Sunday, January 05, 2014

Frugal Food - Meal planning

As you have probably all worked out money has been very tight here for a while now and things are not looking much better this year. The cost of living just keeps going up and our income is resolutely stuck at the same level it has been for years (although my Forest Flower Designs business is slowly growing and I have some exciting plans to grow it further in 2014!)
I have been quite sporadic with meal planning over the years but this year I am pledging to take a much more committed approach to meal planning and shopping.

Proper meal planning can be beneficial in so many ways when you have a very small food budget.

  • making a list and STICKING TO IT saves money
  • stops last minute 'what shall we have for tea' panic
  • Roo is getting older and has a far bigger appetite these days so healthy meals that fill his tummy are essential!
  • reduces waste to an absolute minimum

I have to mention here that the Other Half is the ultimate fussy eater and has a very limited range of foods he likes that consists mainly of breakfast cereal, bread, cheese, beans, tomato soup, pizza, pasta, minced beef, potatoes and sausages. Over the years I have given up trying to change his eating habits - if he doesn't want to eat healthily then there is very little I can do about it. I do try and slip the odd bit of fruit and veg in where I can. He does like apple pie or crumble and I can add carrots, onions and peppers to a basic tomato pasta sauce - pureed, obviously. ( Honestly it's like feeding a baby! )

To be fair it could be worse, he could be one of those people who insists on meat and two veg and a proper pudding every day or a wannabe gourmet which would definitely be a challenge on the £5 a day for the three of us that I have to spend*

Luckily, for now at least, Roo follows me when it comes to food and is happy eating most things (although he IS getting fussier as he gets older and I do have to scold daddy for belittling broccoli when I am trying to get Roo to finish his dinner!

After checking through my cupboards and freezer to see what we actually have I made this simple meal plan for next week...


OH - Left over Turkey pie and mash from Sunday 
Us  -  Haddock and Corn Chowder


OH - Cheesy Beans on Toast
Us  -  Homemade mini veggie burgers with salad/coleslaw


OH - Cream of Tomato soup and fresh bread rolls and cheese
Us -  Homemade vegetable soup with fresh bread rolls and cheese


OH - Sausage, chips and beans
Us  -  Meatballs in tomato & veg sauce with pasta


OH - Pizza
Us  -  Scramble eggs with tomatoes and spring onions on toast with beans if we're hungry!


Is OH's birthday so we will be getting a takeaway - this is not in the budget and will probably cost us around£15 but it's not your birthday everyday...
I will be making a chocolate birthday cake and that IS included in my budget


Shepherds pie with baked beans for OH and carrots and peas for us

Lunches are mainly cheese and pickle sarnies for OH; tuna/cheese/peanut butter sarnies, yoghurt and a homemade muffin or some dried fruit for Roo's school lunchbox (except on Fridays when he has school dinners coz it's always fish and chips and I KNOW he'll eat it!) and left overs from the day before for me (exciting huh?) 
Breakfasts are simple - cereal or porridge and toast with orange juice (one of those 5 a day!)

I have made a shopping list and am planning on shopping locally every couple of days (again to eliminate waste).  Sticking to the list is the most important part of this exercise and the part I shall probably find the most challenging but I will let you know how I get on next week!

Do you plan your meals every week? How easy do you find sticking to the plan?
If you don't meal plan already, would you like to? Why not join me giving it a go in 2014 and see if it changes your attitude to food and shopping? You might be surprised by how much money you save or how much better you are eating!

*and yes that does include other essentials like toilet roll, washing liquid etc. These have to be factored in when planning weekly shopping list.


  1. I like meal planning, but the OH used to get annoyed because he didn't fancy the meal he'd chosen at the beginning of the week making life really difficult so I gave up. It is handy to have a plan though so you don't panic about what to have for tea!

    1. Luckily, although OH is a picky eater he is pretty happy to eat what I make him (as long as it's from preferred food groups) He's also happy to eat beans on toast 2 nights running...

  2. I used to panic about what to cook at about 4pm & then had to dash out to get the missing ingredient so meal planning is much less stressful. I couldn't be bothered with cooking two meals every day to be honest. We don't do that very often.

    1. As most of the OH's 'meals' consist of reheating things and putting bread in the toaster I don't really think of it as cooking 2 meals! He doesn't get in from work until nearly 7pm and doesn't eat tea until 9ish so we rarely eat together during the week anyway!


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