Tag Archives: Shopping

Meal planning Monday…

I don’t join in with meal planning often, simply because there are weeks when I just don’t have the energy to try to plan ahead, and when I plan I end up relying on the same few recipes each week. But this week I don’t have a huge amount left in the fridge or freezer and so I decided that making a meal plan would help me to use everything I have (I do hate throwing anything away).

To help to inspire me I got my recipe books out, and found a few recipes to mix the week up a bit – nothing over fussy or complicated, but good home cooked food.

Monday: veggie sweet and sour stir fry with rice noodles (I’ve already made this for both my lunch and tea tomorrow – I’m at work and so hate to have to cook when I get home at 6, with kids to get in bed too).

Tuesday: the last of the veggies (carrots, baby sweetcorn, sweet potato cubes and steamed parsnips with meat of some kind – I have to buy something).

Wednesday – fish, wedges and mushy peas.

Thursday – hoisin chicken wraps ( from the good food store cupboard recipes) with salad.

Friday – spicy chicken and bacon pasties ( from the good food chicken recipes) with – well, I haven’t decided what with yet!

Saturday – beef salad with wholemeal pitta breads.

Sunday – mustard pork chops (from nigella express) with mustard mash and veg.



Meal planning Monday..

Gosh, it’s been a long time since I wrote a blog post. I started a few and then stopped. I’m going to leave it by saying that I’ve been having such a stressful time at work that I’ve struggled to think about anything else. There’s a lot going on, and I’m struggling to manage my time, so when I get home I just want to think about nothing, and snuggle on the sofa with uncomplicated tv, reading blogs or a book on my iPad or browsing the internet. It’s about all I have the energy to manage right now.

I have a meal plan for this week though, so it seemed to make sense to take part in meal planning Monday, with at home with mrs m.

Here’s the plan:

Monday (today) chicken stir fry with sweet chilli and garlic sauce.

Tuesday: whatever Craig makes for when I get home from work.

Wednesday: beef stew and dumplings ( I made it in the slow cooker yesterday and popped it in the freezer). I think it’s good, even if I do say so myself. I like stew when it gets to Autumn.

Thursday: lamb shepherds pie with a sweet potato topping, kale, carrots and sweetcorn.

Friday: chicken curry.

Saturday: burgers in buns with salad or chilli con carne from the freezer (leftovers) with rice and garlic bread. Not sure which yet.

Sunday: Sunday dinner.

I like having a plan 🙂 however, due to non planning my shopping bill has been creeping up recently (I spent about £65 this week,at morissons) and so I’m going to have to knock it back down again. I don’t even know what I bought exactly that made it so expensive compared to normal – i thin I just ended up with too much in my trolley by the end. Usually I shop at aldi, but occasionally I need washing powder (or crave their fresh bread!) and end up back at morissons.

I have a couple of book reviews that I want to post, so will get them posted in the next couple of nights.

Shopping on a budget.


I did my weekly shopping today. It came to £43 for 4 of us for the week (barring 4-5 extra for milk bread and little bits that we run out of midweek). When I work it out, that works out at £1.50 per person per day. I thought that I would share my tips, as I only changed my shopping habits by reading tips/ advice online when I realised that the money I had just didn’t cover the money I was spending.

1. My number one tip is to consider where you shop. I have changed from morissons to aldi. Every 4th week I go to morissons for washing power and toiletries (my baby has eczema and so I stick to what I have always used). This has reduced my shopping bill loads, and I find the quality really good, especially for fresh food.

2. Cut out what you don’t need. I used to buy loads of fruit weekly – as well as apples! bananas and oranges I would buy loads of different berries in summer! peaches – all sorts of extras that were on offer, but added up. Now I buy cheap packs of apples, satsumas and bananas. Other than that I buy one extra fruit – this could be grapes, strawberries or blueberries. But I don’t buy everything. It makes a difference.

3. Go for cheaper versions. I’ve experimented with most products. I find most absolutely fine. Budget biscuits for example I find the same as the expensive ones. And tinned tomatoes, I buy the cheapest bread (47p for a loaf of whole meal). The only thing I don’t compromise on is tuna (I don’t know why really), beans, washing powder, and certain cereals as we didn’t like cheaper versions. However, having said that we mostly only eat porridge, weetabix or cornflakes. I used to buy loads of cereals every week, but now only buy them every 2-3 weeks.

4. Work out ways to get more for your money. With meat, I try to double up to freeze half. I made sweet and sour chicken last night, and bulked it up with onion, peppers and mushrooms then froze half. Or with mince/ sausages I double and freeze. Two meals from meat makes much better value!

5. Have meat free nights. I used to be better at this, but Craig does miss meat when I reduce it. However, once or twice a week we have pasta (tonight we had courgette and pancetta pasta – almost meat free!) or beans / egg on toast. The other nights I try to find better value meat that is the best quality I can afford. I find the Aldi meat very good – at morissons I really struggled to get meat cheap enough to fit my budget.

6. Take your time. When changing your budget, take your time to shop. And don’t be afraid to put things back! I used to spend ages picking things up out of habit, then really thinking about if I needed that thing. And putting it back again.

7. Meal plan. I tend to have a rough plan, rather than an exact one.

8. Don’t bulk buy. Don’t be tempted by offers unless you use it anyway. Don’t get sucked in by advertising, and don’t think that stocking up makes it cheaper down the line – it never does. I buy what I need, use it and only buy more when it’s gone, the less you have, the further you make it go. And it makes you use everything, creating less waste. I hate throwing food away, and now I don’t throw much away at all.

9. Remember, there’s always room for improvement. I’m doing well, and I’m proud of where I am. But there’s still room for me to become more efficient. I’m still human, and I do still make mistakes (for example, I bought sesame oil last week and I don’t know why – ill use it, but it didn’t really need it last week.

I hope this helps someone. I searched lots of blogs, got loads of advice and took it one step at a time to get to here. And it’s been about a year now since I started changing. I’ll never go back t my old habits – although I was never awful, I didn’t always think careful enough.




Meal planning Monday…

I don’t join in with meal planning every week but it helps me when I do. When i have a plan I know what I’m making and there’s less waste (I hate wasting food) and I know what to get out ready to cook etc. So I’ve planned my weekly meals this week, it’s nothing particularly special but is kind of a typical week for us. I’ve also tried to make meals that I can mash up easily for my 7 month old baby, as I’m trying to make it easier for myself and make sure she has a good varied diet too 🙂 So here’s the plan:

Monday – sausage casserole – not had this for ages. Going to make double to freeze half for next week too 🙂 I make it with couscous. Perfect for Rosie too, it can be mashed for her to eat it.

Tuesday – spaghetti bolognaise. Making double again for next week and again I’ve not had this in ages. Again fine for Rosie to eat.

Wednesday – tuna pasta with sweet corn and mayo. Easy, quick tea. Rosie can eat the pasta as finger food.

Thursday – pie and vegetables – we have loads of carrots to use, and got frozen vegetables in the freezer.

Friday – film night so I reckon hot dogs will be perfect 🙂

Saturday – fish, new potatoes and Sweetcorn. We scoop out a bit of fish, take a potato out of the skin, and mash up a bit of sweet corn for Rosie.

Sunday – hopefully we will get an invite for Sunday dinner somewhere lol. If not, I have a pork joint in the freezer so will do a quick east dinner.

I’ve added this post to the at home with Mrs M .

Meal Planning Monday

Making food shopping cheaper

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been learning to budget. I’m not perfect – I still spend too much on clothes for my kids (which I’m going to change) and a lot on the house, but I was sick of spending loads every week at the supermarket and then having nothing extra left for anything else.

So here’s how I cut down my shopping bills at the supermarket:

1. Switched to value range. I’ve found that most of the value range products are as good as the branded product, at a quarter of the price. £29p pasta is the same as £1.09 pasta, 33p yogurts are fine for my 3 year old, frozen savers veg is great to use on a cooked dinner, savers tinned kidney beans etc are fine.
The only things I don’t buy on the saver range now are mayonnaise, tomato sauce, baked beans, washing powder. And meat I tend to buy mid range.

2. Cut down on meat. I still but the mid range meat, but I’ve changed the cuts I buy (chicken drumsticks rather than breasts) etc, and I’ve reduced how much I buy. Now I do 2-3 meat free meals a week.

3. Buy bigger meat packs. Sounds silly, but instead of buying a cheaper tub of mince for example, I buy a bigger one, then make it into two or three meals, so in the long run it works out cheaper.

4. Shop around when I can. I can’t always with two children, but I go to aldi once every couple of weeks, and buy my nappies, fruit, veg and any other bits I see that are cheaper than morissons (my usual supermarket.)

5. Ignore the offers! If I don’t need it, I don’t buy it. Not sure if this does make it cheaper, but it works better for me as I don’t impulse by so much.

6. Take a list. I usually write one on my phone and stick to it (apart from a few bits that I forget to add to the list!)

7. Use a smaller trolley. I used to use the big trolley – I do still have to if I have my baby with me, but otherwise I use the smaller one as I can’t fill it so much!

8. Take your time. Plan for shopping to take a bit longer, and take the time to look for cheaper options, price things up and work out what works out better value.

I’ve reduced our shopping bill from between 70-80 a week to 40-50 a week for the 4 of us. Thats around £120 a month – a huge saving from making small changes. I think there may still be room for reductions, but I do love to bake (baking ingredients do seem to be expensive) but now we are shopping more within our means and have just a bit more left at the end of each month.

If anyone has any other tips for shopping cheaper, I’d love to hear them 🙂