Food Budget Club

I guess you’re here cos you follow the ol’ toddlerandtoast, where I bang on and on about the importance of a Meal Plan and Shopping List before you hit the supermarket.

Now, I’ve totally been neglecting my meal planning, writing shopping lists without a clue and spending a flipping a fortune at the till, and because I’m not prepared I’ve been spending even more on the dreaded basket top up shop!

I’ve got my act together and made it a priority (I’ve set myself goal, I’m a virgo – I love a self imposed target) to save money on the weekly shop. I also need to have a plan (another virgo thing), I’m a control freak like that! I also want us to eat better and healthier, its a double win.

If you’ve never made a meal plan and are interested in starting, then these are the pointers that I swear by, if you’ve got some tips of your own – I’d love to hear them! I’m all about learning and doing better!

This week I did pretty amazing in the supermarket – I spent £45! for food for the week! I’m ashamed to say that over the summer it was closer to £80 a week… This was only possible because I KNEW what I already had in the house.

Tip 1 – Shop Your House!
Make a list of the food you already have in your house, write it down! I like to do mine in columns; fridge, freezer & cupboards.

Tip 2 – Know Who You’re Feeding & On What Days.
This works well for me, you might not need to do this. My hubby works shifts and isn’t always here for tea (dinner). On the days I know its just me and the kids we tend to eat meat free, pasta, freezer food etc… One day a week the kids are at swimming class so we have packed lunches after class. If there’s a special occasion that week – factor it in. I start a meal plan by writing out the days of the week and writing who’s eating what on which day.
*I also do a meal plan for every meal of the week, it helps me, if you’re not ready for that, stick to the evening meal.

Tip 3 – Start Planning!
Ok, so we know who we’re feeding, great! We know what food we’ve got in the house, excellent! Make sure you assign a day of the week to have fish, a meat free day, chicken and red meat (meat free meals will save you a lot of money). Now – Remember when we ‘shopped our house?’ – start making meals out of that food first. Chickpeas? Onions? Garlic? Spices? Flour? great – you’ve got falafels; get it on the plan! Chicken in the freezer? Coconut milk? Tinned tomatoes? Veggies? Spices? Excellent enough to make a slow cooker curry! Add it to the plan! Cross the food out as you make a meal plan so you know what you’ve got left to use.

Tip 4 – Be Kind To Yourself
You don’t have to make all your meals from scratch, doing so will save you a lot of money, but I live in the real world. We are ALL busy, serve what you’ve got time to do. Wednesday this week, its just me and the kids, we are having frozen fish fingers, chips and peas. I got the fish fingers in the Co-op £5 freezer deal a while ago.

Tip 5 – Batch Cook
If you’ve got an empty day on your meal plan where you can’t make a meal out of anything you’ve already got in the house, consider putting a meal in that space that you can double up on and freeze for another day; bolognese, chilli, curry, cottage pie (future you writing your next meal plan and shopping list will LOVE you!)

Tip 6 – Write Your Shopping List
You’ve completed your meal plan, you know whats in the house, time to write the shopping list. Write down the ingredients you need for your meals you don’t have plus the food you’re going to need for breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

Tip 7 – Stick To The List!
Stick to the list! The only way you’re going to save money is to stick to the list and the plan. Totally guilty from straying from the list, and I’ve been known to forget items, take the list with you and cross off as you go.

Tip 8 – Reduced Items
Ok, I’ve just said it’s so important to stick to the list, but I make an exception in case of reduced items. If something is reduced that I buy and we eat, I buy it, portion off and freeze, it will save you so much money in the future! This week, I bought some reduced sandwich meat, I made it immediately into sandwiches and froze separately – this will do for hubbies packed lunch during the week, would also work for the kids school lunchboxes.

I think that’s everything, and I hope you can all save money on your shop! If I think of anything else, I will update the post. I’ll leave you with my meal plan for this week:

Monday: Falafel burgers (all ingredients already in), pittas (in the freezer) salad & cheese (shopping list), baked beans [for Georgia] (in the cupboard).
Tuesday: Slow cooker coconut curry (chicken in the freezer, tinned tomatoes & coconut milk in the cupboard, veggies in the fridge to use up, spices in the cupboard). Bought spinach & naan bread.
Wednesday: Fish fingers (freezer) chips (homemade, bought potatoes) & peas (freezer)
Thursday: Kids Lunchboxes, fridge raid. Maria reduced curry when kids are in bed.
Friday: Eat out! Photo shoot day (McDonald’s/ pizza?)
Saturday: Slow cooker family curry, naan, chips, saag aloo (most ingredients in the house)
Sunday: Kids – pasta, me and hubby; spicy curry and rice. (Most items already in the house.)

Thanks for reading, can’t wait to hear how you all get on!
Maria x

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