I've finally managed to grab 'A Girl Called Jack' in a book sale and I cannot wait to get started. It's written by Jack from agirlcalledjack.com and contains 100 delicious budget recipes discovered back when she and her two year old son were poverty stricken and in very real danger of becoming homeless and starving.
She claims she managed to do weekly shops on a £10 budget, because she had to and to be quite frank it's inspiring. The recipes are refreshing and require just a few basic ingredients from a local supermarket value range.
I have often wanted to reduce our food shopping amount (current spend is around £250 a month), in fact I blogged about our money diet to help us get a mortgage last year. And while it worked for a bit; once we had moved, got busy working every hour of the day and looking after the kids, not to mention when we had a new baby - we fell back onto bad habits.
If Quinn is particularly fussy one day, the kids are ill or we are tired, we whack in a ready meal or order take out. We both hate doing this but not enough apparently to correct the behaviour. I can start off with the best of intentions ordering lots of lovely ingredients to make fab homecooked dishes, but half the ingredients end up sat on shelves, in our freezer or worse...in the bin!!!
It's wasteful and it annoys both of us. whilst it's true that sometimes it cannot be helped that the bus was late, its teatime and nothing is cooked, or that Quinn fed all afternoon and I didn't get the chance to peel a carrot yet alone rustle up a meal for five we allow it to happen far more than we should.
We are once again making an effort to change, however, *I think perhaps some of the changes in the past have failed long-term simply because we try and change everything all at once rather than changing things one by one and making sure they are sustainable first.
I challenged the hubster to us living off just £30 a week** for food this morning,
Then I realised, this is probably not the wisest way to begin to change (* see above!) - So...babysteps;
We now get our food shopping delivered twice a week (it's actually cheaper?!?) as this stops us buying too much in one go, it allows us to have fresher produce and only commit to six meal plans over three days so it's easier to follow. The downside is I have to spend £25 a week twice minimum to get the shopping delivered for free £50 a week is still £200 a month) - but with nappies costing around £10 on offer for two packs not to mention the wipes, loo roll, bleach, wash powder etc. we require it's not a herculean task to spend that much.
My new "scheme" is to try have 1 day a week which costs pennies to feed us - not pounds, so enter Jack!
Now I did intend to try a different dish each week but I've gotten so excited over the recipes I'm trying FOUR this week. So far I have been pleasantly surprised that by adding the ingredients for four meals, my food shop came to just £33.40. This includes £10 spent on nappies and £4 spent on fresh herb pots to plant in the garden (we've yet to get some in this house) and the staples like enough milk to drown the kids with, bread and any staples I had run out of, so if this is successful it's not a bad £20 spent on food for the five of us. The best part turns out that the few items I've had to buy for a recipe have then been re-used in another recipe I've chosen so hopefully less waste!
Here are the recipes I am trying - I'll blog about each one once I've done them.
Creamy Salmon Pasta with a Chilli Lemon Kick
Courgette Tomato and Brie Gratin
peach and chickpea curry
(I'm also doing a bacon, fennel and potato bake too but that's not from Jack)
**(not nappies - gee, nappies cost around £10 a week as it is since Quinn is such a terrific pooping machine) don't get me started on re-usables, we tried the idea but with four kids aged 1 or below, we are already up to our eyes in poop without now giving the washing machine extra duties.