It's the end of January and if you're feeling the pinch after a very expensive December, you're not the only one. Luckily, one budget conscious shopper has shared her advice for making the pennies stretch that little bit further.
With the average UK family spending over £3,000 during the festive season, according to The Bank Of England, many of us still paying of debts and credit cards, or waiting for pay day.
Financial expert, Jasmine Birtles explains: ‘January is one of those times when there’s too much month for your money particularly if you got paid just before Christmas – that makes the reality of Christmas (over) spending really bite. So, to get to the end of the month without going too far into the red, make the most of what’s available at home and at the supermarket. Dive into wonderful seasonal vegetables, dumplings and hot, veggie soups to keep everyone well-fed on a tight budget.’
With this in mind, Supermarket Aldi challenged busy mum Natalie Lee to feed her family of four for an entire week on a budget of just £25 in their store, with the aim of creating cheap, quick and easy recipes.
According to the supermarket, the average weekly shop for a family of four costs £60.60 – even though many supermarkets have introduced permanent promotions on healthy ingredients.
So, armed with less than half of this average budget, Natalie got to work, cooking up breakfast, lunch and dinner for herself, her husband and their two children for the whole week.
Natalie’s £25 a week meal plan:
Monday: Breakfast: Smoothie. Lunch: Eggs/ avocado on toast. Dinner: Vegetable rice (Aldi recipe below)
Tuesday: Breakfast: Porridge. Lunch: Rice, chicken and mixed peppers. Dinner: Halloumi and Asparagus Kebabs (Aldi recipe below)
Wednesday: Breakfast: Cereal. Lunch: Meatballs and leftover vegetables. Dinner: Chicken Fajitas (Aldi recipe below)
Thursday: Breakfast: Cereal. Lunch: Vegetable soup and bread. Dinner: Pasta, olive oil and garlic granules.
Friday: Breakfast: Smoothie. Lunch: Omelette and salad. Dinner: Spaghetti and pesto sauce
Saturday: Breakfast: Smoked salmon and eggs. Lunch: Baked beans on toast. Dinner: Chicken, asparagus, potatoes
Sunday: Breakfast: Eggs and chilli flakes on toast. Lunch/Dinner: Sunday roast.
Natalie’s £25 a week shopping list:
Frozen mixed veg
Soft wholemeal bread
Scottish porridge oats
Specially Selected Pesto
Everyday Essentials Spaghetti
Chicken breast fillets
Diced Chicken Breast
5% fat beef Meatballs
Easy cook rice
Low fat natural yoghurt
Feeling inspired? Why not try one of Natalie’s recipes?
Chicken fajita’s (serves 4)
- 1 pack Ashfield Farm Diced Chicken Breast
- ½ of each red, green and yellow peppers
- ½ bunch spring onions
- 1 475g pack Fiesta Fajita Dinner Kit
- 1 ripe Avocado
- Juice ½ Lime
- ½ tsp Stonemill Chilli Flakes
- Couple of scoops of low-fat natural yoghurt
- Store cupboard goods: A little Sunflower Oil
- Preheat the oven to 200⁰C/400⁰F/Gas Mark 6
- Thinly slice the peppers discarding any white pith and seeds
- Wash, trim and thinly slice the spring onions
- Put all the above into a large bowl, with the chicken, add half the lime juice and mix togetherSprinkle over the fajita seasoning from the kit and mix well
- Lightly grease a large baking tra
- Spread the chicken and vegetable mix over the tray
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes
- Meanwhile make the avocado dip
- Cut the avocado in half lengthways, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh
- Put the avocado into a bowl, mash the flesh with a fork then add the yoghurt, the rest of the lime juice and the chilli flakes then mix well
- Warm the tortillas in the oven
- To make up the fajitas put some of the salsa from the kit on each tortilla, then add some of the chicken and vegetables
- Roll up and serve alongside the avocado dip.
Natalie’s super quick & easy vegetable rice (serves 4)
- 250g Easy cook rice (uncooked)
- 500g Frozen mixed veg
- 2 Large eggs
- Store cupboard essentials: A few turns of Garlic granules
- Store cupboard essentials: A good glug of Soy Sauce
- Cook the rice in boiling water and heat the vegetables on the stove
- Combine the cooked rice and vegetables in a large frying pan with a splash of oil
- Sprinkle a dash of the garlic granules and add those to the vegetable rice on a low heat
- Crack and add two eggs and keep stirring until the eggs are combined and cooked through
- Add a good glug of soy sauce and enjoy!
Halloumi and asparagus kebabs (serves 4)
- 2 x Packs Halloumi
- 1 x Pack Asparagus Tips
- ½ x Lime
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ Red Chilli
- Soak some kebab skewers in water (to prevent burning)
- Drain the packs of halloumi then slice into finger sized pieces
- Take the pack of asparagus tips and cut them in half
- Carefully thread the cheese and asparagus onto the skewers
- Whisk together 1 tbsp lime juice and the olive oil
- Thinly slice the chilli and add to the oil. Season to taste
- Brush this over the kebabs and BBQ or grill, turning and basting occasionally until golden brown