After months of supermarket shock, I have finally found a way to get my spend under $200 a week. I didn’t think I could cut back too much, being a thrifty mumma with meal plans, until I realised that it was the meal plans which were causing the problem. I had wrongly assumed that planning was the best way to avoid buying extra food, so surely that was the best way to stick to a budget.
Most of the meals in my plan were a little elaborate and required a few things to be bought just for that meal. I liked cooking up a storm each night and trying new meals all the time, and the recipes from my favourite The Healthy Food Guide were guaranteed to be healthy choices. However I was finding myself spending at least $250 each week, and when this cheap and cheerful housewife added each week up over a month, that was one expensive jandal I simply couldn’t handle!
Time for a new approach, and the one I’ve come up with could not be simpler – meat and three veg. Just like your grandmother made. Meal planning before I hit the supermarket meant I couldn’t make the most of meat specials, which is where aaaall the savings can be found. So now I attack the supermarket with a much shorter list, throw a mountain of veges into the trolley and then shop the specials in the meat section.
Life has gotten simpler since switching to meat and three veg. The meals are much quicker to prepare, which is nice, especially on weeks when I have work and time is more precious than ever. They are also just as healthy, because veges make up the biggest portion of the plate. I like that the kids are learning a big o’ pile of veges is the norm and most nights they even try them without too much drama. Best of all, I never run out of complicated ingredients which require extra trips to the supermarket, saving more money and more time.
We’ve taken to cooking special meals in the weekends now. It’s nice because we can cook together and take our time and we can buy the odd expensive item as a treat. There’s even extra money to grab takeaways if we both happen to get hit with the lazy stick one night.
All in all, our meals are simpler but so is our life and with two kids and too much to do, I’m opting for simple more and more these days, especially when it means sweet, sweet savings!