Last week, I set myself the task of meal planning right through to November payday. The grocery budget is one of the places I find it easiest to cut back with little compromise in quality, however that does mean more work when cooking. I find this a pretty acceptable compromise, and even cooking from scratch I have a collection of convenience meals up my sleeve.
Up there is my first page of planned meals. Some of them may seem a little extravagant (gammon steak!) but they are based around what I have in my freezer. The gammon, for example, came as a pack of six from Farm Foods, for about £3 I think. Decent size steaks, minimal fat and hardly any shrinkage under the grill. Just how Mr AF likes them! Ticked items have been cooked and served, starred items are heading up the meal plan for this week.
This week we have:
Spaghetti Bolognaise (made last week, leftovers frozen into sensible portions)
Gammon, egg and chips (homemade chips, eggs an ever present staple, and the aforementioned Farm Foods gammon!)
Omelette, boiled potatoes, mixed vegetables (you can tell when I’m trying to save money, lots of eggs)
Fish pie and vegetables (fish pie mix was on offer a while ago and I found it in the back of the freezer)
Cottage pie (home grown onions, value mince with the fat drained)
Bacon and mushroom fried rice (whenever I cook a rice based meal I keep some back to make fried rice with. This one always goes down well)
Meal planning for a month or so is harder, I find, as my cooking skills are, ahem, self taught. As a fussy eater my scope of meals is more limited but meal planning over a longer span of time forces me to do a little more research to avoid too many repetitions. Aside from the gammon. Which Mr AF loves.
Any hints on meal planning? Any resources you love?
Have you ever made a budget that just turned out to be overly optimistic? Or perhaps had a wedge of “spare” cash for “emergencies” that you just left in your current account, only to be frittered away and then some?
Yeah, me too.
My initial budgets were mainly set in la-la land- assuming I wouldn’t be doing any out of budget spending, that the money would be shuffled neatly across into savings or towards debt at the end of the month when I was miraculously unspent.
Next month’s budget is sorted and I have budgeted down to zero. I’ve included some personal spending, some Christmas shopping money, money for all the vital things is included. There’s no spare money in the budget to be frittered away; everything has a category.
I’m going back to an old fashioned spending diary, paper, pen, the amount and what it was for. I’m a stationery addict so no need to go out and buy a notepad and no worrying about running out of ink. No fancy apps and no excuses.
I’ve spent the past couple of months on and off the frugal wagon and it’s taken me time to get back into the right headspace. Here I am though, keep on keeping on. If there’s a secret to this frugal life it is that. Keep trying, don’t give up. If you slip, do what you can to repair any damage and move on. Have an ideal budget, but have a real one too. Having something to work towards is a great motivator but without the real one you get disheartened when nothing seems to go to plan.
Baby steps, baby steps.
This month has been somewhat spendy, but reduced by using vouchers etc.
But I’m still not back in the groove, which is annoying me. Knowing that I don’t have a credit card payment to make next month has made me lax, and that’s not a good thing. I still have a considerable debt to pay back to my mother and although she is fairly relaxed about it, it is still a debt and debt is now no longer a part of my life plan.
I am one of those people who are constantly either making or looking for purchases that will fix my life. They will get me organised! They will stop me from overeating! They will make me exercise more!
In reality, the only answer and solution to all of my problems comes from within, but those solutions take more work to pull out of the bag. Most of my purchases are either comfort eating/shopping or these kind of things.
My purse is locked away.
My meal plan is in place.
All of the errands I need to run this week are sitting in a carrier bag in my car. No missy, you don’t need to take your purse out to produce ID, you just need the actual ID itself. My brain likes to play tricks on me in these kinds of situations.
I’m about to go downstairs and work on next month’s budget, getting the
rudimentals in place so I can fill in everything I have inevitably forgotten as I go along.
I’ll share it on here in a few days, to keep me accountable.
Wish me luck!