Meal Planning and Shopping List

I have been off the ball with my meal inspiration and food shopping recently so I thought I would use my blog as a place to put all my planning and prep. *A bit of context before I start: I have a husband who pretty much eats anything except mushrooms. He doesn’t mind pasta but it’s not his favourite choice. I also have two children, aged 8 and 5, who are a bit ‘vanilla’ when it comes to meal ideas. They would happily eat sausages, fish fingers, pasta and pizza until the cows come home but aren’t so keen on spice and chilli. I like meals that are quick and easy with minimal equipment needed (judging from my lack of food processor and until recently lack of dishwasher).

Below is my current shopping list and initial ideas for the week. I will asterisk the items the children aren’t so keen on below but will eat.

Shopping List
Pomodorino tomatoes
Sweet potato fries
Jelly with fresh fruit (for the kids)
Wholemeal/Seeded loaf
Parmesan cheese

Meal Ideas
Peanut butter and jam on seeded toast
Granola with Greek yoghurt and berries

Nut burger wraps
Jacket potato with tuna and sweetcorn
Halloumi cheese and tomato salad
Sweetcorn salsa tortilla

Bacon and pea risotto (Annabel Karmel’s recipe)
Homemade Pizza
Chicken tikka salad bowl with rice*
Macaroni/Cauliflower Cheese
Fake toad-in-the-hole (Sausage and Yorkshire puddings)

Peanut butter and apple

January Goals

In 2019, I started saving for some expensive things, a boiler, a new car and for private school fees (Annabelle will start High School in 2023!). For a long time, Andy and I just lived with the things we had because they worked, a clunky back boiler, old fashioned wallpaper (that came with the house) and a car where I couldn’t open or close my windows or lock the doors from the driver’s side. I started cutting out things from my daily spending and found that I actually enjoyed the feeling of saving money.

I am now on a mission to save at least £200 a month and thought it would be helpful to set some January Goals in order to keep me on track. I think I will set a new list every month so I don’t feel like I am depriving myself of anything for a full year!

  • No takeaway coffees – This happened by accident in 2019 as I would avoid buying takeaway coffees if I didn’t have my reusable cup. I then began realising how much I was saving by waiting to go home and eat/drink there instead and before I knew it, I had gone months without buying anything from Starbucks.
  • No Clothes – When I started going to the gym in June, I avoided buying clothes as my body was changing. I do need some new trousers and jeans but I am putting this off for this month, and probably til mid March as I have just joined an exercise focus group and want to make a conscious effort to achieve my fitness goal of losing my love handles. Until then, it would be a waste of money to buy clothes that are only going to fit for the next few weeks.
  • No makeup or skincare – My biggest weakness is spending money at Cult Beauty and Space NK! I love eyeshadow, lipstick and cleansers. I would happily spend £100 on cosmetics but I add and then delete the same clothes from my online basket over and over again. In my recent Black Friday blog post I mentioned that I have unsubscribed from a ton of company emails to avoid temptation. I still find this tough as I see lots of ads from these companies on social media but I now have two strategies to combat this:
  • Visualise my working hours – I read online that a good way to avoid buying things was to remove the urgency and see if you still wanted it a month later. This never works for me as I have wanted a Louis Vuitton handbag for the last three years so by this theory, my bank account would definitely be £1k lighter at this point. Instead, I find it easier to work out how many hours/days I would have to work in order to save up the money for this item. So far, this has helped to dissuade me from buying a new laptop, trainers and makeup on offer in the Christmas/January sales.
  • Set a goal – I have two big savings goals, private school fees for the children and a new house. I am tempted to print off a picture of the house I want to buy and the logo of the school I would like my children to go to and to laminate it and stick it in my planner. I can then visualise these two goals when I feel the urge to buy something.

Do you have any goals for January and are you saving for anything in 2020? Bx