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What if you thought you were spending twice as much as you thought you spent on food? I estimated how much we spend monthly on food, and I was shocked to find we were spending close to double my estimate! Food can be so expensive, and for most families, the food shop is the second biggest monthly outgoing. As long as we are eating a healthy diet and an interesting range of foods, Id honestly rather spend our money on something I get a better return on!
The lightbulb moment came a few weeks ago, when (through no fault of our own) we were left with only £20 to get us through to our next payday, which was over a week away. We did have a full freezer, and other savings we could have used if it had made the difference between eating and going hungry – We managed it, through very careful planning and organisation! It’s definitely changed our outlook on food spending, and meal planning is such a huge part of saving money on your food bills.
For the last few weeks, we have been planning our meals to reduce our food spending. This is our plan for this week.
Mon: chicken curry with homemade naan bread (using leftover chicken from our Sunday roast)
Tues: chicken alfredo & garlic bread
Wed: sausages in onion gravy with mash, carrots, peas and broccoli
Thurs: mushroom risotto (v)
Fri: tomato and basil pasta bake (v)
Sat: homemade burgers, chips & salad
Sun: roast chicken dinner
I’ve managed to sneak in two veggie meals this week to help reduce costs, but want to increase that to three over the coming weeks.
We have tried to reduce the amount of cereal we are eating to help reduce costs. Instead, we have been choosing porridge, toast and pancakes. The pancakes are a real hit with the children, but realistically we only have time to cook them on a weekend. This weekend I doubled the batch of the pancakes and we reheated for breakfast on Monday – they were still just as nice.
Lunch & packed lunches
We have been reducing costs by avoiding pre-packaged goods and baking instead. We have been buying larger yogurts and decanting into yogurt containers, or just buying value fromage frais. I prefer the large yogurt pots as I think they are much nicer and use less plastic (another goal!) but sadly the individual fromage frais are often cheaper.
Snacks & treats
We always have fruit like bananas, pears, apples and oranges in our fruit baskets for after-school snacks for the children – they are always hungry! I also buy nuts and dried fruit and we usually have things like pretzels, popcorn & cereal for snacking on.
For desserts, I have been batch baking on a weekend, and sometimes freezing the extra portions. If I need to top up I will bake during the week too, I usually whisk together something while our evening meal is cooking, and pop it in the oven to cook as we take out our dinner to save money. This week I will definitely be making banana bread – we have rather sad looking bananas that need saving from the compost bin!