Billie says the method "takes the decision-making element out of the mix" (Image: Latestdeals.co.uk)
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A woman who got fed up of trying to plan her family's meals for the week ahead has devised a genius solution – and it saves them money, too.
Billie Hoey, from Nuneaton, says she felt "stuck in rut" when it came to choosing dinner options and always cycled back to the same "boring" meals, with her fiancé Adam always picking fajitas "without fail" if the decision was left to him.
The 25-year-old wanted to find a solution that offered variety and stopped the habit of impulse buying, and was inspired by a post on Pinterest demonstrating a hack to encourage children to do their chores.
All the chores would be written on a lolly stick and each day the children would pick a stick at random to find out what their job would be – and Billie decided to adapt the idea to solve her own problem.
They now have about 40 sticks, with different meal ideas on each
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Billie bought some sticks and the couple wrote down all their favourite, budget-friendly meals, and now select seven at a time to form the menu for the week ahead.
They have built up a collection of about 40 different meals and continue to add to the pile, with the ingredients needed for each written on the back to make it easier to pull the shopping list together.
She says it has stopped them buying unneeded food that is "inevitably thrown away before being eaten" and now saves up to £40 on her weekly food shop.
Billie told LatestDeals : "Before we discovered the idea, I was spending around £50-70 a week on food shopping and afterwards it reduced to £30-50.
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"It’s a really flexible way to approach meal planning and if your head is easily turned by impulse buys it can help you to save quite a bit of money. We both love to cook and try new recipes, but we work long hours in our full-time jobs so we can’t spend ages cooking during the week.
"We were forever ending up with the same quick meals, which does get boring pretty quickly. Having the lolly sticks takes the decision-making element out of the mix. Plus, it reminds us of some of the meals we had enjoyed in the past but forgotten about."
Do you think this is a good idea? Let us know in the comments.