One of the best ways of controlling the food part of the budget is by meal planning. Cooking from scratch helps too, and I try to do both.
So lunch today was homemade lentil soup and warm soda bread. The soda bread was a bit of a life saver – I ran out of white bread and instead of running to the coop, decided to follow this handy recipe with the small adjustment of having to make a buttermilk alternative from milk and lemon juice, and whipped up six rolls in the space of 30 minutes or so. It went very nicely with my homemade lentil soup (4 portions for around 50p) and makes for what feels like a positively luxurious meal.
I don’t see that budgeting has to make eating painful. And bulk cooking is definitely the way forward. So this was dinner, from the second third of a pack of mince. The pack costs £2.50 and is 800g. I add a tin of tomatoes (31p) and a box of passata (29p) along with a couple of onions. It then feeds us three times – once as spag bol, tonight as cottage pie (about £1 worth of potatoes on the top of that as Tim grabbed them from the Spar) and the third portion is in the freezer and will probably be spag bol again, though you never know.
So that’s Monday’s meals.
Tomorrow I’ll pop to Lidl and do a proper shop – I did a bit on Friday night, spent £20, but need to get for the rest of the week now. I might get a chicken and do it tomorrow night – will be around £4 but will feed Tim for lunch for several days as well. Wednesday, hm. Fish and chip luxury take out for £10.20 is under threat, as last week there was loads of waste. Someone suggested that we buy in, and instead of buying fish and chips, I’m wondering about splurging on something like a frozen selection ribs and so on, so I still get a night off, but will be half the price.
Thursday is always pizza night. I make my own dough in the breadmaker, and use passata with herbs for the topping. Around 250 g of cheddar and a pack of mozzarella are the big ticket items, and even that doesn’t seem extravagant to feed six.
Friday I’ll do either jacket potatoes or veg stew. And the other on Saturday. Sunday might well be freezer food.
And I’ll try to bring the week’s shop in at around £70 again.
How does your budget look? Got any hints and tips to share? You can check out the other #mealplanningmonday entries with Madam Ding.