If you follow me on instagram you would of seen that this week I decided I needed to get more stuff done! You know be more productive, more organised, but mainly be more accountable. As a stay at home mum, days get away on me, making baby food, doing washing, cleaning the kitchen table… AGAIN. So I decided I needed to make hay while the sun shone. I return to paid work in October and I want to have a couple of things done before then. Not major things but just things that have been on my to-do list for too long. Like cleaning the light switches – this is seriously on my to do list but I am yet to do the whole house yet… Abysmal I know. So I have started a list of 5.
Organisation is the backbone of living a budget lifestyle and not wasting money. So I have decided to make a list of 5. 5 things to get off my list this week. Is it a lot of things – no. But I don’t want to scare myself off or worse make myself feel like a failure. 5 things is achievable for me but still feels like I have done something. 5 smallish jobs that have been hanging around and you would like to get done – not daily jobs but a job that would make you feel like you have accomplished something. You are taking a small step/s in the right direction. EG – clean one drawer, organise one cupboard, make a dentist appointment, etc.
How do you stay for organised and accountable?
So I’m asking you to join me – I recommend a #listof5, but maybe you are a lot more organised than me and your to-do list is not as large so maybe it’s a list of 2 for the week. I would love to create a community so we all can become that little be more productive and accountable – So join me on instagram with your #listof5 so together we can be organised and accountable! Follow me here
A price book is a budgeters best friend! It can help you know what is a good special and predict when the item is going to go back on special.
What is a Price Book?
First I’ll explain what a price book is. It is a note book that you write all the things you buy regularly. For example I buy our dog Purina Supercoat dry dog food. It goes on special regularly at Coles, Woolworths and Big W. But not all specials are equal, for example the supermarkets have 30-40% off every month (frustratingly normally in the same week) but occasionally 50% off. Big W have had just over 50% off time to time. So being dog food – I can stock up and keep it in the garage. It is an easy saving to make and buy up big and save.
Why have a price book?
If you had a price book, you would know when the next sale of this depth would be and you could buy enough to get you through so you wouldn’t need to pay full price again. Or worse buy a special you think is a good deal, only to realise in a couple of weeks that it wasn’t as good as first thought and something better has come along.
Does this inspire you to start a price book or do you have a price book and how much do you think it saves you?
Aldi, you either love it or hate it. I am firmly on the love it side but not for everything! I love the prices for most things but sometimes I get carried away on their weekly specials! (story of my life!) So this is a list of things you should always buy from Aldi.
Top 5 things to buy from Aldi
Feta Cheese 200g Greek or Danish Style Feta 200 gram = $2.59 in other major supermarkets $4.74 or $3.00 for generic for 200 grams. SAVE $2.15
Bocconcini Cheese $3.49 200 grams or $5 20o grams. SAVE $1.51
Steak Scotch Fillet Grass Fed = $30.99kg or $40.00kg SAVE $9.01
Steak Rump Grass Fed = $21.99kg or $27.00 SAVE $5.01
Nuts Silvered Almonds 125 grams = $3.99 or $6.11 for 110 grams SAVE $2.12
TOTAL SAVINGS = $19.80
This comparison was done on 29 Feburary 2016 in Queensland, my opinion is in comparison to other major supermarkets. As always double check with your local suppliers especially if you can buy in bulk.
As much as I love Aldi there are still some things you should avoid such as brand named items that they stock. EG coke – you will nearly always pay more because it doesn’t go on special in Aldi. It is important even in Aldi to use your price book (start one here), some items I know are cheaper in major supermarkets if you buy generics. Grated cheese was one of these items that surprised me considering most of there other cheeses are cheaper, grated tasty was still slightly cheaper if you buy generic at a major supermarket.
I rotate where I shop from week to week to get the best out of the 3 major supermarkets. As much as I love Aldi I do not shop there every week, in the coming weeks I will share how and why I rotate my supermarkets. What do you buy from Aldi and love the savings of?
If you come here often – you will notice there is definitely a theme about cost cutting on your groceries and keeping to your budget. Groceries for me is constantly the area I need to watch – if I am going to go over in our budget chances are it will be in groceries. So some weeks I pull out every trick I know to keep on track. So here are some great ways to save on groceries.
8 tricks to help save on groceries
Here are some tricks that I use almost weekly –
Shop at night or early morning – find out when your local store does markdowns these are very helpful to keeping costs down – especially in the meat department where it can help cut costs drastically. As an added bonus you won’t get trolley range with other people that have no sense for the world around them.
Know your prices. Create a price book if you haven’t already so you know what is a good special and what isn’t. A normal notebook will do with a page for ‘regular’ items you buy consistantly. Set it up so you know what the special cycle is and when it is a good price or not. The benefit is knowing and buying a good special when you see it.
Never shop hungry! Just don’t you will end up with a whole snack food stash if you’re not careful!
Have a list. No brainer but seriously have a list. I’m not saying stick to it or else but without a list you will start putting things into the trolley with good intentions that go nowhere and you will end up having to either going back to buy more ingredients or throw out ingredients you didn’t use. A menu plan will help with a complete shopping list before you leave the house!
Be flexible, have a certain part of your grocery budget to buy specials. Buying cheap bananas instead of apples will help your budget – knowing what you need (see point 4) but also being able to think on your feet and being flexible. Roast pork on special instead of roast beef etc will help keep the budget in check.
Have a slush fund. If your budget for groceries is $150 then try to have $15-$20 for specials. This way when your price book tells you it’s a good price you can stock up and save buying it full price next week. It may take you a while to have enough space in your budget to create the slush fund but it is worth perservering. Start with not spending $5 per week of your budget to start building up your slush fund for specials. For items like washing up detergent and dog food there is never any need to pay full price.
Don’t be afraid to mix it up. I rotate between Coles, Woolworths and Aldi. I get the catalogues and look what I need/want and go from there. Some weeks I’ll go to all three is time/money permits to buy specials. I know that this isn’t possible for everyone but it works for us.
Try generic brands. Honestly don’t start with the toilet paper! HA. But I bet there are at least a couple of things you wouldn’t even notice that is was generic. Give a couple of things a go eg – cereal. If you hate it chances are it was only a couple of dollars, but if you love it – perfect! I actually prefer a couple of generic items – choc chips $1.55 YES PLEASE!
What else do you do to help keep you within your grocery budget?
An easy afternoon with your laptop and your insurances and utilities to save you thousands of dollars in just a couple of hours in your own home. Sounds to easy to be true – but it is possible, how to save $1000 in one afternoon!
How to save hundreds of dollars!
I’m not a fan of the phone, I much prefer email or messages where I can because I guess it’s more impersonal? Anyway in one afternoon you could save thousands of dollars doing the boring stuff online! Gather you bills that you can use different suppliers for – unfortunately not rates or car registration but pretty much everything else. Here are a list of things that you may have –
Subscription TV (Netflix, presto, stan, etc)
ALL of these things can be easily compared online – make sure you are comparing like with like. Have you policies with you so you know how much you are insured for and how much your excess is. Once you have a new quote get it emailed to you. You can then contact your existing supplier and tell them you are thinking of leaving them because you have a better quote – many will meet if not beat your new quote! It is easier to keep an existing customer than get a new customer! And if they won’t beat your price – change supplier! It’s that easy. You will be surprised how quickly the savings stack up! I have personally saved $380 in one insurance, the cheaper supplier was also our contents insurer so I got a further 10% off! So don’t forget about bundling together insurances for further discounts!
You don’t need to even wait until your insurance is up for renewal to enjoy the benefits – you will get a refund from your other insurance policies if you change. Pick an afternoon and get to it – saving can be fun! If this is something out of your comfort zone – make your self a deal! At the end once you have contacted other suppliers tally up how much you have saved and give yourself a 10% bonus to enjoy! It could be a bottle of wine or even a massage! Let me know how much you have saved on you insurance swap afternoon!
A couple of weeks ago I made a budget weekly menu plan for a family of four for $60 It’s here. A basic meal plan for those weeks when it seems like you won’t make it through because it’s bill city. It’s a very basic food plan but it will get through! So this week is it a vegetarian option – as requested -for those weeks when there isn’t much cash left for the groceries!
7 Budget DINNERS
Corn and zucchini fritters with poached eggs (eggs, corn, zucchini, eggs, relish)
Fried rice (rice, 500 g veg, soy sauce)
Tomato pasta (pasta, 500g veg, tomato pasta sauce)
Tofu Pad thai (rice noodles, 500g veg, pad thai sauce, tofu)
As always this is very carbohydrate loaded which is because of the budget restraints. But I think you can understand in the circumstance, this was done on Coles Online so if you shop in store prices could be cheaper, but also check out stores such as Aldi and local green grocers for cheaper options. And always “shop your pantry first” to see if there is anything you could there first. If you have any left over money, I recommend lunchtime food.
I hope you enjoy the $60 vegetarian menu plan for 7 days of groceries!
Being organised is the best way to save with food and groceries, and keeping within your budget. But being organised also is helped by having a visible menu planner that encompasses all food & snacks needed for the week. It doesn’t need to be rigid it can be as flexible as you need but it is important that you create the habit of following it to get the best out of your budget, pantry and food. Food wastage is a huge problem in Australia and so this will also help cut down on food wastage and as always help you save money! So read on to work out how to save money with menu planning.
Saving money with menu planning
Make a list of every one you will need to cater for.
List every meal you need and snacks.
Look through your fridge and freezer for item you need to use.
Look through the catalogues and work out what is on special and season – start selecting meals.
On you physical meal plan start filling in meals. Start with your mains. Knowing what you are cooking for dinner and then if there is left overs there lunch the next day. Fill in blanks & write grocery list as you plan.
Always double check your pantry, fridge and freezer for food ready to be eaten or ingredients first.
To create flexibility within your meal planner, I always have “can’t be bothered” meals in my freezer. This could be a frozen pizza or frozen fish and chips. A meal you don’t need to think about – this is a great back up when things don’t go according to plan or just life. Having a back up meal in your freezer may be slightly more expensive than your average meal however it could mean the difference between this or takeaway which could really damage your budget.
Do you have any tips on menu planning or staying on track with your grocery budget? I would love to hear them and hear how you save money with menu planning.
When online groceries first started to be available – I thought “you would have to be soooo lazy to do that! How hard is it to do the groceries!” Then my sister explained that she did it – and I re-thought it! Occasionally I think groceries online is great – it helps stick to a shopping list and it helps when spare time in non existent. Why it’s OK to order your groceries online.
While I am not saying that I do my groceries online all the time – I like to shop around and rotate grocery stores. But I have used it when I had little spare time or when I had a budget to stick to.
You still get all special prices
If you collect your groceries you don’t have to pay for delivery. You still get all the catalogue specials, however some items are charged at premium pricing which is about 7% extra.
Save your time.
Can you put a price on your time? Sometimes it is great to out and do the groceries, but sometimes it is too much to fit into life. You can’t put a price on making more family time that isn’t being stressed at the grocery store. You make a time to pick them up and that way you don’t need to pay for delivery!
It is so easy to do the groceries online, and they have a favourites list for the items you buy weekly. And you can shop directly from the catalogue so you don’t miss any specials.
No impulse shopping
No chocolate that accidentally slips into the trolley. (Unless you want it to) For me this is always the killer, exactly what always happens! I can not explain how many times this happens – but with doing it online you can see your total as you go. Easy to remove items and super easy to stay in budget!
So why do you love online grocery shopping? I find it’s sooo easy to stay in budget.
There are many reasons that you would be going down to one income. Maybe one of you is retiring, or becoming a stay at home parent. Either way if you know you are going down to one income there is a range of ways to prepare to go to one income. A lot of the time losing an income isn’t planned but this list can hopefully help you prioritise to help living on income easier.
The key is to lower as much debt as possible. First I would look at any weekly or monthly payments eg credit cards or loans. Pay as much off these as possible and as quickly as possible. Switch credit cards to low or no interest. Pay as much off as possible before you are living on one income.
Check and double check all insurances to make sure you are getting the best deal. This exercise may take you a afternoon but could save you thousands. Don’t be afraid to also ring your electricity & phone company and ask for a better deal – explain your situation you may be pleasantly surprised.
Cancel any subscriptions or memberships you can live without. This means pay TV or any TV subscriptions if you can live without them. It could also mean any team or group memberships, eg sports clubs or gyms. If you must have them consider calling them and explaining your situation and see if they can do you a deal. A lot of companies find it easier to keep a customer than get a new one. So are willing to offer better deals if you explain that you may have to leave.
Implement a budget. As soon as you know that you are going down to one budget try to start to live off one income straight away. With the extra income pay off any debts or start a savings account for incidentals.
Don’t forget to think about costs that will be reduced from no longer going to work. If can you go down to one car that is thousands of dollars a year. Other savings you could consider – petrol could be reduced, your work clothes, your lunch at work, and any professional memberships & union fees you may of had would be saving as well.
All of these small changes add up – it may not be as big of a change as you thought. Careful planning before it happens could be all you need to enjoy and successfully live from one income.
This is my BUDGET $60 WEEKLY GROCERY SHOP and shopping list. This is the perfect shop for when you are totally skint and just need to make it until the next pay. I wouldn’t recommend this as a weekly shopping plan but it could be done monthly to get you through. I have included everything you need to be able to make the suggested meals, but I suggest you “shop your pantry” first to see if you can make any further savings or make these suggestions even tastier. If you already have some of these ingredients at home – perfect! I would suggest you buy some extra fruit or meat for lunches or some extra cereal with your extra money. All of these prices were from Coles Online in Queensland – so in store prices may be cheaper.
$60 BUDGET WEEK
Tuna & Corn Pasta (Tin tuna, tin corn with 500 g pasta and white sauce)(White Sauce – milk, flour, margarine & cheese)
Sausages & 500 g Vegetable
Quiche with Ham and Tomato (Make own pastry, Quiche -4 eggs, milk, cheese ham and roma tomato)
Mince Pasta (500 g pasta & mince & pasta sauce, grate cheese on top)
Fried Rice with veg, egg & chicken (500 g rice, soy sauce, 300 g chicken breast, 2 fried eggs & 500 g frozen veg)
Stir fry Chicken & Veg (600 g chicken, 500 g vegetable)
Vegetable fritters (500 g vegetables, 2 eggs, flour and dash milk. Fried in margarine)
4 Eggs left over – either boiled with lunches or with some sugar, vinegar and bi carb soda at home you could make Piklets or Jam Drops
As I said before this is not meant to be “eating plan” I understand that it carbohydrate heavy. But if you are feeding a family on a budget this is the kind of eating plan that would help you get through the TIGHTEST of weeks. I would also recommend looking at your butchers and Aldi to see if you can buy cheaper there. I would love to hear from you if you have tried my $60 weekly grocery shop and how it went with your family!