Could you feed a family on a tight budget?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Helyn Kerslake, Jayne Jenkins, Sylvia Kerslake, Joe Jenkins and Rhys Kerslake, cooking in their kitchen in Fareham
FOOD FOR THOUGHT Helyn Kerslake, Jayne Jenkins, Sylvia Kerslake, Joe Jenkins and Rhys Kerslake, cooking in their kitchen in Fareham
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During this time of austerity, some people are struggling to feed their families a hearty, healthy meal.

But one family of five from Fareham have shown how easy it is to eat on a budget.

Joe Jenkins, partner Sylvia Kerslake, and their three children Helyn, 14, Rhys, 11, and Jayne, six, regularly cook together as a family on a budget of around just £30 a week for main meals.

Joe, 42, from Cambrian Walk, says: ‘We want to show people how you can have proper food without having to spend so much money.

‘It’s about shopping in the right places and getting the right things.

‘People just go in the shop and chuck loads of stuff in the trolley and a lot of it they probably won’t use.

‘We plan our meals and on the day before, we figure out what we are going to have.

‘We have a roast every Sunday.’

And Joe says he recommends people use a local butcher to get good quality meat, with his family buying their meat in bulk.

‘It’s just about letting people know about it,’ he said.‘Most people will say the butcher is too expensive without looking at how much it is.

‘My uncle was a butcher for 60 years so I wanted to support not just butchers but local businesses.

‘If you can support local businesses then it’s good and if you save money it’s even better.

‘When I was a kid it was all bubble and squeak.

‘If you go to a butcher you can buy exactly what you want.

‘In the past we have bought a quarter-pound of chicken mince because that’s what we needed.’

And Joe insists it’s easy to be flexible and make a variety of different meals.

‘It doesn’t have to be boring. You don’t have to eat healthily all the time. We do burgers and chips,’ he added.

‘We are already thinking of Helyn when she goes off to college and, hopefully, university.

‘If she knows how to cook then she can survive.’

Sylvia, 45, adds that the family shop around to get cheaper food.

‘Things like rice and pasta we buy in bulk – it works out cheaper to do it that way,’ she says.

‘You just shop around. That’s the best thing to do.

‘We don’t go without a meal. We eat well for five of us for not a lot of money.

‘We don’t throw a lot away at all.’

The family spend between £130 and £150 a month on meat which they then freeze until they are ready to cook.

‘By buying it once a month we get good deals. The butcher always gives us a good deal,’ adds Sylvia.

Joe says he is confident many other people can benefit with his budget eating plan.

‘As we go further into recession and find ourselves with less money, many people are finding it difficult to feed their family on such a small budget,’ he said.

‘Many people have a budget of just £1.50 per person per day and are finding it difficult to feed their families with food which is healthy, tasty and well-priced.

‘Add to this the difficulties in knowing just what is in that food, and you have unhappy people just getting by.

‘However, it is possible to take this budget and eat healthily, including fresh meat from the butcher. On this budget, it is also possible to have a full roast dinner once a month, at no extra cost.’