Having kept track of the budget for 4 weeks now, I am noticing a few things:
– we spend between between $50 and $100 per week on fruit & veg and this is consistently our biggest expense
– while restocking the pantry with oats, rice, nuts, etc we have spent between $34 and $70 (including fresh pasta & tofu)
– we are spending less each week on treats and ready to eat foods, with nothing spent on these in the last week
– we haven’t been out for dinner once
– Asha tells me that she has noticed we eat more healthy stuff and less sweet stuff
– Jay just loves the locally grown oats we have discovered – often eating 3 bowls of porridge for breakfast!
Bread – I have found that I can go to local independent bakeries and pick up a loaf of bread made with Australian grown flour for school lunches for between $2 and $3. Although Mark & I love bread we find at farmers’ markets including Movida and Red Beard, if we get one loaf, slice & freeze it – we still get our fix without blowing the budget.
Ice cream – I was very lucky to get an ice cream maker for Christmas – otherwise we would be spending the year with very little ice cream as we can’t buy from multinationals. It’s difficult to fulfill the kid’s definition of delicious without ice cream in summer, so I have been experimenting a lot while making our way through a few litres of bargain cream. Now that we have made the most of that, we will make gelato, ice cream or sorbet, depending on what we have and whether or not we can afford the cream from Schulz Organic Dairy that week.
Processed breakfast cereal is no longer welcome in our house, so I have been mixing up my own muesli with the newly discovered oats ($5 for 2kg) and any locally grown nuts, seeds, dried fruit we have from the markets. On weekdays, the kids have a choice between that and porridge. We have also made a rice porridge that was a winner – it just takes a longer than the oats to cook, but it’s not too long if I blitz the uncooked rice in the food processor first. I am surprised that the kids haven’t once asked for weet bix, or any of the other cereals we used to buy. I think we will all be quite happy to stick with the no breakfast cereal rule well beyond our 2013 challenge.
This week was the first time this year that I have bought any imported foods (which can only total $21.30 per week) – a whopping $21.20 on 500mls of both Shoyhu and Balsamic vinegar from Organic Wholefoods – a local, independently owned business I am happy to support. I was glad to see that once we use those, I can refill the bottles in the store and save a few $.
The running tally so far is that at the end of this week we are $18.55 under budget – it’s much tighter than I thought!