How to feed a family of four for just £20 a week – and it's recipes EVERYONE will enjoy

Mum of four Vicky Saynor, 45, feeds her brood nutritious, healthy food at a low price. Here she shares her top tips on cutting your weekly budget.

Prices are rising everywhere, but savvy shopper Vicky Saynor who runs luxury self-catering accommodation Bethnal&Bec, keeps a careful eye on what she spends each week, and with four kids aged nine, 11, 13, and 16 she needs to!


Find the yellow labels

Vicky says, “It’s possible for a family of four to eat on £20 a week if you follow key rules. Number one: find out where the discounted aisles are at the supermarket.

“There are three main areas – fruit and veg, chilled foods and damaged ‘ambient’ foods. I’ve found tins from 5p.

“Learn what times of day and week they start to discount – typically 5-6 pm or Saturday evening – and you can save up to 90 percent. I’ll stockpile discount meat and freeze it. Remember, best before dates are about quality, not safety.

“I’ve got three freezers I found on sites like Gumtree. Batch cooking and freezing saves time and money.”

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Slow cooking saves time and cash

Vicky says, “Cooking in a rush in the evening makes you more likely to buy quick, expensive ingredients. Mix discounted beef steak with Morrison’s wonky veg and tomatoes for a filling stew – you don’t need a slow cooker, just pop in at the oven’s lowest setting.

“I cook extra then use the leftovers for my kids’ packed lunches. They always have a hot lunch in a thermos flask, so there’s no extra cost. A £2 stew can go a long way.”

Bulk out dishes with cheap ingredients

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Once Vicky’s found discounted mince for under a pound, she says, “I’ll bulk up a spag bol with lentils. Yellow split peas are ideal for adding volume and absorbing flavor, but add only pennies to the cost of a meal.

“The World Foods aisle at Morrisons is great for finding low price produce like pulses and tins – often even cheaper than the own-brand range.”

Make a roast last for three meals

A chicken can go a long way, says Vicky.

“If you see discounted chickens, buy the largest possible. Keep some meat for a pie the next day, then boil up the bones with some cheap veg to make soup or stock for a cheap risotto with rice I’ve bought in bulk and frozen veg. That’s three dinners for less than £5.”

Daily menu ideas

Breakfast: Homemade apple compote with honey and plain yoghurt (Vicky makes her own) – 50p for four

Porridge with frozen berries (forage blackberries in autumn and freeze) – 3.5p per 50g oats

Lunch: Red lentil curry with coconut milk – 25p per serving

Treat: Nuts, raisins and surprises – Vicky keeps a jar of budget raisins mixed with smarties or dolly mixture and nuts

Supper: Chicken drumstick, chickpea, and tomato stew – using dried pulses to save even more – 35p per serving.

For more information about Vicky and Bethnal&Bec, you can visit the website here.

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