I swear by Meal Planning in order to eat healthy as a family but also to make sure we live within our household food budget each month, allowing us extra money for treats as a family instead.
Want to know why I Meal plan for my family of 4 each week? Check out this post here.
When you are food shopping on a budget, thinking about what you want to eat and whether you can afford it when you go to the shops can be stressful and time-consuming.
That’s why I personally LOVE seeing what other families put on their meal plans and what products they choose when they shop at places like Aldi, Lidl, Costco and normal UK Supermarkets like Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco to name a few.
// Our Monthly Shopping Budget
This month our goal for food shopping is to keep within £300 total for the month.
I break this down into one large “Bulk shop” for the month of all my main ingredients that can be frozen or last the month in the cupboard/fridge happily (approximately £100-£150 of budget allocated), then a weekly top up shop of £35-£40 for perishable items such as fresh fruit, milk, bread, some extra top up items for each week.
I also usually only plan FIVE Main meals for us as a family each week.
I find that when I do this it allows freedom to eat out at the weekend if we want, or have a freezer based quick dinner if we are rushed suddenly for time and some flexibility.
If you are needing to follow a tighter budget of course, you can plan 7 meals a week.
I love to film for my Youtube channel that Bulk shop, normally from Sainsburys which is my shop of choice right now as we receive extra discount there due to my husband’s work benefits. This discount allows it to be cheaper than the other supermarkets for us.
You can check out our latest video shopping large haul below.
However if I was not able to get items cheaper at Sainsburys, we would normally use Aldi for our large shop and weekly top ups.
We also have a separate budget of £50 for our 2 rescue cats that are in our home.
// What’s in store for us this month?
January is usually the toughest month for most families post Christmas spending, but our goal this Christmas was to cash flow (not go into debt) for everything we needed.
We managed this by putting away each month towards a Christmas fund, and then having money put aside for even activities and fun days when the days together came.
This month though, we had a number of larger expenses pay off in full in December (I paid off my tax bill in full as felt good about doing it and also we had to budget for one car to be serviced sooner than thought). With that being said, the month is tighter than normal but I completely know we have sufficient for our needs and planned accordingly for our food and fun things to do.
I’ve actually decided to completely plan each meal (something I have never tried before) to see if it helps with food purchasing and minimizing waste each month.
We are very thankful that we have food in our cupboards and our freezer at the end of the month, but I want to see if I can make sure and purchase only what we really want to use and eat.
I’m also testing out more on my 80/20 strategy to improve the quality of our meals – I like to think of it as minimalism but for FOOD!
I picked our favourite 15 or so meals for each category – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – and then repeated them over the month.
My goal is to see if anyone will notice, or if we will feel that we are better fed actually with meals everyone will enjoy and I enjoy making.
The win-win for me is that I know how to cook each of these meals off the top of my head, so I’m hoping that will work for me better when busy with life and family.
I’m excited to see how I get on and if this could be the way forward for our family.
New to Meal Planning or stuck for ideas?
Click on photo image below to download your FREE Monthly and Weekly Meal Plan template to help your family and budget.
You will see that I use a combination of Themes and dinner suggestions, planning for roughly 5 meals only a week.
This month I am upping that to 7 full nights planned to give this a go to see if I like it better instead over the summer months, when we are together more as a family.
I’m incorporating theme nights into our meal plan this month, to see if that makes planning easier outside of using my Meal Plan Randomizer tool.
My Meal Planning Guide gives you a full month (31 different suggestions) of themes and then over 185+ recipe links in one bundle.
Never eat the same meals over and over again with my help!
You simply click on the recipe title and it takes you straight to the website page you need for the recipe.
Use it and love it with your family too!
// Still stuck for Ideas on what to make your family?
I was fed up thinking of the same meals over and over again, so I created the AutoPilot Meal Planner spreadsheet which randomizes your favourite meals for you to simply copy onto your weekly meal plan with the click of a button.
BRAND NEW – My Meal Planning Guide gives you a full month (31 different suggestions) of themes and then over 185+ recipe links in one bundle.
You will see me use both these products on many of my shopping and meal planning Youtube videos on my channel.
// Why do we budget our shopping in this way?
Our family is working towards the goal of becoming financially free and secure over the next few years, and so we want to make sure our spending habits are as healthy as they can be.
Like any family our money is hard earned and precious to us, so it is my job in particular to make sure we only purchase what we will actually use and enjoy.
Don’t let this budget and meal planning fool you!
The key to the system I developed is that there is plenty of fun money to treat ourselves, but we also make sure we put money towards our future each month as well.
Interested in finding out how I budget our whole household?
Watch out for my monthly Family Budget and Goals update – brand new video series on my Youtube channel where I will share with you how we did against our budgets this month and how we are doing towards out financial goals.
I’m passionate about others working towards financial freedom and security too, so feel free to Click below to find out more!
Not enough money left over each month or barely enough to last you post the few few weeks?
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