To avoid waste and minimise expenditure, you need to take a view over a month of what you are likely to need in the way of food. To that end, I have devised a monthly menu plan for a family’s evening meals, which I have linked to related weekly shopping lists, designed for precisely this purpose. It should feed a family of four, where each family member is out at work or school during weekdays, and getting a school dinner or a light mid-day meal at work, but having lunch at home at the weekends. In addition to the meals listed in each weekly menu plan (see in the Food and Cooking Category), a healthy breakfast on a budget could be chosen from the following options, avoiding expensive branded cereals:
- Porridge (add cinnamon and/or raisins for a treat)
- Toast and Marmite, jam or marmalade
- Boiled egg and soldiers
- Baked beans on toast
- Yoghurt with banana
- Stewed apple and yoghurt – see my post on Austerity breakfast recipes.
- Birchermuesli – ditto, see the Austerity breakfast recipe post.
- Apple or orange juice (diluted for children to protect their teeth)
- Hot or cold milk, tea or coffee
Ignore fiddly packed lunch recipes in fancy books aimed at fictitious yummy mummies with time and money to waste. Simple and cheap packed lunches for children could contain things like this, and they are just as likely to eat the contents.
- Ham or cheese sandwich
- Apple or satsuma
- Carrot sticks
- A piece of home made fruit cake or flapjack (see recipes)
- Some diluted fruit juice in a reusable metal water bottle.
You can compare the cost of shopping online using price comparison websites such as http://www.mysupermarket.com. A healthy and sustainable housekeeping budget at 2010 prices, using leading supermarkets, is something in the region of £25 per person per week for parts of London and the South East (considerably less in some other regions), although this should be seen in monthly terms as some weeks you will spend a lot more than others. This budget includes food from the monthly menu plan as well as breakfasts and packed lunches, cleaning materials, and everything you need to do the laundry, as well as basic toiletries.
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