I have a problem, We go food shopping every Thursday but my biggest problem is going shopping on empty stomach so the usual drill is that our trolley ends up being full of junk that we don’t usually end up eating so for the past week I have been attempting to shop on a budget, which usually goes well until we reach the isle with the Krispy Kremes and then we are in danger zone so I wanted to get it into my head how important it is to work on a budget and meal plan for a family of five (plus cat)

Deals deals deals! one of the best things to stick to a budget is sometimes buy bulk and look for the best deals that you can find in the shops, shopping around and doing some research is also a must when it comes to saving the pennies at the checkout, be of course aware of sneaky supermarket tactics for getting you to part with your money, items at the checkout themselves and even putting ‘deals’ at the end of the rows are a way of tricking you into buying more than you need, always look in the right sections for the best deals.

We do this a lot, now that I have organised the cupboards a bit more, its helped make sure we don’t over buy in the baked beans, the day before food shop look around the house to see what items you need and what things you don’t, check dates on things and note down anything that will be going empty soon.

Same as above, writing down what you need, keeping and sticking to a list is a great way of preventing over spending, going off the top of your head will only end up causing silly purchases, make sure that you take note of what you have eaten during the previous week and do not deviate.

Better said than done, the other week when we went to Home Bargains I found the handiest item in my kitchen, a meal planner, I update it weekly of whats going to be cooked that week, lazy food for days when we are going out (food shop night is pizza night got an example) mark what has been the favorite of that week so you know what can be repeated and reordered and the children love running into the kitchen to see whats on the menu for the week coming.

A big must! Husband and I went shopping one Sunday afternoon, we had planned to get something fun for dinner, rarely happens but we also went when hungry.. which means our trolley was full of junk food and gross things that we wouldn’t normally buy, it was fun but we overspent and didn’t plan at all and it only ended up being a bit wasted because we let our stomachs do the shopping, make sure you have something light before you go so you wont be tempted by the nice smells from the hot food counter or the bakery!

I asked some other lovely bloggers what they’re top tips are for working with a budget while food planning and here is what they said.

Make lists of meals each day! And before you go shopping, check what you already have, so you don’t buy what you don’t need! – Becca from My Girls and Me

Plan out exactly what you are going to have to eat for the week, make a shopping list of those items and then order online so you are not tempted by non essentials instore – Mandi from Big Family Organised Chaos

 Find out when the supermarkets reduce their ‘nearing sell by date’ items. Try and buy items that you can freeze for future meals while they are reduced. – Nikki from Family Travel with Ellie

Bulk batch cook meals into portions and label well, a “ready meal” ready to go and fit in with the meal plan – Emma from Ready Freddie Go

Don’t restrict yourself to shopping in the supermarkets. Poundshops and bargain shops such as b&m/home bargains sell food/toiletries often at a fraction of the price the supermarkets charge, meaning you can save so much money and stick to your budget. – Beth from Twinderelmo

We make a list of meals for the week and often bulk meal prep on Sundays. It saves us time and money, that way when we are having a lazy/ or busy day we have meals prepared in the freezer. – Karina from Mums The Nerd

I plan ahead so leftovers can be used the next day for lunch/dinner; as pie, soup, with baked potato or with salad.  – Amy from Eps and Amy

What are your tip tips on meal planning with a budget?

Until next time..

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Now that the Christmas break is officially over for many, people have returned to work and it means one thing for the little people in our lives.. Back to school..

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In our house the back to school rush starts the night before, with a nice bath and a good nights sleep, or we hope for a good nights sleep as they will often push for a later bed time than usual.. I ask them to pick out tomorrows underwear while I gather together their school clothes and fold them on top of the toy chest.

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We double check book bags and bottles, make sure shoes are ready and lined up at the door and they go to bed to read their school reading books.

It usually goes smoothly, and with the time they have off the children are ready and excited to get to school, when we had that snow day, even that single day off made them want to get back to school so the morning rush isn’t much of a rush at all, I have nightmares of being woken up late by Robin rather than my alarm but I wake up early and we are all ready to go by 8..

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My tips to make for a successful back to school run is…

  • Be prepared – plan and prep everything the night before, get everything out and ready so once they have breakfast they can, if they can of course, get themselves dressed.
  • Set alarms – not just one, but have a few, once you get past the first week you are in the routine of school but those first few days of waking up early after not having to for two weeks can be really hard.
  • For the mums – Hair wash the night before, it just means you need a quick shower/bath in the morning without worrying about washing your hair too.

Here are a few tips from some other parents.

Lianne from Ankle Biters Adventures says ‘Get all uniforms ready for the week in advance makes easing it to it so much easier’

Lisa from Baby Not Included says ‘Get all the bags ready. I would usually prepare with getting up a bit early but I’ve failed that this time round’

Emma from The Money Whisperer says ‘We’ve been talking about how nice it has been to stay in our PJs until lunchtime and eating breakfast later – but how we only do this on holidays. I’ve explained that they need to get ready in our normal routine once school starts back and we did everything in ‘normal’ time today on our last day of holidays so it isn’t a shock on the first day back’

Beth from Twinderelmo says ‘For younger ones, prepare to make tea earlier and put them to bed earlier as they’re likely to be shattered and adjust bedtimes accordingly for the few days back’

Sophie from Sophobsessed says ‘Use loads of positive language about school like “you are going to see all your friends” etc it helps them get in that positive mindset in advance!’

Jaymee from The Mum Diaries says ‘We start putting bedtime back into place a couple of days before they are due back. We also spend the day before packing school bags and making sure they have all they need. At bedtime we wind down early, have baths and relax before bedtime’

Naomi from The Organised Life Project says ‘Check that homework is done now if you’ve had it set. There’s nothing worse than having to do homework on the night before you go back to school’

Victoria from Lylia Rose says ‘Make sure all sports kits and after school club kits are washed and packed ready to go in the right bags. Check book bags and pencil cases to make sure all the equipment is there. Have bags packed the night before so they can be grabbed in the morning. Try to go to bed early so the alarm isn’t a shock!’

Jo from Cup of Toast says ‘Check that all clubs or extra curricula lessons for the term ahead are paid for. Make sure that prescribed medicines are in date and that there’s plenty left.’

Victoria from Starlight and Stories says Ensure that children understand when they will be going back so that they aren’t disappointed when the day rolls round. Ticking off the days on a calendar can help.

Jennie from Ricecakes and Rasins says Get ready the night before eg, put everyone’s shoes by the front door, put breakfast bowls out etc. That way the morning will run more smoothly and there will be no last minute stress x 

Some wonderful tips and tricks from the experienced, being prepared is one of the most mentioned tips, and I honestly agree!

Wishing you all a wonderful back to school!

Mummy Cat

x

 

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