After two or three months of struggling to make our food budget work, Phil and I decided to take an in depth look at what we were spending our money on and how we could manage things a little better. We know that we have a healthy budget and so it didn’t make sense that we were constantly scraping our pennies together and still feeling like there was never any food in the house.
And at the end of the day, it really came down to two things : lack of PLANNING and TAKE-AWAYS. Both of these things were killing our budget. I despise waking up in the morning not know what I am going to make for supper that night. And without a plan, I end up at the shops every day spending money on stuff for supper as well as odds and ends that we don’t really need. Now we weren’t getting take-aways all the time, but when we did they were quite a splurge.
By planning our meals:
- I only shop once a week
- I only buy what is on my list
- I limit the daily stress of having to decide on a meal and getting to the shops
- I don’t bug Phil anymore for dinner ideas
- We waste less
- I am more creative with our meals
- We don’t get take-aways simply because I haven’t thought of what to cook / managed a trip to the shops
Planning our meals and putting a shopping list together takes me about 30 minutes. I try to do it with a cup of tea and when the kids are in a ‘happy, playing nicely together’ space and at the end of the week it saves me a considerable amount of time and money.
Here is this weeks menu complete with recipes:
Monday: coconut slowcooker curry served with rice and avo slices (you can totally manage the strength of this curry with the amount & kind of spices you use AND you can pack the sauce with secret veggies)
Tuesday: braaied beef wraps (braaing helps hugely when we are trying not to ‘take-away’ as it gives me a bit of break from the kitchen and you can be as creative as you like with your wrap fillings)
Thursday: Chinese beef & broccoli with egg noodles
Friday: Cheated homemade pizza (we buy our bases and sauce from Casalotti’s which again means limited time in the kitchen and they take 5 minutes to cook (if that) when using a ceramic pizza stone)
This week, we have had a kid with a tummy bug, another who has been home from school, a busy work week and we have not had one take-away. ALL because of planning.
We’re still working on a full-proof weekend plan… I’ll share some ideas when we get them!
I hope that this post inspires and guides you to whatever makes running your household a little bit easier.