i have made the leap to monthly grocery shopping. Why? Because i found at the end of the fortnight i still had plenty of food left and with a bit of extra thought i knew i could stretch each shop further.
You might think no way. Family of three on $250 a month?!? No really it is achieveable. This month was my first in the challenge and i came in as follows:
The reasons i went over were that we happened to be very low on nappies and i wanted to stock up. Normally this would only cost $11. Secondly i bought more meat than i needed because i didnt have my list on me. One whole tray of chicken turned out to be rancid so it turned out to be lucky i bought two. This budget also allowed for some stockpiling. When an item is on sale i get two or more. So even though i went over i actually saved money on ky next shop because i will have things left over from this one.
Why am i doing this? If you make yourself a budget you can clearly see that for most of us food is a huge money sap. We need it, but we buy way too much of it then eat it all at once. I started by printing off a calender and writing in dinners for each night with a grocery list beside it. At the bottom i included a section for what meals i would make in advance and freeze.
It was suprisingly simple and i found that alot of meals could coincide for one cooking. Ie nachos one night and chilli with cornbread the next. Both use the same chilli con carne recipe so i can make one batch and have it for both meals.
What about stockpiling? For me i look for the items that keep a long time, can be used for a range of meals, you are guaranteed to use, and are on sale. Pasta, sauces, toiletpaper, shampoo, lentals, rice, salt, sugar, flour, breakfast cerial. I also get extra medication like panadol incase im struck with a headache and dont want to leave the house to get painkillers. Very handy if like last weekend you get flooded in and cant leave the house for a few days.
Think about what you need. Think about what you use often.
i have been looking at house plans at work and when ever someone catches me at it they sit down and pitch in. I love it. It helps to get more than one opinion and they may spot something you forgot. But alot of the advice is to make it bigger. Make sure you have two bathrooms, make it bigger so you dont have to add to it later etc. the problem with todays society is that we want bigger and better than the jones. But then we compain that houses cost too much and how can we ever afford one. People forget that 50-100 years ago houses were smaller there by cheaper! When i sat down and thought about how i use my house and other houses i have lived in there have been a few trends that stand out.
I grew up in a family of 4 (3 girls) and one bathroom. We never needed it at the same time. Ever. We did our hair in our bedrooms, we all got up at different times. So why would i build an ensuite for my 3 person family?? My three pet hates are small laundrys, bedrooms and pantrys. Personal belongings should be stored in your bedroom so they dont clutter up the house. My current house dosnt even have built in wardrobes! Pantrys have gotten smaller or non existant (last two houses havent even had one). This forces us to go to the shops more. Who else shops every two days or so? Yet most master bedrooms have walk in robes? Why not condense your clothes to ones you actually wear (i personally have about a weeks worth i cycle through the rest just sits in draws), and fill our pantrys when things are on sale so we stop relying on the shops.
Then i see houses with two even three living spaces? Seriously? Then you have to heat and cool three rooms, you have three tvs running, you have to clean three rooms and you never interact. Why not all sit in the same room. Is that so hard?! I dont need a massive kitchen, only one dinner is made at a time, i need no more space than it takes me to turn around. I do need a big laundry, i need space to fold and stack clothes rather than the floor and a space to store cleaning supplies like mops.
So think about what you actually use in your home. Do you need two bathrooms, two loungerooms, a walk in robe?
We were home hunting this week. Well sort of. We were hunting on Allhomes as we dont actually have any money. The idea was to see what was out there and what it will cost. We both think that Canberra houseing prices are was over inflated ($400,000 for a two bedroom shoebox) and i have always dreamt of living in the country. BD is open to this as it means he has plenty of space for his projects (of the car kind) and can hoon around on a quad bike. For me the appeal is open fire places, no neighbours, chickens, the view, vegie garden. Just room to breathe basically.
So our criteria is: Under $300,000, big shed, large block, fireplace, 3 bedrooms, good bones. We dont mind renovating and i would actually love to renovate so the house just has to be stable and practical. The one i loved and was backed up by my mum is this one:
Isnt it charming. Its $230,000 so well within our budget. It has 3 beds and 2000ac of land so almost two big blocks. There are fire places in the lounge room and two of the bedrooms (we wouldnt use the bedroom ones but they look charming).
Carpet clearly needs to be ripped out lol the rest of the place is floorboards which would need to be refinished. Kitchen is functional if a little small and outdated so it would need to eventually be replaced and the bathroom, well i have no idea whats going on there.
This house has inspired a pinterest board of my renovation dreams 🙂
So, time to get saving i think! Do you do this? Pick a run down house and use pinterest to renovate it?