Feed the family on $20
The go-to foods when the money's running low
I HAVE been there myself. I’ve got $20 left in the bank, a few days until pay day, and nothing left in the pantry. What the hell am I going to feed my family?
Here are some ideas on some cheap eats to fill the tummies of hungry kids when money is short.
Pick and choose the items that your family likes to eat (if you bought them all of course it would add up to more than $20). But some staples are relatively cheap.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes: This is where I would steer clear of the big supermarkets that can charge upwards of $5 a kilo for potatoes. If you shop at a local grocer or markets you can easily pick up potatoes for $1 a kilo.
Frozen vegetables: I’m a firm believer in buying frozen vegetables if you have small children. Aldi has a good range of cheap frozen vegetables, and the generic brands from the supermarkets vary in taste – try a few to see which ones suit.
Canned tomatoes: If you have canned tomatoes in your pantry you always have a meal. Whether you are making a bolognaise sauce, a casserole or a stew, canned tomatoes add great taste and bulk to everything you make. In fact, if you have the above three ingredients you can make a very tasty meal that won’t cost a bomb.
Lentils: Before you say “gross’’ and “my kids won’t eat them’’, I have sneaked them into sauces and never had a complaint – and I truly believe I have the fussiest eaters on the planet. Lentils make a great substitute for mince in a lot of meals, and give a real nutty flavour to foods.
Rolled oats: Rolled oats have become a lot more expensive in the last few years, but they are still a great filling food for breakfast. Not only that, you can use rolled oats in your rissoles or casseroles to bulk them up.
Mince: If cash is tight you can buy bulk 3 Star mince for only a few dollars a kilogram. It might have a bit more fat in it than the more expensive stuff, but just cook it up and skim off the fat – easy!
Rice noodles: For only 89c you can pick up enough rice noodles to feed your family, especially when mixed with some mixed vegetables and a tomato-based sauce.
Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: stayathomemum.com.au
Pantry staples such as potatoes and sweet potatoes are the basis of cheap, bulky meals.