How To Feed a Family on a Small Budget

- by Erin Redfern
Full Guide to Managing Family Finances – Chapter 3

Feeding your family on a small budget can be really tough. But, there are ways to do it and it doesn’t have to be difficult! Here are some great ideas how to feed a family on a small budget.

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Anyone with a larger family will know how difficult it can be to keep on top of everything. There is so much to think about and plan for, and it can be a little overwhelming at the best of times. A lot of families get into the tough position of not being able to afford everything they need.

Why is feeding my family so expensive?

Food prices have been rising since the financial crisis in 2008, but 2021/22 has seen the most drastic increases, contributing to high rates of inflation generally. In May 2022, food prices increased 4.5% in a single month, driven by rising labour costs and the conflict in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the rise is affecting our diets, making them less healthy, and children’s performance directly correlates to the food they eat.

What is the government doing to help with food prices?

The government has made some attempts to address the problem of food affordability for families by issuing pamphlets about healthy eating and by making some strides in food labelling that makes it clear exactly what each food contains. There is a Healthy Start scheme targeted at pregnant women and mothers of young children and Healthy Living Centre Programmes have been established in areas where food poverty is most prevalent.

The government introduced free school meals to children in the infant years in primary school. Other children in primary school and secondary school children are eligible for free meals. Check if your children are eligible here.

"Personal finance is only 20% head knowledge. It's 80% behavior!" Dave Ramsey - Cashfloat "Personal finance is only 20% head knowledge. It's 80% behavior!" Dave Ramsey - Cashfloat

How to Make Supper on a Budget

Preparing a delicious supper doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little creativity and smart planning, you can whip up a satisfying meal while keeping your wallet happy. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make supper on a budget without compromising on taste.

Buy in bulk

Firstly, consider buying ingredients in bulk. Purchasing staple items like rice, pasta, beans, and spices in larger quantities can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. These versatile ingredients can form the base of many budget-friendly meals. Plus, they have a long shelf life, so you can stock up and use them over time.

Incorporate plant-based meals into your week

Another great way to save money is by incorporating more plant-based meals into your supper routine. Meat can be expensive, so try opting for legumes, such as lentils or chickpeas, as a protein source. They are not only affordable but also packed with nutrients. You can make hearty and filling dishes like chili, curries, or vegetarian stir-fries that will leave you satisfied without breaking the bank.

Plan your meals

Don’t underestimate the power of meal planning. Take some time each week to plan your supper menu in advance. Check your pantry and fridge to see what ingredients you already have on hand and base your meals around them. This way, you can avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store and reduce food waste. Look for sales and discounts while planning your meals and incorporate those items into your menu. It’s an excellent way to save money and still enjoy a variety of delicious dishes.

The 50/20/30 budgeting rule - Cashfloat

Do without the name brands

When it comes to shopping, consider buying generic or store brands instead of pricey name brands. Often, the quality is comparable, and you can save a significant amount of money. Also, keep an eye out for discounts, coupons, and special offers. Many grocery stores have loyalty programs that can help you accumulate points and save money on future purchases.

Learn how to use leftovers

Finally, get creative with your leftovers. Instead of throwing away unused ingredients or cooked meals, find ways to repurpose them into new dishes. Leftover vegetables can be added to soups or transformed into a tasty stir-fry. Cooked meat can be shredded and used in sandwiches or tacos. By using up what you have, you can stretch your budget and minimize food waste.

Remember, making supper on a budget is all about planning, smart shopping, and utilizing what you already have. With a little effort and creativity, you can enjoy delicious and satisfying meals without overspending. Bon appétit!

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About The Author
Erin Redfern
Erin, a native Londoner, combines her love for the city with her passion for writing. With a first-class degree in Mathematics, Elizabeth chose to pursue a career aligned with her real passion—writing.
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