Savvy mum saves £360 a month by creating clever meal planner
- Vickie Williams, 42, created a strict meal plan for her family
- Vickie was spending up to £140 a week on food
- Her list now saves her over £360 a month
Families who have found themselves spending a fortune on food during the lockdown might have wished there was a way to make the weekly shop cheaper.
And one mum decided to use her time in lockdown to create a strict meal plan to save her family money and time.
Vickie Williams, 42, who co-owns a cleaning company and lives with her fiancé Brian, 45, and three of their children in Sheffield, decided that she would use the time in lockdown wisely to devise a family meal plan.
Vickie hoped that the plan would save her both time and money - and soon found the clever formula was saving her over £360 a month.
Vickie told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: “We are a blended family and combined have eight children between the ages of 11 and 25. At home currently, we have Lenny, 11, Harry, 15, and Ethan, 19.
"Our other children are all in their twenties and have their own houses or apartments, children and careers. We have three grandchildren too!
"I’ve always been a pretty organised person. I jointly own Top To Bottom Cleaning Services, which I established in 2018 in Sheffield with my sister-in-law Debbie.
"Lockdown gave us as a family more time to spend together. To be honest, I have loved spending so much time with Bri and the children. It’s made such a nice change from the usual rushing about to and from work routine.
"Devising a family meal plan with a corresponding shopping list is one of the jobs I had always wanted to get around to doing - but never seemed to have the time!
"Obviously being in lockdown meant I was able to reclaim that time and get around to doing it.
"I didn’t go into the planner for financial reasons. I devised it so that meal times ran more smoothly - although obviously the savings have been great!
"In the past I have spent well over £100 per week on groceries with little to show for it, and I still had to top up on bits and pieces after a few days.
"I also found that we had a lot of food waste. Sticking to a shopping list and not wasting food feels like we’re doing our bit to help tackle the food waste problem.
"We did our best as a family to take the lockdown rules seriously. We did our best not to make non-essential trips out.
"Therefore, I knew that what I wanted out of our planner was to be able to do a bulk shop just once a month and then make a quick trip out once a week to get fresh vegetables, salad, fruit and dairy items.
"We sat down as a family and I asked everybody what their favourite meals were and made sure I included them in the plan.
"From there, I devised a shopping list including all the items needed. I’m lucky in the sense that I have a well stocked spice rack as that really helps, along with the fresh items that we grow in the garden - thyme, basil, coriander, parsley, mint and radishes.
"It wasn’t until I’d completed the first monthly shop that I realised just how little it had actually cost!
"I tend to split our grocery shop between ASDA and Aldi as l like the quality of the produce that both stores sell.
"I decided to share my planner online in the hope that in may give meal ideas to other mums and families who were trying to reduce their grocery bill and also their household food waste.
"How often do you wonder what to cook for tea that night? The planner takes all that hassle away.
"I prefer to cook from scratch so the majority of our family meals are just simple homemade meals that everybody enjoys.
"The children still have plenty of treats! Lenny is an avid cook and baker. During lockdown we have spent huge amounts of time teaching him
as many life skills as possible - cooking is something he loves to do.
"We can often be found in the kitchen making homemade jam, sponge cakes, scones and savoury pies.”
Vickie’s meal planner hasn’t just made the weekly shop easier, but has saved her a huge amount of time and money in the process.
"Having a meal planner has saved me so much time. I know it’s going to be invaluable to us as a family when my business reopens in September and life returns to some kind of normal,” Vickie adds.
"For anybody contemplating creating a meal plan I would definitely recommend it. Not only does it save you time, it also saves a lot of money.
"I used to spend in the region of £120-£140 a week, so the meal planner saves me over £360 a month. Now the the monthly shop and the weekly shop combined is around £150 a month.
"I’m going to switch it up the meal plan as I go. I’m planning on keeping the staple meals but I’d like to come up with ten new recipes a month to keep things fresh and exciting for the children. I’ll look out for foods that are in season to make sure I get the best quality and value.
"I’m saving up what we have saved and am planning on an extra family holiday.”
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Lockdown has been a hugely expensive time for families with food shopping costing more than ever.
“I’m a big fan of savvy ideas for how to cut down on the cost of your shop, and there’s no better way to keep prices down than to be prepared and organised before you head to the supermarket.
“Making a detailed meal plan and a shopping list of what you really need won’t just save you money, but will also mean you don’t get sucked into impulse purchases and will cut down on food waste too!”
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