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budgeting for food

(91 Posts)
mumtoblaire Tue 11-Sep-12 18:34:41

just wondered how you learn to meal plan and how you stay within budget. I just spent £16 in asda on not a lot if i am honest.

£1 for two corn on the cob
£1 for milk
£1 marshmallows
£1 hasselback potatoes - throw in the oven
half cucumber, some beetroot, rice, jar sweet and sour sauce, pizza for DD1,sausages for DD2 - and she never ate them.

Would love to meal plan and stick to it. I generally think about dinner 30mins before everyone needs to eat. I work full time, DH works full time, DD1 is 9yrs and DD2 is 2yrs.

Advice greatly received.

wheredidiputit Tue 11-Sep-12 18:42:21

I think the key to menu planning is having a store cupboard and freezer.

Mind tends to be roughly

Sunday - Roast with all the trimming
Monday - Cold meat with mash & Veg
Tuesday - Fish
Wednesday - Pasta
Thursday - Rice/stirfry
Friday - Don't really cook so fish fingers/burgers & Chips
Saturday - Whatever we fancy.

But having said that we don't stick ridgely to it day by day.

BonkeyMollocks Tue 11-Sep-12 18:43:52

You sit down and plan what you are going to eat for the week and go from there.

I think the key is that everyone eats the same thing. It won't work if you are cooking 3 different meals a night.

terrywoganstrousers Tue 11-Sep-12 18:44:39

Are you trying to find ways of saving money? Because immediately I would say that you could save on the potatoes by doing your own (a bit more work I know). But most of all I find it easiest to save money on food by meal planning.
We get a veg box delivered so I usually plan the meals around what's in the box that week, but I have previously done the planning around what meats are on offer, or what stuff I already have in the store cupboard, that kind of thing.
I don't do a rigid plan, but I write a list of maybe five or six meals, make sure I buy enough stuff for those, and then we improvise the other couple of meals or eat out, that kind of thing. That suits us best anyway. I can post our last few lists of meals if you are interested?

terrywoganstrousers Tue 11-Sep-12 18:45:57

Also if you have a slow cooker, that can be quite handy if you are organised enough to set it off in the morning smile

WiseKneeHair Tue 11-Sep-12 18:47:02

I started meal planning in April and have managed to cut the weekly shop from 250+ to less than 150 (2 adults, 3 very hungry boys).
If we run out of snacks, tough!
The cupboards are pretty bare by the end of the week, but we throw a lot less out.

WiseKneeHair Tue 11-Sep-12 18:48:11

Sorry, on phone, but that should be £150 from over £250.

Bossybritches22 Tue 11-Sep-12 19:05:01

Cut out things like marshmellows, not a neccesity, sadly.

Make your own oven chips, just slice a large jacket pot up dry a bit with kitchen roll & spray/brush with oil & bake.= wedges! I sometimes sprinklr cajun sopices on them to add a different taste.

Make your own pizzas with a basic cheese scone base -get the kids to help spread passata on & cover with pre grated cheese (mix of mozzerella & cheddar is good) for grown up versions add pepperami or salami/sweetcorn/other veg.

Start shopping at Aldi - I can do a huge shop for 3 almost adults (me & 2 teen DD's)& stock up for a fortnight on £50 ...yes cupboard is pretty bare by the last w/e but it's do-able.

AWomanCalledHorse Tue 11-Sep-12 19:49:56

I do 'costings' on each meal (like a sad person pretending to be a business) & try to stick as close to £2 per adult portion per dinner as possible.
I write a menu every month (for example we'll have Pasta 14 times a month) and then divide it into a week so we're not eating Pasta on all seven nights.
It takes about 30mins-1hour a month then 10-20 mins a week, our shopping bill (minus formula milk) is £30 p/w divided between Costco, Tesco & Waitrose.

Frozen veg; corn on the cob is nicer frozen (as is spinach, corn & peas if it's in stuff).
Stop buying jarred sauces (if you're comfortable making the sauce yourself) and that will save you loads.

Bossybritches22 Tue 11-Sep-12 20:12:38

I have a few Aldi jars sauces for back-ups & they're much nicer than usual jars, but I usually make my own by softening off a whole load of veggies ( roast or fry extra whilst you're cooking for another meal) add a jar/carton of passata & blitz the lot to a smooth sauce. Freezes well too!

mumtoblaire Tue 11-Sep-12 20:51:22

Thanks everyone

I feel that we waste so much money and a lot of food each and every week because we do not plan. I can visit Tesco, Asda and Morrisons all in the same day, spend £20 in each and still don't have the ingredients for a meal.

It stops now!

We always run out of household stuff and never think to pick up essentials while on my many supermarket visits.

I just need to be more organised and plan. I have been reading through the many threads and it seems to be easy enough as long as I plan and don't think that I can plan on the way round the supermarket. IYKWIM

moomoo1967 Tue 11-Sep-12 20:57:22

www.organizedhome.com has a meal planner with a shopping list on the side, keep a well stocked store cupboard. I can give u alist from my economy gastronomy tomorrow night if you like, am in bed smile

moomoo1967 Tue 11-Sep-12 21:05:11

Sorry I can't post the actual link, won't let me on my fone. Therer are lots of printables on the site

terrywoganstrousers Wed 12-Sep-12 00:17:17

Mumtoblaire- I also find having a veg box and milk delivered helps stop those little 'pop to the shop for milk and come out £50 lighter' moments. With the added bonus that if we are running low on bread or butter or cereal, yogurts etc, I can order those from either the milk man or the veg box peeps. So then you do only end up going to the supermarket on planned visits!
I have a master list of things I always have in as well as whatever I need for the weeks meals and I mentally run over that in my mind when I'm finalising the shopping list. Also useful is a list and pen which lives on the fridge so if we run out of something or DP/DD want me to get something it goes on there, otherwise I have to go through the cupboards to check and I would end up not bothering, and forgetting stuff at the shop, necessitating extra shop runs and at every turn danger of spending money on crap we don't actually need!

I try to budget an average of £3 for a main meal (2 adults, DC 3 and 7)

It means that we tend to go over budget at the weekend when we have a roast (about £6 - £8 for the four of us) but we will then sometimes have Jackets and beans or home made soup for pennies, so it averages out over the 2 weeks (I do a two week meal plan)

mumtoblaire Wed 12-Sep-12 07:46:25

moomoo1967 - thanks that would be great.

Bitter - two week meal plan sounds better to me than a weekly, get paid monthly and find that the last week before pay day that a lot of meals revolve around pasta and pesto.

Do you guys go shopping with the budgeted cash or your debit card? More than often I get to the check out, pay and when outside shop have no idea how much money I just spent.

Do you think it is better to lift so much money each week and lock card away?

eslteacher Wed 12-Sep-12 07:47:20

I've also recently been trying to bring down the cost of our weekly shop. Like you, before I never used to meal plan or decide what I was going to make in advance. Would end up over-buying, then getting stressed about battling with use by dates then throwing stuff out.

Things that are working for me so far:

-bulk buying meat and fish at the start of the month and freezing it all in small portions
-before I do weekly shop, sit down and work out the meals I will make that week and what I need for them
-go down a brand on as much produce as possible
-stop having a stockpile mentality, unless something is on special offer I just buy the amount I need for that week
-defrost meat day by day for your meals. This does mean you have to decide the night before what you will eat the next day, but its OK once you get into the habit
-have a couple of meals per week with no meat or v small amount, eg something pasta or risotto based

Good luck!

stressedHEmum Wed 12-Sep-12 09:04:06

One of the most important things is to only make one meal for everyone. Anyone that won't eat it gets to have a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast, but nothing else. Making more than one meal really pushes up the cost.

Another thing to do is to use frozen instead of fresh veg, for instance you can get 8 frozen half sized corn on the cob for about £1, so 1/2 the price you just paid.

Make your own potatoes, takes a bit longer, but is much cheaper, same for sauces/pizzas and the like. You can make a basic sweet and sour sauce with tomato ketchup, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce for pennies. for instance.

When I meal plan I have a price in mind for meals, usually between £2 and £3 for the lot. Sometimes it's a bit more, but there are usually leftovers for lunch or whatever, and sometimes it's less. So it all balances out.

I tend to plan around one ingredient, perhaps the carbs, and spread those meals out over the month, so that we eat pasta 2ce a week instead of for 2 weeks on the trot. I only cook meat once a week, maximum 2ce, unless I do a joint which I portion out to last a few meals. A chicken would make, for example - creamy chicken and veg pie, chicken pasta bake, chicken soup and spicy chicken and tomato tortilla bake. A ham joint would make - ham and veg pie, pea and ham soup, savoury rice, cheese and ham pasties and creamed ham jacket potatoes.

I tend not to buy meat that is "single use", chops and the like, because it's too expensive. Fish is either tinned or frozen and only eaten once a week at most.

I get paid monthly, so I plan and shop monthly. When the fresh stuff is gone, it's gone, we have tinned/dried fruit and frozen veg (except the guinea pigs, they eat whatever I can get cheap). I buy things like crisps, biscuits etc. once a month and don't replace. When they are gone, I make pancakes/banana bread/yoghurt loaf/plain muffins for snacks. If they eat all the cereal, then it's toast for breakfast. We drink squash or fruit tea, except Dh who has a coffee habit. I buy a few bottles of flavoured water and sparkling juice once a month only.

Eat seasonally, no strawberries in winter for instance, buy plain fruit and veg (apples, bananas, oranges, not blueberries and mangoes, carrots and cabbage not asparagus and squash.)

You need to make a list of the kind of meals your family like, Then look at what you have in to see what you can make. Pick a few more meals and decide what you need to buy. Look at nutrition over the course of the week rather than individual days and take it from there.

BoerWarKids Wed 12-Sep-12 12:35:06

I think ALDI is the best budget supermarket. I buy the Super 6 veg every week and plan my meals around them.
I look up what they are online in advance, so I can plan recipes, etc.

BoerWarKids Wed 12-Sep-12 12:37:19

When cooking chili, cottage pie and so on, use less meat and bulk out with lentils or grated carrot.

mumtoblaire Wed 12-Sep-12 18:39:18

Stressed - I like the "when its gone its gone" Its me that has to follow that though

moomoo1967 Wed 12-Sep-12 21:18:05

Hi mumtoblaire, sorry I've only just had chance to catch up, I will try and do a list now and either post or pm you.

Pourquoimoi Wed 12-Sep-12 22:21:13

I would just add that I find it easier to meal plan as it means I just have to make whatever is on the plan and don't have to do any actual thinking every night!

mumtoblaire Thu 13-Sep-12 07:03:02

I did not spend any money yesterday, I didn't visit any supermarkets - we ate from the freezersmile

I am going to try and write/plan a fortnight of meals to see us through to payday 25th

mumtoblaire Thu 13-Sep-12 07:06:04

I did not spend any money yesterday, I didn't visit any supermarkets - we ate from the freezersmile

I am going to try and write/plan a fortnight of meals to see us through to payday 25th

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