A SAVVY mum manages to prepare gourmet-style meals for her family-of-seven for just £25 ($34) per week.
Simone Roberts, 39, from Birmingham, is able to feed her family on a budget thanks to a few supermarket tips – particularly, using simple store cupboard ingredients to create expensive looking meals.
Mum-of-six, Simone Roberts, shares how she whips up gourmet-style meals for her family for just £25 ($34) per weekCredit: Caters News Agency
The mum-of-six, whose eldest daughter, Rael, 19, has fled the nest, has come up with a way of feeding her five children at home, herself and her husband for a fraction of the price that families usually spend on their food shopping.
While the average family of four spends around £100 ($136.85) each week on their food shop, Simone has managed to slash the price of her shopping bill.
She is hailing store cupboard ingredients for being able to do this and says her method was inspired by the “convenience culture” and wanting to make quick and easy home-cooked meals for her family.
She said: “Store cupboard ingredients are great for convenience because you can use them to cook for a large family for a smaller price.
Simone cooks for herself, her husband and five children as her eldest daughter has moved outCredit: Caters News Agency
She manages to do it all on a tiny budgetCredit: Caters News Agency
“They also don’t require much effort.
“By using this type of ingredients, it is a great way to keep the price of your weekly shop down as you can buy them in bulk.
“They can also be healthy and nutritious for your family. So you don’t have to sacrifice the healthiness of your home-cooked food for the sake of price.
“My store cupboard staples are larger packets of dried beans, dried lentils, large bags of brown basmati rice, packets of flavouring and seasoning, as well as nuts and seeds to bulk meals out.
“My family are vegan, so nuts and seed are a great way for us to get certain nutrients.
“A great way to save money on these is buying them from the reduced section. We usually get ours from the reduced products on Holland and Barrett.
Simone’s trick is to use pantry staple items such as dried beans, dried lentils, brown basmati rice and nuts and seeds to bulk out mealsCredit: Caters News Agency
She will cook a range of vegan dishes including curries, lasagne and even Shepard’s pieCredit: Caters News Agency
Dried beans and lentils are the key to Simone’s budget meal ideas as they are incredibly affordable as well as being good for you.
She says that she soaks and boils enough batches so that she can store them in her freezer to save time when it comes to organising meal times for her family.
She added: “I usually soak and boil enough beans and lentils for about four weeks worth of meals. This saves me so much time as I can do it all in one go, and then grab them out the freezer when I need to use them.
“It is important for this to be quick and easy, especially while trying to look after the five children.
“Preparation is key for achieving minimal waste and making the most of your ingredients to ensure they go as far as possible.
The ingredients make huge amounts too, and there’s always leftoversCredit: Caters News Agency
“As I have an Afro-Caribbean background, I am used to using beans and lentil. I usually buy ours in bulk from a local store called Home Food Express.
“But they are an amazing ingredient for everyone as you can use them in so many dishes, including, curries, lasagne and even Shepard’s pie.
“If you have access to Asian supermarkets, they are usually best for buying in bulk. However, the popular supermarkets are getting much better as catering to larger families and selling much bigger packets of ingredients.
“In the ‘world foods’ aisle, you will find large packets of lentils and rice. Buying in bulk helps keep the price of your weekly shop lower in the long run.
“If you buy a 1kg bag of dried beans, it could last a family of four around three to four days. I buy big bags of rice too so that we can have veggie rice, fried rice and also add them into different meals we’re making.”
Simone will shop in Asian supermarkets and the ‘world foods aisle’ in in regular supermarkets where items are always cheaperCredit: Caters News Agency
- Vegetable oil: £1.09
- Bananas £1.09
- Almond milk x2: £2.00 (£1 each)
- Cabbage: £0.65
- Spinach: £1.29
- Broccoli: £0.40
- Apples x2: £3.98 (£1.99 each)
- Avocados x5: £4.95 (£0.99 each)
- Butternut squash: £1
- Kale: £1.10
- Oranges: £1.10
- Dairy free spread: £1.20
- Packet of dried beans: £4.99
- Packet of spice: £0.89
Total: £24.84 ($34)
When buying her weekly shop, Simone ensures that she buys versatile fresh fruit and veg, so that she can transfer it to any dish and make the most of her fresh ingredient while incorporating her store cupboards ingredients.
Simone freezes any leftover fruit and vegetables so that she can use it at a later date and so that nothing goes to waste. Her ideas to reduce your shopping bill are endless.
The full-time housewife said: “They can be blended into smoothies, or be frozen and enjoyed later, or you could even freeze the smoothie mix into ice-lollies and ice cubes.
She says that onions and garlic are a regular on her shopping list as they are packed with flavour so that her dishes are delicious.
The meals are super easy to make, are very cheap and very healthy tooCredit: Caters News Agency
She added: “We also batch prepare salads to go with our meals. To make sure that salad lasts as long as possible, we always use crunchy vegetables so it does go soggy.
“Using cabbage instead of lettuce and including carrots is a great way to keep your salad firm. This way it can last up to three days.
“One of my most important tips is, don’t cook when you’re hungry. I tend to prepare my meals for the next day after I have eaten to ensure that I don’t sneak any extras and therefore waste any ingredients.
“I have always love cooking and preparing, but knowing it is also saving us money is even more satisfying.”
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