I have had many queries about how we meal plan and keep our food budget to $600 a month. We use to spend around $1200 a month (if not more) and have managed to shave this in half. It has taken a lot of organisation and a couple of kids to move out to be able to do achieve this (lol) but here are some of our tips to save on groceries each week.
I love baking and on the weekends I usually make banana chocolate chip muffins for the freezer (great for lunches), a banana cake and biscuits. My husband is a great cook and usually makes the dinners every night. There is only 3 of us now, however we have our whole family (7 adults) every Sunday night so this is usually a special meal that we prepare. There a six steps to winning with grocery shopping and it looks something like this:
Do an audit of all your cupboards, pantry, fridge and freezer. Yes I mean write down everything you have in your cupboards, pantry, fridge and freezer. Most often you can shop from your pantry without having to do any shopping. I bet you will be surprised ! When we did this initially we didn’t have to buy any meat for a week!
Write down all the meals your family eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Eg. Breakfast – Weetbix, Milk, Sugar, Toast, Butter and Jam.
Work out what you eat for lunch and all your favourite meals for dinner.
Have a calendar in front of you and write down a dinner meal for the week ahead – Monday through to Sunday, remember you don’t have to eat like kings everynight. We quite often have eggs on Toast or Toasted sandwiches one night each week. We have a white board in our pantry (see image) and so everyone knows whats for dinner during the week. My kids sometime plan when they’ll visit depending on whats on the menu haha.
Write a list of all ingredients you need to have 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners for the amount of people in your family and remember to take off what you already have in your pantry. Nothing less, nothing more. If you haven’t guessed this means making your lunch everyday – no more buying your lunch!
Surf the internet and check any specials on at Countdown and other places like the Warehouse. I sometimes, use the online shopping of Countdown and work out how much our groceries are going to cost at Countdown and I know when I go to Pak’n’Save I can usually beat this price by at least $10-$20.
Go shopping with your list – this is essential! Do not buy any extras – only get what is on your list! We also take out $150 in cash and go shopping with this – it makes you buy less because you do not want to go over this amount. Also it has been proven that when you shop with cash you spend less than you do if you have your card, as it is harder to hand over your hard earned cash than it is to swipe your card! Try it !! Also when shopping look at price per size. We buy 18 toilet rolls at once as they are usually much cheaper than say buying four. Try homebrands and look carefully at all the shelves – note they put the dearest items on the middle shelf (eye level) make sure you look at the top and bottom !!
Heres an example of our weekly meal plan:
Breakfast Options: Porridge, Brown Sugar, Blueberries, Bananas, English Muffins, Jam, Green Tea, Tea, Coffee, Milk.
Lunch Options: Omelette, Microwave Pies, Chicken Salads, Eggs on Toast, Vege Bowls, Pizza.
Dinner Options: Sausages, Mash & Beans, Nachos, Lasagne, Spaghetti Bolognese, Home-made Subway, Home-made Pizza, Meat Loaf, Home-made Burgers & Chips, Chicken Fried Rice, Roast Chicken with Roasties & Veges, Frittata, Toasted Sandwiches, Eggs on Toast, Vege Bowl.
Snacks: Fruit, Home-made Banana Chocolate chip muffins, Home-made Biscuits, Home-made Banana cake, Chips, Popcorn, Rice cakes, Nutella, Noodles, Peanut Butter, Walnuts, Almonds, Dark Chocolate.
Good Luck and happy shopping,
Warm regards, Bradie 🙂