Do you struggle to stick to a food budget, but still find spare pennies to eat at McDonalds? Or do you consider McDonalds a cheap alternative to a meal out?

If you think McDonalds saves you time and money, you’re wrong. 118 118 money is going to show you just how far that £15 spent on a McDonalds meal can get you if you shop in a supermarket.

But remember eating healthily takes a bit of forward planning. Time well spent in return for a healthier body and wallet!

How much does your McDonalds meal cost?

Let’s break it down. You’ve got £15 burning a hole in your pocket and a hungry family. You’re looking for a quick, easy meal within budget. £15 for dinner sounds like a bargain right? Well, if you’re feeding a family of four, you’ll get:

Quarter pounder with cheese / Big Mac medium meal x 2 = £8.58
Happy meal x 2 = £4.98
Mcflurry x 2 = £1.98

Total: £15.54

Doesn’t look too bad. You’ve got dinner, a drink and dessert for the kids and you still have change from £16.

The reality is, though, that McDonalds meals have a high fat content, which means you feel full immediately after but very shortly you’ll have hungry mouths asking what there is to snack on.

So, it’s looking like this quick, cheap meal could be false economy.

What can you get for £15 in a supermarket?

According to the Daily Mail, a typical British grocery basket looks a bit like this:

4 pints of semi skimmed milk
6 large free-range eggs
1 loaf of Kingsmill 50/50 medium sliced
1 pack of large vine-ripened tomatoes
350g of medium cheddar cheese
250g salted butter
1 bunch of organic fair trade bananas
4 x 125g fat free yoghurts
900g frozen peas
10 pack of fish fingers
1 whole fresh broccoli
500g penne pasta
500ml of washing up liquid
500ml of antibacterial hand wash
9 toilet rolls

Price comparison done by The Daily Mail showed that, in Aldi, you could get that entire basket for £14.75.

That’s enough food for several quick, easy and healthy meals including:

  • Fish fingers, peas and broccoli
  • Cheese on toast
  • Pasta with cheese and tomatoes
  • Sandwiches
  • Omelette with broccoli, tomatoes and cheese
  • High protein snacks (banana and yoghurt)
  • Scrambled / poached eggs on toast

Further ways to save pennies on your supermarket shop

There are plenty of ways that you can save even more money off of your supermarket shop. Doing a price comparison, as above, is a great way to start. Sites like MoneySavingExpert.com can also give you lots of tips and hints on how to save money on your shop, and websites like hotdeals.com often have vouchers that you can download to shave even more off of your food bill.

Some of the supermarkets even offer a price match on goods, but make sure you read the small print as, usually, the product has to be of identical size and brand and some don’t include online stores in their price match comparisons.

Make a meal plan

Get into the habit of sitting down on the weekend and making a meal plan for the following week. It won’t take you very long, and knowing what you have in the house and what to cook each evening will remove the temptation when you’re tired and hungry to make those last minute trips down the McDonalds drive through.

If you’ve never done it before and you’re not sure where to start there’s lots of information out there to get you started. You can even use your favourite supermarket’s website to create one, which is very handy if you do your food shop online – but don’t forget to compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deals before you hit the checkout button!

If you’re looking for inspiration, why not try a different style dish every night? If it’s good enough for Jamie Oliver, it’s certainly good enough for us!

Remember 118 118 money is here to help. We’re full of tips and hints to help you achieve a healthier financial future – and waistline! If you’ve put together a dazzling meal plan and successfully saved pennies on your weekly shop we’d love to hear about it, so get in touch!