How To Meal Plan For A Family On A Budget

I strongly believe in creating a meal plan for the week. Not only does it mean you know exactly what you are eating that week it also keeps the budget in check when you hit the supermarket. In this post I share my top tips on how to meal plan for a family on a budget.

Why Meal Plan?

As a stay a home mum I’m in charge of the budget and making sure we are not spending crazy amounts. The food shopping bill can soon mount up if you are nipping to the shop everyday because you don’t know what to do for dinner.

Also no one wants to be scrambling around the fridge trying to scrape together a meal with a hangry toddler demanding food. Meal planning means you know exactly what you are cooking and meal times can run smoothly, well as smoothing as possible with little people!

My Top Tips For How To Meal Plan For A Family On A Budget

 Before you get started

 

  • First off get your self a meal planner or you can use an ordinary notebook/notepad. I use this to plan our meals for the week and write my shopping lists. Plus as it will contain your previous weeks meal plans, you will have plenty of inspiration for those weeks when you struggle to decide what to make.

Please note: This post contains an affiliate link. This does not affect the price you pay at all, it just means if you were to purchase the item in the link, I would get a small percentage of the sale. You are not in any way obliged to purchase anything. All opinions are my own and anything linked would be a product I own or would be willing to purchase myself.  

  • Write out the days of the week then make a note of how many of you will be eating that night or if you have plans to eat out. It’s very rare these days that we will get to eat together as a family every night, Jack (my teenager) goes to his Nan’s for dinner some days or is out with friends. I make a note of these days and can then plan to make less meals on that day or make something that can be reheated when he gets home.

Meal plan

 

  • Check your freezer and cupboards first. How many times have you bought something only to find you had a tin lurking at the back of the cupboard already or worse, vice versa finding you are lacking an ingredient just as you are about to start cooking is not the one! Plus what you already have in the cupboard or freezer could be the basis of a meal, I often have sauces, rice, pasta etc or frozen leftovers that can be used as part of a meal, meaning if you incorporate these into your meal plan you will spend less.

 Let’s get planning

  • Plan some meals that you can make in bulk, which can then be used to make a meal the next day, be froze or used for lunches. Things like stews, chilli’s, roasts and pies are great for this.

 

  • Plan a few meat free meals a week, this will really help keep costs down. Jacket Potatoes, pasta or rice dishes are great midweek meals.

 

  • Plan meals that the whole family like or that can at least be adapted to fussier members of the family. For example, when we have fajita’s they are often too spicy for my little girl so I just make sure I put some chicken aside to cook up separately for her. The same goes for those with allergy sufferers in the family, you can still eat the same meal (within reason) just make them their own mini portion using their food substitutes. Cooking completely separate meals for different family members is a sure-fire way to send your food bill through the roof, plus its extra work for you.

 

  • Consider having set nights of the week for certain meals, so for example, Monday – pasta, Tuesday fajita’s, Wednesday – slow cooker meal etc. This will make meal planning quicker and easier if you know roughly what type of meal you are having on each day.

 

  • Be flexible and buy well dated produce, just because you have planned to have a certain meal on a certain day doesn’t mean you will fancy it on the day. If you buy well dated or have factored in some meat free days you will have some wiggle room to swap your meals around for that day.

 

  • Check online for any offers on cooking sauces, frozen goods etc. that you can make a meal out of.

Shop Around

  • Don’t be afraid to shop around to find the best deals, bargain shops often have store cupboard essentials at a fraction of the price.

 

  • Supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl often offer great value for money, don’t be scared to give them a try. We have found items in Aldi that we prefer over branded goods. Beware of the special buys though, you go in for cereal and come out with a bed, true story!

 

  • And lastly, don’t forget your shopping list! I am guilty of doing this all.the.damn.time.

If you would be interested in seeing meal plans, grocery hauls and other budget related videos, let me know.

If you have any of your own meal planning tips you would like to share, please leave them in the comments.

Amy x

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Honest Post – Why I’m Sick Of The Gender Debate

First off this isn’t a post meant to cause any offence it is purely just my thoughts on the current gender debate. Obviously I’m all for equality but the current issue regarding children’s gender specific clothing and toys is really starting to piss me off. Quite frankly I think it’s getting out of hand and people are taking offence over everything.

As soon as I found out I was having a girl I went pink crazy, I bought all the cute girly clothes and generally only bought toys if they came in pink. I look forward to the days we can play with barbies and watch all the princess movies together snuggled under pink sparkly blankets. Basically I’m reliving my childhood through my daughter and I love it, bring on the glitter!

gender debate

Having had a boy, who I bought gender specific toys for too, may I add, I was excited at the prospect at getting to indulge in all things girly. Yet now the world is telling me that I shouldn’t be giving my girls ‘girly’ toys to play with or even dress them as girls, and if I do, then I don’t believe in gender equality or my children’s freedom of choice.

Erm, nope

let’s get something straight. I absolutely believe in gender equality and if my boy wants to wear a dress or my girls want play with diggers, so be it. I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘girly girl’ and will happily let my children play with whatever toy they want or dress however they want, I would never stand in their way or tell them something is wrong because of gender. But I will always bring them up as the gender they were born until they can tell me otherwise.

Every time I see a complaint at a piece of clothing or pair of shoes because they are aimed at certain genders or because of their title, I get a little bit more annoyed at how much the gender debate is taking over. At the end of the day you are the one buying said items, if you don’t like the offending item don’t buy it! Don’t complain to get the item removed, what about all of us that don’t give a crap what a pair of shoes are called? If your girl doesn’t like princesses and wearing pink then there are plenty of other options out there these days without having to complain to get items removed from sale, the same goes for boys. If more people bought their kids up to respect others choices, nobody would bat an eyelid at what people wore. Society is a hell of a lot more accepting these days, there’s no need to take things to the extreme. Shops have come a long way in recent years recognising that girls like dinosaurs too etc but there are many little girls that love ballerinas and unicorns, I worry soon these types of clothing won’t exist and we will all be wearing uniforms so as no to offend anyone!

Obviously there are some slogans or assumptions made on gender that cross the line, but again it’s your choice on whether you buy those items. Recently I bought my daughter a t-shirt that says ‘girls are the future’ does that mean that I think boys aren’t? No, I bought the t-shirt because I think it’s cute, plus my girl literally is the future for gods sake, it’s not some subliminal message that boys are worth less than girls.

So this post it to all the parents that want to buy pink sparkly things for their girls or tools and diggers for their boys, and not be judged for it!

Your child your choice (until it becomes theirs obviously) everyone parents differently so let’s stop shoving our opinions down people’s necks please. As long as we are not forcing our own opinions or suppressing their freedom of choice then it’s nobody else’s business how we bring up our own children.

Bore off gender debate, let us parent our way!

 

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Sainsburys Toddler Girls Autumn Clothing Haul (25% Off 15/08/17)

The Sainsburys 25% off clothing sale is back on this week(15/08/17) online and in store,ending Monday I believe. I love Sainsburys toddler girls Autumn clothing and I love getting money off so I was straight there this morning! I managed to pick up some cute bits for Ava ready for Autumn.

Grey jersey cat pinafore dress £9.00 £6.75

Sainsburys Toddler girls autumn clothing

This is so cute and comfy, it will look fab with the cat tights and some boots.

Cat tights 3 pack £6.00 £4.50

Sainsbury's tu clothing

Ava is going to love wearing these, they will go with so many of her Autumn dresses.

Cream flower dress and tights set  £11.00 £8.25

Sainsburys Toddler girls autumn clothing

 

Everyone needs a jumper dress for Autumn/Winter right?

Cream fur hooded gilet £10.00 £7.50

I bought one of these last year, they are really warm and cosy, perfect for Autumn days.

Beige tartan skirt £9 £ 6.75

Sainsburys Toddler girls autumn clothing

This will looking amazing with a nice jumper and some brown boots.

Unicorn and mermaids socks 5 pack £2.50 £1.87

These are actually marked up at £5 but scanned as £2.50, bargain! Ava loves unicorns,mermaids,cats and dogs so I’m onto a winner with these.

Ballet shoes £5.00 £3.75

Ava does ballet classes so I picked her some more shoes up in the next size, would be rude not to at that price.

I love autumn fashion for girls, I’ve had my eye on a few things which you can see here. Ava is going to be one hell of a well dressed toddler in autumn, I can’t wait!

Amy x

 

 

 

 

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Blogging 101 – How To Start Blogging On A Budget

I’m no blogging expert, infact I have only been blogging on and off since Ava was a couple of months old (You can read my first post here Ava’s Birth Story) When I started I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or just how much I would love it. As a stay at home mum life can be a little lonely but blogging has given me a platform to chat to others and a hobby to keep me sane in the early parenting years. For anyone interested in giving it a go, do it! There is a lot to learn if you decide you want to make a career out of it but to begin with getting started is super easy and cheaper than you may think.

What you really need to start blogging

Got a phone? Internet access? Well then, you are good to go. I did buy myself a laptop but a lot of the time I use my phone or iPad as it’s just easier than getting the laptop out.

A WordPress or blogger account – I have just gone self hosted but this is absolutely not necessary to begin with. I started off with a free WordPress account which I found really easy to use and is perfect for someone beginning their blogging journey.

Social Media – If you want to connect with others, sharing your posts on social media is the way to go. I find Instagram is my best platform at the minute for engaging with people.

What about photo’s?

A phone – No need for a fancy camera, your phone will do just fine.

Free photo editing app– My favourite is the Snapseed App, lighting in my house is pretty rubbish but this app helps me fake bright and airy photos.

How to start blogging

 

And fancy backgrounds?

Ever wondered why all bloggers seem to have the perfect white washed floorboards? It’s all lies! Well in my house it is, there isn’t a floor board in sight. There is however samples of white washed floorboard style wallpaper I got from B&Q.

How to start blogging

 

Household items make the perfect props. Flowers, candles, fairy lights or a nice cup of tea can really make a photo ‘pop’

So what are you waiting for? Get writing!

Amy x

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Lazy Sundays – The ordinary moments

Lazy Sundays do not occur very often in our house. I like to spend Sundays visiting places and I often feel like spending a family day indoors is a waste of a day. However jobs around the house could not be put off any longer, we were staying in. I decided to make the most of our lazy day with a film and homemade cakes (after I had stopped being a grump about staying in)

Lazy Sundays, sofa snuggles and a movie

Is there a better way to spend a day indoors than under a blanket watching a Disney film? Not in my eyes there isn’t. We chose to watch Moana as non of us had seen it yet. Ava isn’t one for sitting still watching films but I was pleasantly surprised, we probably got a good half and hour out of her which is better than the usual 30 seconds. Ava loves having Jack around, not sure Jack loves being forced to play with in the night garden toys though!

Lazy Sundays

 Lazy Sunday

 Ava’s first cakes

In my head the idea of spending Sundays baking with my children is dreamy. In reality the thought sends shivers down my spine. I can be a massive control freak when it comes to letting the kids make something on their own, the thought of them not doing something right or making a mess gets me all twitchy and when baking with Jack in the past I have often taken over and not let him do anything. It’s awful I know and I don’t want to be like that. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of baking cakes and biscuits and I want my children to have the same memories.

 

 Lazy Sundays

 

 Not today Satan, I’m baking with my daughter

I bit the bullet and decided we would make Peppa Pig cakes. The mix had been sitting in the cupboard for ages. I let Ava lay out the cake cases and we all took turns to whisk the cake mixture. It went surprisingly well and Ava only stuck cake batter in my hair once or twice! The cakes turned out pretty good, thankfully we had enough chocolate icing left to decorate them after Ava decided it needed sampling…multiple times.

Lazy Sundays

I’m never going to be the kind of girl who enjoys staying in but I reckon we can factor in a few lazy Sundays, especially if there are cakes involved.

How do you spend your lazy Sundays?

Amy x

 

The Ordinary Moments
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