Mum feeds family-of-five for just £50 a week by cooking meals costing under £2
With food prices on the rise and many of us feeling the pinch before Christmas, feeding a family can feel like it costs an arm and a leg.
But, with some extra planning it can be cheap as chips as proven by one thrifty mum who feeds her family-of-five with £2 meals every day.
Gemma Brooks, 32, from Hertfordshire, sounds about £50 a week on the food shop to feed her and her partner and her three children aged nine, five and two.
But, to make sure there’s enough to go around for such a low price she plans all meals in advance and makes sure each meal comes in at under £2.
She told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "It’s easy if you plan your meals in advance – I write mine up on a whiteboard in the kitchen.
"I do my weekly shop at Tesco – I have tried other supermarkets but have found that Tesco works out cheaper while keeping a certain quality to the food."
Gemma added: "I meal plan and put a list together in my online basket and adjust depending on what I already have in the house. I find that taking the time to plan saves loads of cash in the long run.
"Essentially the pattern is that I only need to spend a couple of pounds per recipe while making use of existing supplies in the food cupboard and freezer.”
She continued: "In total I only spent around £30 for my food shop including basics such as cereals and bread. I then had £20 to carry over for the next week or spend on a value pack of meat in the future."
Gemma also saves money by buying meat in bulk. Whenever money is leftover from the weekly shop she saves it and puts it towards big meat orders.
The mum commented: “I will order a bulk load of meat from Best Meat as they have some amazing deals and the quality is really good.
"For example, they do a week’s worth of meat for meals for £30 which I can make stretch even further. It will also free up some of the budget for weeks after as I don't need to buy meat in the shop."
Gemma doesn’t rely on yellow sticker deals either because you can’t guarantee you get any.
She added: “You can't reliably feed your family on discounts as you really can't guarantee when and what is going to be available and what is may not always be suitable for your household.
"If you plan ahead and get creative you can make food stretch. I will also try to put aside one morning a week to use up anything I may have that is reaching its use by date and cook/bake to all be placed into the freezer ready for a quicker hassle free meal another time.”
Gemma doesn’t avoid more expensive ingredients either.
She said: "Frozen salmon fillets are a great way to be able to get salmon into your diet while sticking to your budget.
"A pack of frozen fillets costs me £3.30 in Tesco but buying similar amounts in the chilled section easily costs a couple of pounds more."
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Meals Gemma likes to cook include risotto, cheese and onion pie with beans and mash, curry and rice, lasagne, sausage and mash and more.
The mum said: "Buying a single portion of pre-made risotto costs £2.50 on average – I have all the other ingredients at home already so I only need to spend £2 to create a full meal for the whole family.
"I can pick up 14 pork sausages for £2 in Iceland, and I have potatoes and veggies in the freezer.
“As for the cheese and onion pie, I can pick up cheddar and eggs to make it from scratch – I already have onion, butter and flour to complete the recipe."
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