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Can I feed my family on £15 a week per person?

Okay here’s my summary of the week.  Whilst yes I do believe I could l feed each member of my family for £15 for the week, especially over a period of time.  I really didn’t enjoy this experience at all.  I did let you know I’m not the best cook, nor am I the most adventurous cook or eater.

I felt restricted and I also didn’t feel we had enough fruit.  Both my son and I love fruit so I always want to make sure we have enough.

I ended up going shopping again on Friday and buying lots of fruit and a few treats (not so unhealthy) like Palma ham and melon.  It’s not the cheapest but it’s a favourite.

So my verdict is yes.  If I had to, I think I could definitely feed my son and I for a week on £30 a week for food.   I don’t want to though and thankfully I don’t have to.  I do know that many families across the UK and worldwide do need to do this though.  So PLEASE do share your eating well on less meal tips below in the comments.  These will prove to be highly valuable over time.

As for me this experiment has been an eye opener.  I do feel I waste money on food and also waste food.  Also with a view to being healthier in 2014 I do need to make some better choices.  So my new plan of action is to ask the following questions as I shop for food.

Do I love it?

Do I need it?

Will it help me achieve my goal of eating a healthier diet?

For me I think this will prove to be a more effective way of shopping.  When I read about living a minimalistic life, the same thing is repeating over and over (maybe in different words).  ~ Only allow it into your life if you really want it.  This is also a match for living a law of attraction life too.  Both of which are highly important to me.

So my week of eating well on less didn’t go as planned but was it wasted time?  Absolutely not because it made me focus on how I’ve been spending on food, what I’ve actually been buying and what changes I still want to make to improve my life and my son’s.

Please share your ideas for eating well on less and conscious living below.

Wendy

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Eat Well on Less ~ Shopping

Okay this was the plan ~ Go shopping with my list and £30.

Well as often happens in real life with kids our day turned out to be slightly hectic.  So our calm shopping trip turned out to be a rush job.

‘So did I stick to my £30 budget?

Well that’s a big fat NOPE!!!

In fact I spent £56.  Pretty disastrous.  Or so it first appeared but stick with me and I will hopefully redeem myself slightly.

So what went wrong?

3 things really.

1st I took my son with me and that’s never a great idea.

2nd I didn’t (as planned) go with cash to avoid overspending.

3rd I gave in to those buy 3 for … offers.  However as you’ll see as you read on I’d actually quite pleased with this.

So let’s have a look at what happened.  

Firstly not all of the £56 went on food.  I knew I had cleaning products, toilet roll etc to buy too.

Secondly I’ve bought more of some things than I will use in 1 week.

I have enough chicken, orange juice, water, weetabix and milk to last at least 2 weeks.  I buy Cravendale milk which is good in the fridge until the 20th January and lasts a week once opened.

I have to say I was pretty annoyed with myself for my lack of control when I got home.  Then I took a deep breath and sat down with my bill.  I worked out what I’d be using this week.

The total came to £24.15 Not at all bad when it’s broken down.

I don’t have eggs (I buy them from the local garden center) These are £1.15 for 6 and I’ll need to buy apples and bananas still as the fruit shelves were a bit sparse.

So although I actually overspent on the day, I’m pleased that I was much more conscious of what I was buying and I have food to last me a good couple of weeks.  I will need to top up next week with fruit and veg again but this is certainly an improvement.

Our meals for today

Breakfast ~ Cereal, milk and orange juice

Lunch ~ Chicken and noodle soup with bread

Evening meal ~ Gammon, baked potatoes and beans (JM had leftover Christmas biscuits for pudding)

Snacks ~ Fruit

No pack up today as school only starts tomorrow.

 

I’ll keep a track of my weeks meals and post them at the end of the week.

Please let me know if you succeeded with the £15 per person food shopping?  Also please share you tips for eating well on less.

 

Eat well on less ~ Planning

Tomorrow is shopping day and the first day of my week of eating well for less. Whether you’re feeding your family on a budget or want to keep a better track of what you eat, I’d love you to join in with me on this week of ‘Eating Well For Less.’  At this stage I have absolutely no idea how this week will go but after searching online and to be quite honest not being inspired by the often weird food ideas that were offered on a budget, I decided to jump in and give it a go myself.

I consider myself to be an average mum food wise. I don’t do major junk food but by the same token fishfingers do appear on my weekly menu and yes my son does take a bag of crisps to school with him each day.

Now I must point out that my goal here is not to become the world’s best or healthiest cook but instead eat a reasonably good, balanced diet on less. £15 per week to be precise.

I like meat with our evening meals most nights, breakfasts are usually cereal (hot or cold), toast, (eggs or beans) and orange juice. My son takes a snack pack (small pack up) to school with him and I usually have something like soup, salad or sandwiches for lunch. We like plenty of fruit and plenty of veg.

So here’s the plan

1. Allow £15 per person in the family. So for my son and I that’s £30 for the week.

2. Shop once only. As I have already worked out that my midweek top ups are what cause my big overspending.

3. Plan meals for the week and go armed with a shopping list.

4. Use up anything left in the cupboards, fridge freezer (Which I can tell you are looking pretty empty.

I think that’s it. I’ve never done this before so here goes.

Breakfast supplies

Weetabix, milk, orange juice, bread, eggs. I have beans in the cupboard.

Lunch

Homemade veg soup. I have access to a few free veggies (my uncle grows them)
Eggs
Tuna
Salad
Pasta

Main meals

Chicken (2 nights)
Burgers (high quality from the local butcher not cheap and nasty ones)
Shepherd pie (will last 2 nights)
Fish fingers
Small joint of meat??? See what’s on offer at butchers.

Pack ups
Sandwiches
Crisps
Wafer
Mini bread sticks
Fruit/veg sticks
Water

Snacks
Fruit
Brazil nuts
Veg sticks
Plain biscuits

Cordial

Shopping list
Weetabix
Milk x3
Bread x3
Orange Juice
Eggs
Carrots
Cucumber
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Pasta
Mushrooms
2 large or 4 small chicken breasts
2 burgers
Small join of meat
Fruits
Brazil nuts
Wafers
Plain biscuits
Cordial

Okay I know this is a slightly vague meal plan and shopping list but as I’ve never done this before I’m going to have to “Wing it” as I go along. I do have some of the things I need and I can get quite a bit of veg for free so I’m making the most of that.

I’m going with £30 so that I can’t overspend. So I realistically have no idea what I will actually come home with.

Please do let me know if you’re going to have a go too.

I’ll let you know how I get on tomorrow.

Eating Well on Less. The idea.

My goals for 2014 are simple this year.  Sort my finances and lose weight (well more specifically be healthier). Last year I started monitoring my spending and I consider myself to live a frugally happy life.  For those of you who don’t know my meaning of this it’s spending money and time on those things that are really important and special to me.  I do not do cheap and nasty and I do not intend to miss out on things I really want and love.  However through writing my spending down over a few months last year (admittedly some times I forgot), I became quite shockingly aware of how much I was spending on food.  The rough amount I thought I spent of around £50 a week for my son and I was way off.  

I’d been wearing those rose coloured glasses I bought in that perfect world.  Needless to say I was very shocked at just how much I was really spending.  One week I spent nearly £200.  No special events, no extravagant meals, I have no idea what happened and I certainly didn’t get to the end of the week and think “Wow, that was a wonderful week of delicious meals that we really enjoyed.”

£200 of my hard earned money on food that I couldn’t even remember being at all special.  😦

I know exactly what’s been happening.  I’d go and do my weekly shop and think “That’s okay.  I’ve only spent…” but then I’d call in for milk or bread or pack up supplies during the week and come out with those special offers that were too good to miss, a chocolate bar each for me and JM which we really didn’t need (no good for my waistline or my son’s behaviour).

This is a stark contrast to the way I spend in all other areas of my life which goes pretty much like this:

If I don’t absolutely love it or need it then I don’t buy it.                                                                                          It’s really very simple and I love this way of living. 

So tonight I’ve been looking around the internet to find ways to eat well on less.  To be honest I’ve not been inspired.  I’m certainly not ready for chickpea spread sandwiches.  No offence if you love these but they don’t inspire me one little bit.

There has to be a better way to eat well on less.

I’ve been away for Christmas and New Year and have just returned home today.  I’ve got a few things in the cupboards such as tins of baked beans, tinned fruit, a couple of tins of soup and some packet mixes (soup, sauces) and I’ve got a half full normal sized freezer full of bits and bobs.  Some cheese and orange juice in the fridge, a few bits of fruit and veg.  Normally I’d just go out and do a “Big shop”.  If I’m being totally honest I’d made a shopping list.  At a rough guess it would have been about £90 maybe even more.

Then I stopped and had one of those “THIS IS CRAZZZZY!!!!” moments.

Tomorrow I’m going to the local co-op and buying milk, a bottle of cordial, bread, a few more vegetables and fruit.  I’m going in with £10 so that I’m not tempted.

It’s Friday evening now and I like to do my weekly shop on a Monday, so I’ll just buy enough to last the weekend.  And as JM starts back to school on Tuesday this works out great for the pack ups.

I’ve also come up with a nifty idea (well at least I like it) to stop me  running out of pack up.  I’m going to make up Snack packs for each day, bag them up and seal them so that I just need to add a piece of fruit and a sandwich each day.

Before I go shopping on Monday I’m going to do a stock take of all the food and drink I have and plan our meals for the week.

I’m setting myself a budget of £30 for the week and see if I can stick to it.  My cupboards etc, with be pretty much bare so this is going to be a real challenge for me and I don’t intend to eat food I don’t like or that I consider to be unhealthy.  I’m not a fan of ready meals but by the same token I’m far from the worlds greatest cook.  I like fairly simple food without too much fuss.

I’d love you to join in with me and see if you can eat well on less.

I’d love you to let me know roughly how much you think you’ve been spending on food each week and if you want to have a go at eating for less allowing £15 per person in your family then please let me know.

I have no idea how this is going to go right now but I’m planning on giving it a shot.  I’m focusing on spending wisely on good food rather than cheap convenience.

You can sign up for my blog by email to keep track of how I’m doing if you want to join in.  See the box to the side (right).  Please feel free to share your own tips and ideas and most importantly just let me know if your joining me on my quest to eat well on less.

Best wishes

Wendy