A thrifty mum claims she can feed a family on £10 a week

Thrifty mother reveals how she makes family dinners for just £10-a-week – with enough leftovers for lunch the next day

  • Grace Mortimer ,29, from Glouster was worried about the cost-of-living crisis
  • The best-selling author is using her Instagram platform to help others 
  •  She claims she can create family dinners for just £10 a week by shopping at Aldi

A thrifty mother is sharing recipes online to help during the cost-of-living crisis – and claims she can make dinners for a family-of-four, with leftovers for lunch, for just £10 a week.

Sunday Times bestselling author Grace Mortimer, 29, from Gloucester creates recipes that can feed up to four people for as little as 22p per person.

The mother-of-one cooks them up at home then posts a picture, the recipe and the cost of ingredients on her Instagram page @_MyFirstMeals.

Pictured Grace Mortimer, a 29-year-old author and mother of one who was saddened by stories of the cost-of-living crisis and decided to use her platform to help others make the most of the pricing squeeze

Grace’s warming Butternut Squash Curry at a cost of 23p per portion using ingredients from Aldi 

Cajun Rice at 21p per portion – Grace claims that stories of a ‘policewoman fainting at work’ spurred her on to help others with their food shop -without compromising on nutrition 

Grace came up with the idea when she was worrying about the cost-of-living crisis ahead of this winter.

The author started thinking about how people struggling on a shoestring budget would manage to feed their children, and she first posted her £10 tips on September 27 of this year, racking up hundreds of likes and comments for her cost-conscious creations.  

Grace said: ‘I’m very worried about the cost-of-living crisis for my own family, it’s terrifying.

‘Thankfully we can heat our home and eat but I know many people are having to make a choice between the two. That’s just awful.

Grace and sales manager partner Tom, 40, used to budget £50 a week to feed themselves and their six-year-old son.

‘It’s very depressing, and isn’t getting any better as it gets colder. I just want to help people who are on a really tight budget.

‘I love cooking so it felt like a good way to help. People just can’t believe how much food you can make for just £10.

Grace and sales manager partner Tom, 40, used to budget £50 a week to feed themselves and their six-year-old son.

But the mother has since realised she can make her household breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week for much less.

She was deeply moved by the 30,000 Instagram replies she got back last month when she asked people if her idea to post her £10 meal plan would be useful.

Sausage Soup at 22p per portion – Grace’s meals contain a small number of ingredients and are simple to cook – and don’t require expensive kitchen equipment.

Grace Mortimer’s Bolognese Bake (32p per head)

Ingredients – from Aldi

Half a packet of celery 14p

Tin of chopped tomatoes 28p

 1500g packet of Pasta 65p

Half a packet of Mince (250g) 90p

100g of grated cheese 60p

Total cost = £2.57 (makes 8 portions at 32p per head)


Turn to the oven to 180C

Fry the mince off in a frying pan with a little oil.

Roughly chop the celery and once the mince is browned off, add the celery and fry for a few minutes.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and fill the empty tin with water, adding to the pan.

Simmer until the sauce has gone thick and then switch off the heat to thicken further.

Add a little of the cheese to the sauce and stir until melted.  

Meanwhile boil the pasta according to packet instructions, drain and set aside.

Combine the pasta and sauce and tip it into a large dish.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes at 180C.

Grace said:’Teachers talked of children who were surviving on just one school meal a day, and a policewoman told her she fainted at work.

‘And another woman described how she and her husband sleep with their eight-month-old baby because they can’t afford to put the heating on, and he still wakes with blue hands.

‘The stories are heartbreaking. People are really struggling already.

‘It was the most responded to question I’ve ever put out on Insta, and made me realise how big this crisis is. It’s absolutely devastating.’

Grace started her insta page @_MyFirstMeals to share meal ideas for babies and toddlers in April 2020 when she realised parents would be missing out on groups to meet and share information because of lockdown.

She published her cookbook ‘My First Meals’ in August.

Grace’s meals contain a small number of ingredients and are simple to cook – and don’t require expensive kitchen equipment.

She posts five meals a week which feed a family of four, with leftovers for lunch to get them through the working/school week.

From September 27 to October 1, she posted five meals – which come to a total of just £8.89. 

Grace consulted with specialists and food banks to make her meals easy and nutritious to ensure she was using ingredients readily available in peoples’ homes.

Her prices are all based on Aldi, she explained, because other supermarket basic ranges are all price-matched with the store.

Grace said: ‘£10 is the lowest limit I think, or you start having to cut out important food groups like protein, or eating less, neither of which is a good idea.

‘I just wanted to encourage people on the lowest budgets.

‘And it’s simple, not too wordy and few steps, so people can do it and don’t worry about making mistakes and wasting ingredients.

‘Visual appeal is important, especially for kids, but cost has to be the priority now.

‘I haven’t extended it to the weekends yet: this just felt like the best I can do right now.

‘I would love to get these recipes on school newsletters, and I wish the government would promote things like this through public messaging.’ 

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