Money Wise Talks 17/03/2022

It was my Nana’s 90th birthday at the weekend and she had a lovely party where we all got together again. It was nice to see the family under better circumstances following the death of my brother and us all attending the funeral a week last Monday.

We laughed and cried together and reminisced the old times when the people we love very much were with us.

It was a 4 hour drive to my Nana’s and back, which although was worth it – the petrol costs were out of this world!

That coupled with the ‘new’ gas and electric bill going out on Monday of £146 made me wince. I know we are all in the same boat but putting everything up at the same time when people are stretched is just horrendous. Although I have debt and a single income I feel incredibly lucky I have money left at the end of the month and can make overpayments on debt, some people aren’t that lucky and I’m generally worried about what our situation will be like by the end of this year. It makes me feel really sad.

I dug out an old smart meter box that was installed a few years ago to see if I could try and keep a handle on what the daily costs were for gas and electric. It does install a little dread when you put the kettle on and see the pound sign start to increase. That being said, I’ve heard both positive and negative things about these smart meters and although I can’t tell at this stage whether it’s a good or bad thing to have one but it is making me more mindful. For example, seeing the sun out today made me think about getting a load of washing that could dry outside. I mean, I know this stuff isn’t going to make me a millionaire but every little helps doesn’t it?

I decided the other day to have a little mission and try to find different things to cut back on with the cost of gas and electric going up and below is what I tried and what tips people gave me;

  1. Wear fingerless gloves in the house. Great for anyone working at home on a laptop.
  2. Wear leg warmers. I actually love this and embrace my inner Flashdance. 🙂
  3. Wear a dressing down.
  4. Use hot water bottles when at your work desk, on the sofa or in bed.
  5. Wear a woolly hat indoors. This really keeps you warm!
  6. Extra blankets and/duvet on the sofa and/bed.
  7. Turn all plugs off at the wall apart from the fridge freezer (and internet, if you need it for work).
  8. Close all doors.
  9. Use draught excluders.
  10. If your freezer is not full, fill it with cardboard as it runs more efficiently when full (tip from someone who used to work for a utility company).
  11. Turn the thermostat down in the day and have on for 30 minutes to an hour when family is all together.
  12. Make tea in a flask to save putting the kettle on every time you want a drink.
  13. Don’t use the tumble dryer or dry your clothes on a hanger until 90% dry and finish it off in the dryer for the last ten. minutes. This is great for keeping towels and other things fluffy and soft.
  14. Batch cook so you make a number of meals in one go, to save using the oven or cooking every night.
  15. Meal plan so you can have days where you don’t use the oven at all.
  16. Wear more layers.
  17. If you have a duvet that fits together as two parts, separate it and put a duvet cover on each part and this traps the air between the layers and can keep you warmer.
  18. Swap the electric tooth brushes for battery ones or non powered.
  19. Tuck curtains behind the radiators.
  20. Put curtains up over doors.
  21. Turn off radiators in rooms you don’t use.
  22. Use energy saving bulbs.

What I Spent Last Week

£42.41 Takeaway for 4

£8.87 Macdonalds

£49.46 Petrol

£45.00 Faulty wiring on car indicator

£71.96 Petrol

£3.60 Vinted refund

£15.00 Jellycat Toy

£16.23 Cat litter, cat biscuits and sweets

£45.99 Dry dog food

£10.00 Cash spent on food shopping

£10.00 Next – tights for party

£62.00 Next – Dress for party

£15.00 Cakes for Mothers Day

Total £395.52

Extra expenses due to petrol and the party but only £70.00 put on the credit card for my dress and tights. I plan to pay that off as an extra payment when I get paid next week. With hopefully a little more too.

Takeaways were down this week as well which is great. I have decided to do only have one a week, although last week I did two which was down to circumstances as opposed to me just being lazy. I have decided that we will go for a Macdonalds on Thursdays as it’s usually a late finish due to a club my daughter goes to.

£121.42 spent on petrol to include 400 miles round trip up North and a 500 mile round trip down South! I was given some money towards petrol which I used on the food shopping and to put even more petrol in.

£45.00 on faulty wiring on my cars indicator. 😦 … after I paid £100 for tyres last week. Hope this car isn’t going to cost me loads again like last year!

£3.60 back to a customer on Vinted. They weren’t happy with what I sent, apparently it had a small hole in which I’d not noticed. To be honest I had sold them in the week my brother died so my head was all over the place and I clearly hadn’t checked them well enough. It’s certainly not my style so I refunded it immediately, told her to keep them and apologised profusely.

£62.22 on pet food (plus a small bag of sweets for the chilc). I tend to buy anything relating to the pets in bulk so it’s good quality food at a cheaper price. Same for cat litter and cat biscuits.

£15.00 Jellycat for a toy for my daughter. She had an outstanding school report after me attending a parents evening and I said I’d get her something as a treat. I also spent £15.00 on cake treats for Mothering Sunday! A close friend who is a chef and has his own business makes these incredible edible flower pots and they are so cute and taste amazing! We had them last year, so when I saw he was advertising them again, I knew I couldn’t pass on them. Will show you the pictures when I pick them up.

Finally, I have something up my sleeve that is so big that’s it’s going to blow you all away! But I can’t tell you yet because I don’t want to jinx it – sorry for the huge carrot dangling moment. I can let you know in a week or so even if it falls through. What I will say is this a dream for me, one I have been manifesting for years, with the universe pulling what can only be explained as so many strings, so if it pulls off, I am going to be ecstatic, shocked and grateful. Keep everything crossed for me 🙂

Hope you have a great week,

H

Money Wise Talks 20/01/2022

Why does it always feel like there are 9 million days in January! Payday can’t come soon enough!!

I guess that’s the downfall of being paying monthly, you have to wait to be paid!

As you know, I have just gone permanent at my main job and will be receiving my first months pay this month. Once I have received it, I’ll know exactly what the bottom line is that I’ll be bringing home and I can start planning on exactly where my money is going.

I have my debt free date set for July 2023 but this is dependent on £800 a month being paid off debt so I need to make sure I can afford this much. I am 99% sure I can, as I’m on the same salary as before when I worked on a temporary contract but I like to see the actual figure first.

Now I’m on a permanent contract I can also do overtime on a Saturday which is DOUBLE TIME!! Whoo-hoo!

I have done the overtime for the last two Saturdays as well as doing the courier work on Sundays and IT WAS A LOT. I know I want to be debt free and want to buy a property but I don’t want to spend the next year completely exhausted. And I want to spend some time with my daughter whilst she still wants to spend time with me before she hits the dreaded teenager years!

So, I made an absolutely huge decision to NOT DO COURIER WORK ANYMORE!

I wrote down a list of pros and cons and decided it was a better choice all round to stop.

Pros – Overtime

  • More money
  • Work from home
  • No cold/wet/windy days
  • No having to drag my daughter out of bed
  • No dragging myself out of bed
  • Daughter doesn’t have to be bored
  • No wear and tear on my car

Pros – Courier work

  • I liked it
  • Exercise

One of reasons I wanted to carry on with doing courier work was for the most part I really enjoyed it! I would rave about it each week on my Instagram page and still think it’s a fantastic job to do especially as a parent and the struggles around childcare. Whether that’s being able to find work only during school hours or find childcare outside school hours, it’s bloomin hard work! For me, being a courier ticked all those boxes.

I always did it on a Sunday, mainly because Sundays you make the most money per parcel and I gave myself Saturday off. I have always worked full time in the week doing my main job so courier work was extra to help me pay off the debt quicker. I took my daughter along and never worried about childcare – it was perfect.

But now I’ve been given an even better opportunity and a chance to make some extra money, working from home, whilst nice and warm so of course I’m going to take it!

I will miss courier work, but onwards and upwards.

I have just found out there isn’t any overtime on this weekend (it’s usually on 3 times a month) so for the first time since August last year I have the WHOLE WEEKEND off!

Not going to lie I am definitely looking forward to having two lie ins and spending some quality time with my girl.

No Spend Month Update

It’s going well in terms of the number of days I am NOT spending. So far this month I have only had two days where I have spent outside of the budget. The first time was a swimming bag for my daughter and the second was on a deposit for the holiday I have booked for me and my daughter to go on.

12 / 20 no spend days

6 / 20 In budget spend days

2 / 20 Out of Budget

I had planned for no holidays until I was debt free, but I had also planned to be debt free in December 2021 which clearly didn’t go to plan.

Having yet another year of no holidays just made me feel so flat.

I think it’s really hard to be motivated for years when paying off debt. And that’s what it’s been for me. I started to focus on paying my debt when I had £35,907.04 in 2019.

The fact we have yet ANOTHER YEAR AND A HALF to go before the debt is paid off, I decided I would get us a small holiday abroad booked this year. Therefore I am pleased to announce we are going out of the country for a whole day! 😊 😊 😊

Yes, you heard it right! A WHOLE DAY!

I have wanted to take my daughter to Lapland for a few years and looking at the prices around Christmas for a 3-day break, you’re talking £2500! And that was for half board only! I know I said I wanted to go somewhere amazing and I’m sure it will be, but £2500 for 3 days is insane.

I just can’t justify it.

Therefore, I have compromised. We are going to Lapland but on a day trip instead. It’s probably going to be the longest day of our lives as everything will be jam packed into the day, but I can’t wait.

We are going to have a husky sledge ride, see igloos, reindeers, the ice hotel, have lots of snowball fights and of course see the real Santa!

The cost is £1385.11 and that is with £200 off. It includes airport parking and insurance.

I have promised myself this will be cash flowed and will not go near the credit card. I have already paid the deposit of £176.91. The next amount is due April with the full amount paid by September. My plan is to pay a little bit off each month so by the time September comes it will be fully paid. That works out at £151.15 per month.

The TUI app has a countdown on it’s app, so I know we have 331 days left until we go! Ekk Exciting Stuff!

I can’t wait. My girl is growing up so fast it’s scary, so I want her to go before she gets to high school and the Christmas sparkle starts to disappear.

It’s made me realise, you don’t have to put absolutely everything on hold whilst you pay off debt. And as long as it doesn’t affect my debt free date of July 2023, I’m actually happy to spend a little on us making memories.

No Alcohol in January Update

This is going absolutely fine with 20 days of no drinking. I’ve had the odd craving, probably caused by the fact there is still alcohol in the house and when I see it next to the fridge, I want one lol! But other than that, not bothered at all.

I do have a catch up with friends in the diary for next month where cocktails will be had so I don’t plan to continue with the no alcohol challenge but I have enjoyed it and will do it again.

What I Have Spent This Week

£55.98 Pet Food

£34.00 Remote Control

£30.00 Petrol

£70.42 Food

£28.47 Takeaway

£176.91 Holiday deposit

£11.96 Takeaway

£102.73 Tax Bill

Total £510.47

Blimey, I’d not realised how much I’d spent this week. Quite a lot when you see it written down like this instead of looking at a banking app.

Petfood is covered by a sinking fund which I pay £50 a month into. This covers our two cats and dog for all their food, treats, toys etc…. I always buy the pet food in bulk as it works out cheaper and lasts longer.

Petrol was within the normal weekly budget of £30.00.

Food was over the usual budget of £30 as I decided to try some new things on top of what we usually buy, just incase we don’t like them. I am also in the process of getting some money back. I use an app called Shopmium, where products are listed are either free or have money off. Once you buy the product, you scan the receipt and the product and complete a review of what you think the product is like. After a few days Shopmium pay’s you through PayPal. I should receive £5.40 back for products I tried this last week.

If you fancy signing up to Shopmium, here’s the link https://www.shopmium.com/uk/referral/ek5c5v it’s completely free and if you use my referral code you get a free pack of pringles (the big tub!) Just enter this referral code: EK5C5V.

Our remote control broke, so I had to buy a new one. I couldn’t believe how expensive it was, but I wanted to get the exact same as the one that had broken as I hate trying to work out technology. It wasn’t until I realised that I bought a remote control you can talk to that then I realised why it was so expensive! My daughter however thinks it’s amazing!

A couple of naughty takeaways this week, one because my parents came over on Saturday to help me so I of course fed them with the most gigantic pizza ever! 18 inches of pure cheesy amazingness!

Final Exciting News

I have applied for a promotion at my new job! I know I’ve only been there for a few months and have only just been made permanent but I feel it’s a perfect job for me and thought, just go for it! What’s the worst that can happen?

I mean, if I got it, I’ll finally be back to the same salary I was on when I worked in finance in 2014. Also, it will have an element of providing training to others which I’ll love as I still have a passion to teach! If I don’t get it this time, I’ll definitely try again. That’s one of my yearly goals – GET THAT PROMOTION!

Hope you all have a great week, let me know if you use any of the trackers I make. They are free to download here. I would really appreciate anyone’s feedback!

Thanks for reading

H

Money Wise Talks 6/01/2022

Happy New Year!!

I absolutely love the start of a New Year! The Christmas break for us is usually quiet and although we try and see friends and family (when covid allows), its usually just me on a night time and I love it!

Well, it’s something I’ve gotten use to anyway. I usually spend that time catching up on films and Netflix, doing jigsaws, reading, thinking about what the future holds and planning my next move. If you know me personally, you’ll know I’m ALWAYS planning. I can’t help it and do secretly love it 😊.

This last week I wrapped up 2021 and starting planning 2022.

I have set my goals for 2022 and made them SMART. If you need some help in settings goals, I have a post that may help you – Setting goals.

I’ve have also set my monthly goals for January, which are;

  • No spend month in January
  • No alcohol for January
  • Read/finish reading one book
  • Post six blog posts
  • Post first YouTube Video

I have not set a goal for paying off debt this month only because I am going from weekly pay to monthly pay so don’t want to over pay to much to debt and then leave myself short. I am also not 100 % what money I will get until I have my first pay check either.

I spent a little time over the Christmas break looking at reducing my outgoings and cancelling any subscriptions we don’t use anymore. This week so far I have cancelled;

  • Amazon prime subscription £7.99
  • Swimming lessons £25.00
  • Reduced Sky from £90 to £55 (this was by the removal of Disney plus, HD, Sky Cinema and Box Sets as my contract was up 1/1/2022)

I have saved £815.88 so far this year just by reviewing my subscriptions!

I urge everyone to do this at least every year and every time a contract comes to the end. You can save a fortune just by making a few phone calls and/or cancelling some payments.

I still want to look at broadband so that’s my plan for this next week.

Both the No Spend Month and No Alcohol Month are going GREAT with nothing spent or drank so far this year!! Go check out the trackers that you can download for free and join me!

What I Have Spent This Week

£12.26 Subway

£2.42 Food shopping

£30.01 Petrol

£35.00 Boots Hairdryer

Total £76.69

That’s a much better week compared to the weeks before Christmas. There’s nothing like the start of a New Year to get those motivation levels up!

And yes you’re reading right, my shopping bill was only £2.42 this week because I received £40.00 food vouchers from school. I will do another post about this in more detail, just incase it helps anyone else. But until then, if you have any questions you’d like to ask me, please put a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

I replaced the hairdryer that blew up just before Christmas. I was going to use my points I’d earnt at Boots and a voucher and annoyingly I completely forgot to use them. I didn’t have the face to go back in and return it to buy it again as the voucher was only for £5. I was kicking myself though, £5.00 is £5.00 at the end of the day. The hairdryer was the cheapest in the shop but the diffuser looked as good as all the other ones, even those priced at over £100 and when I tried it out, it didn’t disappoint!

I also had Boxing-day off at my courier job but was back to it on 2 January 2021 with a nice and easy 80 parcels.

80 parcels = £80 (gross)

I’ve had some lovely messages on Instagram from people who have started to deliver for Hermes off the back off my Instagram posts and reading my post about ‘A New Side Hustle – Being A Courier’.

I only work on a Sunday but it’s something I really enjoy. I love the fact I can take my daughter with me so I don’t have to worry about sorting childcare. I download her a film, take some snacks and a colouring book and she is happy as she could be for the couple of hours I deliver for. And I use all the money I earn from this job towards my debt.

Being a courier is just a perfect job for any parents, especially single parents that may have childcare issues outside of school hours.

Let me know what your goals are for this year.

Have a great week!

Money Wise Talks 9/12/2021

Following a super hectic and fun weekend, I welcomed the quiet week that followed in The Money Wise Mum household. I can’t believe how organised I am this year and how less stressed I am. I’ve not forgotten to move the elf on the shelf once and all the Christmas shopping is done apart from one gift left to buy. Christmas cards have been brought and will be written and posted this weekend and then I’m done. I have even had time to buy the cats and dog new beds.

In last weeks Money Wise Talks, I mentioned feeling like I’d not brought my daughter much this year, due to the fact that what she’s interested in now is more expensive than previous years. My whole budget for her went on just a couple of gifts instead of the usual lots of less expensive gifts and I was worried that these feelings would make me go out and blow loads of cash – cash I don’t have. Well you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t go out and blow loads of cash to satisfy that emotion – But I did reason with it.

I’m an emotional spender so now I always try and analyse why I want to spend if it’s out of the ordinary and what my motives are before I hit the shops. In relation to how I feel about my daughters gifts, I’m not sure whether all parents feel the same but maybe it’s because I just don’t want my child to grow up! Either that or I’m not quite ready to have the living room not completely covered in a vast amount of multi-coloured presents. Even though they would be less expensive gifts, the room was full. Maybe it’s me holding onto to my daughters childhood that little bit longer. What I do know for sure is they are only young for a small amount of time and every year I feel slightly more desperate to cling on to all tiny details that remind me when she was smaller. A room full of presents on Christmas day being one of them.

So how did I reason with that part of me that wanted to spend, spend, spend?

I spent!

I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry! I felt like I needed to buy more, not because my daughter needed more and not because I felt I didn’t spend enough but because psychologically I felt I’d not done enough. Although I’m in no way an expert in psychology, my understanding is that most of our decisions are based on emotions and how things make us feel. Spending money, eating and working out or not as the case may be is all down to how we feel. Change how we feel and we can somehow change our path.

After last year I didn’t want to go mad and knew my Christmas budget was almost gone so instead of buying her more presents to make me feel better and that I couldn’t afford, I decided to buy her clothes instead. I was going to buy her some new clothes in January anyway as she has outgrown them so I’ve used the clothes sinking fund, brought them a few weeks early and wrapped them up. Psychologically now I FEEL like I’ve done enough and I’ve not broke the budget.

Even though I have gone slightly over budget, it’s not by £900! Like last year!

I think as well, as long as I’m always improving I don’t mind. I know for next year’s Christmas budget I will increase the monthly amount by a little more so hopefully next year I won’t go over budget at all.

For December I am doing another plan to pay off £850.20 worth of debt.

This is going to be broken down into five payments of:

  • £113.00
  • £368.08 (Extra) Hermes pay
  • £25.00
  • £290.75
  • £53.37 (Extra)

So far, I have paid off £113.00 and £368.08, so three payments left to go. If I can keep paying off £850 a month I should have the debt cleared in a little over 12 months. But thinking about that and another long year of paying off debt gets me down, so I think it’s best just to focus on it month by month. Especially as I had expected to be debt free by December 2021 😦

What did I spend this week?

£9.00 Train to works Christmas party

£6.95 Drinks at work Christmas party

£35.00 Food at Christmas party

£3.48 WH Smith

£0.15 Tesco

£12.20 Morrisoons

£0.87 Parking

£10.47 Macdonalds

£24.00 Car parking

£100 Train for two to London

£100 Drinks and food in London

This week has been so spendy! But also super fun!

A total of £302.12 was spent this week.

The work party and London trip were all put on my credit card. Not ideal but I don’t go out very often. Its also made me aware that I need to consider adding in entertainment to my Christmas budget as this is something I’d not planned for before.

On Thursday, I hopped onto a train to where my work is based (I work from home) and we all met up for a Christmas meal and drinks. The three-course meal finished me off, so I couldn’t manage my passionfruit martini. Loved seeing my work colleagues though, even more as I don’t work in the office.

Managed to have the passionfruit martini at the UKMB event

Then on Friday, I took the afternoon off and dragging a friend with me, we headed off to London for a networking event where I was able to meet lots of other money bloggers. We drank the drinks, ate the bar snacks and talked all night. Well mostly all night – until we had to get the last train back anyway. It was great meeting new, like minded people. Next time, I will definitely be getting a hotel so I can stay out gossiping for longer!

Have a great week

H

Money Wise Talks 14/10/2021

This week I had one of those ‘light bulb moments’. As you know last Saturday I posted about what I’d learnt on my no spend month and I decided that I would take out my debit cards that I usually carry around in my phone case and guess what – IT WORKED!!

I’ve spent absolutely no money this week (as in Monday to Thursday) probably for the first time in a very long time! Actually, it’s been that long I can’t actually even remember, how embarrassing!

I was very tempted on Tuesday to order in a cheeky dessert. My daughter and I decided we fancied something sweet so whilst sitting on the sofa I did my usual trick of grabbing my phone and looking through the menus on the Just Eat app. We found the biggest, sweetest waffle to share and I went into my phone case to get my card details and they weren’t there!

I mean they were only upstairs but I really couldn’t be bothered to move from my comfy spot so I cancelled the order and we went without. To be honest, I don’t think either of us were that bothered about it anyway.

It’s such a simple idea to not carry cards around with you, but it works! That and drawing out the cash you need really helps as it stops impulsive spending.

I’m curious now, if I was do another no spend month in November, would it be more successful this time? I think I would have to not count buying for Christmas though as I want to start the shopping next month.

In fact, this year is the first year I have successfully saved for Christmas. I have transferred a fixed amount every month for the whole year! It will be the first time I have a pot of money to use and not use the credit card. I want to make sure I don’t go over budget this year so next week I’ll be looking at doing an expense tracker for all the presents I want to buy and my budget for each person. With the funds I’ve saved for Christmas, I want them to be used for EVERYTHING Christmas related so I don’t go CRAZY like I did last year. If you missed the craziness of last year, this is the post you need to read. It’s not something I’m proud of but putting it out there to be transparent… you’ve been warned though!

My spending this week has been AMAZING. I have stuck to my £50 a week budget for food and petrol and used our weekly fun budget of £20. This is the first time I have given us a budget for fun and I think it will stay. It allows us a little freedom whilst still trying to pay down as much debt as possible. It’s also a making me think a lot more about what I’m buying. For example, we went to a pumpkin patch on Sunday for the whole experience and it was great – but we didn’t buy the £5.00 pumpkins that are the exactly the same size for the £1.00 at Morrisons (or other supermarkets). I’m sorry, I just don’t have that kind of money in my budget. But the experience was still the same so my daughter didn’t lose out. And we still supported the farm we went too as I paid an entrance fee into the park they have there. So I’m not a complete scrooge.

I have also managed to colour in the first line on my Mini debt (pay off) challenge tracker as I made a payment today of £78.37. Only 19 payments left until this is cleared and I have until the end of the year to do it.

You can download a free tracker on the Mini Debt Challenge post.

I was feeling pretty confident I could do this mini challenge, but about 30 minutes ago my clutch decided to go on the car (hence the reason this normal 20:00 blog post is late). I think I’m in denial about it, as I’ve come home after driving it in second gear (the only bloody gear it would go in) and am sat writing this. I’m not ready to deal with the car tonight so will be leaving that one until tomorrow. For those that don’t follow me on Instagram, my car at the moment is costing me £££’s and only last month I forked out about £600 for repairs. I’m also not sure at this point how I can do my courier job on Sunday. But like I said I’ll worry about it tomorrow.

At least I will finally be doing the school run by foot. Something I have been promising to do since the kids started back in September.

All in all – ignoring the car, I’ve definitely had a better week this week. Just another reminder that bad feelings and times will pass (still ignoring the car grrrrrrr.)

My next post is going to be on net worth. What it is, how to work it out for yourself and why I’m ignoring mine right now! So be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!

H

Meal Planning On A Budget

When you’re looking at cutting costs and saving money you should definitely try meal planning.

The amount of time and money this has saved me over the years is unreal! It keeps waste to a minimal and you can make sure your family is eating a good mix of healthy foods all whilst on a budget.

Like most things when you start out, it can seem overwhelming at first, but I promise you, once you’re in the swing of things you wont look back!

Here are my top meal planning tips to get your meal planning off to a great start;

1) Get your cupboards organised

I organised my cupboards so the same items are together – soups, tinned veg, rice etc. It just makes it easier to see what you have instead of having everything flung in. I also use plastic trays to make it easier to pull things out (definitely worth doing for packets and spices).

I did the same for my freezer. I have three drawers; bottom is meat/meat free/fish or main meal items, middle is frozen veg and the top is leftovers, bread, lollies and anything miscellaneous.

2) Write a list of everything you have

Go through all cupboards and the freezer and write down everything including the best before date. Anything that needs to be used up first highlight.

3) Make a list of your favourite meals

With your family sit down and make a list of all your favourite meals. Include everyone and it will make everyone feel like they are all getting something they like and it’ll save tears at mealtimes. If the children won’t eat what you want to eat, try and swap out the main component so you all get what you like but keep the same trimmings.

I did this when my daughter ate meat and I didn’t. We both had the same veg and potatoes but she would have chicken and I had quorn.

4) Choose 5 meals from the list that you love to eat

I think this is one of the key things that keep the costs down and minimises waste – we only eat what we love, and we don’t have seven different meals a week. For example, the picture below shows a typical week of meals for my daughter and I;

You can see from our meal planner that we work around the same main meals each week. At the moment it’s sausages, quorn fillets and pizza which we then put with various veg, salad and chips.

And every few weeks/months or whenever we are bored, we change it up but still keep to 3/4 meals each week and just repeat them. I know this won’t work for everyone but for us we are eating our favourite meals every night, there are no tears at dinner time from my daughter refusing to eat her meals and there’s no waste …

That’s win, win win if you ask me!

Even if you wanted a different meal each night, by meal planning you will still save money and reduce your waste.

5) Plan your meals around the food that needs using up

Each week check your food list and plan your meals around the food is going to go out of date to make sure it’s not wasted.

I think that’s why we eat so many salads – I love salad and so does my daughter but if I buy it I want to make sure I don’t end up with any waste. Like salad, other key items that will need to be used up are fresh veg and bread. Remember to still check longer shelf life products too.

6) Meal Planning Time

On the shopping day, grab your meal planner and your favourite list of foods and decide what day you want each meal. Check the fridge freezer and cupboards to make sure you have those items in whilst at the same time checking items that are going out of date. I try and use salad at the start of the week and frozen veg at the end, making sure we are eat the fresh items first.

Use the Meal Planner Shopping List to write items down you need to buy but remember to check that there isn’t a substitute item you already have that you could use up before buying.

Tip – Stick the planner somewhere you can always see it. When you run out of something, write it down on the shopping list straight away and you won’t forget to buy it.

This will also save you time each week.

The Money Wise Mum

7) Use My FREE Meal Planner

To help you on your way, you can get your hands on my meal planner for FREE . If you love it, please tell all your friends and tag me on Instagram or Facebook, I’d love to see you all using it!

It won’t be long before you will see your food bills cutting down each week.

Meal planning for me;

  • Saves me money
  • Less waste
  • Less stress in deciding what I want to eat
  • Ensures my family eats healthy meals

How has it helped you? Let me know in the comments below