How to feed a family on a budget: Part One

How to feed a family on a budget: Part One by katie haydock for life on vista street

My mum did a pretty good job of preparing me for life as a grown up an adult by teaching me the ways of the world:
  1. How to clean your house so it looks clean with minimal effort
  2. How to stick up for yourself
  3. How to pay all of the bills that you can go to jail for not paying first
  4. How to eat properly and have a balanced diet
  5. How to buy lots and lots and lots of tins and dried good on your ‘big shop’ just in case
In honesty, it is the last two of those points that has pulled us out of the rotters a few times whilst I have been on maternity leave.

After paying our bills and ensuring the baby is provided for and that we can get to work and back, there really isn’t a huge budget left for food shopping.

How To Feed A Family On A Budget

Having a small food budget is how I got the idea to start the series ‘my kitchen and I are waiting for pay day‘. Nutritious meals on a tight budget.

When I was a child, my parents lead me to believe that we were poor. I say ‘lead me to believe’ because I didn’t ever notice that we were poor. There was always food on the table. There was always pudding after a roast on Sunday. We always got what we had asked for from Father Christmas… in my eyes we were RICH!

One of my earliest childhood memories is of going into Liverpool city centre with my mum, grandmother and two brothers. I remember going to The Albert Docks and being in a cafe for lunch… and I also remember being absolutely wingey and bratty horrified when my mum served us all one quarter of a packaged sandwich each for lunch (my grandmother not included – I remember her having soup?).

In the mind of a small child this behaviour is absolutely warranted. I mean, how dare she? Serve me! A sandwich that isn’t whole!

Now, as an adult (or as close to as you can get), I completely understand. She had to feed all three of us and herself but she was totally skint.

Now that I have fed my family on less than the breadline… I get it! 

What I don’t get, is this:
christina briggs, katy hopkins, this morning, benefits, frugal, living cheaply, meal planning, shopping, budget,
*Sourced from google*
Some of you may recognise this woman as the ‘one that Katy Hopkins was nice to’ on This Morning a few weeks ago.
Meet Christina Briggs, the woman that says she isn’t fat through any fault of her own. According to Christina, she is tipping the scales at 26 stones because she doesn’t get enough benefits to be able to afford a healthy lifestyle…
christina briggs, katy hopkins, this morning, benefits, frugal, living cheaply, meal planning, shopping, budget,
*Sourced from google*

Since then, her face has popped up in my news feed more than once on facebook and twitter.

I did a bit of a saddo task and took it upon myself to add up the price of the groceries in Christina’s cupboard in the photo above:

Snacks & Sweets Price in £
Rich Tea Biscuits (300g)
Walkers Crisps – Classic Variety (14x25g)
Barny Sponge Bear Biscuits – Chocolate (5 per pack – 150g)
Cadbury Fingers – Milk Chocolate (114g)
Cadbury Dairy Milk – Chips Ahoy (120g)
Cadbury Heroes Tub (760g)
Tins, Jars & Cooking
ASDA Smartprice Tomato Ketchup (550g)
Princes Hot Dogs in Brine Jumbo (6 per pack – 560g)
Packets & Cereals
Kellogg’s Pop Tarts Chocotastic (8x50g)
4x ASDA Chicken Flavour Instant Noodles (85g)
2x Lyle’s Golden Syrup Breakfast (340g)
2x Disney Pixar Monsters University Cup Cake Kit (181g)
 Lemon Layered Slices (6)

Total – £22.23

These prices are based on shopping at Asda, so things could have been purchased a little cheaper from Aldi or Home and Bargains. But still…

More than £22 worth of junk food – and that is what we can see in the picture. I want to know what is in the fridge…

Looking at the contents of the cupboard, I doubt (at least I hope) that this isn’t what this individual is feeding her children. Maybe she was just talking about herself and she cooks magnificently healthy food for her kids?

But in the event that Christina is feeding her children minute noodles and hot dogs, I thought that it might be helpful to see what balanced meal plan I could put together for £22.23 for a week for a family of three.

I intend to come up with a detailed meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven days. Once I’ve published I’ll put the link in here!

I can’t help but think that what Christina is saying has been taken out of context a little and the media have tried to turn this story into a bit of a witch hunt by suggesting Christina has asked the government to give her £1 for every 1 pound in weight she loses amongst other things.

I wasn’t there so I don’t know if this is true. The government can do so much for people like Christina. In my opinion, one of the biggest problem with families not being able to live on a budget is that an awful lot of them can’t cook.
One of my favourite food and frugality blogs has hit the nail on the head here and has been running classes in her area actually teaching adults to cook.

How would you do a meal plan for twenty quid a week? 

Do you think that the government should incentivise weight loss?

Thanks so much for reading: How to feed a family on a budget: Part One



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21 thoughts on “How to feed a family on a budget: Part One

  1. Ooooh – great post lovely!!! Totally love that you've added up all the food in her cupboard!! That's brilliant!! But I'm hooked!! I'm absolutely fascinated as to what your meal plan will be. You've totally gotta send it to her (or the papers, as a very professional and responsible mummy blogger) once you've done it!! Can't wait!!!!!!!!! xxxx Steph xx #sundaystars

  2. I'm not sure what comment to leave here, other than i want to comment.
    Clearly the lady here has issues given the weight she is. I think there is a real issue with the prevalence and availability of crap junk foods. Just walk into tesco and you're greated with bags of donuts and cakes for £1 – when a punnet of strawberries is around £3. There are problems with the food that includes sugar and salt – they are addictive and it makes people want to eat more and more of them for cheap hits that don't leave them full.
    i'm not sure what the solution is; people need to know how to cook meals from scratch using basic ingredients. Making a pasta sauce from scratch with a tomato base that can be frozen. Slow cooking cheaper cuts of meat that can be served up to a whole family. Using left over meat from the sunday dinner to make pies with.
    I think it is too easy to take someone like this lady and villify her (not that I am suggesting you are, more that the media is) but the availability of cheap crappy foods is a real issue.

    Sorry for the rambling commnet!

    1. Not at all. My main concern is – what are her children eating? I would hare to think of growing kiddies living on minute noodles when they need all of their food groups – it's also the example they are being set.
      Yes, you can generally get a bag of chocolate for £1 in tesco… but you can also get a bag of apples! Kids may throw a wobbler in the supermarket, but they will eat the apple if they're hungry.
      It's always a massively sensitive subject but this is something that I feel strongly about – this and gastric bands / bypasses on the NHS #canofworms

  3. This is such an interesting read and I cannot wait to see the meal plan that you come up with. I really struggle to keep our food shopping bills down so I will be fascinated to see your next post. I wish I had your frugal skills. Very much looking forward to part two. Good on you. 🙂

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

    1. Ooooh it's easy when you've been on the bones of your a*se more than once, lol. The difficult part is making it healthy!
      Next instalment will be published tomorrow. Eek.
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting xx

  4. I saw this feature on This Morning! It was so odd to see Katie H being so kind and supportive. This is a great post Katie, well written and researched. On a personal level, I make a weekly meal plan and order online accordingly. Since I started doing this I've seen my food bill drop by around 30%.


    1. Exactly! I find me throw much less away now too and probably eat a lot better for spending less.
      I also try to get to Aldi or the farmers market when I can. Thanks so much for reading xxxx

  5. £2.68 for poptarts!?! Sorry, never bought them, but if that's how much they cost, never will either!
    I can't wait to read your next instalment! With a family of seven to feed it can be quite difficult to keep costs low, I do find that healthier foods are more expensive than processed crap which is why some weeks almost every other meal consists of something made with tinned tomatoes, pasta or rice. all the meals are made different with a few varying ingredients/herbs and spices but the base ingredients are cheap and cheerful 🙂


    1. And all really very healthy! Can't go wrong with grains, pulses and tomato! I think half the battle is knowing how to cook!
      Thanks so much for reading… and yes, pop tarts ARE ridiculous!

  6. This is a brilliant post. I had read an article about this woman but didn't really know anymore. I can't believe that she spends that amount on junk food. (You are a genius adding up everything you can see in her cupboard. I love you more for doing that). We don"t have any junk food in our house. we only buy what we need for the meals we have planned plus some extra fruit and vegetables. I can't wait to read your next post and see how you have done with your challenge. Hugs Mrs H xxxx PS Thanks for linking up with #SundaysStars

    1. I try to give my little miss the healthiest possible diet on the budget that we have. 100% fresh isn't always 100% possible… but growing bodies need more nutrition than hot dogs!
      Thanks so much for reading xxx

  7. You are one clever lady. Love the fact you totally busted that woman's cupboard value. Genius. I need to start getting more savvy. Great post hun. I love your kitchen and I are waiting for pay day series. Mwah xxxxx

  8. adding up the food in the cupboard is TOTALLY something I would do!! Our weekly shop costs between £25-30 a week (when I do it properly!!) for 6 of us, we eat healthily, with plenty of fruit and veg, it is possible, this woman is just finding excuses!

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