Shopping for food

12 March 2018
March, week 2 in The Simple Home

This week we'll focus on shopping for food and I'm guessing that will mean vastly different things to most of you. Some will be buying everything they eat, some will be producing a small amount - maybe herbs or eggs, some will produce most of their food and many of us will buy raw ingredients so we can home-make some of the products we used to buy.

A popular meal here and very easy to make and freeze - lasagne.

I’ve gone from being an ordinary housewife, using my food budget to provide as much as I can for the money I have, to being someone who looks for fresh food that’s produced locally and ethically. I only want to buy into a food chain that considers kindness and quality of life in close alliance with nutritional values and profit. I always check labels and never buy products from compromised locations such as China and Thailand. I silently sigh every time I pick up a food product that I know is grown in my own country, but it has been imported from somewhere else. We are shooting ourselves in the foot doing that.

It gives me a feeling of purpose to select, prepare and serve our food here at home. I believe one of the most important parts of my homemaking is to provide food that will keep us healthy, supports our values and is within the budget I've set for our grocery shopping. It's an ongoing job and something that takes planning and organisation as well as the actual shopping itself. But the selection of that food and growing some of our own fruit, vegetables and eggs, allows me to use many of the skills I've developed along the way. I didn't start out with any sort of expertise in budgeting, menu planning, stockpiling, food storage, gardening, seed collection, pruning, composting, animal husbandry, preserving, pickling, baking or cooking from scratch but teaching myself as I went has allowed us to develop a life far better than the one we used to live.

Making the most of your food budget
I have no doubt that if you do all your food and grocery shopping at the supermarket, you’ll miss some of the bargains that can be found out in the community. Ask your friends and neighbours if they shop at the local butcher, greengrocer, dairy or fishmonger. Find out which local markets are the best. Many markets are open every weekend, and if you find a good one, you may be able to shop there for fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.

Home grown greens are usually easy to grow and can save you a few dollars while providing the freshest nutrition.

If you have good neighbours, close family or friends near-by, you might do some bulk-buying with them to make real savings. Don’t rule out bulk-buying even if you’re single or there’s just the two of you. All you need is a good stand-alone freezer. Sometimes we buy a side of pork or lamb but you can also buy a fore quarter or hind quarter and have it cut and packed to order by the butcher. If you bulk-buy meat you’ll pay the same reduced price per kilo for the whole side or quarter. That price varies, but often it’s about half what you’d pay in the supermarket. Find a butcher near you and phone them for a quote. If you live in a city and you’re close to the fruit and vegetable markets or fish markets, you might be able to do the same thing there.

Make your own spice mixes, sauce and gravy bases. They are preservative-free and much cheaper than store bought ones.

Living well on a small amount of money is not about the big choices. It’s a series of consistent decisions to live on the budget you’ve defined for yourself. It’s about shopping for value for money bargains and making as much at home as you can. If you have the time to make some of the things you now buy - such as sauces, bread, yoghurt, jams, spice mixes, pickles etc, you’ll save money, and probably get a better product. If you can reduce your grocery bill you’ll be able to make savings every time you shop and that will probably mean big savings over the year.

But before you’re faced with those choices, you have to organise your money, and that means making up a food budget. If your eyes just glazed over and your pulse started to race, it’s not as bad as you think. You set your own limits, you write your budget according to what you need and the money you have coming in. You are the main definer of your fate. 

Menu planning

An easy mid-week meal - lamb chops, potatoes and cheesy cauliflower.

If you can put aside some time to plan two to four week's menus, you’ll go a long way towards saving money., you’ll cut down on food wastage and you’ll feel more in control because you’ll know what’s planned every day. Start your menu list with your family’s favourite meals and then add a few new ones you want to try. Make up your week’s shopping list according to what's already in the fridge as well as what you need to buy for that first week. That’s all you need to do to start, and when you’re halfway through your first week, add more meals to your second week. It’s fine to repeat easy and favourite meals.

Homemade cake is just flour, eggs, sugar, milk, butter and natural flavourings - no preservatives.

I encourage you to start menu planning in an organised way. You have to deal with recipes, calendars and shopping lists, so if you can combine them all in one app, book or spreadsheet, it will make the task much easier. I use the Paprika app and it's made a new woman of me.

There are two common ways to menu plan: you can shop with a shopping list and buy what is on special and in season, then menu plan when you have your supplies. Or you can collect the flyers and plan the menus before you go shopping. I think the second method is the safest, because you will be able to shop for everything you need if you already know what you’ll be making. Make sure you use leftovers as part of the overall plan and use the seasons as your guide to better quality and cheaper fruit and vegetables. Just remain flexible, and if you see something that isn’t on your list that you can't resist, either buy it for the following week if it will keep, or change one of your meals to include what you find.

Permanent shopping list
Menu plans don’t work for everyone – that’s when a permanent shopping list comes in handy. This is a list of all the groceries you regularly buy. It lives in your computer and you print one off before you go shopping, and just tick the items you need that week. It’s much easier than compiling a weekly shopping list because you’re not trying to remember brand names and sizes, and if it’s not you who does the shopping that week, you know you’ll still have the products you usually buy. Remember to include brand names and sizes if they’re important to you. I don’t care about brand names for their own sake, but I want to buy Australian-grown and Australian-made, so we check that before we buy.

You can make drinks at home too.  Above is lemon cordial, below ginger cordial, both can be added to black tea in winter.

It takes a while to build a permanent shopping list. Start off with headings, and as you think of certain products, add them to the list under a heading. Here is an example of the categories you can use for your permanent list - add any you need and delete those you never buy:

Baking


Bathroom

Bread


Canned food


Cleaning

Condiments and spreads


Dairy


Drinks


Dry goods and grains

Fresh fish


Frozen food

Fruit


Meat


Odds and ends


Oils: cooking and salad

Paper products/bags


Pets and chickens

Seasonings and spices


Sugars and syrups


Vegetables and herbs


Other



Stockpiling groceries
The thing that will support you cooking from scratch more than anything else is to have the ingredients you need on hand. Whether you’re in a large family or live alone, stockpiling groceries will give you the convenience of having a cupboard full of groceries available to you twenty-four hours a day. If children come home from school and hand you a note saying they need to have some cupcakes for the school fair the next day, no problem. If someone drops by out of the blue for dinner, you won’t be frantic wondering what you’ll feed them. If you live alone and get the flu, you won't have to go out and shop. And it’s a great time-saver, too. When you have filled that cupboard to the capacity you want, you won’t have to shop every week. You’ll do your regular big shop, then keep scanning the sales flyers and shop only when you see a bargain, or to pick up fresh milk, fruit and vegetables. 

Just remember, a pantry and stockpile serve difference purposes. A pantry is full of the foods you’ve opened and are currently using. Generally everything will be in a sealed container. A stockpile is a cupboard full of goods not opened, waiting to move to the pantry when they’re needed.

57 comments

  1. I am making lasagna for dinner tonight, Rhonda! Yours looks delicious. I started a stockpile on one shelf of my linen cupboard (I had to clean it out to make room.) It's in the hallway near the kitchen so is in readily accessible. I buy bargains when I see them and add them in to my stockpile which has grown a lot since I started it. My pantry is full of basic ingredients like rices, pasta, baking goods in lots of glass bottles and jars. I shop all over the place! I go to the supermarket but I don't buy my fruit and veg there nor my meat or bread. I go to farmers markets or little local greengrocer and local butcher for that. I think the quality is always fresher and so better for you. I like for my food $ to support little local businesses so they remain viable and offer choices and alternatives to the big supermarkets. I grow some of our own fruit and veg too and that is a great joy in my life. Bring on silverbeet season! Meg:)

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  2. I grow a lot of my own salads; and also potatoes and some small fruits. The comment on seeing things at the market brought in from somewhere else in the world caught my attention: I live in California and am marveling at the fact that I can hardly find a decent tomato here. They are all grown somewhere else and shipped in!

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  3. I love this Rhonda. A couple years ago, I made a "master list" and approximately how many of each item I thought we used in a year. It was interesting to see where I was wrong (ex. Nearly twice as much coffee as I thought!). It was a good eye opener for us.

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  4. We are very lucky to have a greengrocer that buys as much local produce as they can. If it is local it has the name of where it is from on the price sign. We purchase what we cant grow price or space reasons. I have wonderful neighbours and there is often produce going over fences. One neighbour doesnt grow a garden but has an amazing avocado tree. They love our passionfruit and we love their avocado. This works for us. We have found wholesale butcher that sells to the public. We do have to buy in bigger lots but make wonderful savings.
    I hate shopping but hubby loves hunting out a good bargain. We have a blackboard on a cupboard in the kitchen. When we are getting low or run out of something I write it on the board. Hubby keeps an eye on the board and uses this for developing a shopping list. He checks all the pamphlets and knows exactly what he is going to get and at what shop. He gets out and about and I dont have to go near the stores.

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  5. One of our Farmer's Markets is now on each Saturday instead of every fortnight so that is very convenient. I pick up fruit there and any veggies I can't buy from our local market garden. I also picked up a bottle of beeswax, resin and coconut oil last Saturday to make some beeswax wraps. They are great places to shop.

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    1. Nanna, what is a beeswax wrap?! It sounds intriguing...
      June

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  6. Menu planning saves me so much stress! I love sitting down on a Sunday with a coffee and my list of favourite recipes and plan away. I have the family fa our items and easy recipes for my busy evenings and also throw in a new or special recipe for variety.

    I then write out my shopping list based on the menu. If I find anything on special while shopping then I will stock up knowing that I’ll be using those ingredients again in the near future. I don’t grow much food myself at the moment just some herbs and cherry tomatoes but I’m just doing the best I can right now.
    Leiani - Perth, WA

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  7. I'm incredibly fortunate because my workplace has a large veggie garden, as well as several chickens, ducks, sheep, and a few pigs each season. We all bring in our foodscraps from home for the animals, and can take what we want from the garden. I'm a plant scientist by profession so the garden is pretty successful! Many of my clients are fruit or veggie growers I often get fresh produce just handed to me while out on site.

    When the pigs are taken to the butcher, the boss brings back a large pack of meat products for each of us (a mix of sausages, speck, bacon, roasts). The meat comes vacuum-packed so it lasts a long time, especially in the freezer. I'm vegetarian since birth but can always find a grateful recipient for my share!

    What fresh produce I need but can't get from the veggie garden (bananas etc, and there's never enough broccoli to keep me going..) I get from my local IGA. There's a weekly farmers market near me, but many of them are selling produce grown by the same company that is sold in the supermarkets.

    Genevieve from Western Australia

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    1. How lucky are you Genevieve with all those goodies at work. I'm also jealous of your profession haha :)

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    2. That sounds like a great place to work, Genevieve.

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    3. Gen From Western AustraliaMarch 14, 2018 3:35 pm

      Well, every workplace has its positives and negatives! But I know this kind of setup is pretty rare, and I'm very grateful.

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  8. This is an area I want to refine as I know I can do a lot better. I will read people's comments with interest. Building a stockpile is something that would help. We have very little inside storage space but nothing a juggle around can't solve I imagine.
    I do bake rather than buy those sort of goods and we have very little food wastage. Your gravy mix is great Rhonda. I don't buy that anymore. We rarely have roast meat here, especially beef, lamb and pork. It's so expensive, especially as we try to buy free range products. I will look into bulk buying at our local butcher. I am still trying to get to know the local shops in our new town.

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    1. I have the same problem with storage. I use cardboard boxes under my bed to store extra food. I can easily slide a box out to put something in or take out and slide it back under.

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  9. I like the thought of buying at markets but so many I have been to here seem like an exclusive club of well to do people buying basic goods at high prices because it is called 'artisan'. The greengrocer seems more reasonable.

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    1. I completely agree! They started out as a great alternative but are now full of chi chi types and the food is a ridiculous price! We even had a bit of a scandal here where an investigative TV show did some undercover work and found that quite a few stands (who advertised their goods as local & organic etc.) was actually purchased from the wholesalers (the same place as the supermarket and much of it imported) - total rip off!

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    2. Gen From Western AustraliaMarch 14, 2018 3:09 pm

      I've found the same thing- maybe farmers markets are more 'realistic' in smaller towns? The ones I've been to in the suburbs of Perth have a couple of stalls with good quality stuff they've grown themselves, such as a man who sells only garlic, ginger and some root vegetables. But most of the stalls are overpriced and I'm not convinced they're any better environmentally or culturally than shopping at another store.

      Gen

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  10. Great post. Thank you. We are a family of five. Whilst I do make almost everything from scratch (as I'm coeliac and everything pre-packaged has gluten in it) I'd like to know how other people cook things. Take for example your cheesy cauliflower. I could google it - have done so before but often find where it says use a satchet from the supermarket. 1. They usually have gluten in it 2 I'd like to know how to make it - never had it as a kid. So I only serve steamed cauli as that is the only way I know how. If it's not too much trouble I'd love to know how you cook some of your meals. Ie. Do you bake your chops or fry pan? Ive been looking for more meals to do in the often. I work four days a week and there is an after school activity on every day of the week so I need to plan ahead. Keep up your great work.

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    1. I make a gluten free cheese sauce for cauliflower. I just use a beschamel sauce recipe (using gluten free flour or tapioca flour) and then add grated cheese to it. Very tasty!!!
      Leiani - Perth, WA

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  11. I was given a breadfruit at our local markets this weekend, so enjoyed cooking something a bit different. I also planted out some greens and hoping I am not too early in the season. I have had trouble growing silverbeet up here in the tropics, and am hoping this is the year I get it right! I would be so excited if I harvested great big baskets like you have in your first photo! I stockpile canned goods when I see them on special and during the wet season we often lose power so I dont keep too much meat in the freezer in case we lose it all! We were housebound with the flooding for a couple of days this week. I make a shopping list of the ingredients I will be needing and then we have a little pad in the kitchen where we write down things we have run out of. It seems to work ok, but still wish that everything just didn't keep getting more and more expensive!

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  12. I've never had a permanent shopping list. What a great idea. Thank you Rhonda, I'm going to create one soon.

    I do grocery shopping every other week and bulk buy essentials such as meat, milk, rice etc. I only have the freezer compartment in the fridge, but it's space for me. I have list attached to the fridge, and when I run out of something I add it to the list. The night before going shopping I check the list and gather any available coupons. I think a permanent shopping list will help me save more time.

    I also check the labels for ingredients and the country of origin. Once I saw frozen fish with a label indicating that it was a product of USA and processed and packaged in China. I can't understand how that makes sense to ship something thousands of miles to process and pack, only to ship it back.

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  13. This post reminded me of all the things I used to do when I had a family to cook for and then my working life where I cooked as a station cook, now I am on my own I am finding it so much harder to organise myself, you would think that cooking for one would be easy but I would rather be back cooking for 20 plus. I will take to heart the idea of making a list of the meals I like and work from that to menu plan and then shop. We are lucky to have a place down here that sells good fruit and veg plus meat, they source local where they can and are always good value often far cheaper then the supermarkets, I support local and organic as much as I can. Do others find it hard cooking solo? I wonder how other people cope? Judi 1944

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    1. I am not cooking for one but two and I find it very hard after cooking for 7 for 25 plus years. I do a lot of freezer cooking since everything makes too much. It is worth the money to invest in containers to store foods in the freezer. I also freeze meats in packages that are just enough for one meal even though it means a lot of packaging. I really have to look at what I have before going shopping and then thinking realistically about how long what I have on hand will last. We tend to have the vegetable of the week since something like a bunch of broccoli will last 3 meals and so forth. I use produce keepers to extend the life of my produce and try very hard to not overbuy. It took me so long to adapt but I think I finally have it sorted out. Hope this helps!

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    2. Cooking for only me was one of the toughest things I had to learn post divorce. A friend told me her plan which was to cook mid-day rather then at dinner time. Her advice was life changing! When I waited to cook for 'just me' at dinner time, I usually would go out or order delivery. By cooking mid-day, I found that I would stick to my meal plan. I also do more batch cooking then when I had a houseful. I cook enough of a main dish for 3 dinners and some times a lunch. The day I cook, I save out the portion for that night's dinner to reheat later. I then package up the remainder in its own dish. Cooking this way has really helped me stay out of restaurants.
      I also changed how I shopped for groceries. When I had a family, I would Costco shop every three weeks and also shop weekly at the main grocery store. Now, I shop once a month at the 10% off sales the two major chain grocery stores hold. I keep a running list of staples throughout the month and work at buying those items during the 10% off days. Then, I shop as needed the rest of the month. I limit my fresh produce purchases to what I can consume in a day or two. I'd rather shop more often then waste food. It takes more discipline to shop more often, but it works for me. I also have the convenience of a major grocery store within walking distance.
      Don't be too discouraged. Change is difficult and new habits take time to develop. Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

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    3. We eat our main meal at noon and it makes a difference. I'm too tired in the evening to start cooking and then do the cleaning up. Judi, when you cook, always cook double or triple the amount and freeze the left overs. Then you can cook when you feel like it and on the other days just defrost and enjoy. :- )

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    4. I am like Lana, cooking for two since our three children left the nest, and I don't find it easy to make just enough for one meal. I have no saliva due to an autoimmune problem so need dishes with moisture in them. So we don't eat grilled chicken or steak with vegies or salad, unless I've made potato salad. We eat a lot of casseroles and 'bake' dishes and the up side is that there is always leftovers for the freezer and my husband's work lunches. Also make quiches and frittatas which are moist and good at using up stuff in the fridge.

      I would hate cooking for just me. At least when there's two of us, I feel more interest in preparing a meal.

      God bless.
      Lyn in northern New South Wales.

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  14. I've been using the paprika app for the last few weeks and love it. It took a while to set up my favourite recipes but it's worth the time spent. I've noticed my grocery bill is less because I'm only buying what is in the list.

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  15. Cooking from scratch has certainly been the biggest money saver in our house - by a long shot. Aside from money, cooking from scratch teaches skills, brings people together and shows love and care for family and friends

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  16. I have handed over the shopping reins to my husband now I have a newborn.
    It's been great for the grocery account, as he only ever buys what is on the list! I would often scan the isles for sales and buy more items than on my list.
    Having a stockpile has helped us so much, with a little one now. Prior to Evelyn's arrival, I stocked up on many things I know we would need/use. Hubby hasn't had to buy toilet paper since Dec! I thought ahead and thought it would be hard to manage bigger items, with a pram and we are lucky to have quite alot of storage available. We have a very basic, yet highly nutritious menu plan running at the moment. DH has taken over the cooking and I am happy to have a break.
    Thanks for such sound advice Rhonda.
    Xoxo Eden and Evelyn

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    1. It's lovely having that time with your new baby. Welcome Evelyn! I'm pleased you have such a supportive husband.

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  17. I have been slowly making adjustments toward permanent shopping lists and permanent meal plans. The meal plans will of course be different for the seasonal changes. 4 for the year. My stock piles do look a bit different now. A few years ago my family and I changes our recipes to avoid gluten (I have celiac and severe allergies), corn and dairy. Luckily, I look cooking from scratch.

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  18. We have lived by the stockpile and only buying what is on sale for the lowest price for decades here. Last year when my husband was in the hospital for 16 days it was such a blessing to have a well supplied kitchen and pantry and especially after I brought him home. We try to buy local too but it is crazy to go to the store and find peaches from California when we live in a big peach producing state on the other coast of the USA. Shopping farmer's markets and such is such a trendy thing here that the prices are much higher than the grocery stores. I have found a family run produce stand who sells pretty much only what they grow and the prices are only slightly more than the grocery stores. I stop in there several times over the summer months to support them and because there produce is so good. They grow their own peaches so that is where my peaches come from!

    I make menus for 2 to 4 weeks at a time and am completely open to changing them should a good deal come along. I put the menus on a wall calendar which helps me be aware of days I need easy meals. If I do not use a meal I just circle it. When I sit down to make menus again I move the circled meals forward since I can assume I already have the ingredients. Leftovers go in clear glass dishes and containers in the refrigerator so that I can see them. We rarely waste food that way. I have our grocery budget down to only $250 a month by buying most everything on sale and cooking from scratch. That is for two of us but we often have guests and when all our kids and grandchildren are home we have 18. We also cook for the homeless shelter from that budget so it is important to be frugal. We freeze many meals and keep an inventory so we know what we have to use. We eat very well here and for little money and little work since we freezer cook and try to think ahead doing such things as cooking potatoes for multiple meals at once. We bake our bread in a bread machine and make dough for pizzas every week. Monday often finds me prepping for meals for the week doing such chores as washing salad greens or chopping vegetables and making sandwich fillings. Once you get into the habit it gets easier.

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    1. Your post has many similar things that I do. I menu plan for four weeks at a time. Sunday is the big meal, like a pot roast, chicken or ham. Mondays use some leftover meat, Tuesdays are casseroles, Wednesdays are meat & potatoes, Thursdays are soup days, Fridays are leftovers or eat out and Saturdays are sandwiches.
      I too make my own bread with a bread machine. Any leftover is cubed up for the freezer or ground up to make bread crumbs. I can all leftover soups so I always have a pantry full of homemade soups. Casseroles are individually frozen for another month's meal. When I make a batch of meatballs or enchiladas, I freeze them in portions.
      I cook by scratch and can or freeze what I make. I have a small town garden and preserve what I harvest. If I don't grow it, I buy from a small seasonal shop and preserve that. We do not have a grocery store in my small town so I do shop once a week in a nearby city. I try to have a 6-12 month supply of dry good staples when I can buy them at the lowest prices. We buy our beef once a year from a local farmer and that is where meal planning helps. I can make sure we space the beef out for a year and also have a variety of other things.
      Another helpful thing I do is pre-measure my ingredients for my bread for 5 weeks at a time. I also do that for cookies or cakes so all I have to do is put it together when I want to bake something.
      I love this post and all the ideas.
      Rubyslippers

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  19. It has been very interesting reading the comments. Does anyone have suggestions on how to deal with adult children that move back home and bring their meal restrictions with them? I have two that moved back recently and with 5 different work schedules and 1 super picky eater it's been an attack on the food budget. What I did come up with was having them each contribute $25 per week to the budget. This allows for the special requests and the added costs as often times breakfast, lunch and supper have been prepared 3 times by 3 different people in a day.

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    1. Heike, I've just had adult children here for four months and they paid board while they were here. it was enough to cover all their food expenses as well as for electricity, water and internet - which all went up significantly. They should take turns in preparing meals too, it shouldn't be just you cooking. When they move back in it doesn't mean that time goes backwards with you looking after them. :- )

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  20. There is just me and I live in a small apt. in a very large city with no outdoor space available - so nowhere to grow anything I'm afraid. I buy everything but I'm lucky to have a variety of supermarkets, specialty shops, a large permanent market, and a number of farmer's markets that open on different days of the week - so spoiled for choice.
    I do keep a stocked pantry but have been using up a lot over the last few months as I don't want anything to expire. I am watching the pennies a lot closer since retiring but do have a bit of money coming due next month. I intend spending a couple of hundred dollars restocking things - both food wise and for non-food items so that all the basics are covered for at least six months ahead.
    I also intend simplifying my diet overall - cutting back on meat and sticking to a lot of fruit & veg with good bread, cheese, eggs and yogurt as the basis of my meals. There is only me and more and more I find too many choices in life to just be stressful. I still need to be smart about the money being spent but also want to concentrate on quality and locally sourced wherever possible.
    You always make me think Rhonda and I love to read all the responses - thank you.

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  21. Great post. I love going to my little veggie patch and collecting ripe tomatoes, figs, beans, and capsicums every morning.
    And preserving my own fruit and drying fruit.
    That ginger cordial looked great, do you have a recipe or link with it in?
    Thanks for the inspiration,
    Lorraine

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    1. Hi Lorraine, just put ginger cordial in the search facility in the side bar.

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    1. I am confused by your comment here because we do not have a big income or buy artisan anything. I make my own too.

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  23. I hear you Rhonda on the local and ethical approaches to food shopping. We had a holiday house for many years near some struggling dairy farmers (during the Milk Wars and drought) which made me take a keen interest in the plight of our farmers in relation to our choices as well. By juggling these factors alongside working to a tighter food budget these days, cooking from scratch, eating a lot less meat and only purchasing some foods seasonally has become the natural result. I keep a list on a notepad in the kitchen of items as they run out and do a weekly online search for the food specials at the places near me, which I'm fortunate to say is nearly all the usual places. You have reminded me however, to go and investigate what looks like a meat wholesaler very close to home. You can tend to forget that we can sometimes have such unlikely businesses in the centre of a big city.

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  24. Hi Rhonda
    Your posts are so timely, as I will have to review and alter everything we do starting next week. We are moving into our retirement home which is not local to our current home. I will be going through each section of my home journal and adjusting accordingly. For those who are cooking solo - when I was cooking solo I would cook Tuesday nights and Sunday evenings and put my meals in containers in the fridge. this meant I could grab a meal as I raced out the door to work and just heat up a meal when I got home from work. I also make a batch of soup at the start of winter, put it in individual containers and freeze for when flu season hits. For those with adult children living at home batch cook and put in individual containers in the freezer plus make up a few individual salad mixes in the fridge, this worked very well for my family.

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    1. Great advice, Miirih. Best wishes for your move. I hope it all goes well.

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  25. After all the recent woes of islands in the Caribbean being hit by big hurricanes, we have been reevaluating how our islands of Hawaii would handle the same. If the port of Honolulu was put out of action we would only have a few days worth of food on the island. It is crazy that over 85% of our food is imported here. The local government always recommended having a few days of emergency food. Now they are saying we should be stockpiling enough food to last a month without needing aid.

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  26. Hi Lana I was agreeing with you. Farmers markets are trendy here too (NZ) and command high prices that I don't think are justified. Apologies that I confused you.

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  27. My mum always shopped and stored food like this and I have learnt by example.

    I was just thinking as I put my groceries away this morning, that TIME is the key factor here. I am very, very fortunate that I have time to really shop and food prepare how I want. I know that there are many things that even time-poor people can do (such as the meal planning- what a lifesaver on a busy night!) but it also helps to have the time to be able to go to various locations to buy the produce I want.

    One thing I find quite interesting is that despite helping run our farm and raise three young children, when I am asked to do paid work on a casual basis, I feel pressured to say yes even though it may be the day I NEED to go food shopping. I think that pressure is entirely internal, but it goes to show how it can be tricky in today's world to actually acknowledge that food shopping and meal preparation for the family IS as important as other commitments.

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    Replies
    1. Gen From Western AustraliaMarch 14, 2018 3:32 pm

      Emily- I think (for me anyway) the struggle arises because even though you *know* the time and thought you are investing into your family is important, it is harder to get a definite measure of, especially in monetary terms, and the dollar value of paid work is so clear. So you can see easily the money you earn from paid work, but the costs involved are harder to see.

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  28. there's some really good advice here, thanx Rhonda for a great post
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  29. Another great post, thank you. A permanent shopping list works really well for me. I add things to a list on my phone as I need/ want them and as I know I'll have my phone with me I won't forget to take my list.

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  30. This year shopping for me has changed. I have grown lots of vegetables and fruit and do not eat as much meat as I used to. This means my shopping bill has reduced by a significant amount. In Tasmania our best growing season is Summer so I will have to rely on frozen and preserved fruit and veg. as well as buying some in the winter months. So interesting reading all the other comments and your advice Rhonda.

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  31. Great advice from everyone. When my kids were young I had a shopping list set up for the store I shopped at most of the time. The list was set up for the rows in the store and what I bought on each row. If I didn’t need anything on that row I could easy skip it and move on down my list and the next row. That was great with small children in tow. I could shop quickly and get what I needed with no extras.

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  32. This is a fantastic post Rhonda. Mu husband and I have always had somewhat of a running list. We buy certain things and when that food gets low, we add to the list for the next shopping trip - things like flour, sugar, peanut butter, oatmeal and such. We do buy in large quantities also even though we are two. He buys the meat and we watch the Wednesday sale papers for our grocery stores as to who has the best bargains. When we find a really good bargain and a manager's special (markdown) we buy in larger quantities and put in our freezer. It is a great asset to be able to go to the freezer and pullout something for supper. We also freeze the overflow of the garden or can, depending on what surplus we have. I totally agree with you about buying local or made in your own country. We watch where the product is made o grown and have let bargains go by when imported. I am currently looking for someone local who has grass fed beef to have a supplier. We get our eggs from our grandchildren who raise chickens for eggs only. The chickens are their pets and would never be for meat. I am loving each post and want to give you encouragement to continue.

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  33. Enjoyed the post. I shop every week according to the sales and my meal list. I agree wholeheartedly that we must keep a list and meal plan in order to stick within our budget. The lasagna looks absolutely delicious! Hope the recipe is online here. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!

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  34. Excellent tips! I use an app my phone called Our Groceries and it's wonderful because it lets you sort everything by section of the store, it synchronizes with other phones so my husband has it on his phone too and that way whoever go shopping is ready to go, and the handy part is that after you check something off your list it puts it in a list of the bottom so when I'm getting ready to go grocery shopping I simply look at that section and check at home if I need more! One less step, I don't even need to go to my computer. :)

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  35. Completely agree with you, Rhonda - will only buy Australian made and Australian grown. And even though I think we do quite well in growing some of our food and eggs, and making jams, sauces, cordials from scratch, our recycling bin is full every fortnight of milk cartons, ice cream containers, orange juice bottles etc (OK and a few wine and beer bottles). I wish we could get away from plastic packaging more, I still have improving to do! Need a cow in the back yard!

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  36. I have almost completed my permanent shopping list and it seems to me I have far too much bits& peices in the pantry. This exercise has really helped me streamline my shopping. Now for some meal planning!
    We are pretty careful with food wastage but I now realise I can do much better. Thank you Phonda!

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  37. Rhonda, I enjoyed your comment about searching of Australian grown, local and ethical food. When it comes to this issue, I vote with my wallet ie I buy local because I want local ethical food production in Australia to continue and become even more available and more affordable. Renae from Gold Coast

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  38. Stockpiling is something that really hwlped me, and buying online so i can shop the sales and stay on budget.

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