Pinching the pennies…

So this week we’re starting to feel the pinch a little in the pennies department.

I’m still on maternity leave but have just moved into the last 3 months which are sadly unpaid! I wish I could afford to stay at home and not go back to work…but I know these next 3 months until I do go back are going to be hard enough. I really don’t know how other people do it!


Feeling the pinch I’ve resorted to some good old meal planning and, I’ve got to say, if it all goes to plan then I feel like I’ve done pretty well this week!

What did I have in the cupboard already?

  • 1 pack of 5 chicken breasts (frozen)
  • 1 duck (frozen)
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • 2 sausages
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 bag turkey meat (frozen, left from Christmas)
  • 2 piri piri chicken breasts (frozen)
  • 1 tin of beans
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • risotto rice
  • frozen peas
  • a few frozen chips
  • Rolls (frozen)

…and that’s about it! A few store cupboard bits and bobs but nothing to shout home about!

Plan of action!

I decided that I’d have to write a weekly meal plan so I knew exactly what I was using and when… and also then I’d be able to work out what I needed with my mere £40 weekly budget!

The meal plan

Sunday: Chicken Casserole

Monday: Meat pasta

Tuesday: Boys – Pizza and garlic bread (we have friends round for Beavers!); Us – Piri Piri chicken with chips

Wednesday – Cowboy casserole

Thursday: Turkey pilaff

Friday: Duck a l’orange with mash

Saturday: Chicken paella

You will notice that I have planned only for dinner. Both the boys have packed lunches at school so I’ll have to shop for that as usual. The hubby and I have decided to batch cook some chilli and have it with jacket potatoes for lunches this week, so I’ve added the ingredients for this to my list. We all have cereal for breakfast so I added a new box and milk to my list too!

The shopping list

  • potatoes
  • school fruit (grapes)
  • casserole veg (carrots, swede, celery)
  • green veg (broccoli, sugar snap peas)
  • milk
  • beef mince
  • sausages
  • margarine
  • sandwich meat
  • lunch box cheeses
  • lunch box yoghurts
  • cereal
  • kidney beans
  • 3 x chopped tomatoes
  • pasta
  • orange squash
  • coke
  • chips
  • pizzas and garlic bread
  • frozen bacon
  • baby stuff (milk, wipes)
  • loo roll (essential!!!)

The total

In total I spent £39.14 at the supermarket…which was pretty spot on to my £40 budget! Especially as I threw in some ice-cream for the kids on Tuesday, and some eggs to enable me to make some cakes this week too!

I do feel a little bit ‘lucky’ in a way to have had quite a few useful bits in the freezer – I know they won’t be there next week! But still, I am quite pleased that I’ve stuck to the budget I set (initially at least…I hope the food lasts!).

And so far?

Well, tonight I may chicken casserole as planned. I used only 3 of the frozen chicken breasts which leaves 2 for Saturday, and I’ve plenty of swede, celery, carrots and broccoli left! We even sneaked a little bit of the raspberry ripple ice-cream that I bought (and boy, was that tasty!!!)

Let’s see what tomorrow brings…


4 thoughts on “Pinching the pennies…

  1. Very impressive meal planning. Is your cowboy casserole as exciting as it sounds? I’m kind of imagining a Desperate Dan style cow pie (sorry I’m really showing my age with that!)

    • Hmmmm kind of…it’s sausages, baked beans, chopped tomatoes and onions along with a few herbs! It’s great served with a jacket spud…or mash would work too! In a Desperate Dan effort you could stick the sausages into some mash to serve!!! However it comes it’s a great comfort tea that’s filling too (and cheap!!!)

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