There are two people and a rabbit in my house and I really didn’t think we spent a lot on groceries until I began looking at other peoples’ budgets a few years ago. You know the budgets I’m talking about the ones in which a family of four ate well spending less than I did on 2 people. I did a weekly shop based on the sales so I was clearly saving money, right?
Yes and no – I was paying less than full price for things but was often spending my entire budget on food stuff I wouldn’t use for quite some time or were fun. I would go over my grocery budget but because it was all on ‘good stuff’ or was helping my baking addiction I would justify the expenses.
Over the course of the last year I started actually staying within my budget and I’ve gotten even better since I started to blog. Starting last month I cut my monthly grocery budget by $50, not a lot of money weekly but enough that I began to realize how far my dollars can go when I changed my focus.
Here are some things I learnt:
- It isn’t more expensive to eat healthy when you were buying cheap but not filling’ junk’ food
- Flyers are no longer my best friends – a lot of the sale food is highly processed. I still go through them and price check to ensure I’m getting good deals
- I don’t need a freezer full of food to eat healthy (pet peeve: the number of people who highly recommend that I cook loads and freeze it. For some reason this doesn’t work for me.)
- I don’t live in an area with a lot of coupons so I was pleasantly surprised to realize that this didn’t break the bank
- I’ve always loved leftovers. Growing up we didn’t call them leftovers it was a case of mum or dad made something and the family ate it until it was finished. Occasionally they would freeze portions. Generally I can eat the same thing for lunch and dinner.
- I still hate menu planning but I understand it’s purpose. Even a rough menu keeps me on track.
- Make it with less. I grew up in a home with highly seasoned food which is what I want. My mum taught me how to get gourmet flavour without breaking the bank. She always focuses on a few key spices/seasonings and allows them to shine. The money this woman has saved me by advising the ingredients that can be left out without sacrificing taste is remarkable.
- You do need time to cook but there are an array of recipes that take less than 30 minutes that pack healthy punch.
- Healthy does not have to mean boring.
Photo courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net