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Karen Manning shares how she feeds her family-of-five for under €120. Supplied

'It's all about being mindful': Karen shares her week of creative family meals on a €120 budget

Karen Manning – aka Mother of All Deals – uses SuperValu Real Rewards to find value in her weekly shop.

“I WANT THE food I buy to stretch as far as it can,” says Karen Manning, mum-of-three, savvy shopper and bargain-hunter at Mother of All Deals.

Karen lives in Co Meath with her husband and three children, and has built an extensive following online by sharing smart ways to save money on a daily basis.

Planning your food shop in advance is a key money-saving tip from Karen, who chooses her family’s meals for the week based on in-store promotions and money-off vouchers available on supermarket loyalty apps, like the SuperValu Real Rewards app.

“The SuperValu Real Rewards app helps me to save regularly on our food shop with weekly money-off vouchers, weekly coupons and monthly ‘scan to win’ prize draws,” she says. “For things like vouchers, I set a reminder on my phone to make sure I use them before they expire.”   

Karen also looks out for ingredients she can use in multiple meals, buys own-brand products wherever possible and makes sure to take advantage of any leftovers: “I always use leftover ingredients in other meals and recipes wherever I can. It’s all about being mindful with your money and the food you buy.”

To see how Karen sticks to her budget while creating delicious meals for her family, we asked her to share a food diary for a week, complete with a cost breakdown. From “hidden veg” meatballs for the kids to quick and easy breakfasts, here’s how Karen fed her family for a week for less than* €120…

(*all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated, prices correct at time of publishing)


close-upofwomanservingroastchickenfordinnerforher Shutterstock Shutterstock

After doing her food shop on Sunday morning, Karen made a roast chicken dinner for the family. “I like to cook one big dish over the weekend when I have a bit more time because it helps me to have leftovers ready for extra dinners during the week,” says Karen. “It also means that any unexpected visitors on Sunday are fed too.”

Doing one big shop per week allows Karen to use any money-off vouchers she has, and prevents impulse purchases: “It stops me from popping into the shops and picking up items I don’t need.” The total cost for Sunday’s dinner was €18.01, and leaves plenty of chicken for lunch and dinner the following day. 

Shopping list for roast chicken with stuffing and vegetables (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

  • 2 x whole chickens €10.98 (€5.49 each)
  • Breadcrumbs €1.50
  • Mixed herbs €0.39
  • Frozen onion €0.79
  • Gravy granules €1.15
  • Potatoes €2.50 
  • Frozen mixed veg €0.70


lunchboxwithhealthysandwichesstrawberryandblueberry-healthypicnicat Shutterstock Shutterstock

To start the week, Karen opted for a frozen smoothie mix for a quick and easy breakfast. “During the summer months, I love making smoothies with frozen fruit for breakfast,” says Karen. “That way I know the fruit won’t go off within days, and pre-mixed packets mean I can throw something together quickly in the mornings.”

Lunch for the kids included wraps with leftover chicken, a yoghurt and blueberries. “I buy punnets of blueberries, rather than raspberries, as they don’t get squashed as easily in lunchboxes,” she says. Dinner was chicken fried rice, which was made using the last of the roast chicken. The total cost for the day was €14.13.

Shopping list for leftover chicken wraps, fruit and yoghurt (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

  • Tortilla wrap (8 pack) €1.85
  • Leftover chicken (from Sunday’s dinner) 
  • Sweet gem lettuce (2 piece) €1.09
  • Punnet blueberries (2 pack) €5
  • Fromage frais variety pack (6 pack) €0.99


Sharon-Blueberry Eton Mess U52B1484 Supplied Supplied

To save money and to reduce food waste, Karen makes sure she uses up all of the ingredients she buys by using whatever is left over to make other meals. On Tuesday, she uses the leftover egg whites from a carbonara to make a tasty Eton mess for dessert.

“When I make a carbonara with egg yolks, the egg whites are left over,” she says. “So I pop them in the blender with caster sugar and quickly make meringues.”

Breakfast on Tuesday was another frozen smoothie, while lunch for the kids consisted of bagels with ham, and fruit and yoghurt. Karen and her husband enjoyed carbonara for dinner, with the kids having fish fingers, waffles, chips and beans. The total cost for the day was €23.54.

Shopping list for Eton mess (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

  • Leftover egg whites from carbonara
  • Caster sugar €0.99
  • Lemon €1.10 (from a net of lemons and limes)
  • Cornflour €1.07
  • Icing sugar €0.69
  • Clonakility low fat yoghurt €0.79
  • Frozen fruit €1.62


pasta meatballs Supplied Supplied

On Wednesday, Karen made ‘hidden veg’ meatballs and pasta for the kids, and spaghetti bolognese for the adults. “I hide a lot of vegetables in my meals so the kids will eat it,” she says. “I do a lot of batch cooking and freezing too, and portion out things like meatballs without sauce before freezing them.”

Breakfast on this morning included croissants from the freezer aisle, while lunch for the kids was made up of leftover pasta from the night before, mixed with sweetcorn and ham. The total cost comes to €26.41.

Shopping list for kids’ dinner of hidden veg meatballs and pasta (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

  • Round steak mince (2 pack) €6.00
  • Frozen vegetables country mix €0.70 
  • Cream crackers €0.26
  • Pasta €0.99
  • Original pasta sauce €0.79

Shopping list for adults’ dinner of spaghetti bolognese (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

(Note: Make extra sauce to use later in the week)

  • Mince (from double pack)
  • Frozen onion (from chicken fried rice)
  • Giaguaro passato (2 pack) €1.10
  • Fiorino tinned tomatoes €0.45
  • Knorr beef stock pots (8 pack) €3
  • Just Add garlic puree (from chicken fried rice)
  • Dried mixed herbs (from chicken fried rice)
  • Giarvara tomato puree 0.55
  • Spaghetti (from carbonara)
  • Parmesan cheese (from carbonara)


HAPPY-MIDWEEK-10 minute Indian Chickpea Curry_v1HAPPY-MIDWEEK-10 minute Indian Chickpea Curry_v1U52B8946 Supplied Supplied

For Karen, a successful food shop includes meals that are easy to make and satisfy everyone in the family. A curry is her go-to, as well as fish fingers, waffles and chicken nuggets for her six-year-old son who has sensory needs when it comes to dinners. On Thursday, Karen used a mango, kiwi and pineapple mix to make a smoothie for breakfast, with tuna bagels, oranges and yoghurt drinks for the kids’ lunches. Dinner was an Indian chickpea curry, which is “full of flavour”.

“I like to cook one meal a week without using poultry or meat,” says Karen. “A curry is a great way to use up items in the cupboard, and you’ll be able to use up the spices you buy for ages afterwards.” The total cost for the day came to €17.76

Shopping list for Indian chickpea curry (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

  • Tinned chickpeas €0.39
  • Curry powder €0.88
  • Just Add garlic puree (above)
  • Just Add ginger puree €2.00
  • Ground coriander €0.82
  • Ground cumin €0.73
  • Biona Organic tin coconut milk €1.93
  • Lime (above)
  • Paprika €0.65
  • Frozen onion (above)
  • Fiorino tinned tomatoes €0.45
  • Wholewheat pitta bread €0.50
  • Naan bread €0.85
  • Rice (above)


familyhandsholdingslicesofhomemadepizza-childrensandadult Shutterstock Shutterstock

For Friday’s dinner, it was ham pizzas. They were made with the leftover sauce from the spaghetti bolognese, making for a “stress-free” dinner at the end of the week, says Karen. The family enjoyed pains au chocolat from the freezer aisle for breakfast – “this means I don’t need to worry about fresh produce being forgotten about” – while the Friday treat in the kids’ lunchboxes was a packet of rice cakes with yoghurt. The total for the day’s ingredients was €11.59.

Shopping list for ham pizzas (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

  • Pizza bases (2 pack) €2.99
  • Sauce (from spaghetti bolognese)
  • Mozzarella and red cheddar grated cheese €2.50
  • Family pack ham (above)
  • Ketchup €0.64


grilledhamburgers Shutterstock Shutterstock

On Saturday, it was a “BBQ party” for the family out the back garden after spending the morning and afternoon out and about. “BBQ salads are a great way to use up whatever is left in the fridge, and cooking outside means there’s less cleaning up in the kitchen – plus the kids love it,” says Karen. She took advantage of a 3 for €10 deal on BBQ meat to create a variety of dishes, while the day was rounded off with ice cream for everyone. The total for the day came to €19.12.

Shopping list for BBQ (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

  • Homestyle beef burgers (4 pack) part of 3 for €10 deal
  • Pork sausages (6 pack) part of 3 for €10 deal
  • Sweet chilli and lime mini chicken fillet skewers part of 3 for €10 deal
  • Coleslaw €1
  • Baby gem lettuce €1.09
  • Burger buns (6 pack) €1.05
  • Tomato ketchup (above) 

Shopping list for ice creams (all products are SuperValu own-brand unless otherwise stated)

  • Chocolate ice cream (1 litre) €1.99
  • Raspberry ripple ice cream (1 litre) €1.99
  • Askeys ice cream cones (21 pack) €2.00

Overall, Karen’s food shop for the week in SuperValu cost €113.91. Using a voucher on the Real Rewards app for €11 off a €75 spend, her total came to €102.91.

“If I run out of any items or essentials, I run in and do a quick basket shop,” says Karen. “As a busy mum running around to after school activities and other commitments, doing one big shop saves me time – and gives me more time to get organised for everything else!”

Whether you are a weekly trolley shopper or just popping in for daily essentials, you can scan your Real Rewards App for weekly money off vouchers and coupons resulting in great savings and better weekly budgeting when it comes to being a savvy shopper. Download the app and save on things that matter to you now

*This article was updated on 17/06/2022

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