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Friday, 7 August 2015

Leaving an 8 year old in charge of dinner

If I could say there is one thing I absolutely dread doing with the children, it's taking them grocery shopping. I usually do anything to avoid this and will go when they are in school or order online. However due to the madness of the Summer holidays it's not always that easy and sometimes I just have to grit my teeth and take them!


When Newcastle Building Society asked us for ideas of how you can start to teach your children budgeting skills and the value of money I had the genius idea of putting them in charge of planning their own dinner and shopping for ingredients themselves. Suddenly a trip to the supermarket didn't seem 'boring' and they were all very excited to get involved. Harry (aged 8) decided to be in charge and wanted to make his own pizzas which is a favourite Friday night treat in our house. Watch this 3 minute video to see how we got on:-


I would honestly recommend every parent tries this over the holidays. Our children absolutely loved being in charge and have been asking every day when we can do this again. I am confident they learned a few life skills too and budgeting for a family meal is not something they would normally learn in the classroom.

What did our 8 year old learn from being in charge of dinner?


  • I was really surprised that Harry knew approximately how much we were paid and he could equate this to how much we spent on food.
  • Unbranded products are usually (but not always) cheaper than branded products.
  • Make sure you look on the top and bottom shelves where food is often cheaper.
  • Sometimes there are leftover ingredients and it's a good idea to plan in advance what you are going to do with them so they aren't wasted.
  • You can make three pizzas for £7.50.
  • Tinned vegetables work out cheaper than fresh vegetables.
  • Look out for special offers but make sure you check you are getting a good deal.


Win a £50 Sainsburys Voucher and try leaving your own children in charge of dinner


We are delighted that Newcastle Building Society have given us a £50 Sainsburys gift card to giveaway to one lucky reader. Good luck and if you win, please let me know if you let your own children plan and cook dinner. Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

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325 comments

  1. Wow he did so well! A fantastic idea, I remember constantly nagging my Mum the whole way round the supermarket and sneaking things into her trolley when she wasn't looking!

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  2. I would cook something easy that I know would be good, it would probably be something from a packet like Fish fingers, chips and peas followed by an apple crumble as that's quite easy to make.

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  3. Well when I was young I loved fish fingers ...si much wanted them all the time...haven't had them for years...so would definitely cook fish fingers and chips and beans!

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  4. joanna butlersavage7 August 2015 at 09:36

    pasta

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  5. What a great idea :) My 8 year old self would have liked chips in a burger I bet!

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  6. Smiley Faces and Turkey Twizzlers haha.

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  7. I think at 8 my fave meal was those really cheap packet noodles. Not super noodles as they are too saucy, the really cheap ones. Still is!

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  8. I would cook spaghetti, meatballs with olive eyes and blood tomato sauce

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  9. I used to cook dinner all the time when I was quite young, usually a beef stew, with potatoes, carrots and lots of other veg x

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  10. Spag Bol! Actually tried this when I was 8 - the pasta was like rubber!

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  11. i would cook Pancakes !!!! loved them as a kid and not that hard to make :)

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  12. uhm it would be an arguement between my two as they both like different things! He would choose a roast she would choose cheesy pasta!

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  13. I'd probably be way too ambitious and attempt roast chicken. Not that I'd succeed, but I would try :)

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  14. What a brilliant competition, I have just moved in to my own flat and are a little low on money this would be perfect for me xx

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  15. I would cook spaghetti Bolognese, nice and simple.

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  16. I'd cook Corn-on-the-Cob, Veggie Kebabs with Pitta Bread, followed by Fresh Berry Salad.

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  17. Pizza, Spaghetti Loops and Croquettes :)

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  18. fish and chips for definite, Kids are never to old to learn

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  19. my mum used to cook for me but i liked fritters

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  20. chicken nuggets beans and potato waffles!

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  21. I think fishfingers and chips would be my lazy option.

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  22. Fish fingers, mashed potato, baked beans and jelly beans. Hey if I'm 8 then beans are beans right? I don't know the difference.

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  23. If I was 8 years old I would cook chicken, chips and veg! That was my favourite!!

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  24. This is a fantastic idea! I had never thought of it. My twins will soon be of that age and I think I'll do the same. If I was 8 I would certainly cook cheese omlette, because that's all I could cook when I was 8

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  25. i would cook pizza and chips

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  26. Beans on toast with lots of grated cheese on top.

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  27. Fish and chips
    Claire D

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  28. Spaghetti bolognese, it was always my favourite as a kid. I'm sure it's th first meal I learned to cook actually...

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  29. If I was 8 I would probably just make toast with tinned spaghetti - not sure I could manage much else!!!!

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  30. Chunky vegetable soup

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  31. cheese on toast - bev_metallica

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  32. Anything with mashed potatoes! Always loved fish fingers and mash as a kid so probably that :-)

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  33. Baked beans on toast - nice and easy!

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  34. Macaroni Cheese with hotdogs :)

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  35. Spaghetti in a herby tomato sauce

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  36. Tomato Soup followed by Fish Fingers, Chips & Mushy Peas

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  37. Pizza or chicken dinosaurs and potato waffles.

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  38. I used to ask for Brussels sprouts and apple sauce or a Chinese takeaway for my birthday meals so I dare say it would be one of these options 😂

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  39. My eight year old takes after her father - both can only cook tacos, so if I were eight years old I'd follow their lead...I mean, who doesn't like tacos?

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  40. I can't remember what I'd have asked for but my little boy, who's defintely not quite 8 yet, would probably want sausages, mash and gravy xx

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  41. Fish fingers, beans and waffles.x

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  42. Probably macaroni cheese, it was always my favourite!

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  43. Microwave porridge oats or beans on toast

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  44. Probably cakes and biscuits!

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  45. egg and chips

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  46. fish and chips

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  47. It would definitely be Fish Fingers and Waffles, my boys favourites.

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  48. baked beans on toast with cheese on top :)

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  49. Chicken nuggets and chips :)

    ~ Anthony G

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  50. Soup (from the tin)

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  51. I would probably make pizzas as well, my son always eats things better if he has helped to make it.

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  52. Ham fritters and syrup sandwiches!

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  53. Pizza with chocolate and marshmallows on lol

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  54. fish finger and ketchup butties

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  55. I'd cook beefburgers in sesame seed rolls & chips.

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  56. Poached Eggs - I love poached eggs as a kid...

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  57. Probably fried egg sandwiches with salt and tomato sauce

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  58. If I was 8 I would make baked potatoes with cheese and beans and Lincolnshire sausages because that is what I used to do when I wasn't much older! When I was a kid I lived with my granny and I mainly used the microwave for cooking as it was safer so I used to make baked potatoes in the microwave all the time. I also used do the sausages in the microwave too and they used to shrink horribly! They always came out half the size they went in!

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  59. My kids have always loved making pizza.... or quiche.

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  60. Pizza or quiche (sorry if this is a dupe comment, my browser crashed!)

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  61. When I was 8, I would have loved to make fish fingers and chips.

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  62. Pizza :-)

    @rachiegr

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  63. If I was 8 again, I would try to make bolognaise pasta bake, yummy.

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  64. Beans on toast if I could have reached the toaster and found the tin opener

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  65. fish fingers, chips and peas + Jelly and ice cream

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  66. bangers and mash plenty gravy and mushy peas

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  67. ravioli plastered with grated cheese and plenty of bread! Mmmmm

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  68. I think the 8 year old me would have sausages, mash, veg and gravy. When I was that sort of age it was meat and veg all the time and thats all I knew!

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  69. Chicken Nuggets with ketchup. Still love it!

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  70. Chocolate Pizza - what else!

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  71. I used to do this with my children when we were going camping they would plan the menus (we went for three days) and buy the food at Lidls and do the tea while we were away.

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  72. Probably macaroni cheese for me!

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  73. That is a long time ago but I have a feeling it would have been fish fingers, chips and beans :D Rafflecopter entries are in my real name NIKKI HAYES, thank you for the lovely giveaway :o)

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  74. A mountain of mash with sausages stuck upright all over it with peas for eyes and a ketchup mouth....a hedgehog tea 😃

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  75. Potatoe wedges and garlic bread :)

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  76. I think pizza is probably quite easy at that age xx

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  77. Chicken nuggets, chips and spaghetti hoops

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  78. Toast and beans

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  79. Norman Whitfield10 August 2015 at 07:01

    Baked beans on toast probably!

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  80. I think my favourite was alphabetty spaghetti on toast with some melted cheese on top!

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  81. When I was eight I would have cooked cheese on toast, angel delight followed by artic roll

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  82. cheesy pasta

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  83. I'd make scrambled egg on toast.

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  84. When I was that age I used to love baking! I'd just make these great sponge cakes.. Would be a running joke with my parents that i'd just waltz into the living room having baked this cake all on my own! Haha! Who says you can't have cake for dinner! x

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  85. I was a fussy child so it would probably be something like chicken nuggets and chips

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  86. At 8 years old, I probably would've tried cooking a McDonalds...so that would be a cheeseburger, chips and banana milkshake

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  87. pizza followed by ice cream

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  88. Macaroni cheese. I made it once as a kid and haven't made it since. Think I might have to have another go :) x

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  89. I used to love Spag Bol and Roast Dinners but not sure I was capable of that at 8, but pretty sure I could cook a mean beans on toast! :-)

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  90. I would cook pasta as its so easy and cant really go wrong.

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  91. Based on what I actually cooked at 8: small flat cakes with tea leaves in them - quite gross.

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  92. Something absurdly ambitious- steak and kidney pudding maybe

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  93. I would make funny face pizzas

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  94. Fish fingers, chips and beans :) ♥

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  95. Pizza with a lot of toppings

    Kelly Ellen Hirst

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  96. when i was 8 all i wanted was pot noodles so id say potnoodles ! x

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  97. Well i would try cook super noodles with out burning the house down in the process....

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  98. Sticks of spaghetti poked through hot dog sausages with pasta sauce.

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  99. At 8 it would be pudding. Maybe chocolate cake with mint custard.

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  100. Probably a big plate of chips or beans on toast!

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  101. I liked to cook and my Gran got me a kids cookbook, my fave was a toasted open faced ham sandwhich with shoestring potatoes on top so it looked like a hay stack.

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  102. Battered fish fingers and potato alphabets (from the freezer of course)

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  103. If I was 8 years old again I would probably cook a truck load of spaghetti with pasta sauce straight from the jar. Then whack it on a plate just in time for dinner.

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  104. Sausage and Mash and NO VEGETABLES

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  105. anything cold out of a packet!
    carole n

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  106. Beans on toast... simples!!
    Super giveaway, thank you :) x

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  107. I would cook some Bolognese pasta! :)

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  108. Fish fingers, waffles and beans

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  109. Fish Fingers, Chips and peas! That was my fave when I was a child! P.s I really enjoyed reading this blog post - What a great idea and a great family! :)

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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