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Food shop & meal planning - need to get organised

(12 Posts)
Jemster Sun 21-Apr-13 07:46:56

We have a set budget for food each month but it's not lasting the full month and the last week before payday we are scrabbling around putting meals together.
Main problem is that we do lots of little shops in the week. Dh will often go on his way home as its easier than me taking the dc. He can spend £30.00 and not have many meals to show for it and then go again the next day.
We are always running out of things and just generally need to get organised. I have thought of meal planning but my 5 year old doesn't like the food we do so should I do a separate plan for him? Dd is just 1 so also trying to introduce new things for her.
We both work so I need to sort this out and am just after a bit of guidance and wondering what other people do.

spottymoo Sun 21-Apr-13 12:00:18

What ever your budget for food for the month is can you not spilt it in to how many weeks they are in the month so you know what you have for each week.

We shop every Tuesday. Monday night after tea I do a meal an for the week ahead checking what we already have and already need.

I don't cook separate meals but If one night me and dh are having something one of the kids don't like I just substitute one thing on the plate. Dss not eat beef or pork so if I do a roast he's happy to have fish

eedibops Sun 21-Apr-13 13:12:01

Maybe a month is too hard to do, can you not split it into 2 weeks, and try it that way? xxx

SlatternismyMiddlename Sun 21-Apr-13 20:39:38

I have a set grocery budget per week and online shop. If at the checkout bit I am over budget I put something back - I can do this online, I would never do this in the shop.

I really really try to not 'pop' in to the shops during the week as money just disappears. My DH regularly would end up paying £40 -50 on each of these trips. If you can, go without until your 'proper' shop.

wannabedomesticgoddess Sun 21-Apr-13 20:47:04

I budget £70 per week. But I know that I can feed us all for £40 plus formula for DD2 at £10. So I have £20 pw to play with.

So if we are having people over I know I can overspend one week and spend less the next. But in a 4 week period I wont go over the £280 total. Infact most months we only spend around £230-40.

I meal plan one meal per night. If we want something that DD1 wont eat (spicy) then I will plan in an alternative.

I now (since DP has got a job) have to plan my dinner and his "lunch" as he works in the evening.

Big joints of meat used in a dinner or two and then sandwiches for DPs work are working out cheap.

wannabedomesticgoddess Sun 21-Apr-13 20:48:47

Oh and the quick trips to the shop are a money pit. Try to plan in snacks and everything you will need. Then make do.

Jemster Sun 21-Apr-13 21:52:52

Thank you all for the ideas. I need to try and get into a better routine perhaps by doing an online shop.

DinoSnores Wed 24-Apr-13 12:51:07

I've got a chart with 5-10 meals that we know and like in each category of Meat, Fish, Chicken, Vegetarian. I (very roughly) rotate them depending on what we need to use up and want to eat. I then slot in different recipes or planned takeaway dinners depending on what the week is like. Anything we don't end up eating (like if we've had leftovers from the day before instead) I'll just slot into the plan for the next week.

daisydalrymple Wed 24-Apr-13 13:19:33

Agree with online shop as above. I meal plan for each week, then do the shop online, as when I get to the check-out and it's £120, I know I have to knock £40 off somewhere grin usually 4 bottles of wine and other non-essentials.

My meal plan is usually based around:

2 x chicken dishes (roast dinner and then left-overs into risotto, stir-fry, casserole, curry etc. bulked out with veggies)
veg pasta dish (generally make up big pot of tomato sauce to freeze, with onions, peppers, courgette, carrot, tinned toms and blitz, so DCs can't complain at the bits they say they don't like) I then add extra veg cooked in olive oil/garlic - if they don't like them they have to take them out! with parmesan
Jkt potato - various toppings
2 x fish dishes - home-made fish-fingers / fishcake, fish pie, fish with pots/veg - generally one white fish pw and one oily. I try and buy salmon when on offer, esp if whole side is half price which i portion and freeze
1 x red meat - more often than not it's mince or sausage based due to DCs tastes! - But I vary it to shep pie, bolognese, saus mash, saus casserole, saus with cous-cous etc.

So the basics are the same every week, but I try and vary how I cook it, what the side dishes / veg or salad are, and try and have rice, pasta, cous-cous, noodles and pots in each week too. So it seems a bit different, even though it's not!

Jemster Wed 24-Apr-13 17:13:06

Thank you for the recent posts. You both sound very organised. Sometimes I find it hard to get a moment to myself what with work and two little ones. As soon as they're in bed I feel like collapsing in a heap rather than meal planning and internet shopping! I did have a go at tescos online this week but it took me quite a while to do. I was trying to think of meals at the time but I guess it would be better to plan them beforehand. It was great when it was delivered though, beats trudging round the supermarket!

DinoSnores Thu 25-Apr-13 08:16:17

jemster, once you have done it a couple of times, it will save you SO much time. It is less about being organised and more about being the lazy option. This way I don't need to use up time and energy every day by trying to work out what to cook or buy.

I definitely think online shopping is the way to go. Now when I go to the supermarket with the children, it is either for just a few things so we are in and out or for a particular reason. DS and I recently enjoyed a trip to the cheese counter where we picked out some interesting cheeses to try for lunch (DD2 is only 9 weeks old so not quite eating cheese just yet!) and had a nice chat with the lady serving us. Doing a whole weekly shop with children would be a nightmare though.

Anyway, I know it seems like a lot of work at the beginning but give it a couple of weeks and it seems to run itself.

mrspaddy Thu 25-Apr-13 08:28:07

I would shop once a week and allow for one midweek milk/bread only shop. I rely on the freezer a lot.
It is the weeks I don't do the big shop that is costs a bomb. I buy my meat in the butchers - what is on offer but also chicken fillets/steak mince. I always have things like fish fingers, salmon, cod in the freezer for extra dinners if we are running low.
Always get big bag potatoes, basmati rice and pasta in the supermarket.
I but the veg deals in Aldi/Lidl - this saves a fortune.

If you like casserole, buy 2lb good stewing steak and make two nights worth of dinners. Defrost your chicken fillets for the third night for fajita's/ curry etc. Then a fish night. We like sweet and sour pork etc. I really don't spend too much.
I do put a list on the fridge though and religiously write down things during the week we're running out of butter,blackbags, cereal etc. Rarely forget stuff so saves that last minute dash.

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