Category Archives: Grocery Budget

Shopping for the month’s groceries and stretching chicken.

At the weekend I went to my local Aldi and spent £138.65 on groceries for the coming month. Before I went, I sat down and wrote out 31 main meals along with what I would need to purchase to make those meals based on what I had in the pantry and freezers. I am pretty confident I have at least 85% of the items we need for all 31 meals. The grocery haul also needs to accommodate for breakfast and lunches – so that’s another 62 (* 4 people, so 248!!) meals. That’s a lot of washing up.

I have stuck to meals I know we like with the odd new one thrown in there to trial such as honey and mustard chicken thighs and sesame orange chicken. I’d really like to get in to monthly meal planning and shopping, with maybe 1 top up shop half way through the month. I think I will be able to do that based on how it’s going so far.

Another tip I have for meal planning, especially for longer durations, is to pop a few roasts on there, specifically chicken for us. We are lucky enough to have very large, home raised chickens which I will roast whole and serve as a roast dinner, then take the remaining meat off and serve as second meal. This could be curry, stir fry, coronation chicken and so on. We usually get a bit of cold meat for salads in there too. Finally after I’ve taken the meat off the bones I will make a stock from the left over carcass and use that in soups, pastas or to cook rice and so on. We get at least 3 main meals for the 4 of us from 1 bird and I think this is a really economical way of stretching your budget and food.

Something else I do is put a few old favourites on there, so for us it is fajitas, lasagne or cottage pie. Of these old favourites I can batch cook and freeze some of them, so anything beef mince based is easy to cook ahead. I make them in foil containers so if needs be, they go from the freezer to the Aga roasting oven with no complaints, because we all have days where we forgot to take them out of the freezer.

Finally one more success I have had it to make ahead the kids’ packed lunches and freeze them. Yes, really. I made 30 ham brioche buns, 5 jam brioche and put them in separate bags (which get reused) along with their cheese sticks (which freeze great) and a slice of cake.

If you are interested in more detail around any of these topics, just let me know via a comment, I’d love to share more content like this with people who are interested, can share ideas themselves, or would learn anything.

Take care, Tracy x

September’s challenge (challenging?)

We have our last Bank Holiday for a while just around the corner and that always signals a shift in seasons, cooking and kitchen tasks for me. More stews and soups and the start of squash season. We have had a good amount of courgettes so far and they will continue to come for a while yet hopefully. There’s plenty coming in from the garden, yum.

I actually have courgette fritters in the oven (trying healthier version so baking opposed to frying) as I type. New recipe, so we’ll see how it goes.

What is this nonsense I hear you ask? September’s challenge is to come under grocery budget of £100 for the month (4 weeks from starting to make it easy for me). This doesn’t include milk as we have doorstep delivery to support a local business and we know we could get it cheaper from Aldi but that is a personal choice. Milk would cost us apx £3.30 for 12 pint semi skimmed. To be honest, this shouldn’t be too hard as we have a lot in but September is also a month of change. The kids are returning to school after months of lockdown, I’m working from home and juggling their 2 different schools etc so I’d like to make it as stress free as possible, meaning I must stay on top of my kitchen tasks.

The first week’s meal plan was fairly simple as I didn’t have lots of thinking time when writing it. I quickly popped in to Aldi and spent just under £15. Combined with the £11 for the weekly veg box taking this week’s total to £26. For those who don’t know, I get a veg box every Saturday from a local greengrocer, which supplements our veg that we grow in the garden and sometimes gives me veg to use that I wouldn’t normally buy. It also supports another local business which is great. Here’s this weeks veg box which was delivered this morning and I am in the process of coming up with what we will be having this week. Doesn’t it look a-ma-zing?!

Veg box from a local supplier 🙂

With £74 left and a week of packed lunches for 2 (soon to be 3) people, I need to get my thinking cap on and come up with frugal meals from the freezer, pantry and garden. I have to clear a space in my freezer for an impending meat order so I think I’ll soon have to go ‘shopping’ in there to see what treats we can have. Also from Monday I am officially back down to 1200 calories a day though my meals will cater for more than this as I won’t be subjecting my family to that too 🙂

Thanks for reading, I’m off to have a look in the freezer and think about this week’s meals. Take care, Tracy.