Another 5 Ways to Save on Groceries

A month or so ago, I noticed our grocery bills had been slowly rising. To be fair, we had been celebrating a few birthdays and special occasions, (including the week of beef), so I  had been expecting to exceed our budget a little bit some weeks, but we seemed to be going over most weeks. I decided I needed to rein our spending back in, before it got out of hand. I’ve written before about ways to save on your groceries and today I thought I would share a few more of the ways I save money at the supermarket, including some I’ve only just started using. To check out some of my other posts that include ideas for ways to save click here.

  1. Meal Plan – Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know I’m a huge fan of meal planning. If you’ve only recently found my blog you can check out my weekly meal plan posts by clicking here. Making sure I know what we’re going to eat each night for the coming week saves me making random purchases and hoping for the best. To find out more about how I meal plan each week check out this post.
  2. Write a shopping list (and remember to take it) –  It’s all well and good to have a meal plan but you also need to know what you need to pull that plan together. Check your pantry and fridge for what you need for the coming week before you head to the supermarket and try to stick to it. I like to use a list app on my phone to make sure there’s no chance of me leaving it at home when I go to the shops.
  3. Buy in Season –  I know this idea won’t work for everyone (especially if your family are as picky as mine about eating anything that resembles a plant) but it is much cheaper to buy fruit and vegetables that are in season than it is those that aren’t. They are usually fresher too as they haven’t been sitting in storage during transport from wherever they have come from. As a rule of thumb, fruit and vegetables that are in season should cost no more than $4 per kilo. Side note: If you have any hints or tricks for getting your family to eat more vegetables I’d love to hear them.
  4. Shop online – This one has been a fairly new way to save for me. When I realised that our grocery bills were slowly sneaking  up despite my best efforts, and stopped to consider why, I realised a big part of it was thanks to those sneaky impulse buys. You know those things that somehow find their way into your trolley when your husband thinks you’re not looking. Or that item that your kid just HAD to have. Or that chocolate that just looks too tempting to resist. Shopping online has almost completely eliminated them for me. I can take my time and check over everything in my cart before I commit to ordering and decide whether or not it’s something we really need. Even once I factor in delivery fees, we are definitely coming out ahead.
  5. Cash Rewards – This has been another new way to save around here and again, it’s been working really well for us. At the start of each week I purchase a Woolworths gift card through Cash Rewards. I spend both our grocery and petrol money, as the gift cards can also be used at participating Caltex petrol stations. Using my Cash Rewards account I receive a 5% off the total spend and a small cashback reward. At the end of the week, if there’s anything left over on the card, I can use it the next week, or save it for a week when we need something extra or to just spend a little less.  Sign up for Cash Rewards by clicking here.

What’s your best tip for saving money on groceries?

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Budget Friendly Winter School Holidays Ideas

Yesterday was the last day of term 2 in NSW. This post was supposed to go up then but apparently I was already in holiday mode and it just didn’t happen. Better late than never though right?

Be sure to have a look at some of the school holidays activities I have posted previously.

  1. Whale Watching – If you are fortunate enough to live on the East Coast of NSW (or you somehow find yourself there these holidays), make sure you spend some time whale watching. Rug up warm, check out this website for the top spots in your area and enjoy a great day out.
  2. Play ‘The Floor is Lava’ – Some days it is just too cold to venture outside but the kids still need a way to get their sillies out. Tell them that the floor is now lava so everyone has to stay off it for the day. This seems to be everywhere on the Internet right now, but it’s also a great way to amuse the kids. Spread some pillows around so that there are safe areas to jump between and spend the day hopping around the house. Make sure to have a good giggle when someone inevitable forgets and “melts” in the lava.
  3. Make hot chocolate – Hot chocolate is a great way to warm up when it’s chilly outside, and is a great treat to enjoy for morning or afternoon tea. Whip up some cream, get out the sprinkles, and let the kids go to town.
  4. Have a pyjama day – These are my son’s favourite days. The days when he gets to wear his jammies ALL day, no matter what we do. I don’t always participate but some days it is just too tempting to stay snuggly and warm in my pyjamas and slippers.
  5. Make soup – Soup is another great way to warm up when it’s cold. Add it to your meal plan one night and then get the kids to help measure ingredients and chop vegetables. They’re more likely to eat it if they helped make it!

What do you have planned for the school holidays? I’d love to hear some more ideas in the comments.

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#19 Meal Plan Monday 2017

To view all my previous Meal Plan Monday posts click here.

Monday – Spaghetti Bolognese
Tuesday – Satay Chicken
Wednesday – Lamb Korma
Thursday – Creamy Chicken and Bacon
Friday – Pizza Party Friday Night!
Saturday – Red wine garlic beef
Sunday – Dinner out for Mother’s Day

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5 Ways to Teach Your Children About Money {Guest Post by Fi Morrison}

Fi Morrison is a first time Mum to an adorable 7 month old bub she calls Starfish. She is a teacher (currently on maternity leave) who writes an awesome blog for new mums over at Mumma Morrison

As a teacher, there are lots of things I need to teach my students. I need to teach them how to tell the time. I need to teach them how to add and subtract. I need to teach them how to write sentences, paragraphs and whole texts. It is a big, daunting, and amazingly rewarding job.

And then I became a parent. And I realised that as a parent (albeit to a 7 month old), I too need to teach my child things. At the moment, I need to teach him to track objects. I need to teach him to listen to speech sounds and mimick my noises. I need to teach him to sit (and eventually crawl and walk and talk). This too is a massively daunting but wonderfully rewarding task. I am a lucky woman.

I have to admit though, as a teacher I have come across many a parent who delegated full responsibility for teaching their child onto me – without considering their own ability (and RESPONSIBILITY) to teach their kids. Understanding money and how to use it is not only part of the curriculum they are required to learn at school, but it is a LIFE skill that all children need to become adept at (this is a pet peeve of mine – people who don’t know how to deal with money!!). I’ve included 5 simple and easy ways for you to teach your children about money at home – I hope you find them useful.

Chores/Reward charts – One of the things I remember growing up was doing chores for ‘pocket money’. I would get $2.00 for washing dishes, or $5.00 for ironing shirts (was a lot of money when I was growing up!). Not only did it teach me important lessons about money such as the coins/notes and adding them together (if I iron the clothes and wash the dishes I’ll earn $7.00), but it also taught me the VALUE of money. I need to earn money to receive it, and I will be more thankful to have money once I realize all the hard work I’ve gone through to get it.

For those parents who might not like the idea of giving their toddlers pretend money (they might not comprehend it as much at such a young age), a reward chart can work very similar. If you have a reward chart for your child doing chores, and they recognise that they’ll earn a star or a sticker (or whatever you choose!) every time they complete a chore, they’ll begin to understand the concept of “earning” something for their work.

Of course, this can be a difficult line to balance. While we want children to do their chores ‘because they want to’ (we want them to be intrinsically motivated), we know that the real world is just not like that. We earn money by working hard and doing our ‘job’, and our children will learn that one day too. Even by earning a simple ‘star’ on a star chart for doing their chores can be reward enough for them.

5 Ways to Teach Your Children About Money {Guest Post by Fi Morrison} - 2Games, such as Monopoly – A lot of us grew up (and are still to this day) playing Monopoly. Known for being tediously long, it is also beneficial in teaching children about money. While it deals with larger sums of money, children are once again not only learning how to add up and subtract sums of money, but they are learning the value of money (they are using their money to buy property, etc). It contains numerous life skills within the game, such as rationing your money and making decisions on what to spend money on (and what not to) in order to survive.

play - pretend shoppingPlay – Pretend shopping – Something that children do from a very young age is engage in dramatic play. They enjoy playing “pretend” and playing in the kitchen, in the home, or in the shops. This is a great opportunity for young children to start to understand the use of money (to buy things) and to practise exchanging money for items. While little people don’t need to fully understand the value of the coins or items they are purchasing, simply getting involved in a ‘transaction’ is developing their understanding of money. Give your child plenty of opportunities to pretend play in shopping situations (even if they had a pretend shopping till or coins).

Catalogues/brochures – For older children, catalogues and brochures are another way to teach them how to use/spend money. This has been a great teaching lesson that I have used in several different contexts (including when I taught for a couple of weeks in Fiji!). Giving your child a catalogue and telling them they have a certain budget (maybe your weekly family budget), ask them what they would buy. This activity can pave the way for excellent conversations about buying what we want (e.g. chocolate!) versus what we need (e.g. fruit and veg). Ask your child what would happen if you spent your whole budget on confectionery – what would we eat for dinner? What would you use to wash yourself in the bath or shower? This is another excellent lesson in the value of money for older children.

Conversations at the shops – Following on from the above activity, never underestimate the value of a good, contextual conversation. Taking your children shopping with you and letting them see what you purchase is a great way for them to learn the value of money. Involve them in some decisions, such as whether you should buy the expensive brand of detergent versus the cheap brand – you might find some good insights and discussions about the pros and cons of each. This will teach your children to always make judgment calls on what they purchase, not just defining ‘cheap’ and ‘expensive’ brands (for example, you may need to buy an expensive brand of laundry powder because it is more sensitive for your eczema).

These are my top, easy-to-implement activities for parents to do at home with their children to teach them the value and use of money. What are some of your favourite activities?

Be sure to follow Fi on Facebook and Instagram, and check out her lovely website Mumma Morrison.