Families Struggling To Afford To Eat Over Summer


Health Money Parenting & Family Advice | by | 19th Jul 2017

Large receipt for families struggling to eat article

The summer holidays can put a lot of strain on a family’s finances. In this article we look at ways you can reduce the food bill, budget recipes and also how to find your local food bank.

More and more children in Wales are going hungry. This is especially an issue during school holidays when there are no free school meals and breakfast clubs. Parents have reported skipping meals so that their children can eat, and many are using food banks to help put food on the table.

There are many reasons behind this increase in children and families going hungry. From the introduction of the bedroom tax and universal credit, to low wages and a lack of wage increases since the financial crisis began in 2008, along with the ever rising cost of living. There has been a massive growth in food banks since then.

8 ways reduce your food costs

It is very hard to make your money stretch to cover all the costs of living, but there are some things you can do to help reduce your food costs in these times of austerity.

1. Avoid ready-made meals

If you do buy ready-made meals you could think about reducing the amount and try to cook meals from scratch. Not only will it save you money, it’s also usually a healthier option.

2. Get the kids involved

You could involve your child(ren) in the planning of homemade meals as they’re more likely to enjoy and eat them if they’ve had some input.

3. Use family recipes

Are you cooking skills not that good? Don’t know what is healthy but cheap? Why not ask an older relative who knows how to make a meal out of just a few ingredients.

4. Drink more water

Avoid spending too much on pricey juices and sugary drinks. Encourage the children to drink more water. It is the healthier option.

5. Buy in bulk, cook in bulk

Buy large packs of rice, pasta, potatoes and other basics to save money. And make large pots of meals. Dinners such as stews, spaghetti bolognese or curry. That way you can freeze some for later use.

6. Use the market

Buy fruit and vegetables from market stalls, many of which reduce the prices towards the end of the day.

7. Share with other families

Consider taking it in turn to cook for your own family and another. It costs very little to make a larger pot and sharing food with others in this way can be really positive.

8. Be wary of supermarket deals

Try to avoid getting ‘conned’ into so-called cheap deals in supermarkets, such as 2 for 1 offers. They are often over-priced to begin with.

Here’s 3 great sites for simple, low cost recipes…

Check out some of the easy-to-make recipes below:

SimplyRecipes.com has a dedicated and extensive section on budget cooking and recipes. However, before you get on to that, check out their six tips for cooking on a budget, such as the best value cuts of meat and why eggs are the best.

AllRecipes.co.uk are aptly named, as they have 1739 recipes in their budget section. If that sounds daunting then they have a spinner to help you select a meal at random.

Turkey twizzler denier Jamie Oliver has 113 cheap and cheerful recipes on his site.

Find your local food bank

Should you need to use a food bank, you can search for your local food bank on Trussell Trust’s site.

The following food banks will be running a holiday club, details about who can be referred and how, along with dates and location will be available in the near future:

There may be some financial help for families from the Discretionary Assistance Fund, though this is a fund of last resort. Citizens Advice has further information on DAF.


FamilyPoint Helpline

FamilyPoint Helpline graphic for family information

If you feel you need to talk to someone about any problems your family is having then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.


If you liked this article there are lots more in our Magazine section:

Find a Foodbank

7 Ways To Avoid The Bedroom Tax In Wales

Universal Credit In Wales Explained


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