Do you spend a lot of money on food? Do you keep a real tally of it every week? Do you break it down to the penny and make sure that six pack of beer and the packet of batteries is not part of your ‘food’ total?
We do. My husband, the Chef, is a nerd. Now you know. He has a mathematicians brain for numbers and because he works in the food industry he has always had to purchase his food within a budget. Old habits die hard.
During the summer months we spend considerably less on food because we grow A LOT of vegetables and even when we are between plantings we steal from Granny’s backgarden and barter or trade with other growers. Once the cooler months hit (now in November) we always notice a spike in our spending and I always feel it happens at the ‘wrong’ time of the year. November is the month where you want to stash a few extra pennies away for Christmas presents or a few days mini-break over the holidays with the children.
Our system is simple here at Chez Wise. The Chef carries a certain amount of cash in his pocket when he does our weekly grocery shopping. He is a hater of all things plastic so no fear of him ever flashing a credit card. Before he trundles out the door he devises a weekly menu plan, so to speak. He thinks about what he might cook during the week to follow and then drafts a food-only grocery list. Sometimes, I might have started a list earlier in the week with essentials on it like milk, butter, cheese etc. and he will take this on board when devising his menu and shopping list.
All other household items needed like booze, toilet paper and laundry detergent etc. is on my list (this makes me a little sad-sounding doesn’t it? Picture me all washed up in Tide or Persil with unravelled damp toilet paper strewn all over the place and a few empty bottles of wine at my feet. Do you see how easy it is to distract me??). I take my list and head to Musgraves (like Costco) and purchase in bulk when possible because this does save a bundle.
Our weekly food budget fluctuates between €60 and €100 per week, to feed a family of six and sometimes seven if my Mum joins us for dinner. This covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and the occasional dessert. We do bake all our own bread, cakes, etc. And when I say ‘we’ you should know by now that I am referring to the Chef. I can’t bake.
Sometimes, I feel like (especially when it teeters on the €100 side) we spend A LOT of money on food but then I started looking in to it, and am kind of shocked to find out that we don’t. A few weeks ago, on of my friends wrote a blog post on ‘What Irish People are spending their money on‘ and the statistics are staggering. On the flip side, one of my favourite Irish Journalists has written a few blog posts, and a book on the caliber of food that Irish people are eating. The results of this fine body of work is disturbing.
We sat down a few weeks ago and devised a plan to see if we could feed our family (dinner) for under €10 per day for a few weeks. Does this sound like a lot, or too litte? Do you think that the quality or caliber of food would suffer or be stretched because of the Chef having to stick to a budget and not let his stomach be guided by everything green and glossy at the market. Can you feed your family of six (or seven) for less? Are you wondering why on earth you are even reading this blog post and have half fallen asleep waiting for it to end?
If you have answers and can contribute to any of my questions, then jump in and blog along side me as I start a series of ‘Living Leaner’. I am going to showcase eight or ten dinners over the next two weeks that will feed our family (dinner) for a tenner a day. I realise that all familes are different sizes and ages and have different appetites, so the recipes might have to be tweaked a little to suit your family, but the exercise of carrying ‘cash only’ and a planned weekly menu and shopping list is a great idea, and it works.
The first item on the menu is Turkey Lasagne and you can find it right here!
Jump in and start counting those pennies.
I would love to know how much you are spending on food every week.
Those are all the WiseWords I have for today!
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I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.
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SHE WRITES, HE COOKS, THE KIDS MAKE A HUGE MESS