Meal planning on a shoestring

Banana loaf!

Banana loaf!

As I have made such a dramatic cut to the food shopping budget for husband and I, I am having to be really careful about making a plan. We used to spend around £50 a week and, truth be told, we’d throw half of it away again as neither of us could be bothered to cook. Now, I make a plan before going shopping of what meals we are going to have for the week and just buy the things we need. I am also driving to a larger (and cheaper) supermarket once a month to do a big shop where I buy all of our store cupboard basics (like pasta, tinned beans, olive oil etc) and all of our other household stuff (like binliners, cling film, light bulbs, clothes wash etc) to last us until the next payday. Although this means that over half my budget for the month disappears in one go, it does mean that I only need to buy fresh fruit, veg, meat and dairy goods on a weekly basis. I am hoping that this will mean I can support more local shops as I won’t need to go to the supermarket every week.

Our combined monthly budget for food and household goods is now £120. The big shop this weekend cost £75.62, which nearly have me a heart attack at the time. However, this leaves me with £44.38 for the remaining three weeks of the month. It’s all in the planning…

I’ve been good about not buying food during the working day anymore. My packed lunch consists of soup, ryvitta with soft cheese and lots and lots of fruit. Plus we’ve been making all our main meals from scratch. On Saturday I made 6 portions of beef casserole and froze 4 portions for later in the month then, on Sunday, Husband made 6 portions of Bangers & Mash with onion gravy and, again, I froze 4 portions. The plan is to keep cooking in batches where possible to stock up the freezer. I’m not great at eating the same thing several days in a row so this system works pretty well for me. I also made a Banana Loaf which vanished at an alarming rate! I used to be a bit freaked out by cooking (not without due cause – in the past I have set fire to the grill and exploded a casserole dish) but over the past few months I’ve been trying to make a real effort to get into it. I’ve been surprised by how much I have actually enjoyed it and am hoping that I’ll get better over time and be able to be a bit more adventurous.

One step at a time…

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Categories: Budgeting, Frugal food, Home Economics | Tags: | Leave a comment

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