Meal Planning on a Budget: Nourishing Your Family without Breaking the Bank | Living on a budget with HarassedMom
Nourishing Your Family without Breaking the Bank By Meal Planning

Meal Planning on a Budget

If I am honest, I love to hate meal planning. When I focus on it, life runs smoothly. But when life gets busy its often the first thing I stop doing because it seems like such an effort – which I know is silly!

Not only does meal planning (and prepping) make daily life a lot easier, it helps you to stay within your budget because it avoids those last minute shops to make something for dinner. 

If you are a family, like ours, that are happy to eat the same meals then meal plan is even easier but you can add in new meals each week if you want, it just means a little more planning. 

These are some of the things I do when it comes time to meal planning, which I know do every Sunday. 

  1. Check What You Have

Before you start planning meals, take stock of what you already have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Make a note of what you already have, this will prevent overspending and reduce waste because you are using everything you have before buying more. Add meals to your meal plan that use these ingredients first. 

  1. Plan Weekly Menus

Create a weekly meal plan that outlines breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. Include all meals you need to cater for to make sure that you buy exactly what you need. I often make enough dinner to be used as leftovers, make sure you add this to your plan. 

  1. Check Items on Sale

I have the Checkers Sixty60 app open when I meal plan to check what items are on special and add those. I generally do my meal plan, make a list and then order all at the same time, another advantage of online shopping. But you can do this with specials in store as well. Just make sure the sale items really are cheaper than normal. 

  1. Batch Cooking

I am a little slack with this but when I do make the time I am reminded of the benefits. Setting aside time each week/month to prepare food to freeze can save time during the week and help on those busy days when the last thing you feel like doing is cooking. It works well with basics like mince or chicken curry. 

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Meal Planning on a Budget: Nourishing Your Family without Breaking the Bank | Living on a budget with HarassedMom
  1. Plan for Leftovers

Choose ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes. For instance, a roasted chicken can serve as the main course one night and be used in wraps or sandwiches the next day. I often cook a meal that can be eaten the next day for lunch. 

  1. Simple Is Better

Opt for recipes that require fewer ingredients and are easy to prepare. There’s no need for elaborate gourmet meals, you can still make delicious food that doesn’t take time and tastes delicious.

  1. DIY Snacks

We ditched all pre-packaged snacks years ago, they are expensive and unhealthy. That doesn’t mean we don’t snack, we just do it a little differently. We snack on fruit a lot and I make granola or cookies etc. The advantage of making snacks is I have a lot more control over the ingredients I use. 

  1. Shop with a List

Stick to your grocery list to avoid impulse buying and to make sure you have everything you need for your meal plan. I have a standard list for my chicken, fruit and veg and then do my online shopping with a list. 

Meal planning on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing taste or nutrition. With thoughtful planning, you can provide your family with wholesome and delicious meals without straining your finances. Embracing seasonal ingredients, planning for leftovers, and utilizing what you already have, will not only save money but also reduce food waste and make life easier. 

Meal Planning on a Budget: Nourishing Your Family without Breaking the Bank | Living on a budget with HarassedMom



3 Responses

  1. Planning the weekly meals and then doing the batch cooking saves so much time. It also allows me to rest a little on weekdays, which is a huge bonus to me.

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