This article was written by Elaine Colliar from Mortgagefreeinthree.com. Thank you Elaine!
I resisted the idea of menu planning and creating a store cupboard for a very long time. In my head I thought that laying in stores of food was something done by WI ladies, grandmothers and those who ate bland, unimaginative and plain food. It couldn’t be something that we “modern foodies” would dabble in.
When I actually accepted that some forward planning was going to have to happen (as I quickly had to become used to a credit crunch food budget) I was, frankly, amazed at the savings in both time and money that quickly mounted up.
I found I relaxed about food, and no longer fretted that we didn’t have enough. I no longer had cupboards full of food “and nothing for dinner” and my weekly spending on food tumbled by 75%.
My family ate better, ate a wider range of foods, I started to lose weight and most importantly I never got home in the evening, couldn’t decide what to have for dinner and resorted to a takeaway. (A disaster in both the weight and budget departments)
Don’t get me wrong, we are still “foodies”- we still love our food, cooking food, experimenting with food and sharing food – but I no longer have to visit the shops every couple of days; as a result we regained a most precious resource – our time as a family.
My store cupboard, which started on holding only a month’s worth of supplies, has gradually expanded to hold almost a year’s worth of staples – foods that I can buy when they are on sale and stock up on bulk to carry me through the leaner times.
Because I buy my “staples” when they are on offer my food bills have tumbled, as the “penny savings” mount up.
500 g white beans from Tesco’s = 89 p
500 g white beans on offer from approved foods = 18 p
Saving of 80%
Branded pasta sauce £1.49
Non-branded pasta sauce 18p
Saving of 88%
By stocking up on my store cupboard ingredients I have more discretionary funds available from my week to week budget to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season – we eat more than our recommended five–a-day and food has now become an abundant joy – not a weekly torture session of working your way around the supermarket and being shocked at the 6%, 8%, 15% weekly increases in some foodstuffs that we see today.
Most importantly, having got a significant part of my weekly spending easily under control I have found that I am braver at working out how to allocate my other financial resources.
I now see how little savings mount up on yearly basis.
Three loaves of Wholemeal and Nut bread per week £5.37 or £279.24 per year
Three loaves of home-made Artisan bread 97 p or £50.44 per year
Savings per year of £228.80
This in our home amounts to an extra mortgage payment per year by changing one little purchasing habit.
Multiply that over your weekly shopping basket, then the principle of building a store cupboard of staples begins to look like one of the most financially rewarding habits to develop (in my case running into thousands of pounds of savings per year) and certainly one that shouldn’t be restricted to WI devotees and grandmothers.