Meal Planning Tips(8 Posts)
I've googled away and done a bit of reading on Thrifty Lesley's website. I've also done a bit of brainstorming on what we like to eat and meals that could go on our menu. What I'm wondering is how do YOU meal plan? Do you have a spreadsheet? Do you work out exactly what each meal costs? Do you do it every week? Fortnightly? Once a month?
I'm going on Maternity leave shortly and know we can reduce our grocery spend. We don't waste much and do eat healthy, but we tend to eat expensive meals. We are a family of 2 adults and a soon to be baby that I'm planning to breastfeed so I don't think that counts as a person that needs feeding - although I might be needing to eat a bit more!
Your helpful suggestions are appreciated. I'd like to reduce our food budget to £50 a week or less which would include breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I plan a week of meals at a time. This week money is a bit tight so I'm making more use of things in the cupboard and freezer and just buying some bits to turn them into a meal. Also have gone for cheaper meals - pasta, sausages etc. Most weeks I just think about what I fancy eating and go from there.
Having time to shop around certainly helps. I shop at Aldi and Lidl quite a bit. They're great for fresh fruit and veg particularly if you subscribe to their newsletters and check out what the next weeks cheap fruit/ veg are going to be and plan those in as your veg. I'm not scared of some frozen veg either. Far less waste to just cook just what you use. I also par boil and freeze any veg thats going to end up as surplus if we suddenly get invited out or have a change of meals etc.
I batch cook at least one big batch of something every week and this means on days i can't be bothered to cook I can grab something from the freezer thats nicer than the bulk of takeaways. We generally have a selection of curries, casseroles, pasta sauce and the odd cottage pie/ lasagne type dish in the freezer.
I price up different meals we like to eat just to have a rough feel for meal cost and to keep a balance of beans in jacket type meals against nice steak.
I find it easier during the winter as chillis and stews are always filling and cheap but when it's warm I do struggle to kerb the spending on occasion.
I will say that it's a good idea to budget for treats. If you do this you are more likely to to stay in budget xx
The two small co--ops near us reduce their sell by date items at set times each day so I get practically all my fresh food there. I then make a meal plan with what I've got freezing things that won't keep. I do a shop for tins, cleaning stuff and frozen veg at Aldi, Lidl or Asda as required. Sometimes one co-op shop gets enough for a fortnight and sometimes I have to hit it two or three times in a week but it saves so much money.
List what you like.
Start with your main meal. Make sure it's filling enough so your not snacking.
Look at 3 for £10 meats. How far can you make them last.
500g of minced beef should do 6 chilli type dishes. Whole chicken will stretch for a roast plus curry & soup.
Use frozen veg & add in carbs to fill the gap.
After this lunches can be simply beans on toast soups etc.
Porridge eggs toast etc for breakfast
I find it easier to mealplan 4 or 5 days at a time. I pay Tesco £6 a month for free deliveries over £40. I find it saves us on those in between runs for milk, bread and fresh stuff that end up costing a fortune.
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