A mum has revealed how she feeds her family of ten for £150 a week with glorious Nandos and McDonalds fakeaways.
Caroline lives with her husband John and children Ellena, 21, Joshua, 18, Daniel, 15, Finlay, 11, Henry, 10, Sophia, eight, Florence, six, and Emilia, two, in Evesham, Worcestershire.
Yes, thats a lot of kids to feed. You can imagine how tricky it is to sort out meals that will please everyone and that stick to a budget.
Caroline manages it with plenty of batch cooking and making everything from scratch. She regularly recreates takeaway favourites like sausage and egg McMuffins and Nandos style chicken to please picky eaters without having to ever buy ready meals or pre-prepared food from the shops.
Caroline insists that her tight budget doesnt limit the range of what she can whip up for her family and uses her creative touch to let the family enjoy fun meals that theyll remember – like homemade fish fingers and jars of special, home prepared sweet treats.
She said: Im a mad planner, I plan everything. My motto is: Failing to plan is planning to fail.
You have be military when you have a family this big.
Im a sergeant major without the shouting, all the children have a role within the house when it comes to washing up.
I cook everything from scratch, everything we eat I make myself, I never buy ready meals.
I like to know whats in our food, the only way to feed a family is to cook from scratch, we all eat the same thing.
When you get into the supermarket you get bombarded with stuff you dont need. I hate waste, I try not to waste anything.
If I get to a Friday and my fridge is virtually bare then Im really pleased because then Ive shopped well.
Caroline does a weekly shop every Saturday morning after sitting down and planning the seven days of meals the family will enjoy.
She gets enough food for a weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, so no family member has to buy quick meals while out and about.
Caroline said: Breakfast is usually toast, cereal and fruit and porridge.
Mornings can be a bit crazy getting everyone out on time.
Lunchtime is mixed, some take packed lunches to school.
My husband does the sandwiches and I usually add some cakes or sweet treats Ive made myself, I try to avoid crisps.
I dont buy cheap, supermarket alternatives because I know I can save the money by making my own. I make my own bread, cakes and also make my own pizza.
Rather than just sticking to one supermarket, Caroline shops around to find the best bargains.
Shell usually start at Aldi to get staples like tinned food, pasta, rice, and passata, then to Tesco for other bits.
The key to sticking to the budget is knowing exactly what shell be cooking each day, with every meal planned to perfection.
But if batch-cooking is conjuring up images of dull meals of rice and veggies, youve got it all wrong.
Dinner is always the main event, with Caroline making sure to stay creative and make something special for her family.