The cost of feeding a family has featured in the news a lot recently; from the ever increasing reliance on food banks, to Jamie Oliver banging on about using leftovers (although I spotted a flaw in that plan – you need to be able to buy enough food in order to have food left over..!)
Our family finances can be stretched – Mr sixdegreesofharmony works hard. Very hard. But four children eat a lot of food, wear out lots of shoes, out grow clothes rapidly and generally just…cost.
I had to find a way to make our money stretch further but didn’t want to compromise on quality of our ingredients or nutrition.
We will be forever grateful to Jack Monroe for her ingenious recipes. If you have never heard of Jack (where have you been?) I suggest you nip over here and take a look. Hearty enough to feed a family, sensibly balanced, low cost food. As a mum, it’s always encouraging to hear the front door open and a teen shout “Mmm, that’s Jack’s chilli cooking!” or offer a ‘fist pump’ when they spot curry on the menu plan. I love the simplicity of these recipes – and they have also been the subject of choice for Teen 2’s cookery classes as he loves them so much.
Something that has concerned me more and more is the rising cost of fruit and veg. I’ve spoken previously about my children’s love of fresh food. Munchkin adores a packed lunch on a daily basis and I’m trying to keep it healthy as well as exciting. The cookie cutters have been invaluable but since discovering Aldi’s ‘Super 6’ range it’s been a revelation. A collection of fresh food that is promoted each week. I’ve been able to include ‘Winnie The Pooh’ shaped slices of galia melon, heart shaped apricots, stars of cucumber and peppers, and oodles of baby plum tomatoes – bought at the amazing price of 69p each!
In fact Aldi has become a real treasure trove – a loaf of bread for just 55p and breakfast cereal costing much less than other supermarkets means that the apparent addiction to toast and cereal that all teens have is something that no longer leaves me tearing my hair out! Fresh herbs, cheese, yogurt and even a bottle of wine to treat me (and Mr sixdegreesof harmony) after a hard day are so much cheaper.
Another route we’ve taken is buying food on offer and freezing it. It does mean that you have an abundance of certain foods initially, but over time this really pays off. And frozen vegetables are a great addition to a meal to increase vitamins out of season.
I’d love to know any tips you have for eating well on a budget too