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Savvy mum challenges herself to only spend £20 a week on her food shopping

DebsGC
21st May 2020, 12:00 PM
  • Bonnie Shaw, 23, made 36 meals for just £20
  • She shopped at Aldi, buying tinned veg to keep costs down
  • Bonnie made everything from spag bol to homemade pizza

If your food shopping bill is spiralling out of control during the coronavirus lockdown, take inspiration from this thrifty mum.

Bonnie Shaw, 23, a mum of one from Manchester who works for Network Rail, set herself the challenge of planning and cooking all her meals for the week for just £20 - and excelled herself.

Bonnie told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I had a few messages on my Instagram account from people that had spent a fortune buying expensive meals from meal prep companies.

"You shouldn’t have to spend a fortune to lose weight, so I decided to see how far I could stretch £20.

"I did 36 meals and 12 bananas for snacks in total. Both my partner and I have three meals a day (breakfast, dinner and tea) and a snack for six days a week. One day a week we have a treat meal and cook from fresh.

"The meals included were porridge x 12 - one for each day. They can be changed up by adding some fruit, nuts, or even a small amount of chocolate! A 40g serving of oats with 200ml semi milk is 251 calories.

"I made spaghetti bolognese x 6, which is 332 calories per portion, chilli and rice x 6, which is 573 calories per portion, homemade pizza x 6, which is 553 calories per pizza and sausage and mash x 6, which is 436 calories per portion.”

Bonnie ran into certain challenges while completing the task, such as making the meals healthy - but found budget-friendly ways of including fruits and vegetables.

"Because of the £20 budget, it was difficult to incorporate fruit and veg because it can be expensive,” she explains. "That goes for lean meats as well - we actually spent a quarter of the budget just on one lean pack of mince!

"If you are on an extremely tight budget, a good way to incorporate more fruit and veg into your meals is using tinned goods. Even though fresh is better, this can be a great way if you can’t afford the fresh version. You can buy a tin of peas or a tin of carrots for under 20p!

"I only used standard Aldi products in this challenge because I wanted to show that budget meal prep is possible even if you can’t find reduced bargains in other stores.

"However, a great way of buying high quality fruit, veg, and lean meat and fish is by searching the reduced sections in Tesco, Asda, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s.”

Bonnie says this challenge is a useful way to plan meals and cut down on unnecessary spending during a time when we’re at home more than ever. She shares her budgeting and cooking tips on Instagram and YouTube at @theweightlossmummy, where she has shared a video to show how she cooked each meal.

"By stretching your £20 to go further, you can fill your freezer, enjoy home cooked food ready within minutes, and create meals specific to your own goal,” she explains.

"My personal goal is 1400 calories a day, but for others it might be to eat five portions of fruit and veg, or to gain weight. You can achieve most of them on a budget by shopping smarter.

"I could carry this challenge on to cut down my spending, but I’d probably increase the budget to £30 to make sure we can include more fruit, veg and protein. I hope the challenge proves you can prep your meals to suit your goals on a small budget.

"With most of us being at home it’s so easy to overindulge out of boredom. By planning and prepping, I stay within my calories without being too restrictive and enjoy what I eat - and it costs me less than 60p a meal!”

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Families across the UK are struggling to plan and cook meals, with shopping in supermarkets an ordeal and the food shop proving an ever bigger expense as incomes drop.

“Challenges like this serve as much-needed inspiration to give families ideas and reassurance that they really can provide so many meals for just £20.

“Like Bonnie, bulk meals out with tinned veg, and searched the reduced sections for great bargains!"

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