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  • wigginsmum
    • #2
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:15 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:15 PM
    I have various systems - one is to type up menus for a fortnight and shop accordingly, taking into account who's around on which evenings, and pinning a copy to the fridge door so we can see what's happening and what needs to be taken out of the freezer. Just recently though I've bought meat in bulk from Costco - several pounds of lamb chump chops, chicken thighs, minced beef, and split it into portions. Some I've frozen as they are, others I've cooked in bulk in the crockpot and refrozen in portions, like chicken korma and bolognese sauce. Next stop for me is to sort through the cupboards and note Use By dates on tins and packets, then incorporate them into the planning over the next couple of weeks.

  • Red Squirrel
    • #3
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:15 PM
    Meal planning
    • #3
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:15 PM
    I use a card from my card-index file, and go through my Delia Smith basic recipe books. Then, keeping to my 40 limit, I plan the meals--dinner, and main course only, and write them on the card.

    Pin this to the notice board, and shop accordingly.
  • Spilt Milk
    • #4
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:19 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:19 PM
    We spend 20 mins working out four/five meals we want to cook that week. We don't do it to budget as such but by shopping to a plan and only get the ingredients you need we seem to come in at budget.

    The sixth and seventh day of the week we leave open to cook with left overs from the previous meals.

    You have play about when there's just two of you 'cause you always tend up end up with too much of cetain things so to speak.
    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 12th Jan 06, 1:21 PM
    • 13,149 Posts
    • 9,492 Thanks
    • #5
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:21 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:21 PM
    We just have a rotating fortnightly plan - not rigid, as it's mostly used to remind me of what we eat when I have no idea what to cook! Also, we don't want to be too rigid and can't get excited about always having x on a y-day ... IYSWIM

    My only other "must have" is an inventory of what's in the freezer so I can see if there's a portion or two of soup, or pasta sauce, or stock etc that can be pressed into service when I'm lacking inspiration! Is that sad, or what?
    • ronankfan
    • By ronankfan 12th Jan 06, 1:21 PM
    • 711 Posts
    • 1,869 Thanks
    • #6
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:21 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:21 PM
    I try and menu plan once a week and only buy what i really need (unless it is a bargain of course) and sometimes double what i am making e.g cottage pie so i have one in the freezer in case i dont feel like making anything from scratch one night.
    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 12th Jan 06, 1:22 PM
    • 13,149 Posts
    • 9,492 Thanks
    • #7
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:22 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Jan 06, 1:22 PM
    I should also mention that I only go to the supermarket once every three months and even then I only buy tins and dry goods
  • Penny-Pincher!!
    • #8
    • 12th Jan 06, 2:19 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Jan 06, 2:19 PM

    I menu plan for 9 days and try and find 2 days (buy for 7 days-2 days free IYKWIM) of free food :rolleyes: leftovers, stretching the roasts, egg & chips, bits needing using in fridge/freezer or just an omelette/something very basic that I know I have the ingredients for already.

    I dont know if Ive explained that clearly..LOL.

    To repeat what others have said, requires education, to challenge it,
    requires brains!

    • flea72
    • By flea72 12th Jan 06, 2:32 PM
    • 5,294 Posts
    • 5,294 Thanks
    • #9
    • 12th Jan 06, 2:32 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Jan 06, 2:32 PM
    how do you plan for accompaniments though, like veg, etc.

    i seem to get on ok with planning the actual main part of the meal, but then find ive allocated all my spuds, and have to find something that goes with rice/pasta instead iyswim. or weve had a week of rice/pasta dishes and ive now got lots of veg left that need eating up

    also my biggest problem is i never really know how many of us will be eating, until i come to prepare the meal. usually its just me and OH, but sometimes the kids dont have tea at the grandparents, so that means they want to eat with us, when they come home, so on a day ive planned for 2, i end up with 3 or 4.

    i have tried doing menus, which have meals for 2, 3 & 4, and then pick accordingly, but it just doesnt seem to work, i always end up borrowing part of the 'main' from another day, as in, ive allowed for 2 pies but now have to borrow an extra pie from next weeks allotted 2 pies, leaving me with one spare pie. does that make sense?

    or is it not possible for me to plan meals everyday, with our lifestyle?

    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 12th Jan 06, 4:51 PM
    • 9,089 Posts
    • 28,909 Thanks
    What about not meal-planning?
    I know I'm a bit unusual on this forum in not planning meals, but I find my Storecupboard System works best for me.

    Basically, I have a list of all the things I like to have in my cupboards, freezer and fridge. For example I have tuna, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, corned beef, rice, pasta, lentils and dried beans in my cupboards, plus spices, soy sauce, oil etc. In my freezer I have peas, sweetcorn, mince, whole chickens (some jointed)sausages, pitta bread and HM bread. In my fridge I always have bacon, cheese, eggs, butter and seasonal fruit & veg. Every week I buy a couple of kinds of fish, say, coley and mackerel. I also have a baking cupboard in which I keep flour, sugar, baking aids and dried fruit. In the garage I have a 20 kilo bag of spuds.

    This system ensures that I always have the makings of a meal in the house. I am not bound by a plan that I might not want to follow, and it means I can make meals which use up the fresh stuff I've bought that week before it goes off. Also, I am able to take advantages of special offers when I see them which might not necessarily fit in with a menu-plan. If something like tinned tomatoes is on special offer I buy lots and lots and then none for months. It also allows me to cater for different numbers and to use up leftovers efficiently.

    So, basically I shop for my storecupboard and not for a menu-plan. It works for me, it might work for you.
    Last edited by thriftlady; 29-12-2009 at 1:53 PM.
  • Chickadee
    I should also mention that I only go to the supermarket once every three months and even then I only buy tins and dry goods
    by Debt_Free_Chick

    Every three months, I'm every three days!
  • rchddap1
    Also use a storecupboard plan here too. If I change my mind...or more likely OH changes his mind we can pick out a different meal with no trouble.

    Edit: Shopping every 3 days....sounds more like Boots than a supermarket to me.
    Baby Year 1: Oh dear...on the move

    Lily contracted Strep B Meningitis Dec 2006 Now seemingly a normal little monster.
    Love to my two angels that I will never forget.
    • OxJak
    • By OxJak 12th Jan 06, 5:09 PM
    • 109 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    I do our weekly shop on a Wednesday (reason: Fridays are always really busy and we often go away at weekends), and so the OH sits down on a Tuesday evening and works out what she wants to cook for the week ahead (although because things don't keep for a week, she often gets stuff in fresh for the Tuesday night).

    A lot of the time she puts something like "chicken breasts" and I get lots, depending on the special offers, we use what we need and freeze the rest (the freezer is our best friend!). So for an average five-day week (I cook at weekends) we normally only get in one or two meals "in full", with the rest made from what we've already got in. Average bill is about 20-25, with a bit more for non-food items.
    • VickyA
    • By VickyA 12th Jan 06, 6:52 PM
    • 4,453 Posts
    • 21,723 Thanks
    We've just started to meal plan and we're now 1 week into a 3 week erm "plan" It was based on what we've got in the freezer and storecupboard, to be honest. I'd always batch cooked and have got loads of veggie sauce, bolognese sauce and chilli and loads of tins of tuna (it was on bogof, ok? ) and sauces that we tend to use. Now we've actually got a system to use it all up. We may well keep it up once the 3 week "use up" has worked, but we tend to spend about 25 for the two of us per week on food.
  • anna27uk
    I do my meal planner for the next week on a thurs. I start the meal planner from saturday and i do through my recipies and Good Food mags to get ideas. I also check what i have in the freezer and cupboards and use this stuff. I write a meal for every tea time adjacent to each day, and then i write my shopping list according to my meal planner. I then do a weeks shop at Tesco onlien and have it delivered on saturday, and that night i start from the weeks new meal planner.
    I find this way i save so much money by sticking to the planner, and i save money shopping online as i dont impulse buy.
    I can't remember what on earth i used to do before i did my meal planners, and i will always do them now!
    • arkonite_babe
    • By arkonite_babe 12th Jan 06, 7:01 PM
    • 7,258 Posts
    • 8,310 Thanks
    Hi carl310166

    If you check out the mega index (it's a sticky at the top of this board) then go to cooking and recipes section, there are some previous discussions on meal planning, listed under "M"

    Hope this helps!
    • Chipps
    • By Chipps 12th Jan 06, 7:34 PM
    • 1,543 Posts
    • 4,802 Thanks
    Every so often I have these wonderful moments of being organised. Then I sit down before payday, & make up a monthly menu, with lunches, desserts etc included as well - and even notes like "cook double" & "take meal out of freezer for next day" kind of thing. I type the list out & put it up in the kitchen & everyone knows what's for dinner & there is always enough food.
    The meal ideas are all noted down in a file in my kitchen - they are favourite meals that we have had before for the most part, although I do sometimes add new ones. When I first did it, I noted down meals we had had in the previous few weeks & also spent ages going through recipe books, but now I have a fairly comprehensive list - but it did take a couple of years to get as many as there are now.
    My organisedness (is that a word?) usually lasts for a month - occasionally 2 or 3 - then it's back to panic at 4pm & dig out whatever seems to be available (like at the moment)
    I would like some kind of middle ground! But I am always happier when the menu plan is up and running!
    • Disdisbiff
    • By Disdisbiff 29th Nov 07, 8:58 PM
    • 121 Posts
    • 1,033 Thanks
    Meal Planning Newbie
    I am trying to reduce my grocery spending so am thinking that if i meal plan then this should be helpful in my quest.

    I was wondering if it would be better to have set meal for set days (eg.minced meat meal-monday, sausage meal-tuesday etc)

    Does anyone else do this and do you find it helpful in reducing your grocry bill

    Replies eagerly awaited

    Debt free since September 2018
    • Angelraesunshine
    • By Angelraesunshine 29th Nov 07, 9:58 PM
    • 1,433 Posts
    • 3,589 Thanks
    hi there Biff,

    i have been doing meal planning since i found this site about 5-6 months ago and i have found it have saved me about 200 a month on my grocery shop well meal planning and buying online rather than going to the shops.

    apart from fish on a Friday and a roast of some sort on a Sunday i do not do set meals for each day but i do set a type of meal for each week to go by, eg a pasta meal a rice meal a mince meal etc see my post here for my December meal plan it might help?
    Still Trying
    Grocery challenge July 2016
    • CT19720
    • By CT19720 29th Nov 07, 10:04 PM
    • 1,394 Posts
    • 15,299 Thanks

    I've been doing this for the last 6 months, and although my shopping bills were never huge (50 for 2 adults and 2 children), I have managed to get it down to around 35 per week, by doing meal plans, and only buying what I will need for that particular week. At the moment I have a 4 week rotation. I also shop around more for the good deals, although this does mean that I don't just shop in Tescos, I now go to Iceland and the local greengrocers. We do treat outselves now and then. I have also started to make a bit more of say mince for spaghetti, so that the following night I can add some chilli packet mix to it, and shove some jacket potatoes in, so that a packet of mince does 2 meals.

    I've got a really buzz with doing this meal planning, and we have less food thrown out at the end of the week.

    Good luck with it, I am sure you will notice the difference in your wallet.
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