My 10 top tips for meal planning

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We spend an enormous amount of money on food, so I’m on a mission to curb this spending and give us more money for the fun things that we want to do as a family. With prices on the rise again, there are some things you just need to put in place to get through it.  Here are my Top 10 Tips for meal planning and saving money on food:

  1. I have a quick look in the freezer and cupboards to check what I have in before I even start on my meal plan as this will make the basis of my weekly meal plan as much as I can
  2. Meal plan at home and write your list before you leave the house – don’t be tempted by the offers, stick to you list
  3. When you are looking at your meal plan, if you know you need half a tub of creme fraiche or something like that, make sure that you have a recipe over the next two days that includes half a tub of creme fraiche
  4. I batch cook – not on a massive scale, but if the recipe is for 4 and it’s just for Grim and I, I cook the amount for 4 and freeze the other half for either next week’s meal plan or the one in a fortnight’s time
  5. I go to our Tesco on a Sunday late afternoon – this is when things in our Tesco are reduced to silly amounts and now that I have a larder freezer, I can fill it up with these items
  6. I recently tried shopping in Aldi – Now I have to admit, it was because our local area had a power cut and Tesco was closed, so I ventured down to Aldi – I did my entire week’s shop including a bottle or wine and a bottle of gin for £41 – Wow, I normally spend around £70 and need a top up at least once. My boys are starting to eat a lot
  7. I have an app called Checkout Smart  before I go shopping, I check out the app for the shop I’m going to and see what I can get cashback on.  This can be from snacks to sauces or cider – Sometimes you even get the whole amount back.  Once you get to £20 cashback you can transfer this into your paypal account.
  8. I write up the meal plan so that everyone can see what is for dinner and we try as much as we can to stick to it.I use my own planner, which you can download for free here
  9. Making your own stuff is much better both for health reasons and for your pocket – Take popcorn for example. We all like different flavoured popcorn in this house, so we get the kernels and make our own and once in the bowl each person can add their own topping. Same for the likes of flapjacks or cookies, you can easily put in the preferred flavours for each person so that it works
  10. Coupons – I am a massive coupon fan.  I keep a watch out on Money Saving Expert website and there are others, like supermarket magazines and online coupon sites – these are a great way to try new products and get your staples for less money.

I do try to be as frugal as possible, but sometimes you just need to have fun and go with the flow.  Do you have any top tips for keeping food costs down.

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