Mum writes up 87p-a-day meal plans for people struggling to afford food


A kind-hearted mum is battling the cost of living crisis by writing meal plans so struggling parents can feed a family of four for less than £4 a day.

Samantha White, from Leicester, became concerned at seeing people saying they had ‘no money’ and concocted an entire weekly plan of meals budgeted at 87p per day per person.

The 31-year-old posts the budget meal plans on Facebook every week where she says she is inundated with messages from grateful people who have come to rely on her ideas.

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However Samantha, who runs a playgroup, admits that she doesn’t follow the plans herself as she opts for branded items and doesn’t even budget when shopping for her own family – though confesses she should.

The weekly suggested shopping lists include whole chickens for £2.66, packets of mince for £1.79, 20 sausages for just a £1 and spaghetti for just 20p.

Her meal plans include cottage pies, bolognese, pasta salad and ham sandwiches and range from £20 per week to £25 per week for a family of four.

Desserts include angel delight for 55p, 12 fromage frais yoghurts for 73p, or even cheaper cans of rice pudding for just 20p.

Samantha said: “I don’t follow the plans myself, I should.

“I’m not going to say I’m privileged but I don’t even budget, I just go to the shop and buy.

Mum creates 87p a day meal plans for people struggling to afford supermarket shopping
Mum creates 87p a day meal plans for people struggling to afford supermarket shopping

“I plan our meals and what we’re going to eat but I don’t write down prices because I don’t need to.

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“I don’t want people to think it’s all well and good me doing it for other people when I don’t do it for myself.

“I cook those kinds of things but not with the value range which is why I think it’s a bit hypocritical. I do it because people find it helpful.

“When I get time to do it I will because it costs nothing to be kind. If you can help someone then you do.”

The mum-of-two decided to start writing low-cost meal plans after joining a budget focused Facebook group in search of recipe ideas.

One of Samantha's meal suggestions
One of Samantha’s meal suggestions

Samantha said: “There was a post from a girl saying she had £20 to last her, her husband and child for nine days.

“People commented with different food options which is helpful but she was in distress.

“I thought that I’d be able to help if I went through and listed what to buy to make different meals and I managed to make a meal plan for £18 and she messaged me saying how grateful she was.

“I saw more and more posts about people who’ve got no money.

“It’s awful. I’ve got my own children and I can’t imagine feeling like that. I can’t imagine going to bed and not knowing how I’m going to feed my children.

“She was so grateful and I thought she can go to bed that night knowing she could feed her child. It shouldn’t be a reality for anyone in this country.

“I include normal meals like cottage pie, bolognese, curries and I always include a roast dinner option because that’s what I cook for my family and its what normal families should be eating.

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ONE OF SAMANTHA'S MEAL PLANS TOTALING AT £24.41
ONE OF SAMANTHA’S MEAL PLANS TOTALING AT £24.41

“They shouldn’t have to feel like they’re poor.”

Samantha spends two to three hours per week scrolling through supermarket websites, carefully selecting each item and calculating the cost.

Although Samantha opts for branded items herself, she advises anyone using her meal plans to stick to a supermarket’s value range to make their money go further.

She says she’s inundated with messages of thanks and has been asked to share her ideas in other Facebook groups.

Samantha said: “I do it when I’ve got time. My daughter likes me to sit on her bed while she’s going to sleep so I’ll do it then.

“I started posting in one Facebook group then I got contacted by other pages asking me to post them in two other so I get about 1,000 responses altogether.

A kind-hearted mum is battling the cost of living crisis by writing meal plans so struggling parents can feed a family of four for less than £4 a day
A kind-hearted mum is battling the cost of living crisis by writing meal plans so struggling parents can feed a family of four for less than £4 a day

“My phone goes a bit mad. I do try to read them and the majority are grateful and there’ll be one person saying there’s no desserts on the meal plan.

“I always say it’s great if someone has a bit extra to add or I’ll tell them that if they can do better then they should share their list in a sarcastic way. People aren’t negative though.

“It can take a couple of hours to do. I normally just go on Aldi’s website and put a shop together because it’s too much effort to shop around.

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“If you’re on a budget, you haven’t got time to travel to different shops.

“A lot of suggestions are things like chicken nuggets because it’s ok to have a treat day but you wouldn’t want that all week.

“I cook every day for my kids because I love cooking.

“People message me saying thanks so much and that the meal plans are really helpful.”




www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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