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weekly meal plans (cheap)

(78 Posts)
ghengis Tue 15-Jun-04 11:34:47

I have read the previous threads on saving money and having a weekly/fortnightly meal plan seems a very sensible way of saving money. So....what are your meal plans and what is a realistic food budget? TIA

albert Tue 15-Jun-04 11:39:15

Oh gosh, if only I were that organised!!!

ghengis Tue 15-Jun-04 13:47:43


busybee123 Tue 15-Jun-04 13:54:06

i have a food plan on a 2 weeks rota so we dont have the same thing on the same day every week...its great knowing what you have to buy and your shpooing list tends to be smaller and you dont forget as much when you are shopping cos you know what you want!! i would recommend it

ghengis Tue 15-Jun-04 14:13:04

BB123, did you write down 2 weeks' worth of meals/packed lunches, etc. and work out what was needed then go shopping? Does it get boring or is it easier? Is it less wasteful do you think? Any idea (roughly) how much your food bills are per week? Sorry about the 3rd degree!

mummysurfer Tue 15-Jun-04 14:25:42

bb123, i did this too when dd was just weaned, she's 8 now and i haven't been as organised as that for 7and a haklf years.

we would love to see your plan, wouldn't we ghengis?

i planned mine down to the balance of cooked veg/rice/salad/pasta/meat/veggie mains etc etc.

will have to see if i can find it .

ghengis Tue 15-Jun-04 14:27:26

Yes please!

busybee123 Tue 15-Jun-04 14:32:17

yes i wrote down everything. still do. just started weaning ds2 and juat made a batch of baby food so i am incorpirating this into my list now. its is nice being organised. it doesnt get boring, cos i have it on a 2 week rota, but smilar food for exmaple, on a today we have got cottage pie, but next tuesday we will have lasagne. still mince based but completely different meal IYSWIM. Makes life a lot easier as well. DH can even do the shpooing cos i have it all written down. definatley less wasteful as i only buy what i need. our shopping bill is about 100 a week still though, but thats with baby milk and household stuff etc. DH eats and extotionate amount (dont know if you saw my aldi/netto/lidl thread where I wrote down what he eats???)

xoz Tue 15-Jun-04 14:41:32

I have a strict budget and only shop once a fortnight (£70 for 2 adults & 2 small children each shop). I don't actually do meal plans in advance (I need to be spontaneous and go with what I feel like, the weather, etc). I use Excel to prepare my shopping list and have collected prices from the supermarket where I shop so I know in advance what everything will cost me and follow my shopping list to the letter when I'm there. As I go round the supermarket I check off the prices and if I find that something has changed (either up or down) or if there is a special on something, then I adjust as necessary in other areas. It can get tricky with fruit and vege and meat where you pay per kg, so I use the scales in the f&v dept to check the approximate price, and give myself a rough amount for meat and try to keep within it. I mostly buy the supermarket ultracheap brand and find that, with only a few exceptions, it is just as good (or good enough) as the expensive brands. I have been doing this for about 18 months now and find it works really well for me. HTH.

zubb Tue 15-Jun-04 14:46:56

I do this too ghengis and it has definatley saved money and waste. I just have a list of all the meals that we have (and throw new ones in every couple of weeks - but thats because I like cooking) and what ingredients are needed. I plan the weeks meals to get a good variety - fish, vegetarian, chicken, beef etc and a balance between the food that me and dh like, and what ds will eat - potatoes and peas make a weekly appearance! Then I can put together a shopping list from that. I do the list on a Sunday night. For 3 of us (ds2 has whatever is left over mashed up the next day!) I think we spend roughly £70 a week, and that includes all household stuff like washing powder etc. To be honest we probably eat better now than we did before I started planning, and that is the main reason why I did it, and because I was fed up of looking in the fridge and seeing loads of food but nothing useful! The saving money has been a great bonus.
If its of any use we had a roast chicken on Sunday, used the left-overs yesterday for a chicken rissotto, have a lasagne today (or will when I make it - and half of that I will freeze for use in a few weeks time), tomorrow will be a vegetable quiche (bought), jacket potatoes, spinach, broccoli and carrots, Thursday is a fish pie and peas, Friday is lamb cutlets etc.
God, I sound so boring! Must get a life and stop thinking about food!

mummysurfer Tue 15-Jun-04 14:50:49

we want to see the lists.

mine is hand written but will post it later ...have to go to school now

busybee123 Tue 15-Jun-04 14:58:02

ok here goes for tea times (ds and dd eat the same)

monday week one - chicken, bacon and cheese with mixed salad. Week two- chicken, brown rice and spring onions.

Tuesday week one - cottage pie and peas. Weeks two - Lasagnes and salad

Wednesday week one - pork in tomato, garlic and herb sauce with brown rice. Week two - garlic and herb cod with stamed veg.

Thursday week one - sausages, mash, beans and grilled tomatoes. Week two - steak and steamed veg.

Friday Week one - jacket potatoes with salad, cheese and beans. Week two - jacket potatoes with salad and ham.

Saturday week one - roast beef in gravy, chips and peas. Week two - sausage, egg chips and beans.

Sunday week one - roast lamb dinner weeks two - roast beef dinner

ghengis Tue 15-Jun-04 15:13:11

That's brilliant BB123, xoz and Zubb. Very helpful. I am fed up of throwing stuff out and thus wasting money. Also, I am sure there are more important things to think about that food so this should take the guesswork out.

busybee123 Tue 15-Jun-04 15:16:48

xoz i use excel to do the budget with as well. i have all the prices of stuff in it and wrok it all out before i do the shopping. normally use tescos online but they are getting rubbish lately so was considering aldi/lidl/netto etc??

xoz Tue 15-Jun-04 15:31:22

I shop at Asda (occassionally it's Tesco). It takes me ages (because of the price checking) so I go at night after my dds are in bed and dh gets a couple of hours to himself too. My £70 per fortnight includes EVERYTHING (including nappies, washing powder, etc) I have the staples, mega packs of pasta, rice, lots of fresh fruit and vege (dh doesn't like ready meals and they cost way too much) and enough meat to have some every night. I do need to do topup shops in between but that is always restricted to milk bread and things we can't survive without until the next big shop. I dunno how to get my list to get on here, but anyway it contains a lot of things that I only get if we're having visitors, as well as my regular stuff. I was really amazed at how much you can cut down by REALLY paying attention to the prices and by being quite ruthless about what you need. My kids don't go without stuff, they still get the odd packet of crisps and regularly biscuits to snack on but it's so much cheaper to buy a Smartprice 500g pack of raisins - as well being a lot healthier! HTH

elliott Tue 15-Jun-04 15:42:22

xox I am mighty impressed by your price checking....
ghengis the way we do it is this - me and dh sit down and come up with a meal plan (we each have to nominate ideas for alternate days), then just write down the ingredients on the shopping list and add all the staples we always need (bread, yoghurt etc). Must admit I can't imagine shopping without a list now. We've done this for ages and it definitely helps with waste.
p.s. I'm too embarrassed to write down our meal plan - anyway we don't eat meat so it probably wouldn't be too much help!

elliott Tue 15-Jun-04 15:43:11

sorry xoz....actually I'm even more impressed that you can shop for four on £70 per fortnight, with meat every day!

busybee123 Tue 15-Jun-04 15:44:54 bloody impressed, the hell do you manage that??? WE WANT YOUR LIST!!!!!

Blu Tue 15-Jun-04 15:46:45

xoz, I'm really impressed. Can you give us a list of the meals you have eaten in the last 7 days?

xoz Tue 15-Jun-04 15:49:47

We have tinned tuna once or twice a fortnight, so whether that counts as meat i dunno. I also do sausages once a fortnight (often in a curry - very nice) and beef mince at 3 times. I also tend to buy turkey fillet instead of chicken. We eat a lot of curries and stir fries, so we don't need to get super expensive meats Lean braising steak for beef and pork escalopes are pretty cheap and good. This includes my 2 dds - 3.5 and 21 months. We all eat the same food, which also helps save money too.

busybee123 Tue 15-Jun-04 16:02:18

unfortunatley DH eats SOOOO much that I can't do light meals like stir frys for he does weight training so he needs to eat like he does!!

xoz Tue 15-Jun-04 16:22:30

I'll try to remember - I'm a mum don't forget you lose you brain when you give birth...
Breakfast everyday is cereal-always asda smart price brand or tesco savers. My dh buys lunch because he doesn't like sandwiches unless they're fresh but he has a weekly budget of £5 (that is amazing to me!!) The girls and I eat sandwiches at home most of the time although yesterday we splashed out coz we were at the shops and bought Greggs Sausage Rolls for them and a Chicken Mango sandwich for me.
Dinners have been:
Yesterday: - This thing my mum always made and called Goulash but its not - consists of Mince beef, 1 onion, tinned chopped tomatoes, tinned sweet corn, handful of frozen peas, pasta, splash of Worcester sauce, stock cube, and some dried herbs
Sunday night: - Panfried Pork escalopes cooked in apple juice with 1 onion, 1 courgette, and 2 potatos, with coleslaw, lettuce and cherry tomatos on the side with couscous as the base. (that makes me sound like I can cook!!! Im no chef)
Saturday night: - we got home right on dinner time so we had tinned tuna and salad.
Friday night - We went to an Italian Restaurant (my dh's boss paid!!!)
Thursday - (now its getting really hard to remember!) Rissoles (mince beef cakes) with mashed potato, carrot and peas
Wednesday - Curried sausages with rice and vegies
There you go I've amazed even myself!!!
Tonight I've got some turkey fillet out, but haven't decided what to do with it yet. Probably stir fry... haven't had that for a while.
I don't find stirfry to be that light, at least not the quantity that we eat of it!!!

ghengis Tue 15-Jun-04 16:52:16

Wow xoz, respect! My nearest Asda is about 30 miles away. If I was doing a big shop do you think it would be worth the trip (I usually shop at Tesco)? I have jotted down some breakfast and lunch ideas plus 14 main meals that we all like. When I get a quiet moment (!) I'll transfer this to a shopping list. Do you recommend the excel price list idea? I'm also going to do more than required some days and freeze ahead. Boy, will my family be impressed!

busybee123 Tue 15-Jun-04 17:27:26

yes the excel spreadsheet is excellent for working out your lists. if you put in the maths calculations right then when you adjust the price of an item then it adjusts the totals for you as well. great if like me you have baby head!!

Thomcat Tue 15-Jun-04 17:40:30


I sometimes do this and plan at the weekend what we'll have for dinner the following week, mainly so I don't have to think about it each day each week.

What I mainly do with Lottie though is to cook big batches of stuff.
Example I have about 12 bags of spag bol sauce, 5 bags of home madechicken/apple nuggets things, etc etc. These get used up during week for tea and lunch and then I interject with what we had the night before just made extra.

I find planning the meals this way if you are buying mushrooms for one meal you know you'll have some left over you think of another menu that contains mushrooms and use them up the next day. it also makes you think about what you're eating and whehter it's balanced enough.

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