Yesterday I had made my first meal plan fail and it got me thinking about my tips for meal planning and what I’m learning.
On our menu for this week I had put up potato top pie to cook last night. But I was unable to find any mince (finally found some but not enough for a pie). So I had to improvise with a whole new meal for tonight or risk using money that I had not budgeted for and go buy mince.
When meal planning I always make sure to check the freezer to see what I have and what I need for the months meals. I do this the week of payday so I can make a list.
For some reason I underestimated how much mince I would need for this month and I have 1 small bag of 250g mince left. So I have had to go back through my meal plans and make adjustments. But I’m still getting the grip of this monthly meal planning so I am expecting mistakes.
To be clear we had the money to go buy the mince. But I didn’t want to because it was it was an unnecessary expense when I could re- plan.
So here are my TOP TIPS for monthly meal planning:
1. Always get your meat out in the morning: This way if you haven’t got as much as you thought you had you have time to either A: Run to the supermarket or B: Grab something else to throw together.
2. Always have back up in your freezer or cupboard: I know people who only buy exactly what they need because they can’t afford to buy extras each shop and then I know people who buy to stock up. We are lucky we have 1 full up right stocked freezer and two small freezers attached to fridges that are fully stocked so we have enough meat that we are needing to use up.
Another thing is if you don’t have the backup in your freezer always try to keep a little stock up in your cupboards. Baked beans, Spaghetti, Canned tomatoes, Canned beans, Tuna. This way if you can’t afford to buy that extra or you just don’t want to then you have a backup for dinner options.
3: My Biggest tip is: DON’T STRESS: If you don’t have enough meat then don’t stress. If you can’t afford to go and get some more and you don’t have some backup meat in the freezer then use what you have and bulk it out. Frozen veggies, pasta, canned tomatoes, beans. Anything will really work. The best part about a recipe is that the recipe doesn’t always work for everyone so swapping things out and making changes can always be done 🙂
I was tempted to bulk the pie out with lentils but SURPRISE SURPRISE I had none in the cupboard. So as you can see meal really wasn’t on my side. But in my next shopping list I will add Lentils this way if I get caught out again I can just bulk out.
So in the end last night we ended up having a roasted chicken, potatoes, veg and garlic bread.
As I say I am still learning this whole monthly meal planning. I’m expecting mistakes. I don’t usually keep a lot of mince in the freezer I buy it as and when it is needed. It’s just one of those things I do. But I am very lucky that we had backup options in the freezer.
Not everyone is as lucky and not everyone can afford to either have that back up or just pop into the supermarket and grab some real quick so this is in no way a bitching post. It’s just a post on what my tips are. These will change as I grow more and more confident.
So don’t stress if somethings goes wrong or your missing an ingredient because things can always be switched up or changed to fit what you do have.
And hey if you can’t afford replacement or you don’t have the replacements with you and don’t want to visit the supermarket then there is nothing wrong with Baked beans on toast or Cheese toasties or anything like that.
At the end of the day as long as you are feed and your children/child is feed then that is all that matters 🙂
If anyone has any other tips let me know 🙂
– Just A Happy Mum