Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shopping Day

Thursday is Shopping Day in our house.  Well, not IN our house because I go out to the shops, I've looked at online grocery shopping and it's too exxy for me.  Plus I love going up and down the aisles, seeing new products and most of all choosing my own meat and fruit and veg.

A lot of planning goes into Shopping Day.  For starters, I keep a magnetized pad on the fridge where we write down things as they run out or we realise that we need during the week.  I also try to menu plan.  When I say menu plan, I don't mean that on Monday we are eating X and Tuesday we are eating Y and so on.   I mean I figure out seven meals for the next week.  Some will come from what happens to be in the freezer, some I will need to buy for.  Some weeks require less meals depending on what the social calendar is like.  So then those ingredients, etc go on the list as well.  Then I'll check the fridge and pantry to see if anything is running low and add that too.

Finally comes the weekly catalogue read through.  Usually I'll give them a quick flick through when they first come and then keep the grocery ones aside.  By Wednesday I have all the catalogues from the various grocery shops collected and I go through them again, keeping in mind what I need to shop for.  Whoever has the best specials is generally where I'll do my major shop.  If another place has a really great special though, I will make a  trip there for that item too.  I may also find a special on something that I don't need this week, but that is so good that I can't go past it.  If it will save me money in the long run and I can afford it this week, then I'll get it as well.  By now, my final shopping list is complete.  A little bit pedantic? Maybe.  A little bit time consuming?  Not really.  A lot organised?  Yep! (At this point I would like to admit that my more organised shopping lists are even done in department order, dairy, frozen, deli, butcher, etc.  What?  It means less chance of missing something!)

I also go shopping with a set budget to work with according to how much we have incoming, and how many bills etc need paying.  I have been known to walk around the supermarket with a calculator in hand to make sure I don't go over on especially tight weeks.  ( I don't add up in my head, that just doesn't work.  The King will tell you this.  He makes me add up my Yahtzee scores with a calculator.  Math is not my strong point.  However, I can work out a percentage off something pretty quickly!).

In the end, when I go through the check out and I see my total it's usually right around the budget mark.  Sometimes it's under and when it is I get myself a little treat.  Usually a coke.  I have a coke addiction.  To the black fizzy stuff of course.  So maybe it all seems a little bit too hard basket to plan a simple trip to the supermarket like this, but trust me, it's how I make our budget stretch further.  By working out what we need, how much we can spend and what we can save I make room for a little treat or two, or something extra in the trolley for the family.

So my tips?  Plan your week so you don't have to make lots of little trips to the shops.  Write a list and take it with you!  Stick to it.  Read your catalogues and see where you can get more for your money.

Incidentally, today I was a teensy bit over.  But that's because I'm buying for a BIG weekend next weekend for the King turning 40.  And it was only by about $10.  So it's not that big a deal.  And he can't tell me off because it was for him!  More on that in a later post.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Post Ever!

Well here I am in Blogger Land.  I've been inspired to begin this blog as a result of people often asking how I manage our household on the one income.  Some people have suggested I write a book, one person in particular suggested I start blogging (Thanks Tammi).  So here goes!

I have some ideas in my head about how I'd like this blog to go, but I'm also willing to let it evolve into whatever it does, so feedback is welcome.  I suppose I believe that experience is a great teacher, so why not share my experiences with others and if it helps them -  then great!  I hope to pass on tips that I have learnt but also things I've tried that haven't worked.  Pretty much, I'm going to share the way I manage our family income.  As a result there are bound to be some anecdotes about our family life in order to illustrate what I'm talking about - hopefully this will make it entertaining for you.

So the basic cast of character are.....
Me - The Budget Queen
Husband - The King
Daughter - The Princess
Son - The Prince

We live in a three bedroom house, mortgage, two cars, and all the general expenses you'd expect from a typical family.  Sometimes we struggle, sometimes we spend, this is our story.