I have a confession to make – normally these blog posts take the form of me saying something along the lines of ‘I’m not really an expert but I am a parent on a tight budget and this is what I do so it might help you too’. You know the drill… Anyway, this week, if I stuck to that formula, this would involve me telling a few porkies. Meal planning is something I know I should do. I really, really should. It makes sense to plan out your week’s worth of meals before you start the shopping, especially if you’re short of a few quid. That way, you’ll know you’ll never been forking out for extras, in theory, at any rate.
But, as well as being short of a few quid, I am also a bit lazy. I do the main chunk of my shopping online and by the time I get around to attempting it, I usually a bit knackered and so just jab at the keyboard in a vague attempt to guess at what I might feel like cooking in the coming days. I normally have a rough budget I stick to, but as an accurate exercise in stringent meal-planning, it fails miserably. You might be able to deduce that I normally have to nip to the shops several times a week to make up the shortfall. This is setting a terrible example, I know. Which is why, this week, I’m going to make a pledge. I promise to attempt a proper week’s worth of meal planning, and, slightly more importantly, stick to it.
In order to do this successfully, I’m going to give you a glimpse into my cooking habits (although you might already have an idea of these from reading this blog regularly, which I’m sure you all do). Like a large majority of the population, I’m certain I won’t want to cook a full-on meal every night of the week, especially on those days that involve after-school clubs and the like, so I need to factor in evenings when I’ll barely be able to muster up a fish-finger sandwich (yes, we’ve all been there). And, of course, this is all about meals on a budget, so we won’t be having top quality steak too often. So where does that leave me?
Well, weekdays will be all about keeping it easy but healthy. I’m talking maybe 2 simple pasta dishes, pizza on Fridays (add your own toppings to a flatbread, if you can call that pizza), fish fingers at least one day a week (just because) and a nice healthy stir fry. And then I can feel free to indulge a bit at weekends – roast dinner on Sunday, perhaps a homemade curry on Saturday night and enough extras to keep them in snacks and sandwiches and fruit for a few days. Sounds doable, yes? So I promise that I will be organised and I will write my meal plan down in great detail and I will order the best value ingredients I can find and I certainly will not digress from it if I have a bad day. Which normally happens. But not this time folks!
So why don’t you join me in my planning of the meals and we’ll see if we can all save a bit of money and learn some self-discipline in the process? Emergency trips to the shops that end up costing a fortune will soon be a thing of the past…