A few weeks ago, I talked about how we started budgeting and we concluded that we should increase our monthly income (500 euros to be precise). While we figure out how to increase our income, we are focusing on reducing our expense. The first thing that got axed was Netflix (meaning that we spent 132 euros less per year).
The second thing we axed was the cost of our groceries. We started by sticking to our initial budget of 100 euros per week (which I think it’s a fair budget for three humans and three pets). Although some cuts can be obvious, we still had to be very smart about what we eat. We decided to put some rules:
- We stick to a week plan. We have the monthly meal plan displayed at our fridge. We are coding now the recipes with smiley faces (for toddler approved recipes) and dollar signs depending on their cost.
- Knowing what we are going to eat for the whole month has a clear advantage. We know that we will be needing four packages of pasta, two kilos of rice or a bottle of vinegar. We know what to buy in sales.
- In addition to this, when it comes to pantry staples like olive oil or other products like cat litter, if there is an offer we just don’t buy two units we buy as much as we can carry. This means that we might spend more this week, but we won’t have to buy olive oil in a few months (Check the expiry dates just in case).
- Buying bigger packages of beans, rice, pasta, etc.
- When it comes to meat and fish, buy the whole piece (the whole chicken or the whole salmon), You can make a lot of meals out of a chicken, above all if you have it with lots of veggies. For example, we might buy a ham and get out of it from four to 6 meals. We generally only have meat on Sunday. So, a ham can give a roast for the first Sunday, the second Sunday we can have some of the leftovers with gravy, the third Sunday we can do trapos viejos (a Spanish dish made with leftovers and potatoes), the fourth Sunday we can do some Pasta with veggies or a pizza with ham, the fifth ham we can do a noodle soup with ham and the sixth Sunday, some croquetas or empanadas. I told you, lots of meals out of just one piece of meat with some imagination and a freezer.
- When it comes to treats, we are sticking to a bag of chips for the weekend, a bottle of wine, a chocolate bar and pistachios. They are meant to last the whole week. We can’t go to the store to buy more if we run out of them.
- In fact, this is the general rule, a sole purchase per week. The less trips to the supermarket, the less chances to over spend.
- We avoid processed foods and takeout.
- We buy mostly veggies and fruits.
- Cut out on cleaning supplies and use DIY cleaning products.
- Use discount coupons (we are terrible at this)
- Bake cookies at home. In a dairy and gluten-free home, store-bought cookies are expensive. It’s more fun and economical to bake them at home.
So, what do you think about our rules? Would you like to see a grocery haul?
Thanks for your time. Good luck!