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.
This week’s schedule
- Day 1: Menu planning for the week (see activity below)
- Day 2: Find something for free
- Day 3: Spend £1, go crazy!
- Day 4: Spring cleaning on a budget
- Day 5: Make do and mend
- Day 6: Free podcasts and audiobooks
- Day 7: A treat for your inner kid
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:
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?