It’s the most wonderful time of the month, it’s payday!! In this post we would like to give you a bit of an insight into how we menu plan and budget our money. We understand that each of you will have a different way of organising your lives but as we can at times be the most disorganised people we feel the need to get well prepared at the start of the month so that we don’t have to do too much scrapping and scrimping at the end of the month.
As part of our money budgeting we set aside £100 a month to be spent on food, the majority of which is spent at the start of the month on a monthly food shop and the rest is then used to replenish bits as we are going along for example milk. Although last month’s shop was predominantly in one supermarket, we have recently received vouchers through the door from two different supermarkets and so we are going to utilise these to ensure we are getting the most for our money. Looking out for these vouchers and deals, yes is time consuming but worth it in the end especially if you budget your money to the penny, like us.
We personally find it easier to menu plan for the month which involves looking at our shifts for the month and working out what meals we are going to be cooking on our joint days off. This may seem super crazy over the top to many of you but for us it means that we are able to compile a shopping list of all the things that we are going to need for the month which allows us to stick to our budget as we are not buying things that aren’t needed. In April we only have 9 days of the month eating dinner together, so stocking up on meals to last us 28 days is wasteful and very expensive.
In terms of the menu planning, one of the things that we ensure we do is to put at least one, what we call, batchable meals on the menu each week. We are planning to do a separate post on this next week but this is simply where we put a meal on the menu which we can cook four or five portions of and then freeze the excess which leaves us with a freezer full of meals. Not only does this ensure that we we have something quick and easy to cook if needed therefore meaning we don’t grab the takeaway menus as quickly but it also means that at the end of the month when the cupboards are looking bare we are not needing to rush down to the local supermarket attempting to scramble together meals. If this does happen, however, it will result in Aaron giving me a challenge to make a meal out of minimal money. These freezer meals also come in handy for quick, grab and go for me to take to work, as we’ve found in the past that forgetting to take food into work results in buying a microwave meal or spending £10 at a time on stuff to make a full dinner which does drain the bank account.
Another thing that we attempt to do when menu planning is try to add as much variety as possible, so a weekly meal plan will most probably have: a meat dish, a fish dish, a batchable, a challenge of some sorts as seen in our previous post (we are always up for suggestions) and a theme night which will usually be foods from a different part of the world for example: homemade Chinese takeaway night, which you can all look forward to this weekend!
This may seem very institutionalised but if you think you over do your monthly/weekly shop, maybe try it. Even if you think of how many dinners you need to cook, think of some recipes for them and then throughout the month you can just tick them off a list. This will mean that you do have a bit more freedom with it. I personally find that it helps to keep an eye on what myself and Aaron eat, not that we eat salads everyday, but if we need to change that heavy gravy dinner for a lighter meal as we’ve eaten some calorific things in the month, then we can see what we’ve got planned for the whole month and this helps us to keep a relatively healthy and balanced diet.
If you feel up to it; give it go! We are also looking for suggestions for challenges, theme nights and well anything you can think of really! Until the weekend, have a good one and enjoy payday!!