Family food shop budget guide
With some good planning, you can create great family meal ideas on a budget and keep all family members happy with plenty of choice and variation.
As the summer holidays come to a close and we start to get back into our term-time routines, most of us are thinking about new ways to organise our family lives as well as save money wherever possible.
Budgeting isn’t something that is particularly glamorous, but it can be easy, and even fun if you get the whole family involved. Here are 5 useful tips to get you started.
1. Make a meal plan
You might think that planning every meal sounds a little boring, but actually, it will only take you around 15 minutes each week and could save you money as well as time in the long run.
Sunday morning is a great time to plan the following week’s menu – giving you enough time to get all the supplies you need before the new week starts.
Here are 5 simple steps to follow when it comes to meal planning:
- Choose which meals you’d like to cook – consult your family members so everyone feels included
- Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need
- Check your fridge and food cupboard to see what ingredients you can find (this will help avoid buying something you already have)
- Shop for the ingredients you need and don’t already have
- Stick to the plan
2. Cook the majority from scratch
Now that you have a meal plan, you are well prepped to make some delicious food ideas for the week. But, when it comes to visiting the shops, you may be tempted to pick up ready-made versions of the dinner choices on your list.
Planning in the occasional ready-made pizza or takeaway is fine as a treat, but you don’t need us to tell you that cooking from scratch is a much more budget-friendly option. As well as a healthier one too. If you spent just £20 on a takeaway once a week that’s a whopping £1040 a year you could be saving or spending on something else instead. So, why not plan a takeaway every fortnight instead and create your own ‘fakeaway’ favourites at home instead on the other weeks.
Cooking from scratch also means you’ll get bigger portions for less money so you can feed all four of you for the price of a ready meal for two.
If you need some help when it comes to easy recipes, then we have hundreds of delicious ideas to get you started. From a simple stir fry to a one-pot chilli con carne, you can ensure each week you add variety to your lunches and dinners.
3. Batch make meals
When you have planned your week’s meals and are cooking from scratch, you can make most recipes in advance so that they can be frozen straight away, and then simply heated up in the oven on the day that you need them.
Batch making meals is not only cost effective, but it will also save you time and stress during the week after a long and busy day at work. Meaning you can spend more time with your family or take time for yourself to do something you love.
Homemade lasagne is a particularly good option to batch make and freeze and can be sectioned into individual portions if necessary. It also tastes pretty good cold the next day if you have any left for lunch!
4. Look for offers
Budget food shopping is all about being savvy. Be sure to look out for what offers are on that week and try to incorporate as many of them into your meal plan as possible. We list all our special offers online so you can keep up to date with what we have in our Pizza Night Deals, Freezer Deals, and Midweek Meals , plus much more. The Pizza Night Deal is especially good for one of those Friday nights when you have a ‘fakeaway’ treat planned.
5. Regularly check what food you have in stock
One of the best ways to save money on food shopping is to create meals around what you already have in the fridge and cupboards.
Before you meal plan, open the cupboards and see what you have already that could be made into a meal. Some of the most interesting and tasty meals come from the most unlikely leftover ingredients! This can help you spend less on food shopping, because you’ll only buy the items you need. As well as producing less waste, which is good for the environment.
Dried foods such as rice, pasta and couscous can be made into some great dishes, and it also helps to know what seasoning and sauces you already have too.
Still in need of some basics? It’s amazing what you can save on bulk buys and by picking up discount store basics. For a cheap grocery list, always go for the own brand option, and select larger pack sizes as they will last longer and are always cheaper in the longer term.
Start planning today
We hope you have found our food budgeting guide useful and feel armed and ready to start planning your cheap family meals! Remember to take a look at our library of recipes before you start for plenty of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing (and your taste buds too!).