Thrifty mum makes dinner for family-of-five for £50 per week

Thrifty mum reveals how she makes dinner for her family-of-five for £50 per week – and says freezing partly-cooked veg and stocking up on puff pastry is key

  • Laura El, 36, from Dorset, reveals she spends £50-a-week feeding family-of-five 
  • Thrifty mum says chopping, part boiling and freezing is key to making food last 
  • Added getting the whole family involved is a great way to learn and pass the time
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

If your food shopping isn’t lasting long, the supermarket shelves are empty and you’re panicking about how to feed your family under the coronavirus lockdown rules, take inspiration from this savvy mum. 

Laura El, 36, who runs her own printing business from Poole, Dorset, shared her handy tips for maximising food ingredients during the pandemic – and insists there is no need to ‘panic buy’.

‘There is really no need to panic bulk buy if you are sensible,’ said the mum-of-three, speaking to money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.

‘I have a family-of-five on a low income and we spend around £50-a-week on our food shopping because that’s all we can just about afford.’

Laura El, 36, from Poole, Dorset, has revealed how she spends £50-a-week feeding her family of five (pictured)

The thrifty mum claims chopping, part boiling and freezing is the key to making food last. Pictured, prepping her vegetables

Laura says you can pick up bags of potatoes for £1, carrots for 40p, onions for £1 per bag, peppers for £1 for a mixed bag. Pictured, some prepared lasagnes

Laura’s weekly shopping list 

 1000g minced beef – £3.00

1kg frozen chicken breasts £3.50

Frozen sausages (30-40) £2

Eggs 15 pack £1.20

Pork chops £4.00

Cheese (large value pack) £3.50

Pasta (value pack) 30p

Rice (value savoury) 25p

Onions bag 70p

Baked beans 4 x tins £1.00

Butter tub £1.00

Carrots bag 50p

4 pints milk £1.10

Tomato purée 35p

Peppers £1.50

Frozen veg 70p 

Frozen Yorkshire puds 15 pack 50p

Bread 2 x loafs @50p £1.00

Wraps & baguettes (offers vary) £2.00

Squash 2 @ £1 each £2.00

Cereal x2 boxes @£1 each £2.00

Family pack of ham £1.85

Fruit £6.00

Tomatoes £1.00

Cucumber 60p

Yoghurts £2.00

Crisps £2.00

Chocolate £2.00

Jars (sauces) £3.00

Crackers 40p

Fajita pack £1.50 

 Potatoes £1

While Laura says it might seem impossible to feed five mouths for seven days and still eat healthily, she explains exactly how it is doable. 

‘My partner is self-employed and has his own business,’ she said. ‘I work alongside him and have my own little printing business. 

‘Unfortunately, both our businesses fall under the not “necessary or vital” category, so we have had to close down until things have settled and restrictions lifted. 

‘This has been devastating for us as we only just took on our new work premises at the beginning of February. 

‘We are not “loaded” like people seem to think when you have your own business! We do have to shop on an extremely tight budget. We usually spend around £50 to £70 per week on food and manage to feed all five of us comfortably.’

The thrifty mum has lots of handy tips for maximising food ingredients during the pandemic. Pictured, jam tarts made from ready-roll puff pastry

The savvy mother told how her two-year-old made her own jam tarts using the roll-out puff pastry and some jam (pictured)

Laura manages to make food last longer by preparing and freezing ingredients in advance. 

‘With regards to vegetables, the best thing to do to make them “keep” and also save time on a daily basis, is to peel, chop, blanche if needed and freeze,’ she said.  

‘It’s so easy – yes, it takes a little bit of time, which is difficult when you have a toddler constantly around your ankles and need eyes in the back of your head, but if and when you can spare that hour or half hour to quickly peel, then later chop, and part boil, then it’s well worth doing. 

‘I also chop potatoes into all kinds of different shapes and sizes, such as chips, mash and roast potatoes, so you have a variety and it doesn’t become boring.’

She continued: ‘Let them cool, bag them up into bags and pop them in your freezer, then take them out as and when you need them. 

‘For potatoes, cook them like you would oven chips bought from the supermarket, but just add a small amount of oil in the pan. 

The mother-of-three doesn’t tend to buy much branded as she says the cheaper stuff is just as good (pictured)

Laura says that while it may take a little bit of time, if you can spare an hour or half hour to quickly peel, then later chop, and part boil your vegetables, then it’s well worth doing. Pictured, prepped for the freezer

Another product Laura can’t praise highly enough is ready-made roll out puff pastry. 

‘You simply roll out, cut to any shape, fill with any filling you have in the cupboards and fridge for a meal or a dessert,’ she explained. ‘It works great for either freezing raw or cooking and freezing. 

‘You can pick up bags of potatoes for £1, carrots for 40p, onions for £1 per bag, peppers for £1 for a mixed bag.’

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk commented:

‘Laura’s excellent food preparation tips are useful always, but especially during a lockdown, when every carrot, potato and onion counts! 

‘Families who are going stir crazy under lockdown and worrying about making food last should definitely take these tips on board: get the whole family involved, and when it comes to your food shop, prepare, chop and freeze to make each ingredient last as long as possible!’ 

‘I don’t tend to buy much branded as the cheaper stuff is just as good, and some things even taste better – plus you always seem to get more value for money so why spend more money than needed? 

‘The ideas are endless for saving food and money. It just takes a small amount of imagination, inspiration and time and effort. 

The mother-of-three also advises getting the children involved, and turning it into a game or baking day. 

‘My two-year-old made her own jam tarts using the roll-out puff pastry and some jam,’ she said. ‘Easy!’

‘As for entertaining the children during this confusing, difficult and uncertain time, we have been non-stop on a daily basis. Loads of arts, crafts, games, playing and so on. 

‘I’m actually enjoying it but hugely worried at the same time for my own family and other family members and friends who we cannot get to to see or help. 

‘Like many others in a similar situation to us, who have very little money and who are still waiting for the government’s financial help, all these little money-saving tips help so much. 

‘Rather than spending money on quick, easy, potentially unhealthy food that doesn’t stretch, you may as well make as much as you can yourself and get the kids involved. 

‘You will soon realise how much money you waste, how to make fresh and perishable items last, and at the same time, get to spend fun quality time with loved ones, know exactly what you’re eating and learning at the same time. 

Experiment and come up with your own ideas and make your own recipes!’  

The mother-of-three also advises getting the children involved, and turning it into a game or baking day. Pictured, Laura’s daughters

During such a time of uncertainty, Laura says to experiment and come up with your own ideas and make your own recipes. Pictured, her daughter’s creation using ready-rolled puff pastry

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