Category Archives: Meal Plans

Can you meal plan your way to financial freedom?

As I’m sure is the same for you, we are always busy with something or other.  For us, if we are not dashing around to school, work or days out with the kids, we are firmly planted on the smallholding (pun intended) raising our livestock and growing our own food.  Oh not to mention doing everything else that us humans do, cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping for said cooking…..this is making me tired just typing!  

In my years of experience, one thing I have learnt for us to be successful is that life needs organising. By successful I don’t mean anything other than the smooth running of this place, food on the table and a comfortable home with happy and healthy inhabitants.  Being organised doesn’t mean take the fun out of things or running an inflexible military operation.  It does mean we have to be organised or things slip and don’t get done, which can have negative outcomes.  Not having matching socks doesn’t matter as much as having no food prepped/available for the evening meal, which may lead to eating out ruining our budget etc etc.  Forgetting to feed the animals is not acceptable where as forgetting to write ‘butter’ on the shopping list is.  You see where I’m coming from?

As we move in to 2021 we will be making our usual plans and dreams for the coming year, one of which is already decided upon.  That leads me to this new blog.  Meal planning our way to financial freedom.  Crazy woman?  Bear with me.

The dream for Steven and I is to be able to make an income from our smallholding, enough to support us so we don’t have to work for big cat/other companies forever. We DO want to work, but for ourselves. If you know us from our smallholding blog, you’ll know we aren’t work shy.  

Why do we have to work?  To bring in an income.  Why?  We have chosen a lifestyle choice which includes having a mortgage.  To pay the mortgage we need to work and continue to earn at least one of our wages just to settle the bills every month.  So why doesn’t one of us quit and the other just work?  Well then what would we do if hard times hit? We would have no plan b.  Right now, we have a plan b, one of us goes down, the other steps up and we adapt.

So the short version is we are doing numerous things to lower outgoings and save money to overpay the mortgage.

Maybe you can relate this, maybe it’s not a mortgage for you, maybe you want to save money for one reason or another, or you simply need to meet your current mortgage or rent demands.  One thing is for sure, times are really hard for many right now, during the 2020 pandemic.

In the 4 years or so we have lived here, one thing we have managed to do, which is helping us save towards overpaying the mortgage, is reduce our grocery budget significantly.  From around £600 a month (I’m aware this is spending stupid money from not being organised, buying on a whim and eating out!) to what is a reasonable £300 a month.  The only way I have found to do this is planning.  Meal planning, freezer planning and planning your grocery shop.  Meal planning can be reverse planning, which I’ll talk about in another post or standard planning (ie planning ahead).  Without sitting down and planning my family’s meals out, I wouldn’t be able to have a grocery budget of £300. 

I refer to this sitting down time as one of my “Kitchen Tasks”, a phrase you will hear me use often.  This blog isn’t about paying the mortgage off, it’s about what we are doing with the grocery and grocery related bills to reduce them and to use those savings to over pay on the mortgage. Other people will want to reduce their grocery budget for another reason or maybe you don’t want to reduce your budget, maybe you struggle with meal ideas and would like to start meal planning. 

Thinking of ideas to cook each day or for the freezer can be overwhelming. I hope my blog can help.  What you can expect in the coming posts is to join me around our Farmhouse Kitchen Table and I’ll share how I manage all of these activities and my other Kitchen Tasks!  Including weekly meal plans, shopping lists, grocery hauls and related budgets.  Get insight in to our lives and follow our journey to financial freedom with regular updates on everything.  I hope you find some useful or inspiring information here and even if not, I’d love for your support as we take on this next chapter in our lives. We have a dedicated Facebook Group if you would like to be a part of that community, I’d love to see you there.

Transparent, real life going on here!  Now, final comment for today, remember I said I live on a smallholding (homestead)?  My Aga is my favourite part of the kitchen and in the spirit of the transparency I mentioned, here’s me working around a poorly duck at my Aga.

Isn’t she beautiful 🙂

If you got this far, thank you for reading!! I really appreciate it!

Please leave me a comment below or on social media if you’re new here (everyone is, it’s a new blog!) as I would love to get to know you.  

Bye for now, Tracy x

Straight in to it – Weekly Meal Plan – August 3rd, 2020

How exciting! My first actual meal planning post on my new blog.  Pull up a chair 😊, it’s great to have you here.

I’ve been meal planning on and off for years.  I have found certain things either drive you to meal plan or allow you to “ease off the accelerator” and wing it a little more.  When I’ve had my winging it times, I know from personal experience that we suffer the consequences.  Our living costs go up, meals become less healthy and Steven and I become more grumpy!  

Therefore I hope that this blog, along with it’s FacebookInstagram and Pinterest pages will ensure our winging it days become less and less, helping you along the way too.  Having said that 🙂 I am only human and on the days when the inevitable happens, I’ll share the outcomes of that too.

There’s so many fantastic YouTube channels out there, many of which I use for inspiration.  As I create content for this social media channel I will share my own videos too, though it will most likely be via our smallholding channel. Ok guys, I’ll stop wittering on now.  August 3rd week’s meal plan on my new frugal whiteboard that I LOVE looks like this:  

Monday – Meatloaf with Potatoes, roasted courgette and tomatoes

Tuesday – Left over chicken salad with dressing & crusty bread (ended up as chicken korma as it was a cold day and we needed something hot to warm us up)

Wednesday – Taco bar – slow cooker taco meat

Thursday – Steak fajita bowls

Friday – Chicken korma, boiled rice, naan and mint yoghurt – (After swapping with Tuesday, it will be the humble jacket potatoes with choice of filling instead).

Saturday – BBQ – Ste cooks on a Saturday and ironically never knows what he will do until the day!

Sunday –   Roast chicken dinner with Yorkshire puddings and home grown veg 

Every week we have a soup of the week (SOTW) and this week is traditional pea and ham using a smoked gammon joint in the Slow Cooker / Crockpot.  The recipe is here.

Recipe pages are coming soon so please keep checking back here 🙂

Meals at my house – Weekly Meal Plan – August 10th, 2020

Welcome to the official second week of recording my meal plans!  Can you sense my excitement. It’s the little things 😉

In the coming weeks meal plans will be posted on a Sunday night for the fresh new week on Monday.  Although I want to share with you that I don’t wait until the Sunday to think about them, I usually plan ahead by a few days to a week and have been know to plan ahead even further. 

I manage to do this by keeping an eyeball on what’s in the fridge, freezer and pantry, noting specifically items that need using up or that we are nearly out of.  Then there’s items I know I will have to replace regardless of what’s on the meal plan such as toiletries. I have always got a grocery list going on using either a mini whiteboard on the fridge or I enter things straight in to the Tesco app. I have a love hate relationship with Tesco (and Aldi for that matter) but I’ll leave that for another time.

Without further ado, here is the meal plan for week of August 10.

Monday – Home raised Roast Chicken and garden veg.

Tuesday – Ham and cheese potato bake with greens.

Wednesday – Spaghetti Bolognese (Instant Pot) with Garlic Bread.

Thursday – Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki, kale, cauli & broad beans.

Friday – Kids choose their own. Adults – sausage & pepper bake.

Saturday – Ste cooks Saturday’s – lasagne with salad and garlic bread

Sunday –   Pasta bake (Grace asked if she could cook – she will find a recipe and it’ll be a surprise) 

If you read week 1’s post then you will know that every week we have a soup of the week (SOTW) and this week is minestrone.  As with the other recipes, this recipe will follow shortly – it was SO nice.

I am still figuring out how to edit photos and things! The photos here show the meals from the week, though not in order. Think of it as a guessing game for now 🙂

If you are interested in seeing what we grow here on the smallholding, feel free to join in the fun on our Instagram or Facebook smallholding pages. We also dabble in YouTube which is rather amusing! Not the content, just that we don’t know what we are doing with it yet!

Take care everyone and stay safe, Tracy x