When it comes to household budgeting, we are all trying to cut the numbers and figure how to make the most out of our incomes. In 2019 according to the data from the Office of National Statistics, on average, a UK household spent 16% of their budget on food and nonalcoholic beverages. Families spent on average, weekly per person £25.8 what makes a budget of £125 a realistic number for a family of 6, like mine. With children things can look complicated, but I have found some tricks to make it work.
The first thing you need to do is to take a close look at your bills. Try to figure out where your money is going. Consider how much your budget goes to take out food or delivery, transportation, insurance, house-related costs like gas and electricity. Sometimes we are unaware of the amount we spend on items like coffee or every other day takeaway. This was one of my biggest problems back when I was in my teens. I love myself a cup of expensive coffee. So, try this just for a month, make a list of everything you pay for then look at your income. if you are now what I was. you will find out your income and expenditure do not match. and that will let you know where to make changes. There are some handy apps to make it easier, you can register everything, and it will automatically calculate each category’s percentage.
I found that eating out was a big part of my problem. Also, having a family of 6 makes you more efficient when it comes to budgeting. If you discover that food is your main issue, there are many ways to have food on your table without spending too much. Just incorporate a few of the following changes, and you will soon see a positive result.
WRITE A SHOPPING LIST
It is easier to focus on what you need instead of what you are craving when you have a list in your hands, and you stick to it. To write your list, you will first need to make a meal plan, build it around the items you already have at home, and only shop for the missing ones. Also, avoid attending the grocery if you are hungry. Chances are you will buy more than you need.
STOP THE WASTING
The average family of 4 throws out around £60 in good food each month. We often buy more than we need or buy without knowing what the meal plan is for the week. Make sure you buy exactly what you will use. If you see something that you will not use and can be frozen, do it. For example, bananas are great for a quick breakfast or smoothie.
Leftovers are also a source of waste. Do not make a different meal every day if you have leftovers. You can cook breakfast and have leftovers for lunch. Another great idea is to freeze them for a day that you do not have time to cook.
Buy frozen or freeze. Are you finding yourself throwing green moldy fruits and vegetables each week? There is a simple solution, buy frozen or fresh, and freeze it yourself. If you buy them frozen, avoid the ones with added salt, sugar, or fat. This is a great option to take advantage of seasonal fruits and veggies, they are usually less pricey, and you enjoy them for months.
CHECK THE DEALS AND TRY DIFFERENT BRANDS
Before you start shopping, try to check if the store has lower prices on the items you plan to buy. Things like toilet paper, shampoo, body wash, detergents, baby milk, diapers are easy to store and always use. There are also unknown brands that offer the same product for less. Try them and compare. Many times, the only difference is the label. Trying this, I have found an even better quality of some of my favorite and most expensive products.
MORE VEGETABLES AND LESS EXPENSIVE MEAT
Meat and fish are two of the most expensive items on a shopping list. You do not have to become a vegetarian but adding less meat and more vegetables to make your recipes more affordable. Don’t get me wrong I love a stake meal but I only have it once a month from home, I no longer go to the restaurant down the road. You can also try meat cuts that are not so popular and try new recipes. Buying a whole chicken can also be cheaper than a pack of breasts.
Finally, here is a guide to stick to a £125 per week budget. Considering that I also use that budget for bulk purchases, some products are less expensive when you get them in large quantities. Food can be bought in bulk. If you freeze it, frozen meats are great when you are always on the run or do not have a regular schedule. This budget contemplates packed lunch for my kids. Remember that children’s lunch should include fruit, vegetable, protein, dairy, starchy foods, and water.
If you are buying for two adults and four children, here is an example of what I can buy for a week.
- £8.00 Egg 60 pc
- £0.90 Natural Yoghurt 1kg
- £5.79 Diced Beef 700g
- £3.75 Pork Loin 800g
- £6.00 Medium Chicken 2/1.45kg
- £14.40 Salmon 1kg
- £4.97 Bacon 1kg
- £1.68 Frozen mixed vegetables 2kg
- £1.68 Frozen broccoli florets 2kg
- £3.00 Fresh potatoes 4kg
- £1.58 Fresh Sweet clementine 1.2kg
- £1.80 Fresh apple 12pc
- £2.00 Fresh banana 16pc
- £0.89 Rice 1kg
- £2.58 Pasta 1kg
- £1.04 Pasta sauce 1kg
- £1.78 Wholemeal bread 2/800g
- £7.90 Whole Milk 10lt
- £1.98 Rolled oats 1kg
- £3.30 Cheerios 600g
- £2.00 Corn Flakes
- £2.00 Peanut butter 400g
- £2.00 Strawberry Jam 600g
With this list you can cook the following healthy meals:
- Cereal with milk and fruit
- Oats and toast with jam
- Eggs and toast with fruit
- Toast with jam and peanut butter with fruit
- Eggs with bacon
- Egg sandwich
- Chicken sandwich
- Chicken salad
- Chicken with pasta
- Chicken with vegetables
- Salmon with rice and vegetables
- Beef stew
- Pork stew with vegetables