Grocery Budget Busting ~ Week 3

3 weeks ago, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. If you haven’t read my previous posts here’s the start, Week 1 & Week 2.

Money Spent: I’ve now gotten quite low on a lot of things thankfully. My regular shop has been able to be lowered to approx $100-$120 per week. However, I feel this was due to running out of a lot of staple items. Going forward, I will lower by regular budget from $180 per week, to $100 per week, with also putting aside $20/week for those items that don’t come up regularly (laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning items etc)

I’m hoping that I can lower this even further as I feel I have a better grasp on what my family actually uses and needs for a full, healthy diet.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Devilled Sausages – this was a delicious family fave!
  • Shepherds Pie
  • Nachos (bulked up with beans, which made it last 2 meals, even though the kids weren’t a huge fan of the black beans)

I also discovered The Healthy Mummy website. It has heaps of free recipes that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m glad I stumbled across this site and I don’t need to purchase a whole pile of strange ingredients that I won’t be using again…..

Food Wasted/Thrown Out: this week I went through my sauces. Some expired 4 years ago! Oh dear. But it’s freed up room in my fridge, and enabled me to rearrange it a bit – I like it much more now. Less is definitely more with my new grocery mindset.

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: I have 2, TWO jars of Red Curry Paste. Guess I better cook something with it….

I think this will be the last regular post in this series, as I have happily gotten my pantry, fridge & freezer down to a less cluttered, usable level. I have cooked more, my family has eaten out less and I have saved money, enabling us to use it on other things (like a belated Valentine’s Day experience, an Apple Slinky machine and also paid for new makeup and uniform staples for myself because I’m going back to an actual job that I need to get dressed for) that we otherwise would not have been able to afford.

I really hope you’ve found inspiration in my self-imposed challenge. I will sporadically do more challenges and report back once I’ve found my happy medium of a new grocery budget.

Christine xx

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Grocery Budget Busting – Week 1 Report

Last week, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. 1 week later, here is my progress report.

Money Spent: I took out $180 (my usual budget) and have only used cash. When it comes to tomorrow (“grocery day”), I will take out another $180 to put in my cash envelope, and what is currently in my envelope has been moved to my “holiday” envelope.

  • 4L Laundry Detergent – $13.00
  • 2x 3L Milk – $6.00
  • 1x Cucumbers – $1.00 (my kids eat these like they’re going out of fashion!)
  • 500g Nectarine’s – $2.45
  • 680g Granny Smith Apples – $3.40
  • 1x Iceberg Lettuce – $2.00
  • 1x Tub Philly Cream Cheese – $4.00
  • 1x loaf of bread – $3.00
  • 200g Feta Cheese – $1.65 (purchased from the Deli section is so much cheaper then the packets)

TOTAL SPENT: $36.50.

My biggest expense this week was obviously my laundry detergent. but it’s always allowed for in my regular budget. My biggest eye-opener was the thought of how much I’m spending “just because that’s my budget”. My family didn’t starve. I purchased items that probably weren’t necessary (Philly Cream Cheese & Feta Cheese for example) but overall, I was more intentional with my shopping and saved quite a substantial amount this week.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Lasagne & salad (used a large lasagne in my freezer, leftover salad ingredients etc, this meal done us for 2 nights)
  • Mixed Berry Crumble (1 bag frozen mixed berries and misc baking ingredients from pantry) – this actually done us for 3 or 4 nights.
  • Seafood Marinara – we didn’t have any wine, so just left it out and substituted 1/4 cup water and used spaghetti instead. This lasted us 2 meals, with the kids having Sausages and salad the second night (sometimes they just like a picking plate)
  • Chicken, Pumpkin, Quinoa, Basil & Feta “Salad” – I forgot that there was a pumpkin in the shed, and also discovered some unopened, still-in-date basil with cashew and parmesan chunky dip. We were also given a roast chook from a tournament hubby was involved in over the weekend – Bonus! So I had to use it up. Plenty leftover for dinner the next 2 nights as well.
  • Last night, because hubby had enough of just having the Chicken & pumpkin dish, I got out some steak and we had that with the chicken dish as a side. We could have easily had no steak as there was enough, but 3 nights in a row was too much.

Food Wasted/Thrown Out:

  • One bag of something from the pantry. It was possibly Buckwheat. It seems to ring a bell when I look at it, but no idea what it is or what I would use it for and because of this, I had to throw it.
  • 1 and a half bags of Almonds
  • Half a bag of Veggie Crisps – these last 2 were full of weevils, which I didn’t realise until I packed some for hubby and he called to let me know. Oops.

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: Well, did you know we are apparently lolly hoarders. I have discovered a PILE of miscellaneous lollies as well as 6 Pez Dispensers – yes, SIX!!! For 2 kids. That rarely get Pez lollies. I have no clue why we have the amount of lollies we do, but I removed them from my pantry and after discussing with hubby, we tossed up between a) throwing the lot b) making ice cream treat cups or c) cutting up the chocolates etc and turning them into Cold Rock style Mix-in’s. We will be going with b I think and purchasing a 2L tub of ice cream and some disposable cups with lids, mixed-in the chopped up chocolates and put them in the freezer. Then I will throw out the remaining / not very nice looking ones.

Did you attempt this challenge? How did you go after 1 week? So far, so good and I’ll be going for another week yet at this stage.

Christine xx

Grocery Budget Busting

Usually tomorrow (Friday) is my grocery day! But this week, tired of the overwhelming mess in my pantry, I’ve decided to challenge myself by not grocery shopping – or at least drastically reducing the amount spent.

The honest mess in my pantry.

The plan: Use as many items in my fridge/freezer and pantry as I can.

Exceptions: I am allowed to purchase Milk, Bread/Wraps, fresh salad ingredients and fresh fruit (lunches and snacks). But ONLY when I’ve run out of the items we already have.

I have plenty of items to bake snacks for school – biscuits/cakes/slices, my freezer has enough meat and misc. items in there, as does my pantry. There were some things I’ve purchased because they were for a recipe that I never made (Tamarind Paste anyone).

My normal grocery budget is $180/week to feed a family of 4 (2x adults, Miss 5 and Mr 4). Overall, I would love to cut that down if possible.

My Goals:

  •  To save as much money as possible from my grocery budget.
  • Stop unnecessary overspending.
  • Get creative with my recipes using food I currently have available.
  • Declutter my freezers (we have one fridge/freezer combo plus an additional freezer).
  • Declutter my pantry.
  • Become more intentional and smarter with my grocery shopping and hopefully get my budget down as much as possible.

What I will report back: Recipes used, actual money spent on purchasing groceries and what I bought, updated pictures of my pantry, a list of anything I’ve thrown out (because of out of date etc) and amazing discoveries (because who knows what’s actually in the freezer & pantry).

CHALLENGE: Look in your pantry and freezer – could it do with a clean out? Instead of throwing out and being wasteful, could you maybe skip a week (or 2) grocery shopping and save yourself some money? What difference would this make to your family?

Let’s bust this grocery budget!!!

Christine xx

31 Days of Blogging Challenge.

Another Challenge I will be participating in is31-day-challenge inspired by The Caffine Gal (what can I say, her blog name just calls to my coffee-loving heart). However, I am choosing to do this challenge a little differently, as I don’t want to over-commit or limit myself and only post about this for 31 days straight.

I’ve decided to spread this post out a bit and keep the variety of my posts going (because there will be days where I just want to write about cake! haha) and so I will continue to write when inspiration hits.

I’ve also chosen to skip day 1 as I have done an Introduction post when I first started blogging, so straight onto day 2: 20 facts about me.

  1. I have brown hair & brown eyes.
  2. I have curly hair which I really dislike most days, but then there are other days when I simply love it, especially when I need a nice up-do quite quickly.
  3. I was married at 23.
  4. I had my first born (Miss S) on my 27th Birthday. Yes, I delivered my first child on my birthday.
  5. Mr L was born almost 2 years later, but I was only 28.
  6. I’ve had 2 c-sections, both emergency, one under general and one under spinal block.
  7. My husband has missed both births of our children.
  8. My husband and I have been married for 10 years this year (2017)
  9. I endured 2.5 years of IVF.
  10. But both children were conceived naturally without outside help.
  11. I have 4 nephews, but no neices.
  12. I have a handmade sewing business (Little Cherry Owl) that focus’ on Girls Clothing, but I also do embroidery and make all types of things from embroidered t-shirts, hooded towels, felt masks, finger puppets, keyrings, personalised items (e.g.: library bags, chair bags etc). I’ve been sewing for over 5 years as a business, but Little Cherry Owl is only 2 years old with this year being my make or break year!
  13. I really enjoy going to Gymnastics, even though I’m not fantastic at it, I still love it.
  14. I have only ever left the country once, which was for our honeymoon on a cruise.
  15. The first time I ever got on a plane was the day after we got married to go on our cruise.
  16. I have only ever visited Queensland and New South Wales. I haven’t been to any other state in Australia. (but hoping that will change in coming years)
  17. My favourite movie is Dirty Dancing. I have seen Dirty Dancing on stage twice, the first time was for my 21st birthday, the second was more recent. I much preferred the first one.
  18. I’ve seen Bon Jovi in concert – and LOVED every second of it. (I’ve also seen Roxette)
  19. I’ve always said I was born in the wrong era, I love older movies (think Dirty Dancing, Grease, Labyrinth etc) and older songs (Queen, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Bryan Adams)
  20. My brother-in-law sung our first dance song at our wedding. She’s The One, Robbie Williams version. He is so talented and it was such an emotional moment.

Well there you go, 20 facts about me. It was easier then I thought!!

Christine xx

 

Personality Test Results

So I’ve heard plenty about these tests on Podcasts, come across them on Blog Posts, so it’s my turn. Let’s have a bit of fun and see how these results vary.

First one was a Myers-Briggs style test from 16personalities.com – I looked at doing the actual Myers-Briggs test, however at $49.95 + tax, I’m not in a position to do that one at the moment. My result: ENFJ – T which stands for: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging (with the T being Turbulent) ~ and a link to my profile: https://www.16personalities.com/profiles/5890f4975594a

What Myers Briggs say about my personality type ~ ENFJ – Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.

Second, I tried Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tenancies Quiz. The four types are: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger & Rebel. Turns out, I’m an Obliger.

What Gretchen Rubin says about Obligers – Obligers respond readily to outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations. In other words, they work hard not to let other people down, but they often let themselves down. Obligers may find it difficult to form a habit, because often we undertake habits for our own benefit, and Obligers do things more easily for others than for themselves. For Obligers, the key to forming habits is to create external accountability.

Third is the Big Five Personality Test. My result is: I am highly open to experience (O), my score for openness was high, at 77.5%, I am highly conscientious (C), my score for Conscientiousness was high, at 82.5%, I am moderately extraverted (E), my score for Extraversion was moderate, at 47.5% (Myers-Briggs I received 59% extraverted), I am high in Agreeableness (A), my score for Agreeableness was high, at 87.5%, I am low in neuroticism, my score for neuroticism was low, at 17.5%. Some parts of this quiz I agreed with, others I don’t especially when reading the descriptions of each.

From the same website, I again took the test to check my personality type from the 16 choices. And again my result was ENFJ (62.67%) with my next closest one the ESFJ (59.95%).

Fourth is the DISC Personality Testing, I chose the free one, but again, there is a paid full assessment for $29. My at work DISC style is S/CD or S/DC.

What it says about my style S/CD or S/DC – You have a blend of Supportive, Cautious, and Dominant traits. Your Supportive traits are probably a little stronger than your Cautious or Dominant traits. Some words that describe you are: Helpful, Kind, Results-oriented, and Careful. You have both people-oriented and task-oriented traits, although you may tend a little towards a task-oriented perspective. You can either be reserved or outgoing. You probably like to get things done in a way that protects other people’s feelings. It is likely that you are supportive and careful, but you can get moving and make things happen if necessary.

Out of the personality tests I’ve taken, I found the Myers-Briggs most in depth and accurate, followed by the Gretchen Rubin Four Tenancies.

Today’s Challenge: Choose at least one test and discover what your result is. Share below and tell me what’s your type and do you find it accurate?

Christine xx

What’s in your bag?

When writing the draft for this I had “maybe clean out the bag first, or don’t and be 100% honest that it isn’t neat haha” so guess what I went for??

In the spirit of keeping my blog true to myself and to my readers, I decided to dump my bag and show you what you can find in there on a fairly regularly (let’s be generous and say monthly) basis.whats-in-my-bag-beforeYes, here is the 100% honest version of exactly what’s in my bag. The messy pile items vary day-to-day/week-to-week, but basically I had my sons thongs that were hurting his feet, so purchased new ones and was meaning to take these out when we got to the car. Done groceries and thongs were promptly forgotten, McDonald’s toy from the movie Sing, random receipts & rubbish, an old script, used iTunes voucher and Flybuys vouchers.

So after doing a quick, much-needed clean out, here is actually what SHOULD be in my bag on a daily basis (Note to self: throw out those receipts!!!):whats in my bag after.jpg

  1. My Handbag (obviously) ~ It’s a Chanel that my husband bought back for me from Dubai when he visited with his family, I had to stay at home with the kids as we thought they were too young to travel at the time, luckily we did as he had a 7 hour unexpected wait in Singapore so was travelling for over 24 hours – with 2 kids, yeahhhh NO! lol So I like to think it’s authentic, so we’ll go with that 😉
  2. Kikki K Planner in Large ~ This planner has everything I absolutely need in it. It’s basically my brain. Sometimes I will carry it in my bag with me, other times, it will stay in the car and I’ll take out what I need. I guess it depends on whether I am going to be sitting down (e.g.: going for coffee with friends, watching the kids play at the playground etc) as sometimes something pops up, or we are arranging the next meet-up or inspiration hits. This way it’s right there and I can write it down immediately. I’ll be doing a flip through planner set up post in the near future.
  3. Kindle Paperwhite & Handmade Carrier ~ I’m loving my Kindle. I do take this with me everywhere I go as I can read when I am able to. It saves me carrying around a book or 2 as sometimes I feel like reading a self improvement book, other times I love losing myself in some fiction. The Cinderella Kindle Pouch was made by myself on my embroidery machine. I LOVE it. It’s padded so it protects my kindle when thrown in my bag. Sometimes I just throw my phone and some cash in here and carry the pouch on it’s own.
  4. Laura Jones Wallet ~ I saw this design and fell in love. I umm’d and ahh’d about it because 1. I had a handmade wallet that was ok, but not perfect, but maybe I could make a new one that was and 2. It’s mostly white….. I must say however, that the white has held up remarkably well and I don’t regret the purchase at all. It has PLENTY of space for all my cards, I can put my phone in there and carry it as is if I want and it has a separate section for those not-as-often-used cards.
  5. Keys ~ What can you really say about keys, here’s my roller door button, I drive a Mazda 6 Diesel Sedan/Hatch, it also has my house keys. Ohhhh exciting.
  6. Finally, my iPhone 6 ~ Yes, I’m an Apple girl. I love my iPhone and have been using one since the 3 come out, and last year I upgraded to a MacBook Air for my laptop. I love the connectivity between devices. Unfortunately I no longer have a pretty case on my phone as a result of having this funny habit of dropping my phone and the skill to manage to drop it at just the right angle to smash my screen costing me $$$ 😦 (once I even managed to close my iPhone 5s in the door while it was in my jumper pocket, resulting in a shattered screen and a bent phone, yep, I have skills) So ugly Otterbox case it is.

So, there you have it. My real-life What’s in My Bag? post. The brutally, embarassing showcase of what happens when your a mum. So when you see the other posts that look like a flat-lay for a magazine, and wish your handbag looks like that, don’t be scared, you aren’t alone.

Today’s Challenge: Are you brave enough to take a brutally honest photo of What’s in Your Bag?? (Or am I completely alone in the mess?)

Christine xx

While the Kettle Boils

Following on from my post about 1 Minute to a Tidier House the other day, I thought I would “time” myself and see exactly how much I could get done while the kettle boils.

I took a photo, filled the kettle, turned it on and made a start.

It’s currently school holidays (week 6 of 6!!!) and kids have block  swimming lessons everyday starting at 9. So I did run out of the house and left everything after breakfast.


Kettle boiled, turned it off, snapped another picture. Now, it may not seem like a huge difference, but usually I would stand around, be all grumpy and upset at the mess, and then just wait until the kettle boiled.
Here’s a closer look at the benches. What I didn’t do while the kettle boiled that I really wanted to do was wipe down the benches. So guess what, before I poured my cuppa, I grabbed the spray, a paper towel and got to work! (I done this step after I took the pic because I wanted it to be an honest representation, not that you can really tell from the pictures)

So today I would like to set a challenge for all you readers out there. Take a photo, start your kettle and when it’s boiled, take another photo. Can you see the difference? Or if you aren’t a tea or coffee drinker, set the timer, any timer for 3 or 5 minutes and do the same thing, in any room of the house.

Christine xx 

PS: It’s official, Happy Little Housewife has joined Instagram. Find me by searching @happylittlehousewife1 or click here. I’m also on Facebook and Pinterest (Pinterest is an all encompassing account that covers my creative and family passions).

Decluttering 2017 items in 2017.

I saw a post by Amy on More Time Than Money about this challenge, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I was intrigued, her post inspired me, so I headed over to Nourishing Minimalism and signed up!!

IMG_1228.JPGI look around at my mess of a sewing room (At the moment it looks like I’ve been robbed, especially after orders, Christmas, school holidays and general neglect). And I know that I am already going to be able to smash out these 2017 items. I will start here. Items will be sold, given away (Donated) or trashed. They will all count.

I’ve printed out 2 copies of the checklist, one is 2x A4 size pages, the other is 2 to a page so I can add it into my Kikki K journal to keep me on track. I’ve mentioned before how I feel less stressed with less stuff to maintain and I think this challenge will give me the kick up the bum I need to get a start.

 

Motivation is at a high, sewing room, here I come!!!!

Christine xx