It's the best day of the year for shopping. Whether you get to line up early on the 26th or you have to wait until the 27th, hitting the Boxing Day sales is great fun and a great opportunity to pick up some fantastic bargains....and get a head start on next Christmas!
*Check to see what you already have.
*Make a list of the things you want to buy. Prepare your list around what you already have, what's on sale, and what gifts you'll need in the coming year (birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, 21sts, engagements, weddings, special anniversaries, new babies and of course next Christmas!).
*Plan your spending to avoid impulse buys. Don't spend money on things you don't need.
*Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, take a bottle of water and remember to have fun.
"My husband and I have been married for five months, and are currently living with his parents. This is their wedding gift to us, so we can save as much as possible as a deposit on a home of our own. They offered us rent and utility free living for two years, which we are grateful for. The problem is grocery money (of all things!). Because of our work schedules, my MIL also does the grocery shopping and cooking (she's a great cook, I'm learning heaps) and we split the bill 50-50. Here's the rub: she does all the grocery shopping Coles and refuses to go anywhere else. She doesn't look for markdowns or specials, and flatly refuses to even consider generic brands. Last month our share of the grocery bill was $1,365 - even living rent free, we can't afford that! How can I , at 25 years old and a newlywed, tactfully introduce the idea of smart and frugal, budget shopping without any offence to my mother-in-law, who has been a housewife for 30+ years and has never needed to budget?
Do you have the answer?
If you can help Dianne let us know, by leaving it in the comments below. We'll enter your answer into our Tip of the Week competition, with a one-year membership to the Cheapskates Club as the prize. And keep an eye open, you may even see your answer in next week's newsletter.
My local greengrocer had a fantastic special on onions this week - 10 kilo bags for $3! That's just 30c a kilo - about an 80 per cent saving on supermarket prices.
I couldn't resist and before I knew it two bags had mysteriously made their way into my kitchen.
So faced with 20 kilos of brown onions what was I to do?
Well first off I roped in all the family and had them take turns at peeling - a half a bag each. That was the worst chore over and done with.
Then I took out the food processor and, using the chopping blade, I processed half of them. Now that's a lot of chopped onion, and I did it in batches. With my trusty 1/2 cup measure I portioned those chopped onions into ziplock bags ready to go into the freezer.
Those bags of frozen onion will be used to prepare rissoles and burgers, meatloaf, pies, soups and stews, casseroles, pies and quiche and anything else that needs diced or chopped onion this winter.
The remaining onions were sorted and any small enough to roast were blanched, drained and put onto a baking paper lined baking sheet and then flash frozen. I'll use these for our Sunday roasts. When they are completely frozen they'll be bagged up too.
That left about 7 kilos of rather largish onions. Those were sliced on the mandolin. They will be great for hamburgers and steak sandwiches and crumbed they'll make lovely onion rings. The mandolin had them sliced up, into lovely even slices, in no time. And again they went into ziplock bags, this time in 1 cup portions.
Now there is a green bag in the freezer, full of packets of diced, sliced or whole onions.
It did take a couple of hours to process that 20 kilos, but it will save me a lot of time over winter. When a recipe calls for onion I will be able to just pull a packet out of the freezer.
And know that I've saved around $24 too.
What do you buy in bulk to prepare ahead and freeze? Leave a comment and inspire us!
This post was shared from Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing
We have become very used to using fabric grocery bags in the last few years but we are still using millions of veggie bags each year (veggie bags are the plastic bags on the roll in the fruit and veg department).
Even if we re-use them over and over they still end up in landfill and they take a very long time to breakdown. If they end up in our waterways the potential damage is even worse. A solution is to use fabric veggie bags and keep a supply on hand, just as we do with the grocery bags.
When I first started using them I'd get some odd looks at the check-out. After an explanation of how I am trying to reduce my impact on the environment and avoid using plastic bags, and that I was prepared to pay the two or three cents more to cover the weight of the bag, it was OK. In fact these days my regular market stalls and orchards know me and don't even comment any more. Sometimes other customers do though, and I just go through the explanation again.
I’ve made mine out of tulle that I had in the cupboard, left over from our fairy party days and just waiting for another use and an old net curtain. You can use any light weight, sheer fabric. Remember, it has to be light weight, as it will add to the cost of your produce if it is too heavy. You can use old sheer curtaining (pick up a curtain or two at the op shop, mine cost $1.50 and made dozens of bags, or a garage sale if you don’t have any) or lace if you have it.
To make a veggie bag you will need:
Sheer, light weight fabric measuring 70cm x 50cm – use light tulle, lightweight curtains, nylon etc
1.5 metres of ribbon or strong twine
1. Cut the tulle into a rectangle measuring 70cm x 50cm
2. Fold in half widthways – your rectangle should measure 35cm x 50cm
3. Measure down 2.5cm from top edge on both sides and mark with a pin
4. Stitch down first side, starting at pin, and along the bottom to the fold. Turn bag inside out.
5. Starting at the pin, stitch around the bag again, this time along the seam. This will strengthen the seams and make the bag a little stronger.
6. Make the casing for the ribbon by turning the top edge down 2.5cm and stitching in place.
This makes a casing on the top of the bag.
7. Thread the ribbon through the casing, leaving a length at each end. Knot the ends together. To close the bag, pull up the ribbon and tie a slip knot.
This makes a bag a little larger than a large plastic veggie bag, perfect for family sized quantities of fruit and vegetables.
I keep my stash of veggie bags in one of the green grocery bags and they live in the boot of the car ready for shopping. Oh, and you can wash your veggie bags too when they get a little grotty (as they will with use). I toss them in with the towels or the sheets and line dry and they are as good as new.
It may seem silly to you to be using bags I've made myself, that will add to the final cost of the produce I buy (it's only a couple of cents, the bags are very light) when I'm trying to save money and live to our Spending Plan. I think of it as my contribution to saving the environment.
Plastic bags take a very long time to breakdown, even the ones made of organic material. And they do an almost incomprehensible amount of damage if they get into waterways. Animals get caught up in them, or eat them. If they make it to rivers, streams or the ocean then sea life suffers.
If I can not use just 5 bags a week, that's 260 less plastic bags to destroy the environment. Now imagine if every Cheapskater stopped using just 5 veggie bags a week - how many millions of bags would that keep out of landfill each year?
What an impact one simple, painless little action could have on our world!
Shared from Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing
Do you shop with a list? If you don't you should. Without a shopping list you don't have a hope of sticking to your grocery budget and getting all the groceries you need at the same time. No matter how good your memory is you will forget to pick up something, forget your best price or be in the middle of baking or cooking and realise you don't have a vital ingredient because you didn't have a shopping list!
I found many years ago when Disaster Struck and I first becaume a Cheapskate, that I tended to buy the same grocery items over and over; there was very little change in what I bought. It was a real eye-opener for me, and it was the beginning of my perpetual shopping lists and the beginning of real money savings shopping the Cheapskates way.
It was then that I wrote my master grocery shopping list and each month after grocery shopping day I run off a copy and stick it to the pantry door. As things are used up they are circled on the list. When I'm getting ready for shopping day I take the already to go shopping list, do a quick stocktake and add anything else I need to buy. It is a perpetual shopping list.
You may find that you buy different grocery items in summer to those you purchase in winter. I just made two master shopping lists – one for summer, another for winter. I do so I have a summer list and a winter list. My summer list has things like beetroot, pineapple and coleslaw dressing down for every shop. On the winter list they are down for every second shop. The winter list has soup mix and kidney beans on every list. The soup mix is only on every fourth summer list as we don’t eat much soup in summer.
I love my perpetual shopping lists. Everything I regularly buy is already on the list – I just need to tick the things we need and away I go! No more spending time standing in the kitchen wondering if I’ve forgotten to put anything on the shopping list. And no more getting home, only to realise that I forgot to buy half the things I need for dinner next week.
My shopping list isn't like anyone else's. These days it's a printed A4 sheet. It used to be a spiral bound notebook. I prefer the notebook but it's too hard to stick to the pantry door!
There are groceries I buy weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly and yearly and the list is broken down into those categories. It sounds complicated but it's not - the sections are just listed in order down the page, with the groceries underneath.
Weekly: usually bought on a Thursday when I take Mum to do her shopping
Fortnightly: bought Monday morning straight after the school drop-off
Monthly: bought first Monday of the month, straight after school drop off
Quarterly: bought first Monday of the Month, straight after school drop off
Yearly: sometime in the week between Christmas and New Year when everyone is home to help - it's a big one!
Before each shopping day I check the shopping list, do a very quick stocktake of the pantry, fridge and freezer to make sure nothing has been missed and off I head to Aldi and Coles (for the things Aldi doesn't stock) then to the greengrocer (if it's a fortnightly shop) and butcher (if it's time for a meat shop) and home.
A monthly shop takes about an hour and a half all up, depending on the queues. A quarterly shop takes about two hours all up. Once it's done and the groceries are put away, that's it. I don't go back to the supermarket or greengrocer or butcher until the next shopping day.
When I hit the supermarket, greengrocer or butcher I don't dawdle. I have my list and I get through it as quickly as I can. I'm in and I'm out. Shopping in sections like this saves me a lot of time, at least 3 hours a month. It doesn't take any longer to toss three or four of each item into the trolley than it does one. It does take about 5 minutes longer to get through the checkout. The biggest time saving is in the travelling and parking and checking out - it's done once a month and then that's it - no more supermarket for 4 weeks.
This is how I shop.
This is how I keep the grocery bill for my family of five to $80 a week, $345 a month or $4,160 a year.
It works for me. It may or may not work for you. Feel free to try it to see how it works. Be prepared though to have to make some radical changes to the way you do your grocery shopping. And be prepared for some fantastic savings off your grocery bill.
It's such a bright, sunny day I ventured out early this morning and put the washing on the line, rather than over the clotheshorse. I may as well take advantage of the "solar" clothes dryer while it's there. I know that the heavy things will still be damp when I bring them in, but that's ok. I love the smell of washing that's been outside drying in the sun, even if I have to finish it off in front of the fire.
Speaking of which, we can't use ours at the moment and boy do I miss it. We have had the ducted heating on in the evenings and it's just not the same as the fire. The top of the chimney/flu has come off, we think by one of those absolutely huge magpies that have been bombarding our roof for weeks. Wayne will get up at the weekend and have a look and make the necessary repairs and it will be back in action.
It's the first of the month and as I was uploading the Journal last night I was thinking about the challenge I've set for Cheapskaters this month. Zero waste. Is it possible to go a whole month and have zero waste? I wonder. I think it is, you just need to think ahead and be conscious of your goal all the time.
I think it will be easy to have zero waste in the kitchen. We already compost (we have a bokashi bucket), anything that can't be composted is either re-used or re-cycled. Yes, I'm one of those freaks who re-use foil time and time again and store everything in Tupperware or similar containers. I wash and re-use ziplock bags, glass jars, bottles, paper bags and pill bottles (we have a few of those since Wayne's been unwell).
Leftovers are either planned or eaten. I can put a plated up dinner in the fridge for another meal and it will disappear overnight. We have fridge fairies that visit our fridge during the deep, dark hours of the night. I'm sure we're not the only family they visit, I just wish they'd call ahead first so I can plan to lose the dinner I'd planned on having the next day.
I was reading Amanda's comments on the Zero Waste Challenge thread in the forum and it brought back so many memories, especially the watching water usage. I remember bucketing the bath and shower water into the washing machine too. Thankfully the bathroom was off the laundry, so not to far to carry the water. And re-using courtesy of the suds save option on the washing machine over and over again.
I'd do the whites first, then the light coloureds, coloureds, dark clothes and then the dirty farm clothes. Sometimes I'd have to top up the water, but not often. When the washing was finished it was carried out to the trees and garden.
Wayne would mark the tank every day so we could show the kids how much water we used. It was a competition to see how much water we didn't use each day. Now that really was zero waste.
I challenge you to join us. This week we're focusing on zero kitchen waste and you can join us here.
From Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing