Didn’t she do well?

Today I did my ‘big shop’ and I spent £31.11 and I now I have basis of most meals for two weeks. I just make everything go a very long way and I always buy the ‘value/basics’ range in which ever supermarket I use. It’s not proven to be any less nutritious and I promise you I can make anything taste good. So here is a delve into my uber-frugal world of food and making everything go a very long way.

To start with I stock take and look at what I can do with what I already have. I already have: 2 battered pieces of Pollock, 2 packs of sausages, 4 pork steaks, 3 salmon fillets. I have the basis of six meals there and will make: fish/chips and mushy peas, sausages with onion gravy, mash and veg, sausages and veggie casserole with spicy cous cous, sweet and sour pork and veggie rice, roast pork steaks with apple jelly, roast potatoes, veg and gravy, steamed salmon with cous cous and veggies. I’m going back to work on Thursday and will have much less time so I need to be stocked up and ready so I don’t have to shop.
Even though there is just the two of us at home, I still buy the family size multi-pack deals of meat – all the supermarkets are doing this now. You just pick the packs you like. They had lamb steaks and beef burgers but I always choose the best value and that which gives you the most of what you pay for.
I then divide the meat up into bags in the portion size that we’ll eat, DB eat one third more than me, so 250g of minced beef means 100g for me and 150g for him. Those are small portions, but we eat a lot of veg with our meal and three quarters of our plate will be vegetables; healthy and frugal.

I then bag everything and freeze if until I want it.
As I said, I always buy the value range and 2 kilos of chicken portions (there are ten quarters in the bag) were £2.79 so 27p per portion, I use it for casserole, pie, stew etc and it goes a very long way, I’ll even serve it as roast chicken portions if I have a large family meal to cook for.
We look at a fresh chicken as a real treat! We usually get three meals plus stock from one of them, or I can use it to feed six people for Sunday roast.
I also bulk out my budget with frozen veggies, they are just as nutritious, easy and extremely economical. The stir fry mix is especially good, the jars of sweet and sour sauce are only 30p and I have half a bag of quorn in the freezer so dinner will be quick, easy, cheap and very tasty.
So here is my menu planning for the next two weeks, I will pick and choose each day, what we fancy and I will also cook a bulk of this on Saturday ready to eat throughout the next busy week.

Breakfast – Porridge with homemade jam/toast and homemade jams/jellies/

Lunch – sandwiches, usually tuna/mayo or cheese with homemade chutney – or left overs in a Tupperware tub to reheat at work.

Snacks – homemade cakes, bakewell tart, carrot sticks

Dinners: 1- fish/chips and mushy peas, 2- sausage with onion gravy, mash and veg, 3- sausage and veggie casserole with spicy cous cous, 3 -sweet and sour pork and veggie rice, 5 -roast pork steaks with apple jelly, roast potatoes, veg and gravy. 6. steamed/grilled salmon cous cous and veggies. 7 Roast chicken, stuffing, roast spuds, veg gravy. 8. Chicken pie and veg. 9 Cottage pie and veg. 10 Lasagne and salad. 11. Spaghetti Bolognaise. 12. Pork cooked with cider and cream, with mashed potatoes and gravy. 13 Chicken casserole with veggie rice. 14. Cog au vin with roast potatoes and veggies………………….there’s plenty more besides and hopefully I can stretch out what I have even further.

‘Afters’: black berry and apple crumble and custard (I bought lots of the sachets of instant custard which are 9p a sachet and it’s more than enough for 2), I have enough blackberries in the freezer to keep us going for weeks on end.

I also have plenty of ingredients for veggie options if we get sick of meat, plenty of ingredients for cakes, biscuits and snacks and plenty of simple alternatives such as baked beans if we just want to eat them with toast. Including the ingredients we have in the house already, such as flour, UHT milk/cream then our total food spend for the two of us for most weeks is £20; which includes pet food, cleaning products and toiletries.
I feel like a frugal warrior preparing for battle and make sure I’m stocked up with the basics so I never need to pop the shops because that’s when it’s easy to let the budget slip out of control.
I also made sure I’m taken care of, I’ve scraped every last scrap of moisturiser out of the pot I have and I’m trying the version I found in Tesco today, which is similar to the product I usually buy from Lidl or Aldi; it smells wonderful and it’s one of the few toiletries that I can’t make myself. It cost £1.99 and as I saved £1.64 on the multi-buy offer today- I consider it a treat for 35p

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21 thoughts on “Didn’t she do well?

  1. Hi Nat – good for you! Now if I did that………..I wouldn't be frugal! I'm all for buying what you can afford and if you can afford it, then good for you! I am very very sceptical about how free range free range is and know that there isn't a cow in this country that's outside in the winter and they'll all be in barns being fed haylage/silage. I buy free range eggs locally for 1.50 a dozen. I also know that organic farms such as Riverford use non-union cheap East European labour, and dock their pay for the leaky caravans they live in. If you want to be ethical, then buy local – worry about organic/free range after that, if you can buy organic/free range and local, then thats best – but I bet you won't feed two people for under £20 a week for three meals a day.

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  2. You might have a point, but OH won't have a battery farmed chicken in the house so we pay more and cut back on other things.

    No offence meant, each to his own x

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  3. I certainly wasn't disagreeing with you Nat! but free range or kept in a shed; it'll live for weeks and then we eat it; I'm not sentimental I want to cook it, not keep it as a pet xxx and as you said, each to their own and I'm never offended by opinions xxx

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  4. I just read what you wrote again, I had to laugh, if we cut back any more we'd be wiping our bums on leaves!!! Read some of my blog pages and you'll see that I'm not skimping on food to put the heating on! I don't have the heating on either!

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  5. I feel really indulgent when I read yur blog, I do try to be as careful as possible but you are just amazing and so organised, I will try better in the future, doing a menu for the week is such a sensible idea.
    Love Jillx

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  6. Hey, well done you. I really must take a few pages out of your book as I seem to be throwing away around £600 a month on food/household shopping. I would like to get it down to £400.00 to start with – baby steps!. Thanks for all your tips you post. Sus x

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  7. I love the sound of Pork cooked with cider and cream♥ Perhaps you could put up the recipe one day or is it a case of cooking the pork in the cider then just before serving adding the cream?

    Working out the exchange rate twenty pounds is approx at today's rate around $35.00. I feel sad to report that I spend a lot more than that:( Mind you I blame our pets, 2 dogs and 3 cats♥

    Food for thought and as always another great frugal saving post. Linda xx

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  8. Fully agree with you about the free range thing. Nothing is more misleading than marketing and there are 'Free range' birds in this country that never see sunlight I am sure.

    I am lucky that the local CSA has truly free range hens. The coop is in the middle of a field and they have most of 160 acres to explore, only the veggie garden is off limits! They also get to live 70 days before slaughter, nearly twice the norm for a supermarket broiler! But we pay far more for the pleasure so something has to give. We eat less meat as a result.

    But as you rightly say, in all things you can only do what you can. Have you thought about keeping your own hens? I figured out today that in about 18 months the 3 hens will have recouped all the outlay for them in the beginning, sooner if I can sell the surplus eggs to friends. Startup is high though.

    Replied to your comment by the way in a lengthy comment of my own in case you haven't popped back yet. Can't wait to see how the raised beds go.

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  9. I'm from a 'farming' background, grand daughter of a farming family, ex husband an agricultural engineer and I'm surrounded by farmers. I promise you, if organic didn't attract more money , then the farmers wouldn't bother. Riverford, one of the biggest organic 'farms' in the country bring 2 arctic' trucks a day from France and 2 from Spain, they come in through Plymough and used to drive past my old house in Plymouth every day. Organic cows producing milk, are still kept in barns in the winter or they would go 'dry' in the winter cold, they are still forced to produce three times more milk a day than they would if feeding their calves.

    I have to be real, I can't afford to be as ethical as I would like, but to be truly ethical you can only be vegan. I've seen first hand that the cruelest life for any animal is to be a dairy cow, who would normally feed her calf for five months, then go dry until she had another calf. Their hips are displaced from over sized udders, their feet are in constant pain and often rot and need cutting back and treating, and that's an organic cow!! fed organic food and giving you organic milk – don't kid yourselves that you're doing animals any good by eating organic/free range- it's part of the food chain and you're going to eat it.

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  10. The very reason why I am vegan! Vegan food can be terribly frugal too! We all find our own way in the world but the only animals in my life since I was 12 have been the ones I've loved and cared for. VC – AKA veganchick.

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  11. Jesus, I stopped drinking milk a while ago after reading about some of what you say, but didn't realise it was so bad.

    Don't eat meat myself but partner does and thinks ok as organic free range but considering what you say even that is condoning.

    Frugal Queen you are educating people, I'm sorry now I was so righteous about organic

    xx

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  12. We went vegan for both frugal and ethical reasons, and I'd be very happy to blog about the details if it would help anyone…it took us a five hour car journey to discuss how and then the minute we arrived home we changed our lives for the better.
    Much healthier and happier. We don't touch processed foods.
    If my Man Wonderful can go vegan at age 59 and not look back for a second having been a red meat muncher loving rare steaks all his life to that point, then anyone can! Most days our food bill is less than £3 for three of us.
    What more incentive do you need?

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  13. I also buy all the same 'bargains' as you from Tesco, grow my own veg & get my eggs from my daughters chickens. I try & save where possible. I get loads of ideas from your blog…..Thanks! xxx

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  14. Yes, I love your blog – here in the States someke frugal blogs are not really frugal sometimes – lots of coupons for things you did nt know you needed from chain chemists. I dont buy a lot of organic as I grow quite a few vegetables. I also spend double($16) for free-range organic hens at Trader Joes. We get at least four meals out of one of them and I make stock with the bones – I dont like doing that with cheap chicken. I do buy eggs from the local lady but once a month buy a box of cheap eggs for baking. We have cut out all booze – just drink plain iced sun tea no sweetner, and water. By making my own bread and pasta sauce from my tomatoes I have more money for the organic hens. Baked beans are a life-saver though. I grew up in the U.K. and am grateful for the things I learnt during my childhood. My mother never threw away sour milk, she made scones. Nothing was ever wasted in our house and I still live like that today.

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  15. Going veggie or vegan won't make a jot of difference to meat producers – they only care about those open purses who DO buy meat. If you really want the assurance of animal welfare – then go for RSPCA Freedom Food.
    http://www.channel4.com/food/advertorial/rspca/

    Pricewise Sainsburys Basics Whole Chicken is £1.98 per Kilo, Freedom Foods £2.79 and Organic £4.99

    I have been veggie for over 30 years – the Mr is a cares-where-it-comes-from carnivore. Long story short, he eats a smaller amount of better quality meat less often 🙂

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