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

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

The Newest Addition to our Family

DISASTER – our dishwasher finally gave up the ghost. After being temperamental and only heating on the odd occasion, the door finally stopped closing. Noooooooo.

And of COURSE I had a busy few days, so the dishwasher hadn’t been run the last few days. *Gulp* 3 days worth of dishes to hand wash. I wanted to cry.

Lucky for me, hubby was happy to go shopping and replace it (have I said how much I love him???) and we replaced our Electrolux Dishlex with a Westinghouse. Still stainless steel but super quiet and shiny. 

Stay tuned for an honest review next week after giving it a few catch up loads and while I work out what’s best for our every day load. I’m excited to play with our upgraded features and get back to a clean, no dishes on the sink kitchen.

Christine xx

When Routines “Fail” – or do they??

This weekend was super busy, Gymnastics classes for both kids and myself, I went out with some lovely school ladies for a High Tea raising money for the Breast & Prostate Cancer Foundation on Saturday, then Sunday the kids and I browsed the markets, went grocery shopping, had swimming lessons and then had an impromptu play date at the beach. I don’t even know what happened Monday (I do know that we had 2 school friends over for a play Monday afternoon after school) & Tuesday – no clue, but today….. Today, I woke up and looked around my house and all I saw was MESS! Aghhhh. How did that even happen? So I had 2 options.

  1. I could beat myself up, get cranky that I failed, yet again, at keeping the house clean OR
  2. I could take some photo’s, and get back into my regular routine.
Kitchen’s a mess again – bugger!

Guess which option I chose? Yep. I took some photo’s (because – blog) and decided to just get into it. So I started with an extension of my 10 minute morning routine. It did take a little longer then normal, because I never got around to finishing unpacking the groceries Sunday, so had a rockmelon’s exploded mess on the kitchen tiles – ewwwww. (The photo was taken AFTER I had cleaned up that mess)

I still had a bit of time before the school run, so I started to put away kids clothes and quickly picking up their room and making beds. I also managed to tidy off the bathroom cabinets by putting stuff where they belong and changing over the towels and bathmat (a normal Monday job, which I didn’t get around to doing this week). All in 15 minutes.

With school drop off done, I went for a walk to clear my head, put on a podcast and walked my (not so) little butt off. Come home, changed over my load of washing and had my yoghurt for morning tea while starting this post.

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I swear my laundry exploded. Dirty clothes and towels on the floor/in front of machine & clean clothes waiting to be put away on bench.

So time to tackle the house. 3 loads of washing done and hung out, all other clean clothes put away. Fresh towels and mats in the bathroom, toilet and kitchen. Kitchen bench cleaned off and groceries finished being put away. Floor swept and mopped. Lunch made for hubby & me – and I’m done.

Now, I’m certainly not perfect, and I’m definitely NOT wonder woman. My lounge, dining room & toy rooms still need to be picked up and vacuumed, my sewing room and the spare room still resemble being robbed, but that’s ok.fail quote 2.jpg

Today I made progress. I exercised, have made healthy choices with my food, I’ve written this blog post and my house is that much more cleaner from the effort I have made today. And that’s what this journey is about. Progress. Moving forward.

So no, my routine did not fail. I certainly did not fail Looking back, I made the right choice, I got on with it. Thank god I had those routines in place, because this task wasn’t so overwhelming. But if you haven’t got your own personal routines in place yet, don’t aim to do the whole house, top to bottom and decluttered all in one day, because you won’t. But in saying that, don’t think ‘well I can’t clean it all up so I won’t bother doing anything’. Do something. Make progress. Start. Because tomorrow, it will be just that little bit more easier, more cleaner and tidier and much easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And if you’re needing more inspiration, or you really get in and clean but never notice a difference – take some before and after pics (see below). Most people have a digital camera or a camera on their phone. It’s amazing to see it in your face even if you feel like you’ve made no progress, and the beauty of it is you can delete these pictures afterwards. (or show hubby when he says “what did you do all day” hehe)

Christine xx

kitchen-before-afterlaundry-before-after

 

 

 

 

Drowning in Plastic Containers.

Plastic Container / Tupperware Cupboards or draws. Man do they suck. I’m certain at one time or another everyone has that chuck and shut manoeuvre down pat. Surely? Or is it just me – eek. I had plastic in the corner cupboard, in the spare room (bed, floor AND in the cupboard) and in some draws as well as ones we were actually using in the pantry & fridge. Not to mention the kids lunch box containers.

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This photo was taken AFTER I had already stopped putting containers back in there a week prior in preparation to attempt this task.

More then one family of 4 could possibly need – or want. BUT I kept buying. Why? Because I could never find that blooming lid, or oh here’s the lid I need, but where’s that blinking container??? We had the lids shoved in baskets, that then turned into 2 baskets (because you know, round and then rectangle/square) yeah right. That lasted all of 5 minutes (ok, probably longer, but it just didn’t work for me long term).

So, I’d finally had enough. First I got rid of all the kids containers. You know those cheap plastic ones you buy in I swear packs of 1000, either that or they breed! Donating all of them, along with the plastic cutlery that come with the package was such a relief. My containers I kept fit neatly, I was even able to put the kids plastic cups in these little baskets because I was sick and tired of them climbing up and standing on my kitchen cabinets to reach their cups.

That was one thing done. It was easy. It was immediate satisfaction and such a difference. YAY! Next – the dreaded PLASTICS……. I seriously felt like I wanted to cry. So the best place for me to start was piling them all in the one place together….

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Yep…. Why in the world did I think we needed more again?? 

Next I divided them up into brands. Tupperware, Decor, Sistema, other random containers. Then decided what I really needed/should keep. I decided I should keep my Tupperware, as honestly, they are by far the most expensive and I do like them. So they were my number one priority. I found all the ones I did like, and weeded out the ones I didn’t (because let’s face it, 1. they wouldn’t all fit in my corner cupboard, 2. we don’t find all of them ideal, and 3. I am a sucker for that silly “Spend $75 and get a Mystery Pack valued over $100 for only $25” deal) I always end up with at least one thing that I don’t have a use for. But I keep it. Because – well, I have no clue why. I even found a piece of Tupperware STILL IN PLASTIC. Obviously, it’s so well used and loved and I’m scared of breaking it…. or something. Aghhh *rolls eyes*.

Now when I repacked my “Plastics Cupboard”, this time I decided to put them back WITH the lids on. And you know what, it looks FANTASTIC!!!! I’m not cursing or complaining because I can’t find a lid. I reach in, grab what I need and easily close the door. No more chuck and shut!IMG_9954.JPG

I also decided to keep a few Decor containers (Like the clear ones with the green rimmed lid) because I just don’t have Tupperware containers that fit what these are specifically used for. And I’m not going to just buy for the sake of “it has to be Tupperware”. I have also put in my spare cupboard MOST of the Sistema containers, because they are handy as well.

BUT I did get rid of a huge amount. I have some Tupperware that I’m hoping to find lids of once I finish decluttering that dreaded spare bedroom (it’s a work in progress, and a HUGE job). I have a box of “to donate” plastic items. And I don’t miss a single item so far, and this was a few weeks ago. I haven’t even thought about the Sistema ones in the spare room. So they may still (probably will) get sold/donated down the track when I attempt that room.

I’m so glad I tackled this area, I’ve found a happy medium of the amount of containers I can handle, and I can keep it neat, stay on top of it and most importantly, it no longer makes me insane (and no-one is asking me where’s the lid for this). If you have a Plastics Cupboard/Draw that is driving you nuts. Maybe consider why it is doing so. The answer may be simpler then you think!!!

Christine xx