How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half – Week One Report

Thrifty Lesley Lentil Soup

Well, we have done the first week of following Thrifty Lesley’s meal plans and recipes in order to slash our grocery costs. We started with the Week One meal planner:

Thrifty Lesley Chickpea Crumble
Chickpea Crumble – thank Thrifty Lesley for this delicious dish!

Day 1 – All good. Loved all the food. Skipped the lunch because we had some various leftovers from the weekend and last night’s dinner. Dinner was the chickpea crumble, which was amazing, but the portion was so large, I actually thought Lesley has made a mistake on measurements with this one. My plate was almost overflowing with food. I think a whole tin of chickpeas is probably too much. Anyway it was delicious, and I didn’t need supper and woke up the next morning not feeling starving.

Thrifty Lesley Lentil Soup
Lentil Soup, by Thrifty Lesley – portion size too small?

Day 2 – Nice, easy, quick breakfast. For lunch we did the Lentil soup and added a few seasonings, herbs, spices, etc. to it. The portion size this time seemed way too small. I was feeling very hungry within a couple of hours, so I made the scones from the ‘cakey extras’ recipes. I changed them slightly to swap 50g of the flour for some ground flaxseed and nut mixture just for a more healthy nutritional balance. I also had lots of random dates to use up, so I swapped half the raisins (I only had sultanas anyway) for chopped up dates. The scones are amazing, really easy, and quick to make. I ate one with a thin layer of tesco hard goat’s cheese that I had left over, just to limit the sweetness of the scone a little.

Day 3 – all went fine

Day 4 – all went fine

Day 5 – only did the breakfast, as we are off to visit family for a couple of days. So far, so good on the meal plans. They seem pretty good overall, and I am not craving any food that I would normally be eating. The only thing that I would probably have to change is the ratio of protein:fat:carbs as the protein is usually very low in the meal plans, at only around 9-10%. I also would prefer to get more calories from good fats (butter, olive oil, goose, duck, beef dripping, etc.) and reduce the carb basis a bit – fat is a lot easier for the body to burn than carbs and is better for the skin and digestion.

Sweetcorn Fritters - by Thrifty Lesley
Sweetcorn Fritters – by Thrifty Lesley

Day 6 & 7 – we did these when we got back from visiting family. We had to change a few things around a bit, but still used the ingredients we had bought for the Thrifty Lesley meal plans. The sweetcorn fritters were really good – and I don’t even like sweetcorn! We skipped the wedges and made kale chips and peas to go with it instead.

Conclusion – Thrifty Lesley Meal Plan Week 1

The first week of our self-imposed ‘how to cut your grocery bill in half’ challenge seemed to go pretty well overall. Just the occasional thing that didn’t seem quite right with the portion sizes (one was way too small, one too big), but they were easily remedied. I really think this is a great meal plan to save money with, without compromising on taste. The good thing about it is that Lesley constantly mentions ways to tweak things and encourages you to add whatever other fruit or veg you’ve got to hand, or helpful alternatives and alterations to the meals.

We spent under £25 on food, and have loads of stuff left over – all non-perishable. This is a huge win! We would usually spend £40+ depending on how many visitors we have (we usually have a lot of people over for lunch/dinner on any given week). So, a saving of £15+ since we have food going forwards to future weeks.

We are just about to start week 2, as we were away again for a while at the York FI/PF Bloggers Gathering and seeing family again. Fingers crossed, the second week will be as good as the first!


    1. I found her quite by accident… Funny because I’ve been reading about frugal stuff for so many years and just hairnet upon her site via a link off an article which had been linked to from someone else! Maybe she needs some more SEO doing on her site?!

  1. The Lentil soup looks like something from the restaurant. You guys are super talented. You should share the receipe sometimes. Homemade is the best!


    1. I give credit to the (now Mrs) Thrifty Lesley! Although we do love cooking and making the food look good is part of that for us

  2. Hey M

    Great to catch up with you the other day!

    Thanks for the timely reminder to check Thrifty Lesley again – although I’m not going for the plan, I have my eye on some of her recipes/recipe ideas.

    Well done on bringing your food bill down to under £25, great results there with the food. My own budget is to keep my food bill under £25 a week and that’s just me, so you have done a super job feeding your family with proper meals on that!

    When I go shopping these days, I have a plan of what I’m going to cook (3 or 4 meals) and my freezer helps to keep things flexible in case plans change, eg if I end up going out during the week.

    As T mentions, with our busy lives, structure helps with time – another thing is that I eat the same breakfast every day (nuts, yoghurt and fruit during the week, toast or porridge at weekends) – it’s just one less thing to think about in the day, that I don’t have to wonder what I’m going to eat!

    The massive full English breakfast I had in York was nice but not what I could have very often!
    weenie recently posted…York Gathering + Monkey StocksMy Profile

  3. I have really enjoyed our first attempt at using Thrifty Lesley’s Meal Plans. In addition to the cost benefits of such an approach, not to mention maintaining good quality food intake, having a structured outline of what to cook when is often very helpful. It can take a long time to work out what to cook, as well as to cook it, and with a busy life reducing the time to determine what to cook is great.


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