She’s a busy receptionist for a large corporate organisation. Tammy loves reading, movies, Asian cuisine.
And she’s one smart cookie when it comes to making her food budget stretch.
Tammy’s been a solo parent and been made redundant twice, so she’s a seasoned professional at making sure every scrap of food she buys is eaten.
These days she feeds a family of three adults on about $150 a week. Yep, that’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh, and snacks. And one night for takeaways. But hey, she’s human like the rest of us!
Oh come on, you’re thinking. Tammy’s got a lot more time on her hands than I have!
No she doesn’t but she does do this: Tammy allocates about 90 minutes of her weekend to planning & shopping. And in return, she says, you will get that time back in money, unwasted food and a happy, well-fed family.
Curious to hear how Tammy does it? Read on for some of her tips.
PLAN YOUR MENU, RIGHT DOWN TO SNACKS
Spend an hour on the weekend when you’re relaxed to browse your favourite recipes & start building your shopping list.
Make ingredients do double duty. If you have a recipe that calls for feta, for example, plan to use the other half in a salad. Think about how far a bag of carrots can go in a week – then use them for everything from raw snacks to sandwich fillings to cake,
Plan to make at least 2-3 vegetarian meals.This really keeps costs down – base a meal around an eggplant instead of meat and you save at least $5.
Cook extra rice and pasta with specific dishes in mind. Easy. Then the next day turn them into fried rice, pasta salad, you get my drift.
Think about how you buy vegetables. Balance out fresh with frozen and canned. That way you’ll always have some type of vegetable to boost your meal.
Ban boring breakfasts. Get the family excited about the first meal of the day and they’ll have no idea you’re feeding them on a budget. Frittata wedges, scrambled eggs, French toast, homemade muesli, breakfast biscuits dunked in a pottle of yoghurt…these are all ideas that cost less than expensive cereals and are more exciting than toast.
YOU GOTTA SHOP AROUND, EVEN JUST A BIT
Spend an extra hour making that trip to your local vege store or Asian grocers. You’ll save money, enjoy fresher produce as the turnover is higher and you’ll find a variety of foods you might not get at your supermarket.
Consider doing your shopping on Sunday. That way you won’t scoff all your treats over the weekend.
PORTION CONTROL… DON’T PUT IT ALL OUT AT ONCE
Fruit: Portion 1-2 pieces a day per person and replenish the fruit bowl accordingly. That way no one snacks mindlessly but everybody still gets their 5-plus a day.
Of course, you should always tuck a Freshkeeper sachet in the fruit bowl as an essential. If you buy a 12-pack of Freshkeeper sachets, which is about $30, it works out to be about $2.50 per sachet. Look at it as a guarantee of having a year’s worth of fresh, crisp and appealing fruit.
Dinner: Serve each person a plate of food. And that’s that. Come on.It’s often just greed that we want second helpings – and this way those leftovers means everyone’s lunches are sorted for the next day.
Roast chicken: An oldie but a goodie. One cooked chicken can make many meals. Friday night roast, Saturday risotto, Sunday soup and sandwiches …
TAMMY’S STAR TIP
Invest in pretty glass containers for your leftovers. Stack them up in the fridge and they’ll make last night’s dinner look a lot more appetising the next day, the day after… And, unlike plastic (which we here at Freshkeeper hate), it makes it easier to see what you’ve got.
- Featured Image Credit – Jason Briscoe/Unsplash