Monday, 13 July 2015

Changing The Way I Shop - Update

At the end of May I posted here about how I was going to change the way I shopped in order to reduce our spending due to me cutting back on my work hours so I could go back to uni.

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.
Things that have been adjusted:
  • 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?


  1. It is a good reminder that a weekly shopping is 7 days and not 5 days. Some years ago I took the cash out for the month for my shopping and put the money into 4 envelopes with the date of the start of the week so that I used that amount of money during that week and had to get the next lot out on the right date. Mostly I got through to the 7 days sometimes I had to dip into it at day 6 but I always felt in control of my grocery spending. I also like the shopping list now and the future because right now I have run out of sesame oil but I may not need to replace it for a couple of weeks but it still needs to go onto the list. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

    1. Kathy I used to do the cash thing but I find the card easier these days.

  2. I have been creating a menu plan in a little exercise book, and on the other side, put the ingredients needed. At first I got very precise, but now I just choose about 5 meals (since I plan to eat some freezer meals, and also freeze leftovers. It is helpful to have the previous menus on hand as when I go to the supermaket and see something on a very good special I can change and incorporate that into this weeks meals. 70.00 a week - I wish i could get ours down that low. Mostly ours is about 100.00.

    1. AA we do not have to buy meat very often as we have our own. I like the idea of the note book.


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