Normally I write a meal plan and do a big shop, then the planning and shopping is out of the way for the week. This is my ideal situation, but I have to admit I’ve been extra tight on money. I keep hearing on the news that living costs are rising while wages are not, now I’m realising that we are one of the many families to whom this applies. One wage is not quite enough, but the cost of child care does not make two wages viable either!
I’m being totally honest when I say I’ve been to the hole in the wall and I can’t get out any more money, so I’ve been worried to do my weekly shop. What would happen if I get to the till and my debit card won’t work – how awful would that be? Not to mention the que of people waiting behind for you to get through the check out, something I am definitely avoiding!
I’ve had to change the way I meal plan and I hope my ideas will help others who are finding money tight. I think this may particularly help the students who find my blog searching for Student Meal Plans.
So here we go:
- I write a basic meal plan around the weekly schedule for everybody in the family. Then I can see which days are busy and try to plan an easy meal to prepare.
- Next, before going shopping I check my store cupboard for basics such as rice or pasta so I do not waste money buying duplicates.
- Then off to visit the local shops, which I have been doing every 2-3 days – I keep my meal plan in mind and look for special offers and reduced items.
- I fill in my basic meal plan with more detail, e.g. where I had put pasta, I could now add pasta with ham & courgettes, if I had found these reduced at the shop.
- Finally, I design a recipe around the reduced items I have found – I enjoy making up recipes, but an Internet search of your ingredients should find a recipe that fits what you have bought.
The pros to this type of meal planning:
If you live in an area with plenty of shops in walking distance this is a ideal way to support local shops and also to keep fit!
I have found I have less food wastage. I am not tempted into buying too many items for my store cupboard and only buy what I need for the next few days.
Taking cash to the shops, rather than my debit card, makes me think through every price carefully and concentrates my mind about how I am spending my money.