Super-saver cooks 50 meal portions for £64.64 so she can travel more

Woman who used to spend £500 a month on food now cooks meals for as little as 74p per portion after food-prepping helped her more than halve her shopping bill to £200

  • Gemma Kennedy, from Belfast, wanted to save more money for travelling
  • She and her husband Simon, 30, looked at their spending and made some cuts
  • The recruitment consultant now makes food for an average of £1.29-per-portion 

A serial-saver has revealed how she bulk cooks 50 freezer meals for £60 in an effort to put enough money aside to enjoy more holidays together.

Gemma Kennedy, 27, from Belfast, realised she and her husband Simon, 30, were regularly spending £500-a-month on food because they ate out three times a week and were wasteful with their groceries.

She decided to overhaul their lifestyle, and by coupling meat from online retailer with cupboard staples and vegetables, she manages to cook 13 different meals for an average of £1.29 per portion – spending just 74p making chicken soup from leftovers. 

The recruitment consultant was fed up of throwing food away and wanted to start saving her money so she could travel with her husband, and has more than halved her bill to a food budget of £200-a-month.

Gemma Kennedy, from Belfast, poses in a Roman Colosseum in Cartegena during one of the trips saved for with their food prepping

And their plan worked so well it took the couple just over three months to save £3,500 for a two-week cruise around the Mediterranean last July. 

The couple previously since travelled to Cartegena in Colombia as well as Vigo, Barcelona and Ibiza in Spain.

In Ireland they’ve driven the Wild Atlantic Way and enjoyed a Game of Thrones filming destination trip involving a visit to Ballintoy, Northern Ireland.  

They visited these destinations with money they’d put aside, but now that their savings pot is even bigger thanks to meal prepping, they’re hoping to travel more often. 

The recruitment consultant, 27, was fed up of throwing food away and wanted to start saving her money so she could travel with her husband, 30 (pictured on holiday in Vigo, Spain)

Gemma and Simon have since enjoyed a number of trips with their savings – including a Game of Thrones road trip to Ballintoy (pictured)

Gemma is looking out over the cliffs in the Republic of Ireland’s southernmost point Mizen Head – during part of their Wild Atlantic Way road trip

Every few months Gemma spends £20 on a stock cupboard full of basics including chopped tomatoes, rice and kidney beans.

She also plans what meals the couple will enjoy for the week, and makes a list of the exact ingredients needed. 

If there is any food left over, the once wasteful Gemma now creates dishes such as soups and fried rice to completely eradicate waste.

By buying meat in bulk and pairing it with supermarket vegetables Gemma keeps costs low.

Gemma and Simon enjoyed the sun during a holiday to Vigo in Spain (pictured)

The couple braved the winds during their trip to Mizen Head along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

She cooks up eight portions of Chicken Noodle Soup, at 74p a portion, and four portions of Chicken Curry at £1.03 each. 

And once the meals have been made they go straight in the freezer, with Gemma and Simon pulling them out as and when they need them for lunches and dinners – meaning 50 portions usually last for weeks. 

Gemma’s money-saving top tips

 1 Pay bills monthly

‘You should always be shopping around when it comes to insurance and more expensive bills. 

‘I always try and pay yearly instead of monthly. 

‘Although it means that there’s a big one-off cost, in the long-run it means there’s more money in your own pocket.’

2 Curb unnecessary spending

‘Simon and I sat and went through our bank accounts and cancelled all the subscriptions we didn’t use. 

‘We were paying for apps and things that we may only use once or twice a month, which we could easily live without.’

3 Put money aside asap 

‘As soon as my wages come in each month, I have a standing order for a certain amount that goes straight into my savings. 

‘This means that I never really see the money, making it much more difficult for me to spend it.’

4 Allow for treats 

‘The whole process of being frugal and saving cash would be a lot more difficult if I completely denied myself and stopped spending anything. 

‘So, I give myself a £100 budget for treats. I can spend this on getting my nails done, buying some new clothes or treating us to a meal out – but once it’s gone, it’s gone.’

Gemma, who runs the Instagram account TheUndomesticatedWife told Femail: ‘We were just spending so much money on nothing. 

‘We used to eat out because it gave us something to do, but as soon as you sit at a table that’s around £60 gone straight away.

‘We now give ourselves a food budget of £200 a month. If we spend over in one week that’s fine, but we have to make up for it the next.’

She has even joined a community on social media who support her in her bid to save.

Gemma added: ‘I found the moneysaving community on Instagram which was such a big help to me as it makes me accountable.

‘I also started sharing my recipes on my page because I now see cooking as a hobby, and it’s great to be able to share something you’re proud of.’

And she loves buying large chicken breasts from muscle food because they go further than the usual supermarket sizes. 

‘The chicken breasts are perfect because they’re so big, so they go so much further the ones you’d usually buy at the supermarket,’ she continued.

‘One breast can sometimes make up two portions, which makes such a difference, especially when it comes to meal prepping.

‘The chicken is all perfectly prepared as well, I can use it straight away without having to cut any of the horrible bits off.

‘It’s definitely our go to meat as it’s so versatile and can be cooked up into any number of dishes, from tacos to pies, and they’re all so tasty.’ 

Gemma took a selfie while she and her husband Simon enjoyed a fairground ride in Barcelona

The recruitment consultant looked wistfully out into the ocean during a holiday in Ibiza

Gemma’s thrifty recipes  

 Chicken Curry – Serves 4

A batch of chicken curry serves four

2 chicken fillets – £1.98

2 cloves Garlic – 12p

2 teaspoons crushed ginger – 14p

2 diced onions – 18p

2 Chicken Stock Cubes – 10p

150g Natural Yoghurt – 27p

10g Coriander to garnish – 13p

10g Almonds to garnish – 28p

360g rice – 16p

Naan Bread – 75p

Total – £4.11

Cost per portion – £1.03


Chicken, Bacon & Leek Pie – Serves 4

Chicken, bacon and leek pie for four

2 chicken fillets – £1.98

2 leeks – 99p

1 onion – 9p

6 slices bacon – 90p

75g butter – 40p

175ml milk – 35p

100ml cream – 44p

2 cloves garlic – 12p

1kg potatoes – 55p

150g grated cheese – 75p

Chicken stock cube – 5p

Tenderstem broccoli – 79p

Total – £7.41

Cost per portion £1.85

Honey Chilli Chicken – Serves 2

Honey chilli chicken for two

1 Chicken fillet – 99p

2 cloves Garlic – 12p

1 red chilli – 20p

1 onion – 9p

2 Carrots – 12p

2 Celery Stalks – 10p

50g Honey – 27p

3 Tablespoons Soy sauce – 22p

180g of rice – 8p

Chicken stock cube – 5p

Total – £3.05

Cost per portion – 1.53

 Stuffed potato platter – Serves 4

Stuffed potato platter for four

4 baked potatoes – 70p

4x portions bbq chicken – 2.20

3 slices bacon – 45p

2 spring onions – 15p

100 g Garlic & herb cream cheese – 40p

100g grated cheese – 50p

3 celery sticks – 15p

3 carrots – 18p

Blue cheese dip – 87p

Total – £5.60

Cost per portion – £1.40   


 Chicken tagliatelle – Serves 2

Chicken tagliatelle for two

1 chicken fillet – 99p

8 mushrooms – 44p

1 onion – 9p

2 cloves garlic -12p

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard – 5p

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika – 7p

1 white wine stock cube -33p

160g tagliatelle – 17p

100g garlic & herb soft cheese – 40p

Total – £2.66

Per portion – £1.33 





Tacos – Serves 2

Tacos for two

2x portions bbq chicken – £1.10

1 pepper – 33p

1 onion – 9p

3 tomatoes – 22p

½ avocado – 43p

1 red onion – 21p

Lime juice – 15p

10g Coriander – 13p

½ fresh chilli – 15p

2 spring onions – 15p

50g grated cheese – 25p

6 taco shells – 82p

Total cost – £4.03

Cost per portion – £2.02


 Burrito Bowl – serves 2

Burrito bowl for two

2x portions bbq chicken – £1.10

1 pepper – 33p

1 onion – 9p

3 tomatoes – 22p

½ avocado – 43p

1 red onion – 21p

Lime juice – 15p

10g Coriander – 13p

½ fresh chilli – 15p

2 spring onions – 15p

100g grated cheese – 50p

250g Mexican rice – 45p

Total cost- £3.91

Cost per portion – £1.95


Chicken Noodle Soup – serves 4

Chicken noodle soup for four

3 chicken fillets – £3.96

2 onions – 27p

4 carrots – 30p

4 celery stalks – 20p

2 chicken stock cubes – 10p

4 cloves garlic – 24p

2 teaspoon dried thyme – 14p

10g parsley – 13p

180g dried noodles – 60p

Total – £5.94

Cost per portion – 74p 





Chicken Fried Rice – serves 4

Fried rice for four

2 chicken fillets – £1.98

1 red pepper – 33p

1 pack of babycorn & sugarsnaps – 79p

1 onion – 9p

8 mushrooms – 44p

360g rice – 16p

2 tablespoons soy sauce – 15p

1 tablespoon hot sauce – 13p

1 egg – 8p

2 cloves garlic – 12p

Total – £4.27

Per portion – £1.07 

BBQ Chicken – Turned this into 8 meals

4x Chicken fillets – £3.96

100ml BBQ Sauce – 46p

Total – £4.42

Cost per portion – 55p



Jambalaya – serves 8

Jambalaya for eight

4 chicken fillets – £3.96

3 mixed peppers – 99p

2 onions – 18p

3 Celery Stalks – 15p

100g Chorizo – £1.00

600g rice – 28p

3 tablespoons Cajun spice – 30p

4 cloves garlic – 24p

1 tin chopped tomatoes – 18p

1 teaspoon dried thyme – 7p

1 teaspoon dried oregano – 7p

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper – 3p

1 teaspoon hot sauce – 6p

2 chicken stock cubes – 10p

1 white wine stock cube – 33p

1 spring onion – 8p

10g parsley – 13p

Total – £8.15

Per portion – £1.02

Moroccan Chicken with flatbreads – serves 6

Moroccan chicken serves six

3 chicken fillets – £2.97

2 onions – 18p

2 cloves garlic – 12p

1 lemon – 30p

25g olives – 23p

50g raisons – 18p

1 teaspoon cinnamon – 4p

1 teaspoon paprika – 7p

1 teaspoon ginger – 7p

1 teaspoon ras el hanout – 15p

1 chicken stock cube – 5p

Chopped coriander – 13p

180g Cous cous mix – £1.80

2 flatbreads – 33p

Total – £6.62

Per portion – £1.11

Chicken & Sundried Tomato Gnocchi – serves 4

Chicken and sundried tomato gnocchi for four

2 chicken fillets – £1.98

2 onions – 18p

8 mushrooms – 44p

4 cloves garlic – 24p

1 teaspoon paprika – 7p

1 white wine stock pot – 33p

200g sun dried tomatoes – 48p

500g gnocchi – 75p

1 chicken stock cube – 5p

75ml sour cream – 35p

Total – £4.87

Per Portion – £1.22





 Total Cost: £60.77        Number of meals cooked: 50




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