2017 on the perks of opening my first brick and mort shop I found myself splitting up with my kid’s dad. We have been together for eight years and it was not all roses and chocolates, indeed we had very different views of parenting, in money and family life. After having bought a home together and having kids, our financials were also mangled together. After about 14 months of trying to figure things out, we finally pulled the plaster and I was left to close my business and look for different ways to support myself and my kids.
Yes, it was hard, but in long run, it has thought me how to be better prepared for the times when my income could be slightly tighter than usual, without actually feeling that much of the tightness. These are my go-to priorities how I either prepare or live on to save me the heartache ahead.
1 Meal Planning
When with kids, it helps a lot. I also get kids involved. We plan from breakfast to dinner and the midday snack. It stops the snacking most of the time in mid-day and also stops us from buying unnecessary food from the grocery shop. What is also stops is the argument to get some more from the shop. We have a plan and we stick to it. The big bonus is the takeaway at the end of the week. If we have done so well with sticking to the plan then we do need a little treat. Just make sure it fits your weekly food budget – I will talk about that in a minute.
2 Ordering grocery delivery instead of going to the shop
BEST SERVICE THEY EVER WERE CREATED. It doesn’t only save me a fortune as you graze through the aisle and start to suddenly feel the urge to buy for just in case. There is always a list for stuff for “just in case”, yet for that, there is also time and place (few bullets below this one). If you are anything like me — I hate grocery shopping full stop. It takes me an hour to get my bits, then pack them up.. six out of ten times I have left my bags home.. drag them to the car and then unpack them at home.. two and half hours of my life that I never get back. And if I have to bring my kids – where do I sign for home delivery?
3 Budget for daily allowance
If you like to go and get food daily fresh from the shop, then budget your daily allowance. Aka for €25 a day. Everything that is leftover from it, will go to the savings account. There will be days when your budget could go a little higher, that’s okay too – make sure then that when you do to your weekly food plan, that you shift meals around to match them for each day and budget.
4 Bulk up essentials
Yes, that is my main tip. If you already know that you are staying under the budget that day, you can add that to your savings, or you could max out it by buying staples for your home for future references. Let me explain: we eat a lot of pasta, so I have quite a lot of pasta in my press for the days I might be short on my budget. So the days I have leftover from my budget – I bulk up on food staples that I know will be used and pay forward to the budgets ahead.
5 Grow your own
Easy say but hard to do. It will take some type of investment to start growing yourself and it will not be always cheap – YET, it is very rewarding. I am now in the third year growing my own vegetables and this is the first year (2021) that I am reaping a good harvest. There is also a great satisfaction to it. If you cant grow due to the restricted living space – see could you join a local community garden or allotment? Many would be happy to share the crop exchange for the work.
6 Use up your food waste
Pickle your leftover veg before they go off. Chop up your vegetables and fruit – especially berries – and put them in individual package in the freezer. If it is cheaper to patch cook the food in bigger amounts – use it to save for dinner next week. Make sure you get the best out of your groceries. You can use your peelings to make vegetable stock or bones for bone broth. Some of the seeds can be used to grow vegetables, or if you put the end of your vegetables back into the water, you could have endless use of the veg. It is all about being clever with your food. Not only saves it money for you, but if we talk about climate change. 28% of all wood that is currently produced in agricultural land ends up in the landfill. In Africa, only 5% of food will end up unused, while in the US 50% of food will end up in our bins. That’s 50% of your food budget that you are literally just throwing out from your purse. Think about it!
I know you go – that’s just being tight – but aren’t you tight with money as you read the article. There is nothing wrong to use your resources as best as possible. When things are good and you feel like you are going to have enough prep done for the harder times, then you can have a bigger budget for your cooking. But when things are tighter, you will so much better of having prepared for the days ahead.
Thank you for joining me. x