A week's meals for $140, one mum shows how

Kathrine Lynch can make $140 stretch to a full 7 days of meals for her family.
Kathrine Lynch

Kathrine Lynch can make $140 stretch to a full 7 days of meals for her family.

A Hamilton mother feeds her busy family of four for $140 a week – and says you can too.

Kathrine Lynch has devised a budget-friendly menu of family classics such as roast chicken with gravy and vegetables, beef and vege stirfry, and homemade burgers with handcut chips. The total cost is $5 per person, per day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. 

Lynch made waves two months ago when she cooked 15 dinners for her family for $100, and shared the feat on her Facebook page. Her latest post has had more than 20,000 views in two days. 

A whole week's worth of supermarket shopping for $140.
Kathrine Lynch

A whole week's worth of supermarket shopping for $140.

Her new challenge developed after she asked her Facebook followers what they spent each week to feed two adults and two school-aged children and the results averaged between $200 and $250. 

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She realised that she was consistently doing the same for $50 to $100 less.

Her weekly shop for the $140 menu included two packets of frozen vegetables; rump steak, casserole beef, beef mince, hoki fillets and shaved ham; 3 litres of milk, 500g of butter, 500g of edam cheese, 6 eggs; 1 kilo of rice, three loaves of bread and one packet of rolls; tinned tomatoes and tinned soup; fresh carrots, lettuce, broccoli cauliflower, onions, pumpkin, kiwifruit, pears and bananas.

Lynch shopped at her local Pak n' Save. The most expensive items were a twin pack of chicken for $13.99 and a 2.5kg bag of agria potatoes for $7.49. The cheapest was 89 cents for a packet of chicken gravy mix.

On the plan, breakfast consists of Weetbix or toast; lunch is a sandwich or roll filled with chicken or ham plus tomato, cheese and hardboiled egg, and one piece of fruit; and dinner is animal protein, vegetables and carbs.

Snacks include popcorn, carrot sticks and yoghurt. There are no desserts, alcohol or "treat" foods like gourmet cheese, olives, or chocolate. 

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Lynch says her family averages four servings of fruit and vegetables a day rather than the recommended five, but they eat more fresh produce in summer when it is cheaper. 

A PE teacher before having children, Lynch saw kids coming to school with no lunch, or carrying a bottle of fizzy drink and a packet of chips. "I thought for what that cost I could give them food for a whole day," she said.

Lynch realised that while she can go to the supermarket, scan the specials and devise a nutritious meal plan, a lot of people don't have that skill.

"My main goal is to get people to the point where they can do that. There are a lot of people out there struggling with their budgets."

While the $140 menu is intentionally simple and geared towards people who don't have a pantry full of exotic spices and condiments, Lynch says it can be adapted to suit more adventurous palates. 

She encourages shoppers to start by aiming to shave just $20 a week off their weekly shop. "That's $1000 a year, that's your Christmas sorted. It takes the stress out of it.


Weetbix 750g $4.49
Beef casserole meat $6.53
Beef rump steak $ 5.51
Pams frozen mixed veges (1kg) $2.20
Watties stirfry mix frozen $ 3.99
Value milk 3L $5
Twin chicken pack $ 13.99
Beef mince $8
Shaved ham $2.93
Anchor Country Soft butter (500g) $2.79
NZ hoki fillets $4.06
Maggi Onion Soup x2 $ 2.70
Maggi Beef Bourginon $1.39
Maggi Chicken Gravy $0.89
Teriyaki beef stirfry mix $2.05
Rolling Meadow Edam Cheese (500g) $4.99
Value popping corn (300g) $1.95 
Huntley & Palmer Vitawheat Crackers $ 2.49
Value rice 1kg $1.79
Pams rice crackers seaweed x2 $2.58
Eggs x6 $1.99
Campbells chicken soup $1.79
Pams diced tomatoes $0.99
Fresh & Fruity yoghurt 1L $4.19
Pams agria potatoes 2.5kg $7.49
Gregs mixed herbs $1.99
Gold Max bread x3 $2.85
Carrots (1.175kg) $2.34
Bananas x12 $6.14
Cauliflower x1 $2.99
Lettuce iceberg $1.99
Onions x4 $1.33
Broccoli x1 $1.89
Tomatoes x2 $2.20
Pumpkin $1.24
Pears x8 $ 5.38
Tip Top burger buns x8 $2.89
Long rolls x6 $ 2
Kiwifruit x 16 $ 5.92
TOTAL $137.92 

* Comments on this article have been closed.

 - Stuff


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