Definitely make a list of everything you have in your pantry and freezer and then have a think about what meals you can make with them and if anything can become a meal with just the addition of one or two things.
Dry pasta is incredibly cheap and only need a few ingredients to make it a nice meal.
I'm going to go against the grain and say meal planning in advance only makes me waste things. I prefer to buy 'on the day'. I buy less and get a proper idea of how much each meal costs - which is handy to know for future lean weeks.
Of course it's not always practical to shop daily so do what works for you.
Oh and FWIW, I don't think $300 a week as shocking as most other people seem to!
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16-01-2014 13:35 #21Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
16-01-2014 13:46 #22
If ur only needing to do it for a few weeks you should be fine just look thru freezer & pantry to see what meals you can make without buying anything first.
I think i could prob do a weeks worth of meals at least out of what we already have if needed.
16-01-2014 13:56 #23
OP I am going to join you. We go away on a holiday in 3 weeks and I trying to save every cent I can.
List the stuff in freezer/fridge/pantry.
Work out what meals I can make with no extra or 1 or 2 extra ingredients.
I hate having a meal plan that says Mon - blah Tues - blah blah. So I just make that list work. Cross meals off if I use them or ingredients.
Snacks - I will make and freeze
Try not to be out at meal times.
Keep water bottles on us when we are out. Etc..
Keep a reminder in your purse to why your saving.
Shop at op shops for the clothes and suitcases we need for trip etc...
Only buy one school uniform per child and only if they can't make do until the end of Feb. Grrrrh to the summer growth spurts)
16-01-2014 14:25 #24Senior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2012
I shop once a month at the supermarkets and spend about $300. I shop once a week at the markets (fruit and veg) and spend about $80 and shop once a month at the meat wholesaler and spend about $200. so our budget is about $180 a week for a family of 4 plus 3 cats, a dog and 6 chickens.
Dont buy pre-packaged stuff...this is where most of your money would go.
Swap stuff you buy for stuff you make
eg, make cookies, cakes, pizza (including base), sauces. Dont buy jarred soups/sauces, look up a recipe and make it yourself.
Buy rice, pasta and make meals around those things.
Buy homebrand stuff.
Dont buy pre-packages snacks for kids, make them yourself.
Shop for fruit and veg at the markets instead of the supermarket, its soooo much cheaper.
Get meat of special at the wholesalers, heaps cheaper than the butcher/supermarket...sometimes over half the amount of $.
Lastly check out this website for making squeezies for kids http://www.pouched.com.au/pouch-packs
16-01-2014 14:35 #25Junior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2014
We are in the same position never really had to scrimp for shopping mut now have to with lack of work and a few bills grrr what i have been doing is:
Pasta bakes in big batches can do two nights.
No take outs at all!
slow cooker meals are excellent to spread over two nights and if you grab a homebrand garlic bread its nice to dunk in.
only buy whats on sale or homebrand.
big boxes of cereal to go over the week.
shop late at night meat and hot chickens tend to go on sale just before they shut.
cleaning supplies can really hike up the bill when we are super broke i just mix water and detergent into an old spray bottle for cleaning and vinegar and water for windows.
kids snack foods instead of buying a box of chips, musli bars etc that have multiple packets inside and cost an arm and a leg i buy just a big bag of chips and seperate into sandwich bags same with teddy biscuits and homebrand bickies all just rationed out.
sunday is cooking day i make jellys, pancakes, muffins etc all from homebrand ingredients and put in top of cupboard.
send hubby and yourself to work with leftovers, cheap and make everyone envious from the yummy smell lol!
other things we do to get through tight weeks is cheap or free activities, like $2 movie night, blow homemade bubbles in the park, river swim etc it all helps round up the money
best of luck with it!
16-01-2014 14:44 #26
Thank you so much for your help everyone. A lot are assuming we buy ready made! infact i cook everything because i love cooking i just don't budget on any ingredients eg last night i made chicken mushroom and bacon risotto with greens and garlic bread. risotto was make using 1 large chicken breast, short cut bacon, litre of consume stock, over half a bottle of wine, herbs (home grown), onion, celery, closed cup mushrooms, ****arke mushrooms, bag of fresh parmesan and butter. plus the garlic bread and the broccoli and asparagus and it will do dinner tonight aswell.
i juice a lot so can spend $100 pw just on fruit and veg so il put that on hold for a few weeks. i can also see i need to plan meals better as i buy so many ingredients but some will be only used in one dish and then the rest is wasted.
i really do need help to get the cost down but neither of us like plain foods. im going to take a look through my freezer although i don't buy much frozen and my pantry does have lots in it so il try and get creative with that too.
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16-01-2014 14:48 #27Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2013
OP we are just like you! It's hard isn't it . We live in Alice springs where good food is expensive (11.00kg for red capsicums). Great tips!
16-01-2014 14:49 #28Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
I'm the same KH. I suspect our food bills are similar to yours for 3 people and we don't do much take away and extremely minimal packaged food (which only includes a block of chocolate for me here and there when I have PMS).
The times I walk out of the shops and realise "wow that was cheaper than usual" is when I make Asian dishes - pho, cold rolls, etc.
16-01-2014 15:44 #29Senior Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
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16-01-2014 15:47 #30
Cook from scratch, dont buy pre-packaged food most of the time, shop at aldi, green grocers and bulk butchers. I rarely eat meat so that helps too. I make all DS3's food myself. Meal planning helps a lot too.
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