Can you still feed a family for £55 a week?

Neil Faulkner
by Lovemoney Staff Neil Faulkner on 10 January 2013  |  Comments 19 comments

A year on from Sainsbury's marketing campaign about how to feed a family for £55 a week, we look at whether it's still possible.

Can you still feed a family for £55 a week?

Last January I found that it was possible to feed your family for £55, but the grim contents of the shopping basket meant you would only do it if you desperately needed to, perhaps because you've got little money left till payday.

I'm going to look at this again today, but this article isn't just for the desperate. This exercise teaches all of us some useful things about food and the price we pay for it. 

What's in my basket?

It's not easy to choose a sensible basket of food on such a tight budget, but I got surprisingly few complaints last time, so I'm going to use the same basket to see whether the bare minimum could still be bought for the same amount. This gives us the added bonus of seeing how much food prices have gone up over one year. 

You can see everything I put in my shopping basket in the table at the end of this article. You can also take a look at a seven-day meal plan for these groceries by checking out my original article from last year.

You can't do it for £55 any more

Adding up the items in my grocery basket for January 2013, it now costs £59, showing that we can no longer support a small family for less than £55. (Although some readers have already suggested dandelion leaves instead of lettuce. There is always a way.) Food inflation appears to have been around 7% over the past 12 months.

Which supermarket is cheapest?

There is less than £1 difference between Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco, with all three being within a few dozen pennies of £59. Supermarkets compete very keenly on price for all of these basic foodstuffs.

The only way to know which is cheapest for your own shopping basket is to compare for yourself, which you could do through mySupermarket.co.uk

What do you get for a cheap diet?

You only have to glance through the shopping list to see the dire diet of mince meat and pasta that you might have to confine yourself to. It's pretty clear it wouldn't be much fun.

However, it could form the basis of anyone's diet, since it has pretty much all the nutrition you need, even if it's on the meagre side for a small family. The table demonstrates that, by buying the basics from the budget ranges, you might only need another £10-£15 to make the basket quite tasty and varied. 

Unfortunately, the cheapest food is often the unhealthiest, particularly in terms of salt. Some of the cheese spreads, for example, have four times as much salt as other cheese spreads, with an absolutely massive 2g of salt per 100g of cheese spread. Say hello to an early death (or read what the NHS has to say in Salt: the facts).

You probably have to buy foodstuffs that aren't to your tastes too. I chose Dutch Gouda and Edam to keep the cheese price down, but these cheeses taste just like I imagine plastic does (I am not even joking when I say I'd rather eat the non-toxic wax wrapper on Mini Babybels than that brand of Edam cheese itself, given a choice).

What we can all learn from this

Whether you really need to cut back on spending or not, it always makes sense to at least take a look at the budget items. I thought I always did, but writing this article has shown me that I sometimes still unthinkingly go for well-known brands.

The cheapest tea bags from these three supermarkets cost around 1/8th the price of leading brands, for example. All three supermarkets' budget ranges cost 27p per 80 tea bags. With Sainsbury's even being Fairtrade, I won't be paying £2 for 80 PG Tips again.

Buying in bulk

It was very clear when comparing all these prices that you can make savings by buying in bulk, although occasionally the smaller packets were cheaper.

To see what value you're getting, don't just look at the headline prices. Look at the price per litre, price per 100g or price per kg. Sometimes you might instead be shown the price per item, e.g. per egg if it is a box of eggs.

Our austere shopping basket

Item description

Item cost in Jan 2013

Item cost in Jan 2012*

Quantity

Range/brand

 

White/wholemeal/brown bread (800g)

Asda: £0.47

Sainsbury's: £0.50

Tesco: £0.50

Average: £0.49

£0.47

5

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Skimmed/semi-skimmed/whole milk (1l)

All: £0.53

£0.81

7

Asda: Asda and Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's and Sainsbury's Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Free range eggs (15; Tesco 18)

Asda: £3.00

Sainsbury's: £3.10

Tesco: £2.99

Average: £3.03

£2.89

1

Asda: Asda

Sainsbury's: Noble Foods

Tesco: Farm Price

Processed cheese spread (300g)

Asda: £0.74

Sainsbury's: £0.75

Tesco: £1.20

Average: £0.90

£0.86

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Philadelphia

Mature cheddar (400g; Sainsbury's 385g)

Asda: £2.50

Sainsbury's: £1.94

Tesco: £1.99

Average: £2.14

£1.99

1

Asda: The Black Farmer

Sainsbury's: Taw Valley

Tesco: Creamfields

Dutch gouda (250g)

Asda: £1.50

Sainsbury's: £1.50

Tesco: £0.95

Average: £1.32

£1.18

2

Asda: Chosen By You

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Creamfields

Mild Edam slices (400g; Tesco 500g)

Asda: £2.08

Sainsbury's: £2.28

Tesco: £1.90

Average: £2.09

£1.95

1

Asda: Chosen By You

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Creamfields

Tzatziki (Asda 200g; Sainsbury's 230g; Tesco 211g)

Asda: £0.85

Sainsbury's: £1.09

Tesco: £1.10

Average: £1.01

£1.00

2

Asda: Asda

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Tesco

Fruit yoghurts – 2+ flavours (125g x 4)

Asda: £0.39

Sainsbury's: £0.60

Tesco: £0.39

Average: £0.46

£1.35

3

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Apples (1.4kg-1.45kg – 8 to 11 apples)

Asda: £1.40

Sainsbury's: £1.50

Tesco: £2.80

Average: £1.90

£1.50

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Granny Smith

Bananas (8; Asda 10)

Asda: £1.40

Sainsbury's: £1.15

Tesco: £1.15

Average: £1.23

£1.15

1

Asda: Asda

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Clementines (6-8)

Asda: £1.50

Sainsbury's: £1.07

Tesco: £1.00

Average: £1.19

£1.00

1

Asda: Asda

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Tesco

Tomatoes (450g; Tesco 500g)

All: £0.90

£0.72

2

Asda: Asda Loose

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's Loose

Tesco: Tesco

Iceberg lettuce (2)

Asda: £1.00

Sainsbury's: £0.90

Tesco: £1.00

Average: £0.97

£1.50

1

Asda: Asda

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Tesco

Peppers (600g; 700g Asda)

Asda: £1.38

Sainsbury's: £1.33

Tesco: no data

Average: £1.36

£1.50

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: no data

Potatoes (2.5kg)

Asda: £1.90

Sainsbury's: £1.95

Tesco: £1.90

Average: £1.92

£1.00

2

Asda: Asda

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Tesco

Broccoli (300g; Sainsbury's 325g; Tesco 380g)

Asda: £0.75

Sainsbury's: £0.81

Tesco: £0.95

Average: £0.84

£0.80

1

Asda: Loose

Sainsbury's: Loose

Tesco: Loose

Mushrooms (400g; Asda 750g)

Asda: £1.15

Sainsbury's: £0.97

Tesco: £1.25

Average: £1.12

£0.95

2

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Frozen peas (1.8kg-2kg)

Asda: £2.00

Sainsbury's: £2.30

Tesco: £2.30

Average: £2.20

£1.70

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Tesco

Frozen baby carrots (1kg)

Asda: £1.00

Sainsbury's: £1.10

Tesco: £1.10

Average: £1.07

£1.00

1

Asda: Chosen By You

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Tesco

Monkey nuts (500g)

Asda: no data

Sainsbury's: £1.88

Tesco: £2.00

Average: £1.94

£1.69

1

Asda: no data

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Tesco Whole Foods

Beef mince (400g; Asda 454g)

Asda: £1.25

Sainsbury's: £1.17

Tesco: no data

Average: £1.21

£1.20

4

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: no data

Sausages (454g/8; Asda 680g/12)

Asda: £0.88

Sainsbury's: £0.65

Tesco: £0.61

Average: £0.71

£0.53

2

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Kipper fillets (220g x 2)

Asda: no data

Sainsbury's: £2.00

Tesco: no data

Average: £2.00

£2.00

2

Asda: no data

Sainsbury's: Saisnbury's

Tesco: no data

Strawberry jam (454g)

Asda: £0.29

Sainsbury's: £0.35

Tesco: £0.35

Average: £0.33

£0.35

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Clear honey (340g)

Asda: no data

Sainsbury's: £0.99

Tesco: £0.99

Average: £0.99

£0.99

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Muesli (1kg)

All: £1.18

£0.94

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Tea bags (80)

All: £0.27

£0.27

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics Fairtrade

Tesco: Everyday Value

Pasta from free-range eggs (500g)

Asda: no data

Sainsbury's: £1.05

Tesco: £1.20

Average: £1.13

N/A

1

Asda: no data

Sainsbury's: Sainsbury's

Tesco: Tesco

Long grain rice (1kg)

All: £0.40

£0.65

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Spaghetti (1kg)

Asda: £0.60

Sainsbury's: £0.78

Tesco: £0.78

Average: £0.72

£0.35

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Tomato sauce (440g-454g)

All: £0.39

£0.39

2

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Ragu

Tesco: Everyday Value

Cream substitute (284ml)

Asda: £0.60

Sainsbury's: £0.60

Tesco: £0.65

Average: £0.62

£0.55

2

Asda: Elmlea

Sainsbury's: Elmlea

Tesco: Elmlea

Custard cream biscuits (400g)

Asda: £0.31

Sainsbury's: £0.40

Tesco: £0.40

Average: £0.37

£0.45

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

Bourbon cream biscuits (400g)

Asda: £0.40

Sainsbury's: £0.40

Tesco: £0.55

Average: £0.45

£0.49

1

Asda: Smartprice

Sainsbury's: Basics

Tesco: Everyday Value

*Last year's prices are based on Sainsbury's only

Data from MySupermarket

Aldi and Lidl were asked for their help with this article but failed to respond in time

More on food:

Feed your family for £55 a week

Supermarkets agree new code to clean up 'discount' cons

The big supermarkets' price checking services compared

Which?: The four ways supermarkets con shoppers

Frugal Food

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Comments (19)

  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    Dandelion leaves? What patronising tosh. Unless you are lazy, feckless and stupid you can feed a family (extremely well) for far less than £55 a week. Buy bargains and reduced items and ditch ready meals unless they are 75% off in the reductions cabinet - even then, add extra wholesome ingredients. Stop being a food brand snob and realise it all ends up pretty much the same colour and out of the same orifice we all have. Learn to cook competently and your Chinese, Indian and Mexican food will make your family beg for home cooking instead of meals out.

    Report on 10 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  3 loves
  • windra
    Love rating 6
    windra said

    IMO eating well costs a vast amount more than eating rubbish and I find the above post very offensive. I am neither lazy,feckless or stupid.

    My partner and I eat 5-7 veggies a day,cook every meal from scratch including 'takeaway' style curries and limit packaged goods as much as possible. We eat lean meat or fish most evenings with a veggie night once a week. We eat salads most days for lunch. We buy in bulk from costco, it's a shame they don't sell healthy items like brown rice though.

    We spend on average £90-100 a week in the supermarket, and although this is something we can afford I can't imagine how some people can feed a whole family their 5-a-day without resorting to eating the most basic and pre-processed foods.

    Most of the money goes on meat,vegetables and salad. It seems ridiculous that 20 frozen sausages cost less than a head of broccoli ,that you can buy a huge amount of chicken nuggets for the price of a whole chicken and that frozen chips are cheaper per k/g than plain potatoes.

    It might be possible to live on less but I don't see my diet asanything close to extravegant, we see it as neccecary for good health and if we have to spend our money on something it might as well be that.

    Report on 13 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • achilles1960
    Love rating 2
    achilles1960 said

    Apart from petrol costs, I find Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and a freezer is the biggest money saver-I try not to buy meat unless it's been reduced and then I freeze it until it's needed- it also makes food more varied and fun (How do you cook quail? What can you do with a kilo of raspberries?) My biggest gripe is Tescos butter- their basic range is usually 98p, but just before a promotion, they whop it up to £1.19- so I'm making room in the freezer for whatever butter is next to go on "buy 2 for £2".

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  • tommyenn
    Love rating 0
    tommyenn said

    It'd be great to have a meal plan using the items purchased. Then others could suggest their own inventive recipes and substitutions.

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  • cheltenhamgal
    Love rating 0
    cheltenhamgal said

    You obviously haven't even gone into the supermarkets to research this just asked the different supermarkets to comment.

    This shopping basket is definitely doable under £55.

    A 4 pint of milk is more cost effective at 98p in Lidl, or £1 in Iceland.

    Non Free Range eggs are £1.25 for 15 in Iceland

    Dutch Gouda and Edam are both cheaper in Lidl, I just cannot remember the price approx. 99p or £1.25

    You can get a bag of apples in Iceland or Lidl for approx. £1 for about 8-10 apples

    You can get a Living Lettuce in Lidl for 89p, which you water and lasts for ages.

    2.5kg of Potatoes in Iceland are £1.75

    Large bag of frozen peas in Iceland is £1, a pack of Spaghetti in Lidl is 49p.

    Use Creme Fraiche in pasta sauces instead of cream, 59p for a small tub, healthier too.

    Check out "A Penny Pinching Guide" on Facebook for a more realistic look at budgeting, this is a non-profit making page

    I realise that my list obviously isn't on a like-like basis but if you want to cut back and save money it is possible.

    Report on 13 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • cheltenhamgal
    Love rating 0
    cheltenhamgal said

    Have one day a week Meat Free, healthier for the body and the purse, by searching around you can fee a family on less than £55. Especially if you have a well stocked store cupboard, with herbs, spices, rice, pasta etc. We don't all have the option of having £55 per week to spend ! so have to be inventive.

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  • bunty
    Love rating 14
    bunty said

    Just 3 words - Just use Lydl.

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  • kaz1147
    Love rating 1
    kaz1147 said

    The biggest problem I think is that people have forgotten or have never been taught how to cook good basic food Feeding a family of four on £55.00 a week is easily achievable if you know how to shop and cook well. I am in the process of setting up a charitable organisation that teaches people how to do it and eat 90% good fresh food ! Last week 5 of the evening meals I made cost less than £15.00 for all ! If you want to know more please email me on kaz1147@aol.com and happy cooking !

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  • cheltenhamgal
    Love rating 0
    cheltenhamgal said

    I'm a trained Chef even though I now work as a Travel Consultant so obviously have an advantage, that is why I set up "A Penny Pinching Guide" so that I can share my expertise

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  • Ginnymay
    Love rating 39
    Ginnymay said

    Some odd items on that list, eg why buy ready-made tzatziki - grate a bit of cucumber in natural yoghurt with some garlic, and use the rest of the cucumber in a salad. Buy a large tub of natural yogurt and add a bit of the strawberry jam, that way you get the tzatziki and a cheaper dessert yogurt so long as you are careful with portion control. And fresh carrots will be cheap, why buy frozen? Also better to buy seasonal veg, tends to be cheaper, eg greens instead of peppers.Aldi and Lidl often have cheaper and sometimes nicer items than the main supermarkets - try Bramwell's mayonnaise, a Which best buy, cheaper than Hellman's and actually tastes like homemade. And Lidl's seconds shapes of veg taste just as good and load cheaper. Still wouldn't like to have to cater for a family for £55a week AND give them some interesting food, though. What about some flour, sugar and butter - you could make some cakes, biscuits and pies, and won't break the bank if you buy the economy ranges.

    Report on 13 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Mike10613
    Love rating 626
    Mike10613 said

    One of the main problems is the price of fruit and vegetables has gone up. The government might recommend 5 a day, but few families can afford it. When I was a child, we grew veggies in the garden for a family of 9 of us! That's OK if you have the garden, the health and skills to do that. People also helped one another years ago. People didn't buy flowers from the supermarket, they got them from the garden or a neighbours garden. There were no supermarkets hardly, we had small shops, the baker, grocer and greengrocer. Do we have a better quality of life now, with technology, civic centres and a greed driven society? I think my local hospital is great compared to years ago, but have never actually been to the civic centre, it's miles away and a waste of space.

    Maybe, we need some values from the past and less greed and corruption? Maybe politicians can learn from the doctors and nurses who tend to serve the people, not exploit the people?

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  • culluding-fool
    Love rating 60
    culluding-fool said

    I have £35 per week after paying bills. That pays for food, cleaning products, school trips, clothing (including school uniform), travel to the nearest supermarket or Tesco delivery, and any other expenses than come up for myself and my five year old daughter. I can't afford to go supermarket to supermarket to buy the cheapest in each, as suggested by cheltenhamgal because I would spend far on on travel costs than I could possibly save. Our nearest supermarket is ten miles away, and the distance between the various supermarkets is a good few miles so I use Tesco because it is cheaper when getting all my shopping in one place.

    Up to now we have managed by cutting out more and more 'luxury foods' as the prices go up. We hardly ever eat meat now but have started growing sprouts (not brussel sprouts), which are not only an extremely cheap form of food but also very healthy. They take just three days to grow in a jar and taste a bit like juicy nuts. I have also cut out most sauces, leaving just brown and red sauce. I don't do ready meals and eat as little processed food as possible. I have a tiny garden but manage to save a few pounds by growing some veggies in the summer, plus I have planted a couple of fruit trees because fruit is one thing I find very pricey.

    I have no idea how we are going to cope after March with the amount of council tax I have to pay rising by 'up to' £11 per week (the letter from the council says that they are unable to give me an exact figure yet...). £11 is a third of my weekly budget so I will have to make some serious choices. My daughter's dance classes come to £7 per week plus clothes, so I could stop those. Or I could stop paying the £45 per month to my catalogue account and use that. Or stop paying for electricity, gas, water, credit card, etc. Oh, there is the 71p/week 1% increase that the government has promised, so I should also take that into consideration...

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  • Steviebaby1959
    Love rating 34
    Steviebaby1959 said

    Yes, we all remember the price differences you commented on in January 2012, however, we don't all shop at Sainsburys, Tesco's, or, Asda, what about doing price comparisons for the other major stores, we all have at least one of these within a bus/car journey, there's Iceland, Costco, Co-Op, Aldi, Lidl and Morrisons, who I frequent very regularly, I can eat for a month for less than £55 by not going to the big rip off supermarket chains and I suggest you offer your lovemoney readers some alternatives, to enable us to make an informed decision on food price budgeting, as for where you can stick your tzatziki and monkey nuts, I'll leave my fellow readers to come up with their own answers.

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  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    @windra

    You certainly must fit one or more of my criteria if you think shopping at Costco is cost effective. The article is a table of comparisons and suggests choices of supermarket, so I'll say that my particular location with numerous supermarkets in a small town makes for a scenario as to what is possible. Those who live in the countryside may well have different problems. Most of the vast amount of fresh food I buy is bought when it has been considerably reduced in price. From 75% off down to even 5p per item at Asda and 10p per item at Tesco. I don't engage in the manic food scrums which can be a issue at certain times and I make a point of trying to avoid crowding staff which they can find intimidating. I give food to my neighbour and several other families on a regular basis and we all have stacked freezers. I don't just buy fresh produce at reduced prices, there are often stock range changes in supermarkets and as an example I have a cupboard full of olive oil dated to 2014 which was a quarter of original price. Home Bargains and B & M stores have many items at half the price of leading supermarkets. Familes who think their five a day must include winter strawberries from Kenya may well struggle to afford their quota, but there is absolutely no excuse for poor nutrition in this country for the vast majority who have access to a choice of shops.

    @Mike

    Unless you are referring to doctors and nurses working for charities overseas, I think you need to look at the pay scales for professionals in the NHS and review the BMW's, Mercedes and Jags parked in the staff parking areas. I know my particular MP works a lot harder than any of the GP's in my local surgery and he is paid a hell of a lot less. In which particular era of the past was there less greed and corruption? Quality of life is surely also what you make it - society and the masses of sheep out there don't force your individual choices.

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  • cheltenhamgal
    Love rating 0
    cheltenhamgal said

    Culloding-fool, I don't drive either. I am lucky enough to have a Lidl and an Iceland within walking distance and a small Tesco, the Aldi is a 90mins round walk but I combine it with visiting a mate. Or I cycle weather permitting therefore I don't pay for bus fares or taxi's otherwise it wouldn't be worth the savings. It is obviously a lot easier as I live near the centre of town.

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  • Tanni
    Love rating 92
    Tanni said

    There are other places to shop than just supermarkets. You need to change your job if you only get time to shop at supermarkets. Your time is precious so make the most of it and do not let time dictate the quality of your life or diet.

    Fruit/veg markets and stalls offer great value fresh produce.

    Meat/fish markets offer fresh,lean quality meat products.

    Farms offer great eggs,fresh creamy milk and quality butter.

    Prepare and cook your own meals. Eat healthy and save money.

    That's how we used to do things prior to supermarkets and processed foods.

    Make your own juices and soft drinks. Freshest and funkiest juices are healthy and cheap.

    Note some of these farmers,stall holders will even deliver the goods to you so tell your neighbours,family and friends and get supporting local produce

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  • guardian1
    Love rating 9
    guardian1 said

    The advice about not using supermarkets for all items is spot on. They might be cheaper for some basics like tinned tomatoes and baked beans, but fresh fruit and veg is always, in my experience, much cheaper in the market. I got a bag of about 8 red, yellow and orange peppers for £1.00 in my local market recently, which would have cost over a fiver for the same amount/weight in the supermarket (plus I didn't want any green ones which always seem to be included in multi packs). Made fabulous roasted pepper, tomato and lentil soup - enough for about 6 generous portions. Also, deep discounters are a great place to buy basics such as toilet rolls, washing up liquid etc and - my local Aldi and Lidl stores both sell free range chickens for £4.99 - that's about 3 quid cheaper than the equivalent at my two nearest 'mainstream' supermarkets.

    We wanted a turkey for Xmas dinner - Aldi price £27, local supermarket £38 for same sized bird. Granted, £27 is still a lot of money, but more than a tenner cheaper than the mainstream price.

    I rarely buy chicken portions these days - a whole chicken is cheaper and we manage at least two main meals from it for our small family (roast dinner one day and chicken fried rice, with lots of veg in it the next).

    It's time the major supermarkets were shown that we won't been hoodwinked into paying their (fixed) prices any longer, then they may be forced to lower their prices in line with alternative suppliers

    Report on 14 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • kaz1147
    Love rating 1
    kaz1147 said

    These 3 evening meals to feed a family of 4 cost a grand total of £13.80 at today's prices !!!

    Buy the largest chicken you can around £6.00 veg for a roast maybe mashed carrot and swede and a packet of own brand stuffing which is around 26p. Use just the breast for your roast (there should be enough one one breast for 4 of you) Day two use the other breast to make a chicken and mushroom pie (use some of one of the legs if need be) Put butter in a pan add lots of mushrooms (buy the economy packs ) saving some to use in an omelette for your lunch.and saute until they are cooked making sure there is still some butter in the bottom of the pan then add a desert spoon of cornflour and cook in the butter till you make a roux (the butter and cornflour come together) take it off and add milk bit by bit stirring all the time to make sure there are no lumps. When you get to a fairly thick consistency stir in the chopped chicken breast (you may need to add more milk as the chicken will thicken it up) and add seasoning to taste.Using a packet of shortcrust pastry mix (own brand around 64p) make the pastry and roll out to make the top and bottom on an average sized dinner plate.Put the bottom layer on the plate pile the chicken and mushroom mix on top, dampen the edges to make it stick and put the top layer on crimping the edges with your fingers. Buy frozen chips again around 64p and put the pie and the chips in the oven at the same temperature Open a tin of peas to warm up and it will all be ready in around 20 mins.Day 3 is my families favourite ! chicken broth and dumplings On day two strip as much meat off the chicken carcass including legs and wings etc then put it in the fridge covered with foil. Put what is left of the chicken into a big pan and bring to the boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Next day about an our before you want to eat carefully lift the carcass out of the pan and check the broth for any stray bones. Put it on to boil again and add hard veg (carrots swede parsnips and onions etc) and boil for around 15 minutes Peel a few potatoes and cut into chunks (try and make all your veg a similar size to ensure even cooking) season as you go adding a little with each addition. Add the potatoes after the first fifteen minutes along with any soft veg you may want to use ie celery leeks etc I tend to save all left over veg for this over the previous week. While the last of the veg is cooking either make up a packet of dumpling mix or make your own using my grannies recipe which is. Put around half a pound of self raising flour in a bowl add 50-75 grams of butter broken into pieces and rub through as if you were making pastry lifting it high into the air to make it lighter clench your hand with the mix in it if it sticks together its ok if it doesn't add a little more butter. When it is ready add enough very cold water to bring it together and form into decent sized balls drop these into the broth and turn down to a simmer cook for 7-1/2 minutes and turn over and cook for another 7-!/2 minutes Serve and enjoy !

    Report on 14 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • oldhenry
    Love rating 343
    oldhenry said

    This article has really brought the 'Monty Python' types out - you sucked on a piece of damp cloth , couldn't afford a cup!

    You do need time to find the bargains and need to be near a town, not a city. In the midlands where I live, Farm Foods is a great shop, that, combined with the wekly markets enables us to get a lot of food a t far less than Tesco. I do grow veg and almost self sufficient in potatoes. i bottle tomatoes for winter too. Dandelions do not grow in winter so don't rely on those, but in summer you can eat mine!

    I do feel sorry for thise that are sufferring Council Tax benefit cuts due to the fact that the UK is a busted flush. sadly benefits were allowed to grow like topsy over many years and when the credit bubble bust the government ( the last one and this one) found there was nothing in it, eevn the hot air was gone.

    Report on 15 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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