This post is for anyone that needs a little help with their food budget.
A few people have asked me how I feed my brood on $150 week budget.... well this post is for you.
Before I start, I have to say that I do go over every now and again, but often that is negated by being under every so often.
We also have chooks, a vege garden
( although coming near to an end, must sort this out! )
and have enjoyed foraging over summer for fruit
( our fruit trees are still young ).
We live in a small rural community where we have one New World supermarket, and one Four Square. Unfortunately food prices are way above average in our community, so many either deal with it, or do a big food shop when they are in a big city.
And like many of you, I almost weep when I walk down the supermarket aisles... its definately getting tough out there...
so here is what I do to feed my family without compromising too much nutrition..........
- Menu Planning!
( Hubby made this for me! People always laugh at the house rules.. hehehe)
It really is the key to successful budgeting, it stops you from doubling up on your grocery shop, and putting unneccesary items in your trolley.
Also you aren't caught short when dinner time comes around and the... "whats for dinner" at quarter to six happens, so what do you do? you rush down to the fish and chip shop, sound familiar?
sure does for me!
So every sunday I wash down my board and plan the next
7 days menus.
This is based on what I have in my cupboards and freezer.
Then I write a list of things I need to bake for the kids lunch boxes.
Once this is complete, I write a shopping list of what I don't have at home to complete the menus and I stick to it!
( this can be hard but your wallet will thankyou :)
As you can see above, I like to remind myself the day ahead,
what needs to be done in order for the following days meal to be completed, eg: cook more rice for one meal to use the next day.. or soak chickpeas for hummus for the following day.
This really saves you being caught short!
Been there many times before.
- Because meat is so expensive, ( and mince ain't cheap here either )
I try and buy whats on special, and often buy extra to freeze...
I have a rule. If it is more than the $10 dollar mark total, I will try and make the meat last for two dinners. I will do this by adding more vege ( courgettes/carrots are good ) or beans, red lentils (these are very good to bulk out mince dishes
Thankyou Destitute Gourmet! you can find her site here )
- I try and bake and cook as much as I can, and I use recipes that don't use huge amounts of butter, and make large amounts, basically good value recipes!
Also making biscuit dough that you can freeze in log shape, really helps as a quick fix when you can't be bothered baking or baking a extra cake to freeze.
- I make my own cleaners,
Megan at Mousehouse has a great series on this.
And although this isn't a green cleaner, my mum always makes a spray using about a teaspoon of Handy Andy ( or pams equivalent ) with water to the top, in a spray bottle, certainly makes it go further.
- Have you tried washing your hair with baking soda? and then conditioning with cider vinegar?
Well the secrets out.... I have converted! Definately feels weird at first but you soon get used to it and the results speak for themselves. But note: make sure you thoroughly wash out the vinegar! hehehe
- Having a vegetable garden and planting fruit trees, really is worth it.... and even though it can be hard work at times, its rewarding... even if next summer all you plant is a one courgette plant..... try it!
- Lastly if I go over my budget one week, I will try and make up for it the following week.
(This can happen when butter is $3.99 a block, so I stock up.)
Like me, there are going to be items in your shop that you just won't compromise on, for us its milk!
But by planning ahead and getting creative with my cooking,
I have managed to accomodate this in my budget.
I have to end this by saying, I am not the most organised person ( my family can vouch for that ), but since using this system, I have seen how much I can save and now it has become a personal challenge for me ( borderline obsessive ) and when I cook something for my family that they really enjoy, and hasn't cost a arm and a leg
it gives me warm fuzzies!
What do you do? love to hear.