A year ago I wrote a post on my spending for the year. It was pretty detailed, as I wrote about all the little things I do to stretch our grocery budget as far as it can go.
This morning I got up and thought I’d tot up my grocery spending and put it all on the spreadsheet for 2012 and see what we ended up with. Two days ago I bought $200 worth of marked-down Christmas hams to cut up into little bags and put in the freezer… believe me I thought about waiting till 2013 to keep my spreadsheet figure as low as possible, but then I thought I’d kick myself if I waited and then all the hams were gone, so I bit the bullet and bought 5 of them. This means that next year’s budget is off to a flying start, I guess…
The total for 2010 was $150/week.
The total for 2011 was $140/week.
The total for 2012 is $115.32/week.
This is feeding 5 Adults, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 9 chooks.
The ONLY thing that has changed in 2012 from previous years is that I bought a thermomix and started making more things from scratch than I ever have before. It’s absolutely incredible how small savings from making your own jams, sauces, icecream, peanut butter, stock paste, almond meal, icing and castor sugar (along with a myriad of other things) can add up over the course of the year to really big savings. I would never have believed it. Plus the not-to-be-sneezed-at savings of drastically cutting down on take-away because it’s easier to just chuck some arborio rice for risotto/ mince for bolognaise/ chicken for butter chicken in the thermomix and have dinner ready in 20 mins while you sit on the couch sipping a glass of red. (Well… YOU may not spend the 20 minutes doing that but particularly towards the end of the year when I was getting really tired, I did!)
We saved this much, but people who use things like almond milk would save even more. Another consultant who has children with allergies priced home-made almond milk at .80c/litre, as opposed to just under $4 /litre to buy. Imagine how quickly the savings would add up? And rice milk only costs .20c/litre. We don’t have these issues to worry about at my place, but for some people it’s a real consideration.
Anyway… getting back to the point of this post. That’s $25/week I saved on my grocery bill (which includes everything except petrol and gardening supplies), which doesn’t sound like much except it adds up to a whopping $1300 over the year. Considering the thermomix costs $1939, she’s well on the way to paying for herself just in savings alone. Actually, because I’m a consultant, In Real Life she’s paid for herself many times over in commissions, but most people aren’t going to start up a business with thermomix (though you should! heh heh. Contact me!!!!) so it’s of more use to look at how the savings are paying for it instead. Mum just rang and I was saying to her, “In 6 months on these figures the thermomix will have paid for itself, and then the next 2 decades will be a bonus!” She laughed…
Enough of waxing lyrical about the thermie. Apart from using it, these are the things I do to cut down on the amount of money leaving my wallet to keep us all alive and kicking:
I only buy meat at $10/kilo or less.
We have a veggie garden, though this year I’ve let it slide a bit due to being slightly busier than usual with the fulltime teaching and the business. This is something I’m going to do better in 2013.
We eat vegetarian meals 2 or 3 times a week.
We still get the free bread, though I’ve been making bread for us too. (Just pulled some sourdough rolls from the oven as a New Years Day treat… smells divine.) Any excess bread we bring home after being given away to friends gets fed to the chooks, which of course cuts down on their feed bill.
Of course, their eggs are a nice bonus. 913 eggs were produced in our own backyard in 2012. A few times this has saved a quick dash up to the supermarket to get stuff for dinner, with a quiche or omelette being able to be whipped up instead. You know how you NEVER just get 1 thing from the supermarket? It’s cheaper to limit the visits, plus the eggs are so much nicer when they come from your own backyard.
The boys still bring home the occasional box of fruit and veg from their Dad’s shop, though this has become erratic and is no longer to be relied on. Still, any free food is a good thing!
We inadvertently had an ‘eat out of the pantry” month in November, when I was so busy between work , the kids and the business that I didn’t get to go to the shops for almost 3 weeks. The kids and I ate out of the fridge, freezer and pantry, which is actually a great exercise to do as it stops food going to waste. I had to get to the supermarket early December when we were perilously close to running out of toilet paper, butter and dishwasher tablets. It was a very big Aldi shop!!
Speaking of big shops, I only go to the supermarket once every 3 or 4 weeks, with just tiny “top-up” visits to the closest supermarket to me if we run out of something that Aldi doesn’t sell. I adore Aldi with a passion unmatched by anything in Western literature. The amount of money my family has saved since they came to Victoria is incalculable.
Powdered milk is possibly my biggest saving tip of all. Far cheaper by the litre, plus you’re not constantly going to the shops to pick up some more milk and buying impulse buys while you’re there. That last point is more of a money-saver than the first one. Find a brand you like the taste of and ignore the whingeing that’ll go on for the first couple of days. That’s how long it took my kids to get used to the taste of the Aldi Skim milk powder and we haven’t looked back since.
Don’t buy food in packets. It’s overpriced, full of preservatives and you pay through the nose for the convenience factor.
Very very happy with this new set of figures. Some things I was doing last year were let slide this year, due to my ‘time poor’ factor going through the roof with doing 2 jobs. Poring through the catalogues to find the loss leader specials, for example, went out the window very early on! I’m about to hit “post” and then go and set up the new spreadsheet for 2013. I seriously don’t know whether I’ll be able to get things lower next year, but it’s an interesting exercise to track the spending.
Happy new year, everyone!