Remember my post The Menu Plan — Part One? Here is a follow up: Ideas about creating a menu plan to lower your monthly shopping bill.
Here is a quick reminder of the advantages of a menu plan:
- Avoid the stress of not knowing what to cook on that (or the following) day/s.
- Shop accordingly and have all items at hand — no extra runs to the store.
- Know almost exactly what you will spend on groceries each day, week, month.
If you did your “homework” after part one, have it ready to compare. No worries if you are new to this, you can always jump in and jot down some notes for the upcoming post: The Menu Plan — Part Three.
Likes and Dislikes
The following are only guidelines and examples, of course; you’ll want to create your menu according to your own family’s likes and dislikes.
In our home we love to eat legumes. They are healthy, filling and cheap. We also cut out a lot of meat. At the moment we are down to 1x meat and 1x fish per week. Our favorites are lentils, pizza, homemade fish and chips and the all time favorite Irish Stew — um, without the onions, though 😉
Meat and Fish
The prices of meat have gone up tremendously. There are quite a few items we do no longer buy, just because of the price of them. We shopped around and exchanged some of them — and adjusted the recipes accordingly. Also, like I said, we cut out meat dishes.
Cut down on meat to save money and calories. Mushrooms and legumes like beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas are great alternatives. For example, you can make burgers out of these and they will taste fabulous with the right kind of herbs and spices.
Fish has become quiet expensive, here in Ireland. Some are just not affordable anymore. But fish is healthy — especially mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna (loads of Omega-3 in there). We pay horrendous prices for fresh tuna here so we hardly ever buy it or use tinned one instead.
Fruit, Salad and Vegetables
We eat a lot more fruit, salad and veggies these days. However, we choose carefully since many are overpriced. Ask yourself:
- What’s in season?
- How do prices of locally grown items compare to imported goods? To save even more money, could you grow some in your own garden and/or in containers?
- Which fruit, salad, vegetable lasts the longest (keep these for later on in the week and prepare the others first).
- Could you exchange some fresh items with canned ones? Watch for additives, though!
We always have some tomato cans at home. They are cheap and I can use them for pizza, salads and sauces. No sense of buying expensive — and tasteless — tomatoes during wintertime.
We have also increased our servings of side dishes like noodles/pasta, potatoes and rice. Like legumes they are cheap alternatives and filling: often enough they are perfect for meatless dishes.
Stay tuned for the upcoming post The Menu Plan — Part Three. What’s it all about? Templates and examples for creating your own menu plan.