Mother who feeds her husband and baby for just £2.35 a day reveals her monthly shopping list so that YOU can save – including ingredients for enchiladas, Moroccan tagine and a roast dinner
- Sarah-Jane Cerullo, 23, from Essex, drew up meal plan for £150-a-month budget
- Approximately £72 goes on everyday food, which works out around £2.35 a day
- The rest goes into pot to cover one-off expenses such as Christmas dinner
A mother has revealed the monthly shopping list she uses to feed her husband and baby for just £2.35 a day.
Sarah-Jane Cerullo, 23, lives with her partner Jack, their six-month-old son and her mother Jane in Southend, Essex. Although the couple are temporarily living with Jane, Sarah wanted to make sure they would be able to live on the £150-a-month budget they could set aside for food once they move out on their own.
She created a detailed shopping list and meal plan that provides a month’s worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners for £72. Meals include toad in the hole, vegetables and meatballs and spaghetti bolognese.
The remainder of the monthly budget, some £78, is set aside for extras like cleaning supplies or one-off treats like Christmas dinner.
‘I know how daunting and scary it can be when you don’t have much money and need to plan meals and feed a family,’ the teacher said, speaking to money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.
Sarah-Jane Cerullo, 23, has revealed the monthly shopping list she uses to feed her husband and baby for just £2.35 a day
Sarah-Jane created a detailed shopping list and meal plan (pictured) that provides a month’s worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners for £72. The remainder of the monthly budget, some £78, is set aside for extras like cleaning supplies or one-off treats like Christmas dinner
‘Previously, my mum did a big shop each week which cost £100. Plus, we’d spend £30 on extra stuff we forgot. This meant we were spending around £500 a month, and my baby wasn’t eating solids then.
‘We currently benefit from being able to pick and choose from handy store cupboard extras, like tinned foods, that have built up over time,’ she added. ‘We’re planning to move out of mum’s soon, so I wanted to be sure we could stick to a £150 a month budget without having this as a back-up option.
‘We used to do a lot of yellow sticker shops, but our baby goes to bed at around 6:30-7pm, which is usually the time the deals are put out, so we aren’t able to do this anymore.
‘This is what led us to start planning our meals in advance and cooking from scratch a lot more. Plus, our baby is weaning now, and it can be a struggle to come up with ideas for new dishes for him to try.’
With some savvy research, the meal plan was born. It features an itemised shopping list for a month (31 days) totaling £72.
Ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner are included on the premise of feeding a family of three – two adults and a baby – although Sarah reveals that the dinners are large enough to be split into four adult portions.
Breakfast options include banana porridge, eggs on toast and frozen fruit smoothies, while lunches range from chicken soup and bacon omelettes to sandwiches followed by a piece of fruit.
Sarah-Jane Cerullo, 23, who lives with her partner Jack, six-month-old baby, and mum Jane in Southend, Essex, has revealed the monthly meal plan that she’s come up with to make the most of her £150 food budget. Pictured, toad in the hole
The savvy mum puts the leftover money into a dedicated pot for one-off expenses, such as Christmas dinner. Pictured, spaghetti bolognese
Sarah’s organised approach is driven by a passion to pack in lots of nutrients and flavour. Pictured, some of her weekly shop
Dinners that made the cut are: cottage pie with broccoli and carrots; savoury crêpes with bacon, spring onion, mushrooms and cheese; and creamy garlic chicken with sweetcorn, carrot and mash.
‘It only took me an hour or two to come up with the plan, as I love using spreadsheets,’ said Sarah. ‘As a starting point I chose some recipes from our favourite cookbooks and I also asked my partner for some suggestions for dishes he likes.
‘Next, I looked at ways of getting multiple meals out of some of one main ingredient. For example, I could use one large chicken for three different meals, such as a roast chicken dinner, followed by soup and enchiladas using the leftovers.’
‘My partner and I have both been vegetarian in the past, so we want to get the most value out of the meat we’re eating rather than buy too much of it.
‘I planned it all based on shopping at ASDA, as I find it easy to search the price of each of the items online. However, I think it would work out roughly the same if I were shopping at Lidl or Aldi too.’
Occasionally, Sarah would add cleaning products or extra fruit to her shop, which would bump up the cost, but that’s where the extra cash pot comes in handy.
The family has been following the plan for one month now and say it’s going well.
‘My mum loves having us here to cook for her. She’s said she’d probably live off soup otherwise,’ explained Sarah. ‘She has one of the extra dinner portions that come out of the plan, but she doesn’t have breakfast or lunch here, as she eats for free at work.
‘My partner will occasionally eat the other leftover portion for lunch or take to work with him. It’s usually a little smaller, though, as our baby has had a tiny bit from it.’
The savvy teacher provides three meals a day for approximately £72 – that’s around £2.35 a day. Pictured, meatballs and vegetables
Sarah is planning to switch up the meal plan in the future to add more variety. Pictured, box of fruit
Her organised approach is driven by a passion to pack in lots of nutrients and flavour.
‘It’s definitely hard to eat right on a budget but I didn’t want to rely on freezer food when I currently have the time to cook and prepare things myself,’ she said.
‘I’m not a natural organiser – I used to really struggle with it. However, when I went to university I found I had to plan my meals or I’d end up spending hundreds. I do love cooking, however, which makes it a lot easier.
Sarah is planning to switch up the meal plan in the future to add more variety.
‘I think with the next plan I do I will definitely incorporate some different fruits and breakfast options, as my son is now more open to trying different flavours,’ she explained. ‘Plus, I’ve recently found ways to get some of the ingredients cheaper.
‘For instance, eggs are only 49p for 15 at Farmfoods so it would be worth a visit if you have one locally.
‘I realise the plan may not be to everyone’s taste, but I think it’s really easy to adapt,’ she added. ‘The best way to start is to think of a few evening meals you like and stretch a main ingredient to use across three dishes – this will really help to bring down the overall cost. As I mentioned, a lot of the chicken dishes are great value for money.’
The teacher also recommends bulking out meals with vegetables to make your money go further, but not to stress if you feel the need to deviate from time to time. Pictured, fruit and vegetable
She also recommends bulking out meals with vegetables to make your money go further, but not to stress if you feel the need to deviate from time to time.
‘Plan your meals, but also know that you don’t always have to stick to them,’ she says. ‘If you don’t fancy it, then don’t cook it. We tend to have a few ideas up sleeve that we can easily choose instead of what’s planned, without having to worry about going over budget.’
Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk commented: ‘It’s easy for your food shopping bill to creep up over time, but meal planning is a tried and tested way to take back control.
‘Not only does it take the hassle out of deciding what to make, but it can help you cut down on food waste too, by pinpointing ways to stretch ingredients across multiple meals.
‘If the thought of making a monthly meal plan seems a bit overwhelming you can always start with a two-week plan on repeat and go from there.’
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