Household budgets are feeling pressed at the checkout and it’s proving harder than ever to shop within your old budget. But when it comes to maximising your money at the supermarket, this Queensland mum is NAILING IT with her incredible meal planning and clever money-saving tips.

In a recent interview, Queensland mum of three, Lisa Henry said that normally she spends around $150 a week for three meals a day for her family of five. And that includes leftovers to serve the following week as well. Just to be clear, that’s breakfast, lunch and dinner all made at home, and to be honest, it is pretty amazing to spread the dollar that far, especially for a family of five.

And, because what mum doesn’t love a challenge … so Lisa decided to push that budget just a little bit further by wanting to spend LESS. SAY WHAT?

Meal planning challenge maximises meals with minimal spend!

Sure enough, Lisa challenged herself to see how many meals she could make for less than $100. With a shopping list in hand and trolley wheels warmed up, Lisa did her weekly shop at her local ALDI supermarket, ticking items off the list and she even had a couple of dollars change from her $100. Unbelievable!

By shopping at ALDI I spent only $98 and was able to make 58 meals for my family.”

Yes, you read that right, fifty-eight meals for $98. My mind is positively BLOWN. What is this sorcery?

meal planning done right
What an epic meal planning feat – bravo! Source: Supplied

Lisa’s money-saving tips for meal planning

One of the most important things is to plan ahead, writing a meal plan and shopping list before you set foot in the supermarket so you DON’T go over budget.

Lisa’s shopping list for her challenge wasn’t excessive but it was enough to create eight meals including chicken noodle soup, nachos, fish tacos, chicken fried rice, chicken drumsticks and salad, Napoletana pasta, sheet pan chicken and rice and jacket potatoes.

Lisa also goes on to say it’s wise to choose versatile meats such as beef mince which can be used in so many dishes and bulked up or stretched out with other grocery items. Save money by buying bulk packs of meat and using it across two or three meals.

More money-saving tips included Lisa mentioning it’s sometimes worth skipping the fresh vegetables in favour of finding some bargains from the supermarket freezer instead.

Fresh vegetables can sometimes be really expensive, especially when they’re not in season, so I’ll always look in the frozen vegetable section.”

Chicken drumsticks are also another winner.

Lisa says, “I also like to get the 2kg bag of chicken drumsticks. They’re only $6.99 for the whole bag. My children love them baked and we also put them in things like soups.”

meal planning chicken and rice
Sheet pan chicken and rice for a budget-friendly dinner win! Source: Instagram / Lisa Henry

And don’t forget your pantry fillers – that’s how you can save even more money. It’s an excellent source for making meals go that bit further with tins of lentils, pasta sauce, pasta and rice. Making a big batch of meat sauce with 500g of mince, lentils and jars of tomato sauce, it’s enough to stretch across multiple meals from jacket potatoes to pasta.

Prep work: You’ve got to be committed

The biggest takeaway here is that you have to put the work in to save money. Lisa dedicates around three hours of time on a Sunday to cooking followed by prepping, packing and storing. But once it’s done, it’s done!

I’ll be able to make around 60 meals, so some weeks I don’t even have to cook at all!”

No cooking for a week? Tell me that’s not living the dream!

Mums inspire us with more meal planning and money-saving tips!

One look at Lisa’s Instagram account and you’ll be more inspired than ever to challenge yourself in the kitchen as well as at the supermarket. Her replies to comments on her posts indicate that she intends to share more and more meal planning recipes and ideas with her followers in the coming weeks, which is exciting – so keep an eye out!

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen some amazing money-saving tips and meal prep. Check out this amazing mum who is also living her best-organised life thanks to her meal-prepping ways: DINNER HACK: This Mum’s Meal Prep Ideas Are Next Level Wonderful.

meal planning
Meal prepping like a BOSS. Source: Facebook / Amanda Sampson

Feeling inspired myself, even though I’ve been loyal to my supermarket for many, many years, I’m going to give Aldi a try next week! What say you? Have you swayed from your usual supermarket in search of grocery bargains with the goal of spending less? What are your best money-saving grocery tips?

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Author

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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