My grocery budget is tight - $103.30 a month! That's half what it was when disaster struck and I was feeding two adults and two toddlers. And yet we haven't gone without anything, and while the stockpile is a little depleted, it's still looking very good.
Summer is helping. The garden has been a huge blessing. I've picked lettuce, capsicums, cucumbers, silverbeet, tomatoes, beans and eggplant every day for weeks. That tonne of oranges I bought for 5 cents a kilo has meant I haven't had to buy much fruit either, just a couple of different pieces each fortnight for a little variety. All those potatoes I bought have kept well too - we're on the last bag. Once they're gone I'll be shopping around but if the spuds are too expensive there is 35 kilos of rice to see us through.
The new budget has changed my way of shopping. I go each Thursday and buy two bottles of milk and two loaves of bread. Once a month I've been doing my regular pantry/fridge/freezer inventories, checking the meal plan and writing up a shopping list of just what we need. If there's anything I have that can substitute something on the list, off it comes.
Shopping day is so easy, mainly because I'm only buying fruit, bread and milk - about two bags of groceries. So far the stockpile has supplied all our grocery needs just as I planned and it's still looking good. It was boosted by a gift of rice, noodles, seasonings and canned tomatoes before Christmas for which I am very, very grateful.
The boys are pulling out some of the summer veggies and digging compost into the veggie beds for me so they'll be ready to plant for winter veggies. We eat a lot more veggies in winter and they will be expensive. I just know my budget won't stretch to give us the variety I like so we'll be growing more than usual this year.
The plan is to grow:
- Bok Choy
- Chinese Cabbage
- Spring onions
- Brown onions
Of course planting will be staggered throughout the rest of summer/autumn/winter. It's far too early to put potatoes and onions in, but I can get the beds ready and in the meantime grow something else in them.
Getting the winter veg started will take the pressure off freezer stocks (and me!).
All in all, so far this super-tight grocery budget hasn't been super-tight at all.