Maree Wrack is a Kiwi living in Australia and she has published this great book about living it up with abundance on less! Check out her website www.champagnelifebeerbudget.com (see link below right). Chapter 6 is all about how my family gets by on a low, low grocery budget!
Here’s what Maree has to say about her book … “It’s the easy way to gain control of your money and still LIVE IT UP! Full of simple, quick and easy steps on living a CHAMPAGNE LIFE on a BEER BUDGET™, this book is guaranteed to save you thousands! It shows you how you can have it all and have it now at a fraction of the price, and it’s not just about the money. It’s about your life!”
Here’s what people are saying about Champagne Life on a Beer Budget™:
- “It opened my eyes up to how I manage money and what I can do to manage it better.” – Jayne
- “I am in absolute AWE of what you have collected, collated, created… and produced!!! You deserve a Gold Medal.” – Janette
- “I’m now saving $100 a week on my groceries.” – Cherie
- “I’ve planned my bucket list for the next 10 years.” – Ian (aged 75)
- “A very good read … I’m saving $90 a week on my groceries.” – Steve
- “I loved the case studies.” – Cheryl
- “I’ve saved $2,000 in the first three weeks!” – Renee (new mother-to-be)
- “We’re off to Portugal for six months next year! The plan is now in place and I am currently going through every cupboard in the house using ‘The 5 Second Fling’.”- Di
- “I’m saving $175,000 per year! Pretty good for a $25 investment!” – Paul CEO
Champagne Life on a Beer Budget™ is for:
- Busy people working hard to get ahead.
- Baby boomers and retirees who want their retirement savings to go further
- People wanting to reduce their debt, save more money and simplify their lives.
- Gen. Y … looking for a simple way to manage their money.
- People who want to live it up but don’t have money to burn.
- ANYONE who thinks they should be spending less and wants to get more bang for their buck!
Maree has made a special deal available to international purchasers. Only AUD$24.99 plus AUD$6.95 postage and handling. (Buy on-line by clicking Champagne Life on a Beer Budget link on your immediate right.)
This is well worth a read – and not just because my website gets a mention.
The US has the worst record in the industrialized world for regulating toxic chemicals thanks to the stranglehold powerful corporate lobbies have on Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is concerning that millions of Americans may be systematically poisoning themselves with common household products, toiletries and cosmetics. In this article, the most dangerous products are listed, as well as providing links to databases that suggest safer alternative. It’s also essential for all American consumers to support the 2010 Safe Cosmetics Act presently in Congress which would greatly strengthen FDA oversight for a virtually unregulated industry (see http://www.safecosmetics.org/section.php?id=74 ).
At present, Americans are at a high risk from endocrine disruptors found in most commercial cleaning and beauty products. These are chemicals that mimic estrogen and other hormones in their effect on the human body. Many epidemiologists believe they are linked to the current epidemic of breast cancer, premature puberty, and both male and female infertility. However there are concerns about evidence linking other synthetic chemical to the big increase in cancer prevalence that occurred with the “better living through chemistry” revolution that occurred after World War II. What many people forget is that cancer was an extremely rare condition prior to the industrial revolution. The current epidemic of asthma in children – and its apparent link to the use of commercial household cleaners during pregnancy, is also extremely alarming.
Why is There a Frog Disruptor in My Toothpaste?
(from www.tree.hugger.com/files/2009/1/why-is-there-a-frog-disrupter-toothpaste.php ). The phthalates and bisphenyl-A found in plastic water bottles, pacifiers, and baby toys has been pretty well publicized. Many Americans consumers seem well aware that these compounds function as synthetic estrogens and that they cause feminization of frogs and fish, and possibly breast cancer, premature puberty, and low sperm counts in men.
There is much less public awareness that nearly all commercial shampoos, hand and body lotions, deodorants, toothpaste, and sunscreen contain preservatives that function as estrogen-like endocrine disruptors. The US bans only eight of these compounds. In contrast the EU bans more than 1,000.
The problem with widespread use of these products is that the harm they cause they cause to individuals who use them for years on end (and their children and pets) is compounded when they are flushed down the drain and accumulate in our waterways. Studies of indigenous populations in both the third world and the Arctic reveal they have a hundred or so of these toxic chemicals in their blood stream and breast milk even though most of them have never even heard of Right Guard or Colgate toothpaste.
One of the worst offenders is the paraben class of compounds (mostly found as methyparaben or PABA ), which is used as a preservative in nearly all commercial toiletries. The second most common is triclosan , found in numerous so-called antibacterial products, including the following:
Neutrogena Deep Clean Body Scrub Bar Lever 2000 Special Moisture Response Bar Soap, Antibacterial CVS Antibacterial Hand Soap Dial Liquid Soap, Antibacterial Bar Soap Softsoap Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap Cetaphil Gentle Antibacterial Cleansing Bar Clearasil Daily Face Wash Clean & Clear Oil Free Foaming Facial Cleanser Dawn Complete Antibacterial Dish Liquid Ajax Antibacterial Dish Liquid Colgate Total Toothpaste Right Guard Sport Deodorant Old Spice Red Zone, High Endurance and Classic Deodorants Vaseline Intensive Care Antibacterial Hand Lotion
Other Toxic Skin Products
Even less well publicized are potentially toxic “nanosized” particles present in many popular sunscreens and so called “natural” mineral foundations. (See 2010 Friends of the Earth study http://www.aolnews.com/nanotech/article/more-bad-news-about-sunscreen-safety-nanoparticles/195001
Nanoparticle containing skin products are strictly regulated in France , Germany the UK and the European Union as a whole -” with laws requiring safety testing and mandatory product labeling as a minimum -” and an outright ban in some places. Nevertheless, the FDA, which has known for nearly a decade that many common sunscreens contain ingredients that accelerate the growth of skin cancer cells, refuses to act on this information.
Nanoparticles are absorbed into the blood stream through skin damaged through eczema or psoriasis, a major health concern as mineral foundations are specifically marketed to women to conceal unsightly dermatitis. In addition, mineral foundation powders are often accidentally inhaled into the lungs during application. Moreover preliminary evidence suggests that nanoparticles can even penetrate healthy skin to some extent.
The potentially hazardous nanoparticles in sunscreen are nanosized zinc oxide and nanosized titanium dioxide. Because there is no scientific data whatsoever regarding “safe” levels of exposure, any absorption is worrying. Zinc oxide nanoparticles have been shown (in very small concentrations) to kill brain stem cells in mice; damage colon cells; and play some role in the development of autism, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s – as well as crossing the placenta and potentially harming the developing fetus. Nano-titanium has been show to cause cell and DNA damage (both directly and indirectly by increasing circulating free radicals). Not only are these substances totally unregulated in the US , but due to lax labelling laws, 80 percent of sunscreens that claim to contain no nanoparticles are found to contain them. Women seeking truly “natural” mineral foundations should consult one of the websites below for safe brands:
Over fifty million American women, as well as an increasing number of men, dye their hair on a regular basis. Many start in early adolescence, resulting in cumulative, lifelong exposure to some extremely toxic substances:
Phenylenediamine (PPD) – present in over two-third of chemical hair dyes and by far the most toxic. Linked (in animals) to damage of the immune and nervous system, skin, liver and kidneys. Banned in France , Germany , and Sweden and use “restricted” in Canada . Resorcinal – classified by the European Union as a harmful skin and eye irritant and dangerous to the environment. Ammonia – irritant to skin, eyes, and respiratory system (can cause asthma). Peroxide – potential toxic effects on eyes, nervous and respiratory (can cause asthma) system. Can cause DNA damage, possibly leading to cancer. Banned in cosmetic use in Japan and use “restricted” in Canada. 4-ABP – linked to cancer
Many so-called “natural” hair dyes also contain some PPD, but in lower concentrations. As with other toiletries and beauty products described above, checking labels is essential, or better still doing a little Internet research to find a safer alternative.
Dangerous Chemicals in Household Cleaners
AIR FRESHENERS – usually contain methoxychlor, a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells, as well as formaldehyde, a highly toxic, known carcinogen, and phenol, a common culprit in contact allergies.
CARPET AND UPHOLSTERY SHAMPOO – commonly contain perchlorethylene, a known carcinogen, and ammonium hydroxide, a corrosive, extremely irritable to eyes, skin and respiratory passages.
DISHWASHER DETERGENTS (number one cause of household poisoning) – commonly contain highly concentrated dry form of chlorine, which leaves a residue on dishes that accumulates with each washing and is absorbed into hot food.
FURNITURE POLISH – contain petroleum distillates, which can cause skin and lung cancer and nitrobenzene, linked with low sperm counts, anemia and liver, kidney, lung and eye damage.
LAUNDRY detergents contain the following chemicals (which remain as residue in clothes, as well as being released into waterways):
Petroleum distillates (aka napthas) – linked to cancer, lung damage and inflammation (can cause asthma) and damage to mucous membranes. Phenols – linked with damage to nervous system, heart, blood vessels, lungs (can cause asthma) and kidneys. Nonyl phenol ethoxylate – endocrine disruptor banded in Europe, owing to link to breast cancer, premature puberty and low sperm counts. Optical brighteners (convert UV light wavelengths into visible light, making clothes appear whiter without making them cleaner) – toxic to fish and can cause allergic reactions when exposed skin is later exposed to sunlight. Phosphates (banned in many states) – contribute to water “dead zones” by stimulating algae growth that depletes oxygen needed for fish and other animal life. Sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) – highly toxic chemical which reacts with organic materials in the environment to form carcinogenic and toxic compounds that can cause reproductive, endocrine and immune system disorders. EDTA (ethylene-diamino-tetra-acetate) – chelating agent that biodegrades poorly and can re-dissolve toxic heavy metals in the environment, allowing them to enter the food chain.
OVEN CLEANERS – contain highly toxic and corrosive lye and ammonia with fumes that can damage the respiratory system (especially of small children and pets) and which leave residue that is vaporized when the oven is turned on.
TOILET BOWL CLEANERS – contain hydrochloric acid, a highly corrosive irritant which can damage skin, eyes, kidneys and liver; and hypochlorite bleach, a corrosive irritant that can damage eyes, skin and respiratory tract.
Finding (and Making) Safer Alternatives
The best database for commercially produced “natural” cleaning products is http://www.mamashealth.com/doc/cleanprod.asp . Unfortunately, however, the majority of “natural” household cleaners are far too expensive for many families in the current economic downturn. An even better alternative is to make your own cleaning products and toiletries at home, using the same safe, inexpensive ingredients our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used (baking soda, vinegar, bar soap and washing soda). A family of four can save more than $5,000 a year with a food processor and a dozen or so fantastically fast and simple recipes. For more information go to http://pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz/
here is a cool story from the Hawkes Bay paper. Reporter Jolene Williams gave me the following list and I slashed it to bits and made it like how we shop, saving about $92 (and I was lenient).
Budgeting guru Lyn Webster can preventabig wad of your cash
from disappearing into supermarket tills, writes Jolene Williams
OUR SHOPPING LIST
Jolene Williams shopped at Pak’nSave in Hastings for a family of four.
Lyn Webster immediately struck off items that never make it into her
own family’s trolley and suggested where improvements could be
made to maximise value and minimise cost.
2x Lettuce ………………………………………….$2.98each
2x Brocolli for ……………………………………$2.99
3kg “Moonlight” potatoes ………………..$5.98
1.5kg carrots ……………………………………..$3.98
2kg apples …………………………………………$3.98
2x bunches of bananas………………………$3.49 each
3x 2L of Pams milk……………………………..$4.08 each
6 loaves of Sunny Crust bread …………$1.98 each
2x blocks of Anchor butter………………..$4.18 each
500g Mainland cheese ……………………..$6.98
2x 6 pack Fresh’n’Fruit yoghurt 2 …….$3.48 each
12 pack Tasti nut bars ………………………$7.17
2x Sileni wine ……………………………………..$11.98each
6 pack Macs beer ……………………………..$13.98
2x 8 pack of Sizzlers sausages…………$3.34 each
1 whole fresh chicken size 16………………$12.52
428g Pak’nSave brand premium mince ….. $7.26
200g Pams bacon………………………………$3.58
12 pack Cottonsofts toilet paper …….$5.98
2x 20 pack of Budget nappies…………..$5.42 each
120g Colgate toothpaste ………………….$2.81
2x Budget canned tomatoes …………….$0.93 each
100g Nescafe coffee ………………………….$4.98
350g Farmbake cookies 450g…………..$3.21
70g Tasti cashew nuts………………………$1.64
2x 150g Bluebird chips……………………….$1.64 each
500g Pams jam………………………………….$2.84
550g Domio pasta sauce ………………….$2.98
1kg Budget long grain rice………………….$1.08
500g Budget pasta spirals ………………$0.51
ITWAS a lean grocery list
handed to budgeting guru
at Pak’nSave, buying
mostly the cheapest brands and
taking advantage of specials.
And still she slashed more than
$92 from the bill, nearly half of
our $206.49 total. Some may
flinch at the cost-saving
measures. She wiped alcohol,
yoghurt, muesli bars, nuts and
chips clean off the list and had
tips for every other item.
‘‘You don’t need two
bunches of bananas,’’ she says.
Buy tinned fruit instead, often
for under $1, for school lunches.
Or bag your own fruit at
orchards for a fraction of the
cost. The oranges had to go, but
the apples could stay. Lyn’s not
big on variety. ‘‘Just get a few
fruit and vegies and that’s what
you have to have for the week.’’
Shop at greengrocers, or
better yet, grow your own.
Other savings could be
made buying meat direct from
butchers. She swapped the
whole chicken for boneless
cuts. You’ll be more conscious
of the cost because you eat
exactly what you pay for. She’s
sceptical of the sizzler sausages
and suggests ‘‘investing’’ in a
better quality meat, on special if
possible. ‘‘Buy bacon ends
[from the supermarket deli],
you don’t need whole rashers if
you’re making something like
fettuccini, where it’s cut up
anyway,’’ she says.
Have a couple of meat-free
dinners and bulk up dishes with
pasta and pulses. Rice and
pasta, they’re the goodies. Look
on lower shelves for the
Substitute the pasta sauce
for your own version from
canned tomatoes and add
onion, garlic and herbs. Buy
dried goods from bulk bin
supermarkets. Make your own
toiletries, cosmetics and
cleaning products. Use cloth
nappies. Bake your own
biscuits, muesli bars and bread.
The Warehouse sells 40 rolls of
toilet paper for $9.99.
Ask yourself if you really
need coffee. Lyn’s family drinks
only milk and water. Buy in
bulk. You can halve the per kilo
price of spuds if you buy the
Treat butter as a luxury, buy
it on special and freeze it. If
you’re really feeling the pinch,
make it go further by adding oil
and water. Buy cheese in big
blocks on special. Go without
when it’s not.
Lyn could have made more
savings if the list had featured
more toiletries. Not a single
labelled product is in her family
bathroom. It’s all homemade.
The toothpaste costs about 10
cents per three weeks.
Lyn reckons she’s saved at
least $30,000 in two years by
changing the way the family
grocery shops. The Taranaki
sharemilker, recently relocated
to Whangamata, used to spend
$300aweek at the supermarket
to feed her family of three. That
was reined in to $100, then $75.
And despite two recent
additions to the family, they’re
not left wanting.
Lyn is known around the
country as a super budgeter.
She’s coming to Hastings next
week for a free public
presentation to demonstrate
how to make huge savings in
the supermarket bill.
Two years ago, her financial
situation reachedanew low
and she was forced to do
something drastic. The answer
was reducing her weekly
In a society still coming to
grips with the recession, it’s
hardly surprising Lyn’s
budgeting advice has captured
the interest of national media
and average Kiwis.
Her weekly column for her
former local newspaper
brought in 50 emailsaday. Her
website received 14,000 hits
within about 30 seconds of her
second appearance on
Campbell Live. She also sells
recipes online, runs
demonstrations from home and
gives public demonstrations
around the country.
The cost of living is an issue
for many Hawke’s Bay families.
In March, eastern region
unemployment stood at 7.1 per
cent compared with the
national rate of 6.8 per cent. On
top of that,anationwide survey
by online company Seek found
the Bay had the second lowest
average annual salary. Wages
have risenapaltry 2.5 per cent
nationwide in six months and
are not expected to rise for the
next year, failing to offset
soaring food, fuel and
electricity costs. Lyn says our
spending is out of kilter. New
Zealand is stillawell-off
country, she says, although
some may be crying recession,
but chances are they still have
internet access, cellphones and
‘‘People say they’re
struggling because of the
recession but it’s your own
spending and I can teach that to
‘‘I can ease the pressure. It’s
ahard lesson . . . it wasahuge
culture shock for us for the first
couple of weeks, now it’s like
There’s no way the family
can go back to their old ways,
she says. The kids Stevie, 13,
and Danni, 19, and now Danni’s
boyfriend Simon, have taken up
Lyn’s budgeting philosophies
Like other families, they
argue in the supermarket. But
it’s likely to be the kids
debating which option offers
the best value.
■ Public presentation: 7pm,
June 15, Assembly Room,
Hawke’s Bay Opera House,
Hastings. Free admission.
Lyn Webster, website:
I am currently sitting on 390 FB fans, so use the link below right to join my Face Book page and get regularly updated about my shows and TV appearances etc. I’d love to have over 1000 FB fans but right now 400 would be a good start – don’t be shy.