It’s harvest time again, and that means we have increased donations for the food bank from local schools and institutions, which has got us thinking about the food parcels we give out to the people who need them.
On a tight budget, it’s hard to figure out how to feed the whole family without spending too much money. A good Facebook page which has tips and offers can be found here. Making a meal plan every week set out like the table below can help you, as then it is possible to compile a shopping list of things you will need that week. Furthermore, you can adjust meals to suit your budget once you have totaled up the cost of the ingredients once you know whether you are over or under your limit. Follow this step-by-step plan to help you get back on track with food shopping costs.
- Figure out your budget. Simply, total up all your income in a week, minus your expenses such as rent, council tax and bills. You can use tools such as this budget planner.
- Find a good quality, cheap store. For the example below we have used Tesco, but using comparison sites such as MySupermarket can show you the cheapest supermarket for what you are buying.
- Draw up a meal plan. Using the days of the week in the left hand column and the different meals along the top row, write down ideas of what you eat for your meals.
- Research and tweak. Once you have completed your meal plan, the easiest thing to do next is see how much it will cost you. If you check online and the price is within your budget, congratulations! But if not, the next step is to tweak. Look over your meal plan and see what you can change to get it under budget. Good ideas to start with are checking that leftovers are used in the following days’ lunch or tea, substituting meat for eggs, beans and pulses such as chickpeas, and making sure you are using all of each item you are purchasing.
Example: Family of 4 for £30 a week.
|Monday||Porridge||Cracker + jam||Sandwiches – ham + cheese, pack of crisps||Spaghetti + bacon||Rich tea biscuits + hot chocolate|
|Tuesday||Weetabix||Cracker + marmalade||Sandwiches – ham salad, apple||Bean curry and rice||Rich tea biscuits + hot chocolate|
|Wednesday||Toast + Jam||Cracker + cheese spread||Sandwiches – ham salad, yoghurt||Fast fried rice||Rich tea biscuits + hot chocolate|
|Thursday||Weetabix||Cracker + jam||Sandwiches – ham + cheese, pack of crisps||Bacon, chips and egg||Rich tea biscuits + hot chocolate|
|Friday||Toast + Marmalade||Cracker + marmalade||Sandwiches – ham salad, yoghurt||Chickpea curry and rice||Rich tea biscuits + hot chocolate|
|Saturday||Weetabix||Cracker + cheese spread||2 pizzas, chips + salad,||Tomato and bean rice||Rich tea biscuits + hot chocolate|
|Sunday||Omelettes||Cracker + marmalade||Sunday Dinner||Cold supper – cheese, bread, fruit||Apple pie + custard|