Feeding your family on a budget
Meat and fish
Meat and fish
The freezer is your friend
Made too much? Leftovers can go into the freezer – you can defrost them when you haven’t got time to make a meal from scratch.
You could also try cooking batches of food and freezing unused portions. Chilli and pasta bakes are all good batch cooking meals. It might take 30 minutes one day to make, but only minutes to reheat in the microwave!
Help with the cost of feeding your family
Free School Meals
Every child in Scotland at a local council school can get free school lunches during term-time in primary 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. This applies to all children in these years.
Older children may be eligible for free school meals if you're claiming certain benefits. You can find out more about school meals on the mygov.scot website.
Best Start Foods
Best Start Foods is a payment card you can use to buy healthy food for you and your child. It’s for use when you’re pregnant or have children who are 3 or under and you receive certain benefits. Find out what your family is entitled to on our page about Best Start Grant.
Community Food Co-operative Programmes
Community Food Co-operative Programmes across Britain provide affordable fruit and vegetables to communities. For further information go to Sustain's website.
Scottish Welfare Fund
The Scottish Welfare Fund offers different grants you can apply for depending on your circumstances. You do not need to pay these grants back. You can find out more about these grants on the mygov.scot website.
Food banks and other community support
Local community groups across the country are providing extra help with food and other essentials for families who might be struggling. To find out what’s available in your area contact your local Third Sector Interface.
Top money saving tips from parents
“I like to stick to a budget, as most of my friends do, so what I tend to do is make homemade soup, pasta sauce and fish pie, all great for freezing and saves anything going to waste. I also find doing a weekly planner really helps and I always look out for offers in the supermarket as things that can be going out of date can often be frozen."
- Gillian, mum
"I prefer to do online shopping as I know exactly what my total bill is at the end of the food shop and it prevents me from impulse buying. When you shop online, you’re not tempted to buy chocolate and biscuits at the checkout. I also like to do my weekly shop at the beginning of the week, and make meals which I can then batch freeze and save for a later time."
- Kelly, mum from Edinburgh
"I find the best way to manage my family’s meals is to create a weekly planner and lay out what I intend to make. If my family have any objections, this can then be discussed before I do the shopping to avoid issues and wastage later on."
- Lorna, mum from Paisley