Friday, May 4, 2012

Making that meal dollar stretch

Quite a few things have been catching my interest this week, one of them was Food Budgets. How much people spend on food, what they buy, why they buy what they do, who they buy for, etc. As regular readers will know, I am fascinated by all sorts of things, this is just one of the many. :D

But a recent convo via email spurred me to make this post. A new reader from last post (who pointed out the mistakes - lol, thanks!!) asked "how can they worry about all that other stuff, when they can't afford to even buy food?" And you know what? They are right! When you don't even have enough money to put food on the table, growing your own that will be available in who knows how long is REALLY not the point. I'm quite a believer in Maslow's Hierarchy of  Needs. You can't worry about things like future expectations, if your tummy is saying it's hungry NOW!!!

I have also been told that a family of three would NOT be able to live on $25 a week in Australia.
I beg to differ. I have done it! It's not wonderful, it's not fun but its food. You certainly wouldn't want to do it forever, or even for long, but it can be done while you find a better way.

Please also keep in mind, that many people DO live like this. Not just for a month or two, but months and years and sometimes not even as well as this.

Anyway, to live on $25 a week for a family of three - now, this was based on two adults and one young child.

$1.28  750gms Porridge
$3.00  1-2kgs Of Apples/bananas/Pears/Seasonal Fruit - from our local greengrocers there is nearly always some fruit for 99c a kg, even the Big supermarkets have specials on fruit 
$2.00  2 loaves of bread
$4.00  1kg of chicken legs OR 680gms of beef sausages
$1.50  Jam/Spread
$1.50  Butter/margarine
$2.00  1kg Frozen Mixed Veggies
$2.00  1kg Potatoes
$2.00  1kg Pumpkin
$1.70  500gm bag of Rice
$2.00  425gm can of Tuna
$2.00  2 Litres of Milk

= $24.98

Now, I got these prices from Woolworth's Online and/or Coles Online - I can actually get cheaper prices by visiting Dedicated fruit stores/farmers markets, butchers, Foodland, keeping my eyes out for specials, etc. Anywhere I might go. For example, currently I have 16 chicken legs in my deep freezer I got for $1.79. That works out at 4 meals (of one drumstick each) AND if needed I can turn the bones into soup/stock. (I haven't YET had success, but I am assured it is possible - I'm taking a Wait And See Approach to this one!)

You might change what you want/need, but this worked well for us at the time. Small portion sizes for adults and trying to keep it balanced as we could on such a tight budget. But it goes to show, that it CAN be done.

The above foods cover Breakfast, snacks, lunches and dinners. Like I said, not the healthiest, but not bad. Fills the gaps while keeping the budget. Each week can be different if you have anything left over at the end.

For us now, we are probably sitting at around a $100+ a week status, due to the fact that we are in the midst of working out our healthier menu and incorporating the kids into making their own choices for meal twice a week - they prepare it themselves as part of their home schooling life skills learning. Hopefully, I will be able to share our Monthly Menus soon.

Do you have any tips on making $25 stretch further? What would your $25 a week shopping list look like? And how many would that feed?

And a side note - Life FM has been talking about Live Below The Line. It's like anything - you are sponsored to live as hundreds of thousands of people do in our world, Below the Poverty Line or on just $2 a day. Check it out!! Only Three Days to go to sign up for this