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My Food Budget Challenge

Posted August 12, 2015 by Bethanie Lunn

My husband and I are frantically saving for a house deposit right now and are therefore looking at ways to save money and penny pinch.  Without doubt, our biggest outgoing is food and drink.  We love it and we also have a ‘sod it, why not’ view to buying it; affording ourselves little luxuries and having whatever we want without balancing the books.  ‘Fillet steak – why not?’  ‘Oysters and a glass of prosecco- go on then, we work hard, we deserve it’.  This spending habit has now caught up with us and whereas I wholly agree in working hard and playing hard – yadayadayada – it’s time to cut back.


We’d usually spend £150 a week on food and drink for a family of three.  Yeah, I know.  Remember this is our luxury.  So my new challenge was to make £20 stretch for the week for all our main family meals; that’s the ones we eat in the evening together.  This is a significant change for us but I pride myself at being creative in the kitchen, making something out of nothing and having the ability to pull things out of the cupboards and make it work.

TIP: Keeping an eye of what you have in your store cupboards is a good budgeting tip.  It means you can plan meals throughout the week using what you already have and avoid buying in what you don’t need.  You also avoid waste and throwing things out having not used them before their use by date.

I always have key staples in such as:

  • Passata
  • Pasta
  • Chickpeas / pulses
  • Eggs
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Spcies and seasoning
  • Chorizo sausage
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Rice

It’s amazing what variety you can get from these items.

What I bought for £20:

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  • 1 pack Penne pasta
  • Salami
  • Reduced fat sausages
  • Strawberries
  • Salted caramel chocolate (well why the hell not?)
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes in garlic and herbs
  • 2 cartons passata
  • 1 pack tagliatelle
  • 1 pack spinach leaves
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 white onions
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 garlic

Total: £18.15

TIP: I went to my local grocers for the veg, which is always cheaper and visited the Co-op for the rest of it.  I had a chat with the store assistants and they told me if you go first thing in the morning when they open or last thing at night before they close, you can get all the marked down items, since these are the times when they mark up all the offers and reductions.  Many of the items are well with in the use by date and marked ‘still fresh’ too.  The best before date doesn’t mean they go off on that date, they just may not be as fresh but are perfectly fine to eat.

My Weekly Menu

Onwards are the main meals I planned ahead for the week using the above.  I used to hate meal planning since I felt we wouldn’t know what we fancied that night until the time arrived, but you can always switch dishes around throughout the week to suit your mood.


A typical weekly menu.  My ‘Bethie Burger’ in an endearing term my husband gives my burger stacks.  Recipe coming soon.

I bought a magnetic noteboard with a washable pen that I stick to the fridge.

Friday: Lasagna Roll-ups

Recipe here


Saturday: Kedgeree

Receipe here

We enjoyed this for breakfast on toast with a poached egg the next morning too – yum!




Sunday: Prawn and chorizo linguine with parmesan shavings

Recipe here


Monday: Baked sweet potatoes with spicy chickpeas and tomato salad

Recipe here


Tuesday: Cheesy open fish finger sandwhich melt

This is no ordinary fish finger melt, this is a Beth-style fish finger melt 🙂

I made an open grilled cheese sandwich first and topped it with the fish for a scrummy eat.


Wednesday: Eggy things and salad

Recipe here – I used the spinach leaves instead of parsley this time which was also delicious


Thursday: Blue cheese and sausage tagliatelle with crunchy broccoli florets


I got to the end of the week and hadn’t yet touched the penne pasta plus there was plenty of avocados, salami and tomatoes which would make a great dish in itself.  In theory then, for my main meal challenge, I succeeded!

Meal planning is definitely the way forward if you want to save time and importantly, save money.  Going forward, I’ve not managed to stick to the budget every week and of course, when you factor in breakfast, lunch and snacks – we now spend an average of £75 a week but to me, that is a miraculous saving.

I’ll be showing you how to make your own healthy snacks for and the kids and how to prep food for the week, coming soon.  Stay tuned.

I’d love to hear your ideas on recipes and budgeting in the comments box below. Keep a look out for all my recipes for the family and fussy toddlers. x


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