Meal Planning to Save Money

Meal Planning to Save Money

One of the biggest weekly expenses for most of us is the food shop. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, food shopping feels as though it costs a bomb and often, when you get home, you realise you’ve bought a load of junk and not much to actually make a meal with. Meal planning is one of the best ways to keep control of your spending when you’re on a budget.

Planning ahead is always the best way when it comes to anything related to your finances. Not being prepared means that you can overspend, turn to the takeaways and generally lose control of your spending.

How you go about planning your meals is down to individual preference. I have included a link to a free printable at the bottom of the page that you may find useful! We have a whiteboard stuck inside one of the kitchen cupboard doors that I fill in with meals and snacks for the week. I then use this to write my shopping list which I’ll usually order online. (I know I have to pay for delivery but I have a pass with ASDA for £5 per month & doing it this way removes the temptation to throw things in the trolley!) You can pick these up in shops such as Wilkos or The Works, I found this fab board online:

How many meals are you going to plan for?

You should aim to plan for a full 7 days when you’re meal planning, this means that all your food shopping is done in one go and helps to keep control of your budget. Think about every meal of every day and all the snacks you’ll need too.

Think about your weekly activities

Consider the days when you know you’ll be running around like a loon because the kids have swimming, or youth theatre, or in our case on a Thursday, both! Those days you’re not going to have time to roast a chicken or cook a meal from scratch in the evening. Slow cooker meals work really well on these days, and there’s nothing wrong with throwing in some fish fingers once in a while as part of a balanced diet!

Meal Ideas

Meal Planning to Save Money

Breakfast

  • Cereal
  • Fruit & yoghurt
  • Brioche (a firm favourite in this house and only £1 for 8)
  • Pancakes
  • Scrambled egg on toast

Dinner 

  • Beans on toast
  • Sandwiches
  • Spaghetti on toast
  • Toasties
  • Salad
  • Soup

Tea

  • Baked potatoes with various fillings
  • Chicken, potatoes & veg
  • Fajitas/wraps
  • Lasagne
  • Pasta Bake
  • Quiche & salad
  • Pizza
  • Stir Fry
  • Sausage & mash
  • Spaghetti Bolognaise
  • Chilli con carne
  • Chicken Curry

Snacks

  • Fruit (healthy, cheap and great for an energy boost)
  • Breadsticks
  • Flapjacks (make your own!)
  • Crisps
  • Biscuits

Shopping

Once you’ve written out your meal plan, you’re ready to write your shopping list. This should now be easy peasy! Simply work your way through your meals and write out everything you need as you go. Top tip – think about your leftovers. If you’re having a roast chicken on Sunday and you know there will be some chicken left, plan to have chicken wraps for dinner on Monday. This saves on waste and inevitably saves money too.

If you’re going into the supermarket to complete your shop, make sure you have your lists and STICK TO IT! There’s no point picking bits up as you wander round, that kind of defeats the object! I try to do all of my food shopping online these days. I pay £5 per month to ASDA for an anytime delivery pass. This means they will deliver to me as many times as I want and it’ll never cost me more than £5 a month. Their minimum delivery charge is £40 so I have to plan what we’ll need, I can’t just order a bag of potatoes if I forget! I HATE food shopping with a passion, particularly when I have the children with me, ordering online takes that stress away.

Feel free to grab your free printable meal planner here.

I’d love to hear your “go to” meals when you’re planning your meals, for us it’s fajitas, quiche, chicken dinner & baked potatoes!

I’m taking part in the Money Making Madness Linky hosted by Charlotte Burns from Lotty Earns, Emma Bradley from Mum’s Savvy Savings, Emma Drew from EmmaDrew.Info and Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny.

Mummy in a Tutu

19 Comments

  1. August 9, 2017 / 11:21 am

    I live at home still and we always plan our meals for the week as it’s so much easier with 3 adults!! Our go to meals are a bit different, we like spanokopita and risottos and gnocci!!!

    • August 9, 2017 / 11:27 am

      Ooh I’ve never heard of spanokopita (runs off to google…).

  2. August 9, 2017 / 11:47 am

    I am obsessed with meal planning, I’ve been doing it for about a year & we have cut our food bill from £120 a week to £50! Great tips xx

  3. August 9, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    fajitas are always on our list too! I used to be really good at meal planning, but since we moved house I have got out of the habit. I really must get back into it, as not only does it save me money but I find it less stressful too.

  4. August 9, 2017 / 10:54 pm

    I love meal planning, sad I knwo!! But it definitely works to save the pennies 🙂

    • August 10, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Nothing sad about it! It’s a fab way to take control 🙂

  5. August 10, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    I can’t plan meals because my kids have vastly different tastes in food. My youngest is a really picky eater because of some sensory issues so I pretty much have to cook the same things for him all the time while my oldest will eat almost anything. He’s a lot like me when it comes to food so we usually eat what the youngest is eating accept when he is at his dad’s. Visiting you from #ablogginggoodtime

  6. August 10, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    The few times I try to meal prep it kind of goes out of the window due to my lifestyle, late nights something = fast food in the office or on route home, and sporadic meet ups with friends can = unplanned meals, snacking and cheeky cocktails 🙁
    Some one has recommended to me freezing meals instead of simply leaving in the fridge to avoid wastage

  7. August 10, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    I find meal planning really helps me organise my time better especially when I am working! I usually start off well but then the plan goes out of the window after a few weeks but when I start work again next week I am going to plan ahead. I usually order my shopping online when I meal plan. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  8. August 10, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    i love meal planning, it just seems to make everything run so much more smoothly!

  9. August 10, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    I have a board and write a meal plan every week. We usually have last night’s dinner for lunch the next day as I always intentionally cook too much, and what we don’t eat gets frozen for another time. I find shepherd’s/cottage pie goes really far, as does risotto and a home made chow mein is a firm fave in oir house! #ablogginggoodtime

  10. August 10, 2017 / 10:40 pm

    We used to be so good with meal planning and online shopping in a routine. Lately we have slacked and really noticed the difference on budget. I’m now trying to get better again and have a new meal plan on the wall which is helping. Love your meal ideas, I think we need to start planning lunches too to try and mix it up a little. X #ablogginggoodtime

  11. August 12, 2017 / 12:38 am

    We shop, we buy, and we have not a thing to eat. Now that is me saying this along with the littles! How do we do this? How do we not know how to do this, especially with kids! It’s a nightmare. And soon the school lunches will start up and a whole new set of anxiety will riddle my bones! Thanks for this! We will try! We will! I will! #ablogginggoodtime

  12. August 12, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    I always meal plan as I order shopping online, we always have a roast on a Sunday and a takeaway on a Saturday but midweek we normally have Lasagna, some kind of Mexican dish and a curry x

  13. August 13, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    Meal planning is a great way to save money, and food waste too. I love to meal plan!

  14. August 18, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    We have a few old favourites we always fall back on when meal planning. I have one called Miso brown Rice which is so easy, and costs barely anything to make. I agree that meal planning saves so much money! We slipped into our old ways lately and didn’t do it but getting back on track with it now.

  15. August 22, 2017 / 12:10 am

    Yes to all of this! I am such a big meal planner. It makes life so much easier and cheaper if you plan and know what you are eating. I am a big fan of batch cooking…. I like to cook up a huge vat of certain meals and then freeze the extra portions. It’s so good to then have a healthy home-made meal you can just take out of the freezer on days you don’t have time to cook. x

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