How to save money with menu planning

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.

how to save money on groceries with menu planning
Saving money with menu planning

Saving money with menu planning

  1. Make a list of every one you will need to cater for.
  2. List every meal you need and snacks.
  3. Look through your fridge and freezer for item you need to use.
  4. Shop your pantry first.  See anything that you have that need to be used up.  Check this out to help sort out your pantry
  5. Look through the catalogues and work out what is on special and season – start selecting meals.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Budget Mum BlogDo 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.


Why it’s OK to order your groceries online.

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.

Save money by doing your groceries online.
Save money by doing 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!

Budget Mum Blog

So why do you love online grocery shopping?  I find it’s sooo easy to stay in budget. 

How to prepare to go to one income

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.

preparing to living well on one income
Preparing to living well on one income

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.

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preparing to go to one income
preparing to go to one income

$60 Weekly Grocery Shop

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 weekly grocery shopping list & ideas


BUDGET Dinners

  1. Tuna & Corn Pasta (Tin tuna, tin corn with 500 g pasta and white sauce)(White Sauce – milk, flour, margarine & cheese)
  2. Sausages & 500 g Vegetable
  3. Quiche with Ham and Tomato (Make own pastry, Quiche -4 eggs, milk, cheese ham and roma tomato)
  4. Mince Pasta (500 g pasta & mince & pasta sauce, grate cheese on top)
  5. Fried Rice with veg, egg & chicken (500 g rice, soy sauce, 300 g chicken breast, 2 fried eggs & 500 g frozen veg)
  6. Stir fry Chicken & Veg (600 g chicken, 500 g vegetable)
  7. Vegetable fritters (500 g vegetables, 2 eggs, flour and dash milk. Fried in margarine)

BUDGET Lunches

  • Jam Sandwiches
  • Cheese Sandwiches

BUDGET Breakfast

  • Oats
  • Toast


  • Yoghurt
  • Carrot Sticks

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!

Budget Mum Blog

Good Luck!  What are your go to budget meals?

How to save money when preparing to have a baby

.Having a baby is a very exciting time – but it is also a very expensive time! So here are some tips on buying what you need and skipping what you don’t need!  People are very generous when it comes to babies. So don’t be afraid to borrow items or get given second hand.  You have 9 months to get ready so start looking early and be creative with how you go about collecting everything you need. How to save money when preparing to have a baby.

budget set up for baby
How to save money when setting up for babies

Saving money when preparing to have a baby

My first suggestion is to try to keep your buying to a minimum until your baby shower.  If you hold your baby shower around 6/7 months it still gives you plenty of time to buy other items you may not of received. Don’t be afraid to give a specific list of what you would like to receive.  So people buy you things you actually want and need. People often like to put in together to buy larger items and this can work in your favour, so don’t leave these off your list.

If you need to buy everything as you don’t have anyone to borrow anything from consider second hand for the larger items. Ebay and Gumtree can be your best friend, once babies outgrow things people are often keen to reclaim the room that they take up so will sell them for cheap.  Be sure to buy gender neutral furniture and prams so when the time comes you can also resell!  Nearly all baby items are washable so don’t be afraid of second hand – most baby seats, bassinets, swings and prams unclip for easy washing and line drying!

  1. Cot – This is a need but not necessarily straight away.  If you are getting a bassinet or borrowing one your little one will be sleeping in that for at least 6 weeks if not longer.  Sturdy wooden cots can be sanded and painted again and again. So don’t discount a second hand older cot (just double check that it still matches the safety requirements.)
  2. Car Seat – A safe car seat is obviously a must.  If the outlay is too much for a capsule you can rent them from Kidsafe or local baby stores. A capsule is the safe option for 0-6 month olds and you can remove them from the car in the capsule. So this saves money by then buying a car seat once they are older – and then only needed a car seat that will last longer.  It is illegal to sell used car seats (it may of been in an accident and no longer be safe) but you can borrow them.  Make sure you shop around, Target for example sell quality brands for less because their appearances and fabrics differ.
  3. Pram – A pram is needed to get your baby around easily.  Big departments stores like Big W and Target often have big named brands for considerable saving so take advantage and put it on lay-by.  Another option is second hand – prams such as city select are easy to clean.  All fabric can come apart and can be washed so this is another option to save money.
  4. Wraps & Clothes – a definite necessity.  I would recommend 10 outfits of 0000 to start with and 6 wraps.  You will still receive gifts once the baby is born so don’t be tempted to go crazy before the baby arrives.  Clothes and wraps generally wear really well and so do not be afraid of second hand.  It is lovely to buy new because they are so little but they grow so quickly – some outfits only fit for 3-4 weeks.  So when you buy them second hand they may of only been worn once or twice, it’s great saving.  Look around for bulk packs where people sell all their 0000 clothes together for even bigger savings.  Just wash before hand.
  5. Nappies & Wipes – long term if you are looking to save I recommend re-usable nappies (Check this out) But newborns generally fit best into newborn nappies so buy a box before the big day.  I wouldn’t buy more that 2 boxes because your baby may grow quickly and then you are left with nappies that no longer fit.  Wait for nappies to go on special – this happens regularly so check catalogues for the best buys.
Budget ways to set up for baby's arrival
Budget ways to set up for baby’s arrival
  1. Baby bath sling – These are reasonably cheap and make it a lot easier to bathe them.  A bath is not necessary as they will grow out in a couple of months, a bath sling will fit into a sink if necessary.
  2. Change Mat – these are the foam cut out that sits onto a change table. It can sit anywhere flat and make it easier to change the baby.  It can sit on the floor or on set of drawers.  A whole change table takes up a lot of room and doesn’t have another purpose after the baby has grown up.
  3. Swing/bouncer – it’s great to have somewhere to put your baby that isn’t their bed! Sounds obvious but its important, you can’t put a newborn on a seat! A swing that has the option to vibrate and swing is perfect for babies with wind! They are not cheap and not essential but are useful to getting things done in the first couple of months.  If you have a friend happy to lend you one before buying one if preferable babies either love or hate them!
  4. Washers – I found washers the perfect size when they are little for spit up and burping. Smaller amounts of washing and cheap to buy in baby multipacks.

Budget Mum Blog

What did you find were essentials when buying baby equipment? I hope you save money when preparing to have a baby!


How being unorganised wastes money

Being unorganised is a hard rut to get out of.  But the problem is that it spills out over all parts of your life and makes it hard to get out of – however if you can keep these main areas organised you will save money month after month.  Which leaves you with more money for the fun stuff! So how does being unorganised wastes money?

How being unorganised wastes money
How being unorganised wastes money

How being unorganised wastes money

  1. Your bill payments – missing your payment schedule is throwing money away.  Often you will get charged for being only a couple of days late.  Creating a bill calendar will help you keep on top of it – setting up a direct deposit is easy and free and you will never forget.
  2. Your pantry & grocery bill – keeping your pantry and fridge organised and your grocery list lean your saving money on food that you already have or food your don’t need – get some tips Here. Having a couple of go-to meals that are either frozen or easy to prepare so those nights that don’t go to plan you have an easy solution that is NOT takeaway!
  3. Presents & Gifts – start early and save. Write your list earlier and buy when things go on sale.  Being more organised will help take the last minute “buy anything” problem and ultimately save you money along the way.  Also buy spare cards when you see cheap generic cards so you never are stuck with only $5 options.
  4. Buy clothes in off season – buying clothes for the season ahead is an easy money saver especially for children. Buying summer clothes in winter when they are marked down means you get quality clothes for less. For more tips have a look here

Budget Mum BlogAny other ideas that I may of missed? Let me know how you thinking being organised saves money?

Are you wasting money in your pantry – How to STOP

Being unorganised is sometimes unavoidable – or so it feels.  But the problem with disorganisation is that it spreads into every sphere of your life.  But being unorganised in your pantry really cost you more than just time and energy looking for food scrunched up the back of the pantry it also wastes money. So are you wasting money in your pantry?

not waste money in your pantry
How to save money in your pantry

First we will look at how being unorganised can cost you money in the supermarket.  By having a cluttered and overfull pantry you are not using the ingredients you have to their capacity.

  • You waste money by not using things before their used by date and having to throw them out.
  • You waste money by buying items you already own because you didn’t do a shopping list (or meal planner) or you couldn’t find them in your crowded pantry.
  • If you haven’t done a meal planner you buy food “just in case” and then you don’t use it and waste it.
  • You don’t store your food properly and waste items because they go off quickly.

Don’t get me wrong all of these things I am guilty of – I have 3 full jars of tomato paste in my pantry as I type this – but I am committed to cleaning up my pantry in an attempt to stop wasting money on food I already own (tomato paste) and have an organised pantry.  I am pretty good and meal planning but I am very guilty of buying food “just in case” and then wasting it.

Ways to SAVE money before you hit the supermarket.
  1. Clean and organise what you already own.  Throw out anything past its used by date.  Any other items that are in date but you know you wont be using (EG that can of water chestnuts…)  donate. Most supermarkets have a donation bin out the front for food donations to local charities – donate any food you know you won’t use here.
  2. Store food properly!!! Not just the pantry but also the fridge – bags and elastic bands are not a storage system.  If money permits a thousand times over I recommend tupperware! I started my ‘glory box’ (yep giant NERD) at 17 and a lot of stuff was Tupperware when my mum or sisters had parties I would buy.  I then also sold Tupperware which is an awesome way of getting free Tupperware.  BUT I understand not everyone is as into Tupper as me! Haha so if that’s you I suggest glass.  Glass jars are cheap and easy to find.  You can keep when you buy food in them – wash them in the dishwasher and fill with food.  You can also buy them from Ikea, Kmart and even Op Shops – wash and use.  Just make sure they have a proper sealing lid! Another cheap and easy to find option is formula tins! Paint the outside, wash the inside and you’re ready to go!
  3. Come up with meal ideas with what you already own including food that may be close to their used by date.
  4. Write a meal plan for you & your family for the week – include what you already own.  Put your food plan on your fridge to remind yourself what the plan is and stop being asked “what’s for dinner” a thousand times a day.  Check out these printable planners on my Pinterest
  5. Write a list and shop what you need for your meals.
  6. Store your food properly when you get home.  Wash vegetables and fruit – start preparation, like cutting up vegetables etc.  Put the newer food at the back and food to be used up at the front so nothing gets wasted. If you have space you could do something like below to get ready for the week ahead.
    Meal Boxes -
  7. Serve up your left overs – I find if I leave the leftovers in a large bowl they stay that way until it rubbish day.  But if I divide it up into lunch boxes they magically walk out the door.  (The times it doesn’t it get’s put in the freezer the following night).
  8. Have a whiteboard on the fridge so you can keep a list of leftovers that need to be eaten – great if you have teenagers.  The more leftovers that are getting eaten the more money you are saving.

Here are some cheap and cheerful items to get your pantry organisation started.

Ikea Jars
Ikea jars $9.99
Kmart meal planner
Kmart meal planner $3

I hope you can use some of these tips to get your pantry organised and stop wasting money!

Budget Mum Blog




20 ways to make extra income

20 ways to make extra income – everyone should have a side hustle.  Some way to make extra money on the side, to help you pay off that credit card or save up for your holiday.  The average millionaire has 7 sources of income, so you should at least have more than 1!  Here are 20 ideas to get you started!

20 ways to make extra income
20 ways to make extra income in Australia
Ways to make extra money
  1. Mow lawns in your area.  Perfect if you live in an area with older residents or business people that are too busy.  You can even start by using their lawn mower so there is no cash outlay.
  2. Start a blog.  Its not going to make money over night but eventually if you write about something that people are interested in – it could.
  3. Start baking – selling and decorating cakes and desserts.  People are so busy these days that this can be very lucrative.
  4. Tutoring high school students in a subject that you are good at.
  5. Delivering papers or pamphlets and as an added bonus you get exercise.
  6. Babysitting – a reliable trustworthy babysitter is worth their weight in gold.  Be a good babysitter and you will have too much work!
  7. Take in a boarder or international student to use up your spare bedroom.
  8. Sell your craft or cooking at local markets.
  9. Pick up the kids from school!  Be your own after school care, pick up the kids and give them afternoon tea until their Mum and Dad finish work.
  10. Become a dog walker – great if your a dog person and great for your fitness.
  11. Wash dogs – a job hated by many.  Turn it into a nice little money maker for yourself!
  12. House sit – especially great if you are between renting.  Sometimes you get paid and you save on rent.
  13. Become an Uber driver.  You choose your hours! Join Here
  14. Clean houses – who loves cleaner – no one!  So many people are happy to pay for someone else to do it for them!
  15. Clean out peoples gutters! All you need is a ladder and a garbage bag (or blower vac) and you ready to go.  Another job no body want to do.
  16. Be a ghost writer for bigger blogs or web sites.
  17. Rent out your garage for storage.
  18. Plant and sell plants.  Particularly easy if you choose plants that propagate quickly such as succulents.
  19.  Pool maintenance, cleaning others pools and getting the water tested for people who are busy.
  20. Clothes alterations, sewing and mending is a dying art.  Know how to hem a pair or pants and replace a zip and you have a nice side business.

Did I miss any ways that you make extra income???  I hope this list helps you to make extra income!

Budget Mum Blog


10 ways to make extra cash

Making extra cash can seem daunting if you are unsure about how to do it?  What would you sell?  How would you sell it?  Who would buy it?  Selling extra items from around your house is easy once you get started and a great way of keeping your house clutter free. Finding items to sell is the hardest part, but once you start you will easily find other things to sell. Ways to make extra cash is easy once you get started.

10 ways to make money
10 easy ways to make extra cash

People sell some very random stuff online – positive pregnancy tests, empty toilet rolls, vintage photos of random people or food looking like a Gremlin.  Think about what you have that you don’t want or need see if you can sell it. Some ideas that you could sell –

  • clothes
  • furniture
  • plants (especially plants that re-shoot very easily such as succulents)
  • sports equipment
  • children’s toys
  • electrical equipment – including old mobile phones
  • cd’s & dvd’s
  • vintage Tupperware, Corningware, plates.
  • vintage records
  • wedding anything (wedding dress, centre pieces, veil, shoes, bridesmaid dresses)
  • Power tools
  • books, especially text books
  • sewing machines/equipment

Once you have something to sell – double check your asking price with others in your area.  Look up sites such as (vintage items)

Once you set your price, choose where you would like to sell the item.

Ebay you have 20 free basic advertisements per month, but you may have to pay fees once your item is sold.

Gumtree is free to put a basic advertisement up, but it costs to renew your item if it doesn’t sell.

Facebook is also proving an easy way to sell items.  There would be multiple buy/sell & swap pages in your area.  This is great because there are no fees but it also seems to have a lot more time wasters.


Be creative with your listing. If you are selling your wedding dress – could it also be a formal dress? Is your item made before 1980 – could it be classed as vintage?  Be as descriptive as possible, measurements and a clear description will help your buyers and there will be less questions from potential buyers wasting your time.


If you have done your research I would suggest you set your price slightly lower if you need a quick sale.  Be aware that people will try to haggle on certain sites so you will need to price your item accordingly.  If going with Ebay, make sure your starting price is what you are willing to be paid. Make sure you do not underestimate the cost of postage – you can get caught here and eat into your profits quickly! Go to the Australia Postage Calculator to get an accurate pricing before you list your item.


Photos are best taken with the best light you can get – natural being the best.  If there is something wrong with the item make sure you photograph it and list it so people can see clearly the damage.  A picture can speak a thousand words – better to take more photos  so people get a clear indication of the item for sale.


Make sure that you don’t list your address on any sites.  If someone is interested make sure that another person is home if it is something that can’t be easily moved (furniture) or opt to meet in a safe place.  A Macdonald’s car park or somewhere that is well lit with a lot of people around (not a local park, or shopping centre at night).

Enjoy your earnings – you may get good at selling and appraising certain items and be able to buy things to sell quickly and make a profit.  Unintentionally I have done this many times with buying reduced clothes from a outlet store and selling them for a profit on ebay.  This especially works well if you hold them over for the next season when they are full price again (Eg jumpers, jeans).

Do you know of any items that I could add to the list that sell easily?

Budget Mum Blog

Stop wasting money on clothes.

When you are trying to saving money – many people often think saving money on clothes means shopping at Kmart and not getting anything of quality.  But actually shopping to save is quite the opposite.  Long term you will save a lot more money if you buy things that will stand the test of time in quality, construction and style.  So let me show you how to stop wasting money on clothes.

save money on clothes
Save money when buying clothes

BUT first you need to clean out your closet.  Like always if you have a messy, unorganised wardrobe then this is half your problem. Clean out all your clothes, I mean everything.  Anything that you don’t wear or doesn’t fit get rid of it.  Sell it or donate it but move it out of the way.  If you have a maybe pile, put it into a spare room or space.  If you don’t use them in 12 months get rid of them too!  A clean and easy to use wardrobe will make it easy to find clothes and wear a range of clothes instead of the same old clothes that are at the front.

save money buying clothes
Having an organised wardrobe helps you save money in the long term
Once you are left with things you actually wear – make a list of what you need and what you want.  Proiritise what you need sooner rather than later and ask your self this questions
  • I don’t own at least 3 things in my wardrobe already that it will match with?
  • Will I change my mind when I get home?
  • I don’t have an event/occasion coming up soon that I will wear it to?
  • Does it have special cleaning instructions, that will turn me off washing it and wearing it?
  • Is this item poor quality and will not last long?
  • Do I have to wear special underwear that I will stop me wearing it regularly (Eg Spanx or strapless bra)?
  • Do I need to lose weight to wear it regularly?
  • Do I need to put it on my credit card to afford the item?
If you answer YES to any of these questions, put it back, you shouldn’t waste your money on this! Then ask yourself these questions…
  • It this item overly trendy and I will only wear it one season?
  • Does this item something that I will get sick of quickly and stop wearing?

If this item cheap enough, then definitely consider it for a quick and easy update to your wardrobe but if it expensive and seasonal consider not buying it because chances are you will not get the value from the item.

What to look for when shopping
  • Neutral colours that will go with a lot in your existing wardrobe
  • Fabric that is easy to care for
  • Quality fabric that is going to last a long time
  • Classic styles that will mix and match with existing wardrobe
  • Quality stores that have a good reputation and rewards programs
  • Quality over brand names
  • Markdowns that offer good savings
  • Items out of season to maximise savings
  • Investigate shops you may not normally shop at (eg Target)
  • Don’t disregard buying second hand – EBay, second hand stores and garage sales in wealthy areas all offer high quality items heavily reduced.

When looking to buy clothes, wear suitable underwear and shoes to get a proper appreciation of what the clothes will look like when you are wearing them out.

Look for classic cuts and quality fabrics. Every summer in the January sales I buy a couple of tops that are in $100 range.  Not something I would normally spend but I have found that these tops have become my go-to I wear them to work and out and every time someone comments on how nice they are.  While these aren’t in my budget regularly they have all out lasted the Kmart tops that I buy regularly to ‘fill up’ my wardrobe and all wash and wear a lot better too!

stop wasting money
Stop wasting money on clothes

I hope this gives you some ideas how to stop wasting money on clothes and start saving money!

Budget Mum Blog