Staying at our in-laws’ place during weekdays, I leave the meal planning to the lady of the house, my MIL. She decides what food to prepare for the family, with occasional requests from her husband and three children (that includes yours truly).
Meal planning during weekends at our marital home in Bacoor is a different story. There, I get to practice being the smart wife who knows her way around the kitchen. In the three years that the hubby and I are married (going four in March!), I have not really sat down and written a meal plan. Or maybe I have, but it was only written in my head, not on paper. Haha.
But I do plan our meals on a budget! Php1,000 for two days for two people. Here are some practices that help me stick to that budget:
1. We usually eat the same food for lunch and dinner to save on gas and cooking time. (Pag weekends lang naman kami ganito, kaya sabi ko kay hubby wag na sya umangal, hahaha.)
2. We eat left-over food as soon as we can. This frees up space in the refrigerator as well.
3. We sometimes eat breakfast food for dinner to avoid wasting food ingredients.
4. As much as possible, we try not to dine out or buy takeout food when in Bacoor because it’s more expensive that way. Panira ng budget yan! Ibang usapan na lang pag may house guests kasi minsan may mga lakad/pasyal na kasama yon.
5. I regularly check the expiration dates of our canned goods so I could cook or serve them before they expire.
6. I never keep our pantry filled to the brim (even though we only have a tiny one), I just make sure we have “at least two pieces each of a few of our favorite food there.” Replenishing food supplies also follows this rule.
7. I get inspiration for affordable but healthy meals online, usually from recipes I read on blogs. I write them down so I don’t forget.
8. For new recipes that I’d like to try whipping up but have pricey or hard-to-find ingredients, I buy one ingredient at a time. I cook them once my ingredients are complete. Mindfulness is key here.
9. I asks the hubby what he wants to eat and cook it for him, but only when I’m in the mood to impress him with my cooking skills. Haha. It’s a good thing he’s not a picky eater and just eats whatever I serve him.
10. When I get to spend more than our budget, I use the “offset strategy.” 🙂
I also set a different budget for our tableware. While I certainly cannot afford to buy premier table linens cotton dinner napkins and other designer items used in table setting, I make sure to buy quality ones at an affordable price. Last Christmas, I bought some new plates, bowls, and mugs at the home section of Landmark Makati. I love that they have a wide selection of tableware there at reasonable prices. It’s really value for money, I tell you! But I digress.
Meal planning on a budget is doable. Sometimes, we just need to be open to new ideas on how we could limit food wastage and be more disciplined in sticking to our budget. Manageable pa sa ngayon pero sana ganito pa rin kapag araw-araw ko na sya ginagawa.
Do you also plan meals on a budget? Any tips you’d like to share with me? 🙂
12 Replies to “Meal Planning on a Budget”
We do this as well. Hirap magplan ng meals sa totoo lang. Since we cook most of the time, we treat take out food as our free day from cooking.
Yung experimenting meals ko ang mejo mahal and for me na mahilig magbake, trial and error talaga siya so I try to buy in small amounts tapos pag confident na ako, ayan, bumibili na ng bulk kasi that’s cheaper (IMHO).
Ang hirap nga! For you who cook everyday, okay yang takeout food minsan para pahinga sa pagluluto. True, mahal nga magbake pero fulfilling pag maganda ang kinalabasan, diba? Pag baking supplies, in bulk din ang pagbili ko para tipid. 🙂
Nung kami pa lang dalawa ng asawa ko, bihira ako magluto, weekends lang o pagsinisipag lang. Mas mura kasi bumili na lang ng cooked food. Pero ngayong madami na kami (ako, my husband, may dalawa kaming kasama sa bahay plus si baby), I have no choice but to plan our meals. Hindi pa ganun ka-successful since may food wastage pa din but I will get there. Hehe.
Re:tableware, I’m planning to buy a new set. Wala pa lang budget. I never thought na mag-eenjoy ako tumingin sa mga plato until I got married. Kaya pala ang mga nanay natin may isang cabinet na puro plato, baso, bowls etc. Hindi naman pinapagamit. Hindi ko magets dati. haha.
Korek ka dyan re: mothers and tableware! Pag dalawa lang (husband and wife), easy pa ang meal planning, like in our case. Di ko alam pag dumami na kami if keri ko pa rin. Haha. 🙂
I try to use up everything left in the pantry first before i brave doing groceries. Kaya ako nagkakaroon ng mga imbentong dishes. I always check the expiration dates of the food im buying. Nakapanghihinayang kasi mabulok na lang yung mga pagkain, like bread.
Naku, naging problem ko yang nasisiraan ng bread, kaya ngayon pakonti-konti na lang ang bili ko. Between the hubby and I, ako yung mas mahilig sa bread, rice person kasi sya. 🙂
We do no 1 most of the time. Saka si hubby nagbabudget ng food namen kasi minsan masakit din sa ulo mag isip ng uulamin araw araw lalo na may dalawang chikiting. He He He
Haha, tama, sis! Swerte ka magaling magbudget ng food ang hubby mo. 🙂
Ang hirap mag plan ng menu sa adventurous kitchen namin!Di ako makasunod sa sarili kong menu plan. 😛
I can imagine that, Peachy! Tapos andami mo pang recipes na alam, nakakalito yan minsan diba, hehe. 🙂
Landmark is heaven for home items. That’s where I bought half of the stuff in my workspace at home!
Yes, and that’s why I can’t wait to go back there! 🙂