Meal Planning/Budget tips

As we are a family on a very tight budget, I have picked up a few great tips to stretch our money out and now have some routines revolving around groceries and meal planning.

Between 2 adults and 1 child, we spend about $700/month on groceries (this includes diapers right now, and the odd bottle of wine..).  Not bad I think! (this does not include dining out, which we do once a month if that)

In order to stay within that budget, and to cook up quick meals within the half hour time frame I have when I get home from work, I had to figure out some little tricks/tips to meet my goals. 

Here is what I have learnt:

  1.  Meal Planning.  I never believed that this worked, but it is actually SO important!!  You do not have to stick 100% to it (some people are very diligent and get a meal planning calendar), but I usually have at least 7-10 meals planned within a 2 week span.  note: try and plan your meals around leftovers for lunches as well, this has really helped us save!  
  2. Stock the Freezer.  Every other weekend I will make a couple of freezer dishes- giant batches of chili, spaghetti sauces, soups, shepard’s pies, etc.  I buy in bulk and cook in bulk so there are leftovers for lunches and for the freezer-this saves time and money!
  3. Waste not.   When I cook a meat (ie a ham, chicken, roast), I try and make at least 2 meals out of it (and lunches if I can).  Meat is so expensive these days, and by splitting it into 2-3 meals (ie-for a whole Chicken–1)chicken with rice 2)chicken nachos  3)stuffed peppers), you really save money!   note: you can always freeze the left over meat by wrapping in siran wrap and into a baggy for another week, incorporate it into your meal plan for a stir fry backup!
  4. Couponing/Grocery Apps.  Living in the modern world, there aren’t as many paper coupons out there (I still find the odd one that pertains to my grocery list!), but there are so many apps out there that help you save on your grocery bill!   Here are the 3 main apps I use:

Flipp-This app contains all the flyers in your area.  You can clip deals and compare grocery store prices, and it also provides coupons that you can print!  This app is great for meal planning as you can compare this week’s flyer and upcoming flyers to determine the best pricing for certain items.

Checkout 51– This is an app where you actually get money back!   Each week there is a list of items (food, toiletries, diapers) offering money back after purchase.  Scan your grocery receipt with the items on it, and you will receive money in your account almost immediately.   I started this account half a year ago and I have earned $34.50 (any cent counts)!

PC Plus– The main grocery stores in our area offer the PC Plus points system, so I use this app a lot.   There are instore points and online points, so if you follow this app well, you will save more!  When my usual food staples are being offered, I stock up.   I have received over $500 in savings with this app in the past couple of years!

5.Recipes Organization.  I am a big pinterest fan for gathering recipe ideas and then making them my own.  When I use the recipe a few times, I put them in a ‘favourite recipes’ category.

There are many ways to store recipes- recipe box, recipe apps, and recipe books.

I am a huge fan of the recipe book. I had too many recipes in multiple books, so I finally bought this amazing recipe book to put my favourite go-to recipes in!

I’ll play around with this one, but I also have my eye on a recipe box as well.. (nice and easy to organize in categories)

Happy planning!! until next time..T. xx 


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