meal planning

Lately, I’ve been noticing how much food I’ve been wasting because I haven’t properly planned my week. How often do you buy something just to chuck it away when you notice it’s out of date? Way too often, right?

I buy things with good intentions, but sometimes things get pushed to the back of the fridge or some exciting meal distracts me and food goes to waste. No more. I’m on a mission to meal plan every week!

Meal planning is a great way to make sure you’re not wasting food, and not wasting your money. So how do we go about this meal planning malarkey?

Meal planning

I’ve made a handy printable so you can get started.

Getting started

Get a pen and paper and scribble down any ideas.

Decide whether you just want a vague meal plan for the week, or if you’re going to stick to a schedule all week. You can be as rigid or as flexible as you like.

What’s happening this week?

If you have a crazy week ahead, you’ll probably want your meals to be as convenient as possible and your meal plan can take this in to account. You can plan to cook and freeze meals ahead of time, or plan quick and easy meals to save yourself time. Maybe you have a quiet week ahead and more leeway to try more adventurous and leisurely meals?

Anticipating your week ahead can make life easier and less stressful, if you have a chance to accommodate it before hand.

What’s your budget?

Think about how much you want to spend this week. Watching the pennies, or splashing the cash?

Watching the pennies can be a good time to have a look in the cupboards and see if you can get creative with what you already have.

How are you feeling?

Sometimes when it’s dark and cold, there’s nothing better than hearty, filling food. Likewise, in the summer, sometimes all you want is something light and refreshing. You can feel out what kind of mood you might be in the week ahead and plan what kind of meals that be ideal.

Do you have something you’ve been meaning to make or try? Can it fit in to your week?


How I plan my week

  1. I check the offers on Clicksnap and Shopitize.
  2. Check if there’s any coupons or freebies floating around with a quick internet search.
  3. Take in to account what my plans are that week.
  4. Plan any meals that I’ve been craving.
  5. Give myself a ‘cheat day’ on a Saturday.

FREE MEAL PLANNING PRINTABLE

 

meal planning printable

Click here for your free meal planning printable.


Do you plan your meals ahead of time? How does it work for you? Let me know!

topcashback

TopCashback

Much like Quidco, TopCashback is a site that gives you cashback and discounts on your shopping.

Shop smarter and get the best deals for your online and in-store purchases. You can get cashback on everything from groceries to insurance, so there’s a bunch of ways for you to make money when you shop.

Features

There is a Free Cashback section of the site, where you can earn money without spending a penny! There’s everything from surveys and trials, to competitions and products. A great way to make those extra pennies.

Aside from the cashback you can get when you shop online, TopCashback has some great additional offers for shopping in-store.

  • There is a Printable Voucher page, with vouchers for restaurants, days-out and more.
  • There’s also a Snap & Save page, that gives you various rewards for snapping a photo of your shopping receipt.
  • You can register your card to get in-store rewards when you shop with your credit or debit card.
  • New to TopCashback is the Cashback Notifier add-on.

Getting started

topcashback

It’s easy to get started with TopCashback. After a quick sign-up to the site, you can just browse the offers and click on what takes your fancy. That’s it! Just shop as normal and your cashback will show-up in your account within 7 days.

Just make sure to disable any adblocking software you might have.

Cashout options

TopCashback has an impressive number of ways to cashout:

topcashback topcashback topcashback

As you can see, there’s something for everyone. It’s great if you want to choose whatever is most convenient for you.

Join TopCashback today

Click here to join TopCashback

It’s free to join and a classic account is also free. You can choose to pay £5 a year for a Plus account, which gives you additional benefits such as bigger bonuses and faster payment.

quidco

What is Quidco?

Quidco is a site that gives you cashback when you shop online and even in-store. It’s the site that pays you to shop.

What’s the catch? There isn’t one!

Quidco simply gets paid by retailers for successful transactions, and then passes some of this commission on to you. There’s no hidden charges, no surprise fees waiting to catch you out. The only drawback is that you sometimes have to wait a while for your cashback to reach you – see below the difference between the ‘purchase’ and ‘updated’ dates.

quidco

Quidco also features Clicksnap, online or via an app, where you can earn money for buying certain items from your supermarket and uploading the receipt. You can also earn money by completing paid surveys with Quidco Opinions.

How do I use Quidco?

When you plan on purchasing something, simply open Quidco, search for the relevant site and click on the ‘visit retailer and get cashback’ button. This will open the chosen website (which you use as usual) in a new tab and anything you purchase will be recorded by Quidco and you will receive notification of your cashback. It couldn’t be easier!

Your cashback will then be tracked, and eventually paid out to you. You can get paid with BACS or PayPal. Premium members can choose to be paid in Amazon vouchers, to which Quidco adds a 6% payout bonus.

My experience with Quidco

I first started using Quidco in September 2012, when I spotted a good offer for Disneyland Paris cashback. I’d just started a new job a couple of weeks before, and for the first time ever I had a massive disposable income! So my Quidco experience started with quite a few splurges.

I have had to raise claims’ a few times when my cashback hasn’t come through, or has been rejected by the retailer. The claim form is really straight-forward to use, and my cashback claims were all updated within about three weeks.

One thing with Quidco is the whole process can be quite slow. At present I’m waiting on cashback from purchases I made in April. But then again, you do get a nice surprise when your cash is available! I once logged in and had £25 waiting for me, which I then swiftly spent on myself.

Don’t expect for it to be money straight in your pocket, you will have a nice wait ahead of you. For free money though, it’s pretty great.

Join today and get £1.25 cashback

Join Quidco today and we will both get £1.25 if you sign up with my referral code, just click here or on the banner below.

I love Quidco

original factory shop

I have recently discovered the wonders of the Original Factory Shop! After Somerfield went bust, the Original Factory Shop moved in to claim the space in my town. Well, that was a few years ago now and I’ve only just gone to investigate! Shameful. After I saw a great offer on OPI nail varnishes (3 for £10) in a leaflet that came through the letterbox, I couldn’t resist.

I ended up getting carried away and buying all of the following:

Calvin Klein Tutu –Currently £3.99 on Amazon
Loreal Color Riche in Parisian Rooftops – Currently £4.99 on Boots
OPI Deutsch you want me baby – Currently £7.96 on Amazon
OPI Golden waves – Currently £4 on Amazon
OPI Pink it through – Currently £7.99 on Amazon
Loreal Color Riche Lipstick in Freshly Candy – Currently £4.49 on Amazon
Loreal Color Riche Lipstick in Freshly Rosy – Currently £5.23 on Amazon
Calvin Klein Lipstick in Victorious – Currently £3.99 on Amazon

 

Going by today’s totals I could have spent £42.64. I spent just £22 total in the Original Factory Shop. That’s a huge saving of £20.64!

The OPI nail varnishes were 3 for £10. Unfortunately I’ve misplaced my receipt so I’m not sure of the exact prices of the others. It was a great trip, and I’m set for pretty much the year for nail varnish and lipsticks! They had a great selection of current dvds on offer and great prices on cans of coke. If you’re like me and need your caffeine fix this could save you ££! The products on offer is quite similar to that of PoundStretcher. There’s clothing, homewares, appliances, dvds, beauty, food and many more.

Why not have a look through the leaflet to see the current offers:

 

Notice the OPI nail varnishes are still 3 for £10, and the Loreal nail varnishes are just £1.50!

I’ll definitely shop at the Original Factory Shop again. All these items are all really high quality, and at those prices they’re irresistible! Why not see if there’s a shop in your area?

zeek

Buy Unwanted Vouchers from Zeek

Zeek is an awesome little app where you can buy and sell gift vouchers for discounted rates.

You can find vouchers for your high street favourites like Argos, Boots and Debenhams, there’s supermarket and restaurant vouchers, and many more. Search by new, hot, and largest discounts, and also by shop category to find the best deals for you.

Zeek1
Zeek2

You then pay by card or PayPal for your vouchers. You may have to wait a few days for your voucher to be delivered to your ‘My Vouchers’ tab but I received mine through immediately.

There are amazing savings to be had by using the Zeek app. I signed up with the old promotion, which gave me a free £10 voucher which I put towards a £68 Evans voucher. The voucher was discounted to £60 and with my £10 promotional voucher, I only paid £50 total. Below are screencaps of what you can expect from your voucher page (the code’s already been used, unfortunately!)
Zeek4

Sell Your Gift Cards on Zeek

Don’t leave your gift cards lying around unused, sell them on Zeek! I haven’t personally done this yet but I’m definitely planning to in the future. Zeek is really user-friendly, there’s been no hidden charges or surprises. If you do decide to sell, the FAQ states that there’s a £3 processing charge for every voucher sold.

My Verdict

I have only used Zeek once so far but I’m definitely planning on using it again! I saved myself a bundle and everything worked smoothly. It was quick and painless shopping. I chose my voucher, paid, and it came directly through to me. Everything went without a hitch when I input my voucher code and pin into Evans. You can rest assured that this is a genuine site, and you won’t be ripped off.
I find Zeek user-friendly, easy to navigate and a pleasure to use. It’s really easy to use but there’s a walk through and an FAQ if you need it. Usually I download apps after I no longer need them but this app is a keeper!

Get Zeek today!

Zeek is available for download on both iOS and Android.

Use this code when you sign up and we’ll both get £5 to spend towards a voucher!
(Zeek promo code: 2C4765)