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How to make a £50 shop last all week! By the mother-of-three money guru who’s saved a fortune with a routine of menu planning

I am often asked to share my weekly shopping haul and I receive lots of questions about how I manage to stay on budget and make sure nobody goes hungry.

A food budget is one of my biggest successes since taking control of my money. If I stick to a routine of menu planning, strict ingredient shopping and pre-organised meals, I can stay within my budget and even have money left over at the end of each week.

I am often asked to share my weekly shopping haul and I receive lots of questions about how I manage to stay on budget and make sure nobody goes hungry

I am often asked to share my weekly shopping haul and I receive lots of questions about how I manage to stay on budget and make sure nobody goes hungry

Take sausages, for example, which can be transformed into a toad in the hole, served with mash, added into a pasta bake or popped into a casserole

I will admit I am not the most exciting cook, but my family enjoys simple meals such as pasta bakes, toad in the hole, roast dinners and spaghetti bolognese. It helps if you cut down on ready meals and branded items. I write the seven meals we will eat that week and ensure I have almost everything I need when I return from my Monday food shopping trip.

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Each day I cook a meal we all like, knowing I have everything to hand. Some meal ingredients can be altered slightly to create a different dish, without the need to go out and purchase more food.

Take sausages, for example, which can be transformed into a toad in the hole, served with mash, added into a pasta bake or popped into a casserole.

Here is a typical week’s shop showing seven main meals and lunchbox items based on a budget of £90. The supermarket I use can remain anonymous and prices are constantly subject to change. There are a few larder items missing from the list because I will already have them in the kitchen.

Monday: Toad in the hole

Tuesday: Spaghetti bolognese

Wednesday: Meatballs and pasta

Thursday: Chicken fajitas

Friday: Crispy duck with home-cooked chips

Saturday: Chilli-loaded fries

Sunday: Roast dinner

Ingredients

Meat

  • Meatballs £2.39
  • Lean mince 500g £2.89 (for bolognese and chilli fries)
  • Pack British pork sausages £1.49
  • Crispy duck with pancakes £6.49

Fruit & veg

  • Baby button mushrooms £0.89 (for bolognese and meatballs)
  • Parsnips £0.62 (for the roast)
  • Carrots £0.49 (for toad in the hole and the roast)
  • Potatoes 2.5kg £1.09 (for chips with the crispy duck, mash for toad in the hole and fries with the chilli)
  • Cucumber £0.69 (crispy duck, lunchboxes, snack for the tortoise!)
  • Cauliflower/broccoli £1.19 (for toad in the hole and the roast)
  • Red onions £0.72 (for bolognese, chilli fries, meatballs and fajitas)
  • Curly kale £0.79 (for the tortoise)
  • Mixed chillies £0.49 (for meatballs, bolognese, chilli fries, fajitas)
  • Red grapes £1.75 (lunchboxes, snacks)
  • Bananas £0.71 (lunchboxes, snacks)
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DAIRY & EGGS 

  • A dozen eggs £1.49 (for toad in the hole and Yorkshire pudding for the roast)
  • Semi-skimmed milk, 6 pints £2.15
  • Olive spread £1.09
  • Herb cheese spread £0.85 (sandwich filling for lunchboxes)
  • Mature Cheddar £2.65 (to grate over fajitas, bolognese, meatballs and chilli fries)
  • Yoghurts £1.19 (lunchboxes)
  • Cherry yoghurts £1.47 (snack)

BREAD & PASTA l Medium loaf £0.39

  • Garlic baguette £0.32 (for meatballs)
  • Plain bagels £0.79 (lunchboxes)
  • Plain tortilla wraps £0.55 (lunchboxes)
  • Cheese-topped rolls x 3 £0.87 (lunchboxes)
  • Fusilli pasta £1.25
  • Spaghetti pasta £0.75

Store cupboard

  • Fajita dinner kit £1.69 (use a chicken breast from the freezer)
  • Worcestershire sauce £0.69 
  • Diet orange cans £1.49
  • Tropical juice £1.39
  • Spanish tomato sauce £0.99
  • Onion/garlic pasta sauce 0.69
  • Stuffing mix £0.39
  • Dog food £1.64 biscuits (tinned meat when needed)
  • Toilet tissue £2.29
  • KitKats £1.09

Grand total = £50.85

I put the remaining £39.15 in my binder for meat for Sunday’s roast and food shopping top-up towards the end of the week. This covers another pint of milk, more bread and anything that needs replenishing in the store cupboard.

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