.

Almost everything can be frozen. Take it out the night before you use it then reheat it very thoroughly. Simple smile

Cheap puddings like natural yogurt and tinned fruit go down well with DC, and if you have a simple dinner like soup you can fill out the meal with a microwave sponge pudding for afterwards.

Is this the sort of thing you're looking for? smile

Fleecyslippers Sun 24-Mar-13 09:08:52

Meal planning and lists are the key. Sticking to the list means sticking to the budget. Also online shopping cuts out the temptation to stick loads of extras in the trolley. Check out all the value brands. Tinned stuff from Tesco is just as good.
My local butcher does promotions all the time so worth checking those out.
A slow cooker is great for cooking cheaper joints of meat.

Catrin Sun 24-Mar-13 10:31:11

It is just me and 7yo dd, so similar to you, a pack of somehting tends to be way too much. I tend to shop fortnightly, as other than milk/veg, everything lasts much longer having only she and I to cook for. I freeze sliced bread and just take out a bit for sandwiches/toast as needed. I bulk cook a lot and freeze lots.
Bulk stuff out with lentils/oats.
My food shop is about £100 a month, including cleaning stuff, loo roll, cat food etc. This is not a boast, it is a necessity! We eat a lot of rice, pasta, pancakes, soups, basic stuff really.

leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 11:52:05

Wow, thanks everyone, I have never tried freezer shops but we have a farmfoods locally so will check it out. TBH I wasn't bad at budgeting and planning before as H wasn't on a massive wage so we needed to to allow me to stay at home with the LOs. Does a freezer cost much to run, I have a really small one and it is full with a few pizzas, chips, peas and a tub of ice cream or two. I think freezing may be the answer but not sure what to freeze when it comes to meat as I was a veggie until I had kids and only started cooking meat as my DS i a real meateter and isn't keen on veggies

leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 11:52:52

Is it really doable to feed all three of us, plus get all toiletries, cleaning stuff for 40 or 45 pounds a week?

poachedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 12:00:25

I do it for 2 adults, 2 DC on 45ish every 6 days. And I could cut back a little I reckon.

leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 12:10:27

Poachedeggs where do you shop and do you have a menu plan I could look at?

acceptableinthe80s Sun 24-Mar-13 12:13:48

It is doable OP but you need to shop around. I get all cleaning stuff/toiletries in poundland, saves a fortune. Likewise fruit and veg is cheap in lidl, just depends what you have near you. Batch cooking and freezing is definitely the answer, saves time and money and means you can buy bigger packs which tend to work out cheaper. It's just me and ds at home but i always make enough for at least 4 meals and freeze the rest. Also if fruit is getting a bit ripe i freeze it and use it for smoothies, no food gets wasted here grin. I tend to use mainly frozen veg as it's much cheaper
Have a look at the recipies/food part of this site for ideas on cheap, healthy meals. We eat lots of rice/pasta based dishes and homemade soups most days, lentil is a firm favourite, tasty/healthy and cheap.
Pretty much everything can be frozen so for example if i buy 6 chicken thighs i use two and freeze the rest, same for sausages etc.

leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 12:23:11

Freeze them raw, then how do you defrost? Sorry I am so stupid with this but really don't do meat! I have farmfoods, lidl aldi and sains on my doorway just about and b and m bargains. Are the cleaning things cheaper than say aldi own brands as I thought the pundland ones are cheap because they are smaller?

coffeewineandchocolate Sun 24-Mar-13 12:25:47

That's totally doable. It may be worth your while to source a bigger freezer. Go to the pound /b and m and buy lots of reusable takeaway containers. Another good investment is a one pot.

My dh works away alot but i batch cook and it ensures i always have a nutritious healthy meal fort myself and ds.

I get all my meat from the local butchers. They are reasonably priced and the meat is far superior in taste and quality.

Good meals to cook in batch

Soups (i like tomato and lentil, French onion and spicy sweet potato)
Cottage pie (padded out with veg and some lentils (i do the mix in the slow cooker)
Lamb tagine (cheap lamb cut in slow cooker
Bolognaise mix
Veggie Curries
Veggie lasagne
Veggie pasta sauce made in slow cooker with tinned tomatoes, garlic, onion, herbs and whateverveg you have in/left, olive oil. Whizz it with a blender and freeze in portions for quick

coffeewineandchocolate Sun 24-Mar-13 12:29:56

Also are great for fruit and veg, cleaning products and their beauty range is great too.

Frozen mash is also great- i get mine in asda. You just put some of the pellets in the microwave with some butter for a few mins and stir. Lovely and creamy :-)

poachedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 12:31:05

I'll put an example together on the PC in a little while smile

forevergreek Sun 24-Mar-13 12:35:38

regarding freezing meat. you basically can freeze once in each state. so a fresh raw uncooked sausage can be frozen, then defrosted. then if you make a sausage casserole you can refreeze that sausage again as its now cooked. if that makes sense.

you cant freeze raw sausage, then defrost, then decide not to eat and refreeze without cooking.

leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 12:35:59

Thank you. Its so hard, I am so scared, what with being on my own with two kids, then with all the issues I now have with H, having no income at the mo and on top of that I have barely even thought about the fact that my 10 year marriage is over and my H is now shacked up with another woman sad

pramdunce Sun 24-Mar-13 12:37:12

You need to shop around really. It's helpful if you have several different shops within walking distance so you can do all your shopping by foot. I tend to go to Lidl now but when we lived near an Aldi I loved it. I get nappies there, probably not an issue with a 3 year old but I wish I'd not been such a Pampers snob for so long, they are just the same. I but a chicken there, roast it for one meal, wait til it's cooled then strip all the meat off. There's enough meat on it to do 2 more meals for me and the dc, normally curry and then another meal with veg and gravy. Are you on income support? You can claim healthy start vouchers which will give you £3 or so a week for fruit, veg and milk. I cut right back on treats, it was the odd pack of biscuits, sweets and fizzy drinks that really made my shopping add up. I now make sure I have enough decent ingredients in to make cakes, flapjacks, crumbles, things like that for puddings and snacks, which cost a fraction of what it'd cost to buy. At a pinch, my dc love the type of flavoured rice you get in a packet for 50p, especially the golden vegetable one. A pack of that with a few fishfingers each does my two for what must be pence.

acceptableinthe80s Sun 24-Mar-13 12:38:17

Yeah, just freeze them raw then defrost overnight in a container in the fridge (lots of tupperware required!) The cleaning stuff/toiletries in poundland aren't any smaller than other supermarket brands as far as i'm aware. They're also very cheap for snacks/juice etc

pramdunce Sun 24-Mar-13 12:43:47

Leftfoot, you'll be fine eventually. I know that it's little comfort now. I was left last year with a new baby, 3 and 7 year old. I was in a state of shock for very many months after, just going on autopilot. This year has gone shockingly quickly becuase I think I was pretty much blanked out for most of it. I won't lie, just when you think you're on the up, things might crash down again. But you'll get to a place when things don't seem so bad, and eventually where you realise it was best for everyone. People told me that my ex was the one who was missign out. It certainly didn't feel like it when I was the one left with all responsibility, sleepless nights and just in a state of 'WHY??? has this happened?' but now, yes I do realise he HAS missed out. DS is almost one and he has missed EVERYTHING. Last time he was here I saw it in his face, the realisation he'd missed his first steps, and rather than thinking, as I had for so long, that we needed to get back together, I just thought, 'see, you knob, you CHOSE this. You have to live with it.' You'll get through smile

xlatia Sun 24-Mar-13 12:50:31

Sorry to hear about your situation sad

Re freezing: EVERYTHING is freezable, bar very few exceptions like potatoes and umm... ermm... will think of more. But milk, cheese, fresh fruit and veg, meat, bread, they all freeze. So you could buy in bulk when it's on offer, provided you've got freezer space. Then either batch cook or put it straight into in the freezer after breaking it up into manageable portions for the 3 of you. I've got an assortment of glass jars for that purpose, no need to shell out on tupperware.

I take out frozen stuff the night before and put it in the fridge so it can defrost slowly. Meat needs to be reheated thoroughly but stuff like hummus, butter or fruit obv not.

Also, if you eat sandwiches, make spreads yourself, I do hummus or joghurt spreads and fishy ones. All lovely and miles cheaper than ready bought. Let me know if you're interested and I'll put up the recipes.

Come to think of it, joghurt might not freeze, haven't tried yet.

poachedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 13:09:48

Tesco White Potatoes 2.5Kg £1.80
Daisy Bathroom Cleaner Spray 500Ml £0.46
Tesco Baked Bean In Tomato Sauce 420G X 4 Pack £1.30
Campbells Low Fa Mushroom Condensed Soup 295G£0.95
Quorn Chicken Style Pieces 300G £1.89
Tesco Garden Peas 1Kg £1.60
Tesco Luxury Soft 9 Roll White £3.00
Tesco Everyday Value Baby Wipes Fragrance Free 72 £0.46
Tesco Everyday Value Instant Hot Chocolate Drink 400G £0.48
Tesco Everyday Value 3 Way Cook Chips 1.5Kg £0.93
Tesco 4 Breaded Cod Fillets 500G £2.00
Tesco Everyday Value Crunchy Peanut Butter 340G £0.62
Tesco Everyday Value Oats 1Kg £0.75
Princes Tuna Chunks In Brine 4X160g £3.99
Tesco Everyday Value 6 White Pitta Bread (2) £0.80
Warburtons Medium Sliced White Bread 800G £1.45
Warburtons Wholemeal Bread Medium Sliced 800G £1.45
Tesco Scottish Reared Beef Mince 500G £3.00
Tesco Healthy Living Greek Yogurt 500G £1.00
Tesco Everyday Value Soft Cheese 200G £0.50
Tesco Everyday Value Mild White Cheese Medium £3.49
Tesco Everyday Value Eggs Minimum Weight Box Of 15 £1.34
Tesco Butter Me Up 1Kg £1.95
Tesco Semi Skimmed Milk 2.272L/4 Pints (2) £2.58
Tesco Everyday Value Peppers 600G £1.50
Tesco Cherry Tomatoes 650G £2.00
Tesco Sweet Potatoes Loose (3) £1.34
Tesco Everyday Value Garlic 3 Pack £0.69
Tesco Brown Onions Loose £0.94
Tesco Everyday Value Carrots 1.5Kg £0.69
Tesco Savoy Cabbage Each £0.78
Tesco Goodness Easy Peeler Citrus Pack 600G £1.20
Tesco Everyday Value Bananas £1.15
Tesco Everyday Value Pears Min 4 Pack £0.90
Tesco Goodness Apples Min 7 Pack £1.40

Basket Summary
Total Clubcard points52
Total MultiBuy savings£0.90
Guide price (37 items)£49.48

This is a typical shop for me. In general I might buy bigger sometimes to save money over the month (eg 5kg of spuds at a time) but likewise some of the above will last more than a week - frozen peas, garlic, baked beans, tuna, probably the carrots and some of the fruit, the bathroom cleaner. So you can rotate what you buy over the week. I also often buy turkey mince or diced pork, sometimes a whole chicken which will last for days. Storecupboard things need replenished once in a while, eg plum tomatoes (30p a can), lentils, pasta etc. You could cut out the frozen fish, chips, branded bread etc but I buy these because sometimes work dictates a freezer tea and DH is a fussy bugger about supermarket bread.

An example of meals for the shop above would be:

Mince and tatties (sweet potato added to the mash is nice) with cabbage and carrots
Sweet potato curry
Baked tatties with tuna/cheese/beans
Fish and chips with peas/beans
Quorn a la King (quorn with peppers and inions in condensed mushroom soup, with rice - actually edible!)
Omelette and veg

You would have spare for the freezer from three of the above meals.

Lunches include pittas/pitta pizzas, sandwiches, yogurt + chopped fruit in a tupperware tub for packed lunches, maybe a bit of home baking. Snacks tend to be fruit, tomatoes, homemade biscuits etc. I don't think it's a bad diet really, plenty fresh stuff which could be replaced with frozen or tinned on a tight week. I do go over sometimes but generally if there's an offer on something I can stock up on. I make a lot of soup for lunches or for a light dinner with a pudding. I always keep baking stuff in for emergencies - if you run out of spuds, doughballs are fab in mince, for example!

Good luck, I am sure you will come through this much better off. smile

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 24-Mar-13 14:49:56

One area I have saved in is breakfast no more bread and cereal, just porridge. I also freeze everything, but I buy fresh batch cook and then freeze in portions in freezer bags. I portion control everything.
DD and I haven't had a dessert in the 9 months since ExH left we just have fruit and actually no yoghurts since December.
The good food website can be a really good friend it gives advice on freezing and reheating as well as a tasty variety low cost meals.
I found pulses great for bulking out meat - lentils, butter beans, chickpeas and many more. Soup for lunch very filling and very cheap.

IntheFrame Sun 24-Mar-13 15:07:48

The £3 for an internet shop is money well spent in my case. It gives you time to really plan for the week ahead without panic buying or over spending. I use all the supermarkets based on who's doing core products cheaper ie loo roll or coffee or meat joints. Veg is worth watching (yes you Tesco) as 50p more on each items soon adds up.

I buy a whole chicken (£40) and use the thighs to make garlic Kiev with garlic butter + bread crumbs (from ends of stale bread).
Roast the drumsticks for packed lunch.
Breast meat to go in curry with whatever I have (spices, tinned toms, coconut paste from £1 shop or a jar of sauce from same place.
Boil the carcass to make stock that mix with risotto rice and a grated lemon and a few frozen peas.
That's four meals for only the cost of a jar/tinned toms, a lemon and a garlic clove extra

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