Today Id like to talk to you guys about meal planning. If you don’t already do it, then I’m going to tell you why you should. Its not just those super organised super mums that meal plan, its for us on a tight budget too. Here is what we do every week to cut the cost of our shopping down.
Before we planned our weekly meals, when we went shopping it was really just a case of buy, buy and buy. It was usually ruled by how hungry we were when we did our shopping as this can often affect the items you put in your basket.
“Yum, that fresh bread looks nice” , in it goes (btw it usually gets left) , “Oh i need more tinned tomatoes” ( I usually have about 10 tins on standby in my cupboard, because its a staple right?)
We generally eat the same breakfasts as before, and lunch is usually a light affair anyway so it was mainly our evening meal we needed to look at.
We picked a day to start our plan, we do ours every Thursday evening as I get paid on a Friday and thats shopping day. On the Thursday evening we will check cupboards and see whats in already before doing a list. If I find I have alot of something I will try and use it in the week at some point to avoid it sitting in there forever.
We have quite a few favourites, like chilli con carne, salt and pepper chicken with sweet chilli, slimming world kebab and many more. But we also try to alternate so we don’t have mince dishes 3 days in a row. I also look at who will be at home, If I’m working late then Mr Crafty he will cook, and if I’m at home I will cook.
We then choose what to have each night and we try to involve our son in choosing so he gets something he enjoys too. We then check what we will need out of the ingredients and make a list accordingly.
Extras like toiletries are then checked and purchased only when needed and we do bulk buy wherever possible. We buy a huge bag of chicken breasts from the local butcher at £20 and there are usually 19 breasts in a bag. They are bigger then the ones you get at the supermarket and work out just over a £1 a breast.
I also bought my mince at £10 for 2.5kg of the best steak mince so little fat and separate it into about 7/8 bags for use over the month. I have bought the more budget mince in the past, but I found that after it was cooked the amount of fat I drained off made a huge difference to the quantity of meat in the pan, so I now use the best I can afford but use less.Buying my meat this way can be expensive to start but overall I spend far less on chicken and mince then I would in a supermarket. £30 and will easily last a month as we make 2 breasts stretch for 3 of us and the mince we fill out with veggies.
I would also suggest you do this for wash powder, I buy powder because I find I can make it go further then the suggested dosage much easier, and adding a few scoops of soda crystals also makes it a stain remover and water softener in one. Always compare the prices of your wash powder per g, or kg to make sure you are getting the best price. I’ve known supermarket own to be dearer then a brand when the brand was on a good offer.
If you can, I suggest adding one new spice to your meal planning every week. This way you can slowly build up a good healthy spice rack, which can make the world of difference to your meals. Another tip would be to plant some herbs to be used fresh as and when you need then. Some good choices would be Parsley, Coriander, Chives, Basil, Rosemary and Sage. My spice collection is pretty huge now, but it means i often have in what I need to try something new which is important so that your meal planning doesn’t get boring.
I can honestly say that doing our shopping this way has cut our bill each week in half, and if there’s a week we cant face going to the supermarket for fear of overspending, or we can get a good voucher to have our shopping delivered then we do that. Its all about getting the best deal. I hope this helps you and if you have any questions please feel free to ask away.