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  1. #1
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    Default Meal Planning for more then 1 week in Advance

    Hi everyone,

    I really need to meal plan! We are spending WAY too much on groceries and takeaway. We duck to the shops way too much, and as we all know that adds up way too quickly!

    I've read a couple of threads about meal planning but it's more for suggestions on what to eat. What I'm after is does it work for you?

    I can plan for the week no problems but the thought of doing 2 weeks or maybe a month is daunting!

    How long did it take you to be comfortable with your plan? I'm worried I'm going to go spend hundreds of $$ and then not keep it up and fall into old habits.

    Do you spend less now? How did you get comfortable forking out a lot of money to start (even though I know you won't spend it the following weeks)

    Do you just buy fresh fruit, salad and veg weekly? (I plan to use frozen too but definitely still want to use fresh)

    Do you bake from scratch. I'm not a good baker, and I will normally make a boxed slice or 2 and cut them up for in the freezer so dp has something sweet to take to work. I also have a 1 year old so was thinking of making batches of pikelets to freeze. What else do you make from scratch?

    If you bulk buy, where from? I'm new to the area that I'm in now but there is only a woolies and Coles. No Costco or anything like that.

    I've also read that it's best to list everything in your pantry, is that true?

    Any tips to getting started?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Meal Planning for more then 1 week in Advance

    Quote Originally Posted by misspumpkin View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I really need to meal plan! We are spending WAY too much on groceries and takeaway. We duck to the shops way too much, and as we all know that adds up way too quickly!

    I've read a couple of threads about meal planning but it's more for suggestions on what to eat. What I'm after is does it work for you?

    I can plan for the week no problems but the thought of doing 2 weeks or maybe a month is daunting!

    Maybe get some post it's and you and DH write down favorite dishes, just the name and see how many you get, you may find you have enough for two weeks ( so just swap around for 2nd half of month)
    Many dishes have similar core ingredients so from the post it's get yourself a shopping list and start writing out what you'll need.

    How long did it take you to be comfortable with your plan? I'm worried I'm going to go spend hundreds of $$ and then not keep it up and fall into old habits.

    Just stick to it, easier said than done but give yourself a budget and you can't spend more than that ( so can't get into old habits)

    Do you spend less now? How did you get comfortable forking out a lot of money to start (even though I know you won't spend it the following weeks)

    If food isn't being wasted then you'll save money.

    Do you just buy fresh fruit, salad and veg weekly? (I plan to use frozen too but definitely still want to use fresh)

    Look at produce markets to buy weekly

    Do you bake from scratch. I'm not a good baker, and I will normally make a boxed slice or 2 and cut them up for in the freezer so dp has something sweet to take to work. I also have a 1 year old so was thinking of making batches of pikelets to freeze. What else do you make from scratch?

    Baking from scratch is always cheaper I have found. Stick to simple things to begin with

    If you bulk buy, where from? I'm new to the area that I'm in now but there is only a woolies and Coles. No Costco or anything like that.

    Find a local butcher who sells in bulk. Look at places like bigw too ( we purchased 100m of glad wrap for $15)
    Bulk isn't always cheaper, look at the cost per unit. I would also say catalogue shop. If pasta is on sale ( say 1/2 price ) and you know it's on the menu every week buy a few

    I've also read that it's best to list everything in your pantry, is that true?

    That's just to see what you currently have

    Any tips to getting started?

    Postit trick, think about what days are busy and when you usually will get take out and substitute for something easy that night

    Thanks!

    I've put some of my suggestions in your comments above

  3. #3
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    If starting a week at a time is going to work for you, then do that!
    I menu plan per week. I find it easier to do it weekly.
    If we have a meal during the week and it makes more than I planned, we have it a second night. Then when I sit down to plan the menu for the following week (I usually do it on a Thursday night when I know whats on special at the supermarket) based on what we have still in the freezer/ pantry.
    Its worked for us for a long time and even though sometimes we do go off it and get a takeaway or accept an offer to go out with friends, we stick to the plan a fair bit. And we arent rich by any means by doing this, but find as far as time saving/ organising and worrying about what to do for meals is alot easier for doing it.
    We also buy fruit and vegies on a weekly basis, also based on whats left. We do have some in the freezer also but we like the fresh so we buy that (and milk/ things that wont last) on a weekly basis.
    It wasnt hard to get into the habit of doing the plan, we just found we were getting home at 6pm and going 'whats for dinner' and then going 'lets go to KFC' and we know this isnt healthy or cheap so decided (probably about 2 years ago now) to change to planning it.
    I hope you find a system that works for you.
    We dont have the room to buy in bulk (except for toilet paper/ washing powder, etc) for foods (especially frozen) but we still manage to make it work
    Good luck

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    I work on a fortnightly plan as we get paid fortnightly. If you have a massively over stocked pantry I would work around that this fortnight otherwise I would list what are going to eat and use that to fill your meals.

    I just sit down and work out 14 different meals. We don't always eat the meal allocated for each night it's more about we wil eatl those meals for the fortnight. People always ask how do I know what I feel like and I say " I don't"! However, I do like having a choice on my fridge with all the ingredients there and I don't have to think about it for another fortnight.

    I find I do have to top up my fruit weekly as the kids plough through it but I can just top up what they are eating alot of which means no wastage. I buy 8 loaves of bread a fortnight and freeze it. I freeze milk so we always have staples on hand (milk can take a full 24 hours to defrost however). I make a list of all meals and snacks each person eats and try to write out my shopping list that way. I don't buy a lot of prepackaged. The kids mainly have fruit, yoghurt or a little packet of tiny teddies in the arvo for snacks. I do some baking but keep everything pretty simple.

    For the weekend when we want easy 'takeaway' food I make sure I buy stuff to make homemade pizzas ( I do our base in our Thermy) or homemade burgers. We live 15 mins away from takeway or supermarkets so I find if I have bought easy stuff for weekends we don't feel tempted to go buy it and waste money and fuel.

    Pikelets are good for your DS, yoghurt balls, homemade dips with cheese, carrot sticks and crackers. Vege fritters, cut up fruit and yoghurt are good. I don't do fancy because for us it's expensive and I am sure would get thrown away I do try to introduce one new thing each fortnight/month but I am happy if they eat healthy basics.

    When I was having to make packed lunches for my DH I would try hard to make and extra meal out of our nightly meal. He would also take homemade sausage rolls (super easy to make and I would use a heap of veges and low fat puff pastry). You can make a heap at once and freeze them for the fortnight. Fruit, yoghurt, homemade muffins (very easy as the less stiring the better).

    I use our Farmers Market because their produce is so fresh and well priced. They also have cheap dairy goods (the same stuff as you would buy at Coles) and good priced free range eggs. I use a local butcher and Bakers delight as there wholemeal bread is lovely and they have a good system with a free loaf for x amount spent. I use Woolies or Coles for the rest of it. I actually have found Grocery Run (online) good for cheap cleaning goods and one off food products.

    This does take me a couple of hours each fortnight but then I generally can avoid the Supermarket and avoid impulse purchases. I hope that helped
    Last edited by Aquillah; 06-01-2013 at 11:45.

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    Default Re: Meal Planning for more then 1 week in Advance

    We keep a lot of staples in the pantry (e.g. rice, pasta, canned goods, olive oil, spreads, breakfast cereals), freezer (e.g. bread, frozen vegetables, meat pies) and fridge (e.g. condiments, some spreads) which we top up as needed. Then each week we work out the meals for that week & just buy the fresh veggies & meat (& any extras like sauce, packet mix, tortillas...) we need for the week, as well as milk, fruit, juice, yoghurt etc... We have about 10 different meals on rotation. The most expensive shops are when we buy toiletries and cleaning products (although we buy toilet rolls in bulk) or if a lot of stuff runs out at once. We do 1 shop per week & they range between $100 - $200 (just the two of us), but we never buy takeaway & hardly ever eat out (maybe once a month tops) We also stretch 1 meal to 2 nights, as most meals will feed a family of 4 (so once we have kids I imagine the bill will be slightly higher). We don't eat sweets that often, but if I do bake I make sure it's something that can be frozen (e.g. a slice) so that it lasts a long time.

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    Default Meal Planning for more then 1 week in Advance

    Subbing. I'm starting this today. 1 week at a time, just did a shop and meal plan. Will update later in the week.

  7. #7
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    Default Meal Planning for more then 1 week in Advance

    I couldn't live without meal planning. I try and do 3 weeks to a month in advance but shop every week-10 days mostly just for fresh fruit & veg.
    I plan for 5-6 nights out of the 7 cos we usually have leftovers or if we go out or to parents houses etc for dinner.
    Once a month I make a batch or sausage rolls, zucchini slice, muffins and biscuits so I can put them into the kids lunch boxes. Pikelets do freeze well (I usually add bananas to mine) just cling wrap in portion sizes.
    Good luck

  8. #8
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    Default Meal Planning for more then 1 week in Advance

    Thankyou everyone for the suggestions. (And sorry for the late reply!)

    I think I just have to take the leap and start and see how I go.
    I love the post it idea, as often I forget what dps favorites are as I cook what I like haha. I have written a list of things we generally eat so I can compare ingredients around each other (I.e using sourdough bread for bruschetta one night, and finish it of the following night as garlic bread with spaghetti. Etc)

    I really need to source some fresh fruit n veg markets. I'm new to the area I am in so I need to find out what's around.

    I totally agree on how shopping gets blown out with cleaning products, and also nappies, wipes and dog food too! There's an easy $70 without food.

    In the long term I'd like to get another small freezer so I can prepare more in advance.

    If anyone else has any more suggestions I'm open ears :-)


 

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