Keep your budget on track, and your shop healthy at the same time.
The weekly food shop – a task that can put fear into any parent. For me at least, what I hate even more is not doing it, and then having to pop into the supermarket every day.
It's a sure way for my budget to go completely out the window, and instead, I focus on just having something on the table that night.
When I plan out my meals and can take into account different evening activities etc, the whole week goes a whole lot smoother.
Here are my top 10 tips to keep your budget on track, and your shop healthy at the same time:
1. Have a food plan written up before you go shopping. List every dinner decision for the week, along with any essentials you're running low on. If you can follow a list and cross off as you go along, you're far less likely to impulse buy those unnecessary extras. This includes treats too so that you're not nipping back to the store later on in the week, where you'll end up buying more.
2. Try to go shopping alone (nice idea) or do your order online, so the kids aren't chucking extra items in. It'll also be much quicker, and you won't dread doing it every week.
3. Think of which ingredients you can use multiple times. For example, if you're buying potatoes for one meal, plan to use the remainder in a different way for another meal.
5. Make more than you need for dinner, and use the extra portions as lunch for the next day, or freeze it to eat another week.
6. Buy meat, fruit and vegetables from independent stores. This is a tricky one as it doesn't always work out cheaper, but it's well worth a look at your local butchers/greengrocers. They tend to have more deals and you can buy more for less in bulk.
7. Meat tends to be the focus of most dinners, but I suggest planning a couple of meals per week that are strictly vegetarian. Think pasta, soup, homemade pizza with veggies, or a hearty salad.
8. Check out the specials at different supermarkets. One may have 2-for-1 yoghurts, whereas another might have half-price condiments.
9. Fortunately, most stores now have their own home brand products, which are cheaper. They look and taste the same so give them a go.
10. At the end of the week, use up all those leftover veggies in a big stew, soup, or casserole. Freeze it for future lunches and dinners.
When my daughter started daycare, I spent a lot of time trying to find the right fit for her and our family. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. Over and over again though, the answer to my question would come back the same, "she'll be fine."
I want hours upon hours of delicious sleep followed by hot cups of tea, reading my book and nothingness. But I'll have to get up now to comfort, feed, clean, dress, entertain, love, laugh, play, and repeat.