Aldi vs woolworths

i normally order my groceries through woolworths home delivery. I buy homebrand or shop from the half price specials. My fortnightly budget is $150. 

This fortnight i decided to try aldi. I have to say i was dissapointed and horrified at the cost because i ended out spending $192 and i didnt even get everything i needed.

Heres how it went down. 

  
Not shown are 2 boxes of nappies and a box of wipes ($41) and a bathmat as we dont have any and our new place has 2 bathrooms ($15) and a drying mat as it also doesnt have a dishwasher ($7). 

If it looks all over the place thats because it was. I knew what i needed but there was also alot that i grabbed when i got there. The makeup wipes, pizza base, yoghurt, sausage rolls, scent diffuser, hotcross buns, english muffins, cerial, were all impulse buys! Thats nearly half my shop! I also then had to go up to woolies because they didnt have cream of chicken soup and the mince looked questionable so i didnt get it at aldi. 

  
I also will have to go back because as i said i didnt get everything i needed. We need alot more fruit and veg. 

Can you see why im horrified. All up i think im nearly $100 over my budget, thats almost double! My verdict is that yes alot of things are cheaper at aldi but if you shop smarter than woolworths is cheaper by far and ordering online means that you can add it up as you go, adding and removing things and clearly see what you have in your basket at the end and make sure you have all you need. 

Ill post again to show you a meal plan for all of this and how many meals i can get out of it. 

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Stock pile

last month was my first month of monthly shopping and stockpiling. I learnt alot and im going to try and apply it to next weeks/months shopping.

Firstly i have basics but there are a few areas im lacking, toiletries mostly shampoo and conditioner. They are normally very expensive so stocking up when they are on sale is a great idea. Condaments and lunches. I realised last month that i didnt get any lunch foods as i just relied on having leftovers which i usually didnt have. Things like stock powder and garlic are big things in my cooking and i ran out of both this month. Herbs and spices are on my list this month. 

Below is my stock pile after one shopping trip and at the end of the month. As you can see you can get ALOT of food if you spend your money wisely. Would you believe i only spent $250 for the month? With this much leftover at the end of the month i could almost go another month without having to shop. 

Also the taco kits are nearly 6months old now as i bought heaps when they were on sale for $2 each and didnt use them. Important tip, only buy things you actually eat often.

 The other thing i never thought of is stockpiling stationary and school supplies. Rue doesnt start school for another 3years but as he will be in school for atleast 14yrs it really makes sense to buy supplies at the back to school sales. There is no urgency to get it before school starts back so wait a few weeks and things get dirt cheap! Note books for 10c each and glue and scissors for 50c. Even for those who have kids in school already why not stock up for next year. Art supplies are also usually on sale around this time. Your kids will loose and break things and you will save a heap of money having those sale items on hand rather than having to buy them at full price later in the year. Plus, stationary! I do love piles of stationary. 

Monthly grocery shopping

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. 

Budget: $250

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:

Groceries: $230

Meat: $60

Nappies: $30

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.

Thrifty cleaning cloths

this started as a way of reducing waste and saving money but then i realised these actually clean way better than any store bought sponge or cloth. Its like cleaning and buffing at the same time and they are almost free! 

Basically you cut an old towel up into squares removing the edge binding (too hard to sew through). Then Find some cotton in your stash or cut up some old sheets. Match them together right sides and sew around them leaving a gap to turn it back through.

  
Turn right side out and sew the gap closed. Done! About 5mins a cloth. I added a loop to one incase i want to hang it in the bathroom or something. 

  
You get about 18 per towel. These are great for glass, the fridge, the car. They are great for cleaning the inside of your car windscreen as my partner told me that windex isnt good when you have condensation. Turns out this is true and the best thing to clean them with is either news paper or a towel. Then when your done just throw them in the wash and use again and again. If you want to get fancy you can top stitch but i broke my needle twice trying to do it so now i just leave them as they are.

  

No groceries

im considering doing another no grocery fortnight next week. Why? Well consider what is in your home already. I bet you can find ingredients for at least 14 dinners, breakfasts and lunches. Its not as hard as it sounds. If you make one leftover from each dinner thats lunch the next day sorted. Weetbix or toast for breakfast. 

So really its only dinner you need to think about. Have rice, garlic, egg and soysauce? Why not make fried rice? Have vegies and pasta, make a stirfry. I know i have several tins if spaghetti, baked beans and stew in the cupboard, thats another 5 meals. Left over frozen things, we all have them. Chicken nuggets, sausage rolls, what ever that triangle thing is. I have polenta, potatoes, cream, mayonaise, cheese, ham, puff pastry. There are so many meals i can make. Potato salad, eggy noodles, pasta bake, quensaladas (a wrap smeared with tuna and cream cheese toasted both sides), leftover bolognaise toasted sandwich, pancakes, homemade pizza, dahl….get the idea? 

Sit down for 20mins in your pantry and organise ingredients into meals. Use baskets if that helps. Write them all down. You would be shocked at how many you come up with. My sister and i used to play “what can i make” by pulling out edible things from the pantry and just inventing dinner from them. I heard one woman and her husband were saving for a house and had rice with garlic and beans for lunch every day! Worked out at about 4c a meal lol

Ever got home from the shop and had no where to put the groceries because the ’empty’ cupboard was actually still full of food. 

And you know what, i can save $200 – $300 by not buying groceries. Thats a huge boost to savings  even if you still buy milk (and make your own bread its about 40c a loaf). 

Building a home and advice

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? 

Cheaper

Some mums (like me) want to be stay at home mums. The family budget doesnt always alow for this. If you are hoping to show your better half how much money can be saved by you staying at home i have been coming up with ideas. Alot of the blogs i have read about saving money on children are things like entertainment and making a will. Not really what i had in mind. What i am really looking for are everyday ideas. I have picked up a few over the years which i am hoping to use.

1. Facewashers instead of wetwipes. This one is from my childcare days. Roll up facewashers and stack them in a container. Pour over warm water enough to just wet them (you can add a few drops of baby oil if you want). Wipe, wash and repeat. You will need between 10-20 depending on how often you intend to wash them. Make sure you use a different color for cleaning faces.  

2. Dryers. I have a deep hate for them. If i own one i have to use it and they suck electricity like nothing else! I literally halved my electricity bill by getting rid of my dryer.

3. Buy bulk. Buy a chest freezer if you have the space and stock up. At the supermarket last week i could buy 400g beef mince for $9 or 2kg for $11. Thats about 4-5 meals worth of mince. Pasta is also a saver with home brand often going for $1 a bag.

4. We dont do coupons in Australia like the US, but that doesnt mean that you shouldnt be keeping an eye out for sales. If you can freeze it, or store it, buy it. Spaghetti sauce can go for as low as $0.50 a jar on sale.

5. Dont get into the debt trap. A good lesson i learnt is that alot of kids and young adults (under 30) have so much debt because they want what their parents have. But their parents spent the last 50yrs getting that stuff. Dont go for instant gratification.

6. Buy used and save the difference. This one i got from the Duggars (they have 19children). Say you want a new pair of jeans for $100. Buy a pair from the thrift shop for $20 and put the extra $80 in your savings account. That way in a year or so you will have quite alot of money to take a holiday or pay a chunk off your home loan. I once went to a salvos store and they had a whole stock from Jeans west, brand new, tags on. They smelt of smoke from a neighbouring store fire so couldnt be sold anymore and were donated. Brand new, this season clothes for 1/4 the price.   

7. I know alot of kids stuff is cool and shinny but honestly kids dont need it. Ever seen a kid ignore a toy and play with the box instead? Think of games and activities that you can do with household items. You would be suprised how entertained both you and the kids will be.

8. #7 goes for dressing the nursery too. Yes 10pairs of little shoes are cute but the kid only needs one pair, maybe two if one set gets wet. Likewise do you really need a crib AND a bassinette? Cot bumbers are cute but they have to be taken out because they are a choking hazard. Think of the essentials and things that are going to last (they can be cute too).

9. Baby specific things can be over priced. Like booking a wedding cake, they will up the price because its a wedding. Cott sheets can be pricey, or you can buy double bed sheets, cut them in 4 and re-hem and you have 4 sheets for the price of one.

10. Channel the sound of music. Clothes from curtains? You will be the only one to know what that cute little dress is made of. I have seen beautiful kids clothes made from tableclothes, old shirts, curtains. I am making my own bibs with old clothing and friends have asked where i bought them so they can get some.

11. Again buy things that will last. When buying a pram think on how long you intend to keep it for. Sure you have a baby now but it will get bigger, whats the weight limit? Planning on having more kids? Does it accomodate a second seat? Carseats too, some go up to 4yrs and some will go right up to 8yrs old.