I’m the first to admit that when it comes to feeding the family, it’s hard work. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have, buying the food, making dinner and getting everyone to eat the same meal is a full-time job.
Keeping to a strict budget is a must in my house. If we spend over £30 a week, then I’m mad, and dive into the reasons why our bill is so high.
Currently, we have this dream of Mr. Savvy being able to drop some hours at work. His shift pattern is fifty hours and while he does get a good wage for that, he just never sees the kids! So our goal is to have a better work-life balance, and small savings like this go a long way toward that dream.
In our house, we plan for everyone to have a cooked meal at some point in the day. My goal each week is to prepare a dinner that we all love, that’s under budget and easy to make in the slow cooker, so I can leave it until we need it.
I love our slow cooker because whatever time we all eat, the meal is still hot and fresh. The kids tend to eat straight from school, so at about 4 pm, while I’ll eat when they go to bed at 7 pm and Mr. Savvy will eat whenever his shift ends, anywhere between 8 pm and midnight.
Since introducing two easy slow cooker meals a week into our meal plan, we have managed to save a whopping £10 off our bill a week. That’s due to no more snacking after school from the kids and no more buying food on the way home for Mr. S, as he knows there’s something nice for him here! Win!
How We Do It
We all know that slow cooking food is a budget-friendly way to cook, but by adding frozen vegetables, pulses, and cheap cuts, the price of a meal really does plummet.
So here are our seven favorite frugal recipes that cost less than £1 per head.
Sweet Potato & Coconut Curry
This soft and smooth slow cooked curry is packed full of kitchen staples. I add frozen peppers and onions to keep the price low too. Adding in the coconut milk and peanut butter makes this a really easy gluten-free recipe for all.
Spaghetti with Garlic Mushrooms
I use my basic Bolognese sauce and leave it to cook day. I chuck in the mushrooms near the end while the spaghetti is cooking. Perfect for those “can’t be bothered” days.
Veggie Shepherd’s Pie
We try and eat one meat-free meal a week, and this Shepherds Pie is one of our all-time favs. I can hide the lentils easily and mash sweet and normal potatoes for an extra bit of flavour.
Beans with Potato Wedges
I leave the bacon out of this bean recipe to half the price, and it makes a great leftover dish.
Bean Sausage Stew
You find another recipe cheaper than this Sausage Stew! Everything is pulled from your kitchen staples. We like ours with baked potatoes or crusty bread.
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- How to Feed a Family of Four for Under £16 a Week
Mac ‘N’ Cheese
This is the perfect Mac ‘n’ Cheese for a Friday night treat. My kids go mad for this and it’s so easy!
So simple you can do this with your eyes (almost) closed. I use frozen mince, onions, and peppers and chuck it all in with my Bolognese sauce. Leave to cook all day and you won’t be disappointed.
We rotate these seven easy slow cooker meals throughout the month and add others in depending on what everyone fancies.
I find meal planning hard, but it’s the most important part of eating on a budget. It gives you a plan you can use to help you buy food more wisely and stop you staring in the fridge for 5 minutes trying to think what to make for dinner tonight. This happens more then I would like… So I designed a few menu planners that work best for me and I thought I would share them. Enjoy!
I’ve included two basic calendars. One gives you my month worth of easy slow cooker meals and the other is a blank calendar so you can make your own. Each calendar is a PDF, so you can print as many as you need for FREE.
I’ve created this as I hate having to think about what to cook every day, and this not only takes the guesswork out of it but also helps me use up everything I’ve bought.
All these can be eaten as leftovers the next day too, so double win if you can’t cook both days.
How often do you use your slow cooker? Do you think it saves you money?