How Meal Planning Saves Time and Money on Groceries

Meal planning not only saves money but time too, take a look at our helpful recommendations on you can make the most of your day and your budget.

An illustration of a couple planning their meals for the week.
(Image credit: Getty)

 

Planning ahead is the key to saving money when it comes to shopping for groceries. But there are a few things to consider before you get started.

‘The key to

avoiding food waste and shopping as efficiently as possible is to plan meals in

Advance’ - Gary Hemming, ABC Finance.

  • Consider the budget you have.
  • How many people will you be cooking for?
  • How much time do you have to cook?
  • Think about what you and the family really enjoy eating. There is little point in planning meals that no one wants to eat - that’s a takeaway waiting to happen!

I cook family meals every week for 3 to 5 of us, depending on who is home for dinner. We both work full time and we are always working on a budget that’s getting harder to stick to. With this in mind, I’ve taken to looking online for meal plans to follow and I’ve found some great ones that are worth sharing. 

A bowl of homemade soup

(Image credit: Tesco)

5 Easy Family Dinners for £25 at Tesco

 

These meal plans are by far my favourite. I first discovered these meal plans in the free Tesco magazine, but they are all available online. And if you’re a regular online shopper at Tesco you can get all the ingredients you need added straight to your basket with the click of a button. From curries to tacos, these hearty family meals are quick and easy to prepare. Most of them take no more than 30 minutes so they are ideal for after work. £25 get’s you 5 meals for a family of 4. 

I really like 5-day meal plans as weekends don’t have much structure for us! All the meals are balanced and nutritious and you don’t even need to factor in store cupboard ingredients - it’s all there in the shopping list provided - easy! 

Free 5-day meal planners

 

When you sign up for free weekly meal plans from Tastes Better From Scratch you get 5 meals to see a family through the week. Each plan is customisable, you can swap meals out, and opt for vegetarian or low-carb meals, the options are vast! 

Each plan includes a printable shopping list with budgeting hints and tips. There’s a handy app available too which is great for when you are in the supermarket picking up ingredients. I love that you can even create a meal plan with just air fryer or slow cooker meals too, it really is an excellent site for planning on a budget. 

5-day meal plans for busy parents, students, and more

 

I stumbled upon Taming Twins on Instagram over a year ago and it’s now one of my go-to websites for meal planning. Sarah at Taming Twins is a busy mum and entrepreneur. I love that I watch her create the meals in her plans on social media, they are so easy to make it gives me confidence that I can make these meals too!

There are meal plans for everyone on her website, I really like there are 30 and 10-minute meal plans available. All budgets are considered and it’s not just family meal plans either, couples and students can download them too. There is a printable shopping list for every plan and I’m yet to create a disaster - so that says something!

The BBC Food, £1 dinners

Cheese and leek potato pie in a rectangular tin served with green vegetables.

(Image credit: BBC Food)

 

I’ve recently discovered these meals and they are excellent value. Each meal cost £1 per person, but actually, it is possible to cook some of the meals for about 80p per person depending on where you shop and the portion sizes. A meal plan based on these recipes is cost-effective, therefore bringing the weekly shop down in cost. Some of our favourite tried and tested recipes include; Tarka Dal with rice, Mediterranean chicken with potatoes and easy bean burgers with potato wedges. 

Cheap and healthy meal plans for students

A student is tasting food whilst cooking in the kitchen

(Image credit: getty)

 

Lots of the suggestions previously made are based on families. Save the Student has some excellent meal-planning suggestions for students or single people. Their plans are meal-time focused including breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a snack meal plan. If you need help with organising your food shopping you can download a free shopping list too. 

One Basket, 5 Meals from Asda

 

The Asda magazine has some tasty meal-planning ideas. With 5 meals serving 4 people for £30. I think these meals could easily feed a family of 5 (2 adults, and 3 children) as they are pretty generous portions. Choose from prawn stir fry to tofu souvlaki.

Sarah-Jane Outten
Editor

Hi, I’m SJ. I’m an editor and content executive here at MyVoucherCodes. I started my journey here as a deals expert which gave me the skills to become a money-saving expert. You can find my tips and recommendations in various publications including The Sun, The Mirror, and The Telegraph.

I gained a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and I’ve put my writing skills into many projects since then. My portfolio at sarahjaneoutten.com includes my work with Cardiff Times, Buzz Magazine and more. 

I write poetry and short stories for pleasure and enjoy getting creative with watercolours and lino printing. I hope that I can merge my love of writing and art into a children's book in the future - watch this space!