I have been thinking about how to use my food budget better. I know that we’re spending less on food when there are only two of us in the house. I put that down to making fewer trips to the supermarket or the fresh food markets for starters. DH seems to make a trip to the supermarket nearly every day after work and there goes $20 or so, not necessarily on food that we need, but food that we’d like.
Andrea Frazer has written about how much per week and month she spends on food. I know that my grocery bills go up on those weeks when toilet paper, cleaning sprays, paper towel or kitchen sponges are on special. I tend to have a siege mentality when it comes to toilet paper. 12 rolls hiding in the linen cupboard are OK, 18 rolls are better, 24 means I don’t have to buy for quite a while, even with visitors. Also, when I have to buy nappies for Mimi, the grocery total is enough to make my eyeballs rotate in horror! Hurry up and use the toilet, gal!
I buy essentials from a cheaper supermarket now. The flour, oil, tea, coffee and so on are the same quality and taste the same but it’s considerably cheaper. I’d buy their nappies, too, but it seems that they’ve got problems with their supplier. Baby wipes are almost as good as the expensive ones, the facial tissues are equally good as the branded ones, and the tuna is nearly as good as Sirena.
Vegetables and fruit come from the markets, where Mimi has a great time taste-testing apples, pears, oranges, pineapple, and more from the special plates out the front of the stalls. (Saves me giving her afternoon tea sometimes!) If we go at 5 pm on a Sunday when they’re closing up, we get bargain bags for $1. However, and it’s a big however, I refuse to buy something on the basis of it being cheap. Sure, three bundles of spinach for $1 is cheap, but if I don’t use it, or don’t have time to blanch and freeze it that very night before it turns, then I am wasting a dollar and refusing its use by someone who might actually want it. There is a fine line between being thrifty and foolish, sometimes.
I cook in bulk and freeze meals in portions if I have time on Sunday afternoons. That was my task yesterday. While Mimi played with her ride-on tractor, I made 24 spinach and cheese parcels (ready-made puff pastry is a time-saver). Mimi had two for dinner and the rest are in the freezer. I also made a large quiche with the eggs that a friend gave me. Delicious – eggs from happy chooks who live in a big backyard have more flavour and cook better. That quiche should have about 6 serves. There’s enough salad ingredients to last until Thursday. Still in the freezer, waiting to be cooked, is a chicken breast that I got for $3 per kilogram less than advertised because it was bought late on a Sunday afternoon. The butcher also threw in a load of wing tips for the cats. I was one very popular Meowmie when I gave them the wings.