Tenner Week Jan 2015: Day 1

Hello, it’s Tenner Week! Anyone up for a bit of budgeting and some ultra-cheap living? As today is the first day we have a new schedule, and today’s activity is menu planning.

tenner week 2015 jan day1

This week’s schedule

Today’s activity

Let’s make a menu for the week. Start by making a note of all the food that you have in your home. Fridge, freezer, cupboards etc. The idea is to use up as much as you can from what you already have, and try not to buy too much extra food.

Have a look at any leftovers, and perishable goods. When do they need eating by? Can you do anything to make them last longer if you can’t eat them right away, such as freezing them?

Next, look at your diary, and work out when you might be out in the evening, busy at events, coming home late, relaxing, or taking it easy with time on your hands. Think of quick meals you can have at busy times (such as most pasta or noodles, or reheated leftovers from the previous day). Now think of meals that take longer to prepare (casseroles, bakes, pies, stews, lasagna) but are cheap and can be made in bulk.

If you’re used to having a takeaway on a Friday or Saturday night, consider having a simple homemade pizza, curry, or stir fry on that evening.

Now sketch out a menu for seven days:

  • Breakfasts
  • Lunches
  • Dinners
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

If possible, try to include five portions of vegetables or fruits each day as well. You may have frozen veg, tinned sweetcorn, fresh or longlife pure unsweetened juice, canned fruit in juice, or fresh stuff in the fridge, veg rack or fruit bowl. You can also count a portion of pulses each day (lentils, beans, chickpeas). Have a look around.

Focus on main meals, not on desserts. Main meals are what fills you up, and gives you the most nutrition.

If you’re stuck for recipe ideas, one of the simplest things to do is put the names of one or two ingredients you already have into a search engine, along with the word ‘recipe’. Simple, but very effective – it’ll bring up plenty of inspiration.

Put your menu plan somewhere that you can clearly see it. Ours is on a magnetic mini whiteboard on the fridge, along with the shopping list.

For example, this week we’ll be having bangers and mash, toad in the hole, fish on spinach and lentils, mixed vegetable pasta with cheese, homemade pizza, and we’ll also be using up our excellent £10 meal deal vouchers for Belgo that were bought a couple of weeks ago.

What are you going to have on your menu for the week?

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  1. Hi hun, count me in 4 another Tenner Week! As u kno I’v been doin a few myself since the beginning of Jan & ave done quite well. Week b4 last I had £3 odd left which I added 2 my 52 week savings challenge jar & I managed not 2 break my tenner at all last week!! I’v had a few days”off” tho so ready 2 start with u 2day, always more fun that way!
    Menu plan has been loosely done since Sun but just needs a few tweaks 2 b sure the weekend’s covered & I’m ready 2 go! I have a huge vat of Bolognese sauce in the slow cooker which will b the basis of several meals: Spag bol, lasagne, pasta bake & a cottage pie type dish I make wif sweet potato mash on top. Roast chicken planned 4 Sunday so several meals there inc soup, curry & sandwiches 4 work lunches.
    Good luck everybody!

  2. yes I’m ready to start!
    Had a no spend last week and an £11 spend this week! I’m off for a spa stay tomorrow( christmas pressie) ,pulled pork sat, roast sun and mon, shep pie Tuesday & wed, bangers & mash Thursday, homemade chicken kebabs on Friday. Have been trying to cut down on food shopping ,takeaways etc since starting “Jump start”.so far spending £100 a week on shopping for four of us. After giving kids lunch money and petrol I’ve been using ” tenner week ” for my own spending. I’m still keeping a daily spending diary, and have started my own version of 52,week savings challenge. Thanks penny, so far a very positive start to the year !
    I have never saved in my life, so I’m on a real journey!!!

  3. Hi Alli – you’re doing amazingly well this month. Well done! That looks like a great meal plan too, especially for during colder weather.

    Hi Nikki – it’s never too late to start a savings habit, and hope your spa day was lovely. Nice varied menu as well so it should be easy to stick to that budget…

    Good luck everybody!

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