In 2011 we found ourselves without any income for 3 months. I won’t lie … it was tough. It was also an amazing challenge to see how we could manage our family of 4 on hobby income and NewStart payments (which we didn’t even get until 9 weeks in!)
Of course, the first thing we did was to cut back on unecessary spending. That meant no take-away meals, no trips to the video store, no cinema outings, no magazines, etc. We also planned errands so that we did less pointless driving around, and therefore used less petrol. We made less phone calls, so the phone bill would be lower.
When bills came in, a call to the utility companies was easy to ask for an extension. When a big insurance bill came in, a call to the insurance company rewarded me with a $110 discount on the bill they had sent … just because I asked!
But by far, my greatest success was our grocery bill. We were spending $200 per week on groceries. Clearly that couldn’t continue. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought to cut that expense down to 1/4 the cost.
This week I will walk you through steps that I took to cut our grocery bill down to $50 (maybe $60) per week. The first step is something you can do right now …
Grab a notebook and pen, and look in your pantry, your fridge and your freezer. Make a note of everything you have in there, and get a full inventory down on paper. I was stunned to find that I had about 5 cans of refried beans in there … what???!! Once you have it all written down, you have a starting point.
I started jotting down all the meals that our family liked to eat. It took a while, so I just left the list on the fridge, and when I remembered something, I added it to the list. From there I started to look at the items unearthed in the pantry, fridge & freezer stocktake, and realised I had enough for a whole week of meals already here! Literally all I needed in my next trip to the shops was bread and milk.
If you are struggling long term, or just would like to save some money this week, or this month … go do a stocktake and start writing down your family’s fave meals today. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stories about how I fed my family for less 🙂 *Dawn*