Saving money when food costs are so high and family time is so limited.

When I fell pregnant with Jasmyne I had no idea what healthy  balanced meals were and what growing kids need to eat to stay strong. This this whole food thing was very new experience to me. When it was just the two of us we would get a take outs or buy a precooked dinners on the way home from work.

When I finally worked out what a good meal consisted of I realised that I did not have the time to cook it and spend time with my baby after work. It was at that point that I decided that we need a plan and out came the lists.

I now have a menu that runs for 4 weeks ensuring that we have one of the same meal once every four weeks. I have linked my shopping list to that menu so that I know when I am shopping I am buying food for a specific meal and not throwing random groceries into my trolly.

Meal Week 1 Meal Week 2 Meal Week 3 Meal Week 4
Monday Best Lasagna Spaghetti with Ricotta Beef and Bean Casserole Quick Ravioli
Garlic Bread Creamy Italian Salad Cilantro Rice Caesar Salad
Italian Salad Broccoli with Cilantro Vinaigrette Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Easy Pear Tarts
Strawberry Ice
Tuesday Baked Garlic-Thyme Chicken Mediterranean Baked Chicken Four-Cheese Lasagna Grilled Garlic Sirloin
Italian Salad Greek Veggie Salad with Fava Beans Green Beans with Pine Nuts Cheesy Grilled Potatoes
Farina Pudding with Fresh Fruit Peaches & Cream Pie Grilled Corn on the Cob
Glazed Grilled Peaches
Wednesday Quick Beef Stew Old Fashioned Macaroni & Cheese Meat Loaf Wellington Chicken with Garlic and Vegetables
Couscous Salad Honey Dijon Spinach Salad Fancy Fruit Salad One Pan Toffee Bars
Citrus Fruit Salad Raspberry Cookies
Thursday Glazed Chicken Breasts Lower Fat Roast Tenderloin of Beef Baked Chicken Nuggets Linguine with Ham
Basic Brown Rice Lemon and Garlic Broccoli Grilled Sweet Onions Summer Squash and Pepper Salad
Tomato and Pepper Sauté Gratinéed Golden Potatoes Oatmeal Fudge Peanut Butter Cookies Berry Peach Sundaes
Broiled Pears
Friday Ravioli with Fresh Sage Tomato Sauce Roast Beef Sandwiches with Pickles Vegetarian Lasagna Sloppy Joes
Garlic Cauliflower Greek Salad Steamed Green Beans with Lemon Juice Fresh Pineapple Fruit Salad
Italian Salad Strawberry Freeze Garlic Cauliflower
Orange Smoothie
Saturday Lower Fat Oven Fried Chicken Quick Ravioli Macaroni and Beef Bake Baked Potatoes with Avocado and Bacon Topping
Creamed Potatoes and Peas Caramelized Pineapple Chunks Creamed Lemon Spinach Italian Vegetables
Vegetables with Vinaigrette Chocolate Dipped Strawberries Bananas with Yogurt
Sunday Beef Braised in Rosemary Wine Sauce Barbecued Chicken Chicken and Rice Casserole Mustard Roasted Chicken
Corn and Bell Pepper Salad Mom’s Potato Salad Steamed Green Beans with Lemon Juice Creamed Lemon Spinach
Cheese Onion Bread Melon Fruit Salad Citrus Fruit Salad Golden Mashed Potatoes
Coffee Ice Cream

My tips on saving money monthly and still making sure that your family is eating right:

  1. Instant sauces and tinned food save you time but cost money! It is going to take 5 minutes more to wash and chop your tomato rather than open a can but its healthier and its cheaper.
  2. Some foods can be bought in bulk and stored. Rice, pasta, cereals, tea, sugar etc can be put into Tupperware containers, labeled and stored until required.  The initial out lay on bulk buys may set you back however the following months you will have less to buy.
  3. Take a friend with you if you going to buy fruit and vegetables at the local fruit and veg market. Often people miss out on specials because the special will apply to 3 bags of apples and  you only need one.
  4. Buy your meat in bulk and take it home to break into smaller meat packets and freeze
  5. When cooking mince you can fill it up with vegetables like carrots and potatoes this works in big families and its just as tasty.
  6. Huge cook ups save electricity and you may find that you use less ingredients. This will save you time after work in the evenings as reduce your washing up time after dinner.
  7. I have found that cheese has become incredibly expensive, if you buy bulk cheese for cooking and grate it up. You can freeze it and simply defrost it on the day that you  need to use it for a meal. This will give you the opportunity a special and save time the following month since you will have enough cheese.
  8. Winter is the easiest,  get nice containers and cook up huge soups and stews then freeze them, you save money and time.
  9. Put together a family meal plan and print it out.
  10. Work out a shopping list and stick to it.
  11. Bread and milk freeze well. If you have the space store it in the freezer buy as much as you need at the start of the month there by  reducing your quick trips to the shops after work.

I best get of my soap box now and get back to work!


One Response to “Saving money when food costs are so high and family time is so limited.”

  1. Oh heck you are far too organised for me! LOL!

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