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Family meal

Challenge: Feed your family for a fiver

Food glorious food. Whether we think of it as fuel or as a delicious delight we all eat it, and we all spend money on it. And that’s when it can sometimes become a little unsavoury.

We spend £1 in every £10 on food and drink, meaning any savings we find can make a difference in what we’ve got left to save and spend elsewhere.

So we’re setting you a challenge:

Can you feed your family for a fiver?

We’re talking about dinner each day for family over a week. That's £5 per meal, giving you a total budget of £35.

It might sound like too much of a stretch – it wouldn’t be a challenge if it was easy - but it is possible and it doesn’t mean you have to resort to poor quality ingredients. It’s possible to have tasty, nutritious and filling meals just by shopping differently.

If you’re up to the task, let us know how it goes and share your recipes and tips in our comments section below or on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Here are some recipes from our friends at Netmums to give you some inspiration. 

How to spend less on your food

To help you with the challenge, we’ve a few tips. You won’t need to do all of these, but the biggest savings will probably come from a combination.


Change the brand

Supermarket own brand products are often the cheapest available, and sometimes get made in the same factory as the big name brands. For this challenge try out a cheaper option and see if you notice the difference.

Switch your supermarket

It might not be worth going out of the way to save a few pennies, but if you’ve a choice of supermarkets you can compare prices and get the lowest priced product.

Plan your meal

Spend some time reading recipes and work out exactly what you’ll need and the quantities too. Then take a shopping list with you so you don’t get distracted or forget what you need.

Only buy what you need

We waste so much food as a nation that Love Food Hate Waste estimate thrown away food costs a family £60 a year. You can look for loose fruit and vegetables rather than packaged ones, and avoid multibuy deals where you don’t need more than one.

Think you can do it better than your friends? Why not challenge them by sharing this article?

What do you think?

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  • Vicky / 21 March 2016

    I spend £70 a week at Lidl and that's all for of us for a week. That includes bolognaise, fish pie and spinach lasagne, breakfast and lunch boxes too so I maybe I should've written this article!

  • Rachel / 19 March 2016

    I's this a joke? I spend this on a family of 4 over a week for all meals. And I don't buy rubbish either. All fresh and home cooked.

  • Janice Beynon / 19 March 2016

    It's hard to find £5 to spend on a meal when your trying to pay the rent electric and gas. Try egg and chips etc. That's cheap. At least your eating. Can't even think about eating healthy.

  • Nikki Clark / 17 March 2016

    I can't believe a family of four needs £5 per meal! What in earth are they eating? Caviar? I feed my family of six, every week, for all meals, on around £70 - that's £1.67 per person, per day, all in! And I don't buy cheap rubbish either, I just plan meals, buy carefully and don't waste anything. The skills of homecooking, menu planning and budgeting should be taught in schools - would save the country a fortune!

  • Barbara / 16 March 2016

    I buy a whole chicken which is cheaper than breasts, and get a roast dinner, a risotto or pasta and left over sandwich meat, then use the stock for veg soup making four meals.

  • Joanna baker / 16 March 2016

    £35 a week for family dinners only seems a lot of money, I spend less than that on all meals

  • Victoria / 13 March 2016

    My top tip for saving money and eating more ethically: reduce the meat content. I know families of five who think they need 1kg mince in their spag bol. Seriously, you don't. I swear you can feed a really meaty, tasty spag bol to five people with 225g of steak mince. Bulk it out with carrots and mushrooms. If your family tend to pick out 'bits', throw the mushrooms and carrots into a food processor or grate them in.
    Boots Baby Organic has fantastic salt-free stock cubes in beef, chicken and veg.
    Also for things like chilli, the same applies. Black strap molasses and balsamic vinegar will both add a caramelised taste, richness and colour.

  • Jacqui Butler / 12 March 2016

    Every week I plan a menu & only buy what's needed. Saves so much money & waste...& makes life easier after a busy day at work.

  • Donna / 11 March 2016

    £35 for Dinners, for how many people?? And what about breakfasts and packed lunches?