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How to Feed 6 People on 100 Euro per week

Is it possible to feed six people a healthly, varied diet on 100 Euro per week?

Now, before anyone complains and writes negative comments, I was lucky enough to start out with a lot of basics and did not have to purchase all my spices and pantry items from scratch. With that said, we did have to do that when we first moved into a temporary flat for the first four weeks that we lived here. I will say that it IS possible to feed a family of 6 on 65 Euros or less in a small flat and shopping primarily at the Centra (a convenience store) and mini-Tesco down the road. Our menu was much more limited and did include a lot of rashers and potatoes. But it is POSSIBLE.

When we were considering a move to Ireland, we used hypothetical budgets to help us determine if it was a financially feasible move for us. With four kids, we had a lot of different factors to consider such as children’s activities, school fees, and transportation. Everything is multiplied when you have to consider that you be buying bus tickets or LUAS tickets for 6 rather than 2 or 3 people. One of the largest expense areas in our monthly budget is our grocery expenses. This area can fluctuate wildly from one month to the next if we make a lot of unplanned purchases and last minute stops to the shops.

To help keep this budget under control, I have found that the best way is for me to menu plan. I had experimented a little with this back in Seattle and found that it was much easier to stick my budget if I planned the week or month ahead. This way I was able to keep track of what I already had stocked in my freezer and pantry and then minimized my trips to the store by doing one big shop instead of going to the store several times a week.

In Ireland, I am lacking a deep freezer (which we had in Seattle) and a nice sized fridge (our fridge is on the small size), but I found that meal planning actually helped because then I was using up things before they went bad and also that generally one weekly shop filled up my fridge. I did not really have room to make ahead meals and make freezer meals, but I did have enough freezer space that I could stock up some meats if they were on sale to use for a different week if needed and to freeze some leftovers (like stock or soup) to use at another time.

I have also been trying to utilize our slow cooker more especially as we start to ramp up for after school activities. So, to start my menu planning, I surveyed the kids and husband to find out everyone’s top 3 meals that mom makes. It was actually interesting to hear what they all liked to eat and why. And interestingly, none of them were duplicates! With that information, I started to plan out our meals so that each person got have a preferred meal somewhere in week. As the kids get older, I will start having them help to learn to make some of their favorite meals. My oldest has already been making pancakes and french toast and all the kids help peel carrots and make garlic toast.So, here are my weekly meal plans for a few weeks. I tried to include some much loved meals and incorporated a slow cooker meal each week as well as 1 or 2 new recipes that I have been compiling on pinterest.

Weekly Grocery Budget: 100 Euro

Sample Menu Plan – Week #1:

Sunday – Stuffed Tofu, jasmine rice, stir fried broccoli
Monday – Spaghetti in Vodka Sauce, garlic bread, salad
Tuesday – Crockpot butter chicken, basmati rice, cucumber slices
Wednesday – MustGoes! (leftovers)
Thursday – Grilled cheese or buttered french bread, tomato basil soup, salad
Friday – Homemade tortilla pizzas or french bread pizzas
Saturday – leftovers

Sample Menu Plan – Week #2:
Sunday – Bacon and broccoli quiche
Monday – Vietnamese Braised pork, jasmine rice, stir fried bok choy
Tuesday – Mi Goi (Ramen noodles)
Wednesday – MustGoes! (leftovers)
Thursday – Crockpot French dips, salad, mash
Friday – Crockpot Pizza Lasagna
Saturday – leftovers

Sample Menu Plan – Week #3:
Sunday – Soboro don (Japanese Chicken/Egg Rice bowl), jasmine rice, tofu and green been stir fry
Monday – Slow cooker ravioli, salad
Tuesday – Slow cooker Indian butter chicken, basmati rice, garlic naan, cucumber/tomato salad
Wednesday – MustGoes! (leftovers)
Thursday – Irish sausages, potatoes, rolls, broccoli
Friday – Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
Saturday – leftovers

Most of these meals allows for leftovers – enough for my husband to pack a lunch and also for leftover Wednesdays and Saturdays. Our weekly grocery shop also must include breakfast and lunch for the kids at school as well as afterschool snacks. So, in addition to our evening meal grocery items, I always buy:

Sandwich bread
Deli Ham
Cheese (either string cheese or miniBells)
Apples, Bananas, Plums or Pears (whatever is in season)
Tube Yogurt (These usually contain 9. Remember I have 4 lunches to pack each day. So, these only last for two lunches! So I have to buy 2-3)
Microwave popcorn
Bagels & cream cheese
Sausage Rolls (for breakfast)
Scotch eggs
Small sweet treats like dried fruit leather or baked goods

Even with all of this, I am usually able to stick to about 100 Euro per week. Some weeks I am slightly over if I purchase extra items on sale or make a special trip to the Asian grocery store to stock up on items. So, to be fair, I would say that I am spending about 100 Euro to 125 Euro per week on strictly groceries. This is pretty good for me! That brings my grocery budget to about 400 – 600 Euro per month even with special purchases.

You may have noticed that my budget didn’t include any beverages. We generally do not have juice or soda in our house. My kids do consume a LOT of milk though. While we lived in Seattle, we had our milk delivered weekly (loved it!) and were fortunate to have milk delivery in our area in Dublin as well. This is a huge time and budget saver. Even though the milk is slightly more expensive, it saves me a trip to the store (and often the additional spending it involves). When we didn’t have a car, this was a huge burden because walking with 3 bottles of milk was not fun. We spend 13 Euro per week on milk (5 2-litre bottles).

Tips for Keeping Your Grocery Budget Low in Ireland

Shop at Lidl and Aldi.
It is no joke. Stuff really is loads cheaper at Lidl and Aldi compared to Supervalu and Tesco for most things. For all my staples, I go to Lidl and/or Aldi first to buy things. Then, if there is a specialty item that they don’t carry, I will go to Supervalu or Tesco to buy those items. If I go to Supervalu or Tesco first, I also think that if I buy something there, the price is comparable and it will save me a second trip. But this ALWAYS leads me to spend more overall on my budget. For example, a bag of new potatoes at Lidl is 1Euro. This feeds my whole family for one meal plus leftovers. The exact same bag at Tesco is 3Euro. A pre-made pastry crust is 1.29Euro at Aldi and 3.99Euro at Tesco.

Buy in Season and on Sale
This seems obvious, but it really makes a huge difference. I usually buy one or two bags of small apples to pack for my kids lunches. If I check the sales at Lidl and Aldi, they often sell a fruit and a veg each week for a super value at 49cents or less. Their regular price is 1.99Euro. That’s a 75% savings! So, you could spend 1Euro on two bags or 4 Euro.

Avoids Processed/Pre-made foods
Again, obviously, the premade stuff is much more expensive. You pay for the convenience, but I like knowing the ingredients that go into my meals and what I am feeding the family. So, with a little bit of planning, you can avoid a lot of those additives and get huge savings by avoiding those foods.

Do Sign up For Club Memberships
Supervalu, Tesco, and Dunnes all have Club Memberships which basically means they will give you a card to scan when you make purchases and then send you vouchers (coupons) for a percentage of the amounts you spend. You can also collect stamps to buy special items at discount which can also be a very good discount (Pyrex, cast iron pots, etc.).

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Mai Girl

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