Sticking to a family budget is hard, but there are a few tips and tricks that you can use when meal planning to get a great tasty meal on the table without breaking the bank. Making a menu plan with budget-friendly recipes (and sticking to it) is the most obvious as this will not only save you money but also reduce waste, which in turn saves you money and time spent shopping.
Here are some other ideas:
Three budget secrets
1. Meat is one of the most expensive ingredients in a meal, so why not plan to go meat-free one or more nights? Legumes, pulses and frozen vegetables are all budget-friendly ingredients.
2. Batch cooking, where you cook meals in bulk and freeze for later, is another savvy saving cooking tip. You’ll not only use up ingredients, saving on wastage, but cooking large batches also saves on your energy bill.
3. Cook from your pantry. It’s amazing how many meals we have at the making already sitting in our pantry. Spend a few minutes assessing your pantry stock and you’ll slash your shopping bill.
Planning quantities and portions in the budget meal plan
The budget meal plan has been devised as though every family has two adults and two children. A larger family may need to extend certain items or pad out the meals with more vegetables. Smaller families will want to make greater use of leftovers and freezing items for re-use.
A rough rule of thumb is that adults need between 100g and 200g of meat or protein as a main meal, while young children under the age of five may eat just 50g. Every person is unique though, and portion size is a very personal thing for families. Most mums who control the weekly grocery spend are the best judge of how much to buy for their families. A family that has a teenage boy will eat differently to a family with a newborn baby.
How to use the budget family meal plan
This budget meal plan is only a weekly guide to how you can plan your family’s eating to fit your time, budget and desire to spend time in the kitchen.
It’s planned so that families who spend time at home together on the weekends can have great meals together, and then use leftovers for during the week.
Just so you know, these suggested daily menus can be applied to any day of the week, but day one has been configured as a Saturday, so working parents can do most of their meal prep on non-working days.