Some things have worked well, some areas have been adjusted and there has been the odd overspend but all in all I am so far happy with how things are progressing and will continue to refine the process.
Things that are working well:
- Checking what is in the garden on a daily basis to see what can be added to a planned meal, can have a future meal built around it or can replace a planned meal so that it does not got to waste.
- Using any gifted or traded food in the same ways mentioned above.
- The new separation of "This Week" and "Future" on the white board has meant I know what needs replacing at all times but can make a judgement on the urgency of that replacement.
- The budget has been increased to $70 per week. This is now made up of my $50 a week plus and additional $20 a week for hubby to spend buying what he likes to take for lunch each day and to top up his milk supply during the week. Most weeks this consists of 1 kg carrots, 2 kg bananas, 2 kg apples, 6 litres of milk (additional to the 5 litres I buy each week as he drinks over litre a day) and a bag of some type of nuts.
- Making one of the planned meals each week a meal from the freezer. This allows me to have at least one night off cooking a week, means nothing needs to be purchased to create the meal which means if we have more left overs than expected that we could create an additional meal from or there is a change of events for the week, we automatically have a meal we can drop from the menu plan with no waste created or budget overspend.
- I have discovered that tracking when I shop is also important as it means I do not end up with any 5 day weeks and know when I can spend a little more if it has actually been 2 weeks since I shopped.
Things that have not worked so well:
- For the first month I did not track when I shopped which meant that there was actually 5 shops in just over 4 weeks, this has now been addressed.
- I over-spent on the budget picking up vegetable specials one week. Although they were good value that "special" impacted on the budget, meant vegetables in the garden did not get used and other items that were already planned to be used were purchased as well meaning they were not as fresh when they finally got used a could really have been put off until the next week.
- Just having a shopping list and not having a over view of the meal plan for the week with me when doing the shopping meant that I was not able to adjust my meal plan to take advantage of specials as I mentioned above.
|Home made Salmon Flan using lots of eggs, silverbeet, spring onions and dill from the garden.|
I am generally happy with the new system and these few refinements are making it easier each week that passes but I will continue to look out for other refinements that need to be made.
Have you changed how you shop?
What strategies do you use to stick to a meal plan or budget?