Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce

Slash your grocery bill by living sustainably

My Weekly Shopping List

Posted by on Jul 29, 2011

Many people have requested more detail on what we actually buy week to week to fulfil our $75 a week grocery budget. Of course we get whatever we want or need – providing the amount spent doesn’t exceed our self imposed limit. I an earlier column I listed a typical week and was amused to see it was very similar to a food bank parcel which had been published in a story on the front page of the local paper that week.
Since then we have stopped buying tuna on ethical grounds and replaced that with chick peas in recipes. Also remember we spend almost all of our budget on food items as most of our cleaning and cosmetic needs are catered for with Baking soda and the few simple recipes I make (see above to purchase recipes pamphlets if interested…. it will be $10 well spent.)

In our cupboard we aim to have the following and we top this up with the $75 a week budget when necessary. Toilet paper (40 rolls $9-99 from the Warehouse). We don’t buy pads and tampons as we have purchased the re-useable and environmentally friendly Diva cup. Ditto nappies – be use re-usable environmentally friendly cloth nappies. Cans of creamed corn, cans of tomatoes, pasta, rice, flour, raw sugar, baking soda, white vinegar, butter, cheese, milk (is free a bonus of being a dairy farmer as is fresh meat), chicken, fresh seasonal fruit and veges, (also we try and grow veges ourselves and pick fruit off trees whenever we get a chance), spuds, eggs (we have chickens but they are pretty useless), cooking oil, seasonings, pulses (lentils and barleys etc), chickpeas, canned fruit (ie: peaches and or pineapple), bread ($1-65 a loaf)…..
This is about it…. we are buying meat at the moment as we have just moved farms and haven’t got a beast organised yet… that is a bit of a shock,but we are using smaller portions and filling up with rice or pasta with the sauce/ gravy, so it is mince and sausages all round. Yum.

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Champagne Life on a Beer Budget

Posted by on Jun 25, 2011

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.)

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Buyer beware: Are Americans systematically poisoning themselves Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, Seattle Health News Examiner

Posted by on Jun 21, 2011

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:





Hair Dyes

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 https://pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz/

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Use PayPal to buy Recipes Immediately

Posted by on Jun 14, 2011

Try the buy recipes electronically link to purchase MAKE Cleaning Products recipes, MAKE cosmetic recipes and Motivational Budgeting Summary online. Great for international customers. Quick and easy.

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How To Halve Your Grocery Bill – Hawkes Bay Today

Posted by on Jun 13, 2011

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
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
2.4kg oranges…………………………………….$6.58
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
750g Weetbix……………………………………..$3.48
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
Lyn Webster.Weshopped
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
cheapest brands.
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
10kg bag.
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
shopping bill.
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
a car.
‘‘People say they’re
struggling because of the
recession but it’s your own
spending and I can teach that to
other people.
‘‘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
second nature.’’
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
with enthusiasm.
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:

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Posted by on Jun 12, 2011

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.

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MAKE Advert

Posted by on May 21, 2011

As a thank you for me sponsoring MYM (Movies you Make) – Taranaki’s community opportunity to see your own movies on the big screen at Art House Cinema, Kirsty Richards made this short movie of me promoting make your own toothpaste. Check it out by clicking the link (far) below right.

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MAKE A Change

Posted by on May 11, 2011

Since making a conscious decision two years ago to cut the grocery spend right down to $75 a week it is amazing how far we have come. Buying pre –packaged food from the supermarket has become a thing of the past for us and as a result we have become much more financially free.
The weekly burden of affording a massive grocery shop has disappeared as we look for less expensive and often healthier alternatives to main stream grocery shopping.
No rocket science here… most of our personal hygiene needs are taken care of with basic products, home made using simple ingredients – mainly baking soda, (recipes are available to purchase on this website – online or hard copy).
Baking Soda also covers most of the household cleaning tasks and white vinegar plays a huge part in this too. (Baking Soda and White Vinegar reference books also available on this web site.)
Which option do you prefer? Air freshener in an aerosol can, environmentally risky and horrible smell for $8-00. Or spray white vinegar from a recycled squirty bottle, eliminates all odours immediately without harming the environment and costs less than 20 cents for 250mls.
That is just a small example of the benefits available if you seek them. You don’t even have to think outside the square because we have done the thinking for you, put it into practise and are living the lifestyle.
Read the blogs or contact us directly. MAKE your own cleaning products and cosmetics, MAKE your own bread, MAKE your own veggie garden, MAKE your own destiny. I am happy to help you MAKE a change.

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One Good Thing….

Posted by on May 3, 2011

One more good thing about making your own stuff is the money you save can be redirected too something else, something cool and something you like. I like ArtHouse Cinema in New Plymouth and with my new found wealth have sponsored MYM (Movies You Make). This is to encourage home grown films from local people and to get those films up onto the big screen at Athouse Cinema. How cool is that. I even got my own film made (thanks Kirsty and Rimca) and will post it on this site ASAP. Meanwhile check out Movies You Make – maybe you can start something similar in your community. http://graphic-design-branding.com/arthousecinema/ (Connect directly by scrolling down to the right to find a direct electronic link to Movies YOU Make.)

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Nothing to baby Blog About

Posted by on Apr 25, 2011

We were going to blog about the baby but we use no products on him and cloth nappies and it is easy and cheap and he is lovely and smells yummy – so nothing to blog about really!!!

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Posted by on Apr 9, 2011

This page is not all about babies and nappies but it is interesting that I took cloth (eco) nappies to an expo yesterday and people treated them like some sort of fascinating new invention. The cloth nappies we are using (most of them hand-me -downs) are similar to disposables in style, you just wash them and re-use. No secrets, no drama, no skill needed just cheaper for us and much kinder to the environment. That is a no-brainer as far as we can see. More challenges may arise when baby is older and passing bigger volumes but I will let you know how we cope with that.

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Baking Soda Baby

Posted by on Mar 26, 2011

Danni and Si’s baby born on Wednesday. Trying cloth eco nappies, and no branded baby products. We are going to clean him with sweet almond oil, baking soda baths, shampoo etc. All his gear and clothes are 2nd hand. Wooden hand made toys. Hope to prove that babies don’t need to be an expensive environmental hazard. Will post honest progress on web site. ie: If we can’t make it work we will tell you

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Recent Aricle I Had Published in Taranaki Daily News

Posted by on Feb 24, 2011

Ouch! We are feeling the pinch and struggling to make ends meet on our self imposed $75 a week grocery budget. Last year, when GST went up to 15% I expected to feel the impact, but seeing we mainly buy staple ingredients items like flour, sugar, chickpeas etc the increase seemed to pass us by. However recently with the price of even the basic, basics (like butter and vegetables) soaring and no doubt slammed into outer space by the effects of outrageous fuel costs, world food shortages and the like, I can see the $75 is definitely not going as far as it used to.
Apart from the occasional bar of yellow washing soap and loo paper, we no longer buy anything from the cleaning and cosmetics aisles which allows the bulk of our budget to be spent on food. Even the most budget-est of budget bread has increased in cost by twelve cents, from $1-51 to $1-63.
We are so lucky being on the farm with access to unlimited supplies of milk which is getting so costly on the supermarket shelves that it could be priced out of some family’s reach. I hope people can adjust their other buying preferences to allow basic dairy to remain on their list.
Because the prices of dairy products seem to vary so much, I imposed a $2.99 limit on butter and an $8-99 limit on cheese. If these items are priced above this, we are not allowed them. I was recently forced to up this to $3-99 and $9-99 respectively, otherwise we wouldn’t have had any butter or cheese for months. I am interested in seeing whether Fonterra’s timely consideration in freezing the domestic milk price will relieve the prices of butter and cheese? Who buys the cheese for $16-99? Not me. I wait for the $9-49 special which comes up all the time at various supermarkets, then buy three and freeze them.
It is not only food that is sucking your bank account dry, take fuel increases in to the equation and you are getting it from all directions. Instead of whining about expensive prices the consumer needs to take action in the form of change. Change is difficult and unwelcome but sometimes ‘ya gotta do what ya gotta do!’ Make an action plan to keep living in a happy, healthy way but still keep some money in your own pocket. I would challenge anyone to make a few cuts to their grocery budget. If your family is whinging about this, spare a thought for the Kenyan families that often have a food free day to make their meagre resources stretch as far as possible. Try a meat free day once or twice a week or the occasional make your own sandwich night. Get the kids to suggest some ideas to save grocery money. Successful baking is handy and a cheaper, healthier way of providing snacks and lunches. Substitute that expensive butter with cooking oil in most cake and muffin recipes to get a moister, less fattening result. Snacking on seasonal fruit is cheaper and healthier than chippies and biscuits and you don’t have any packaging to dispose of.
It is a bit of an outrage to be referring Kiwi families in the land of plenty to the starving billions so they can get their own grocery budgets into perspective, but the era of cheap food is over and we need to realise we remain the lucky ones, but perhaps can no longer afford the luxury of taking things for granted. I was informed recently the cost of sugar is about to skyrocket. It was suggested to me that I could invest in a 25kg bag of sugar now and stave off the price rise, which is to be significant. While tempted, I decided to continue buying the sugar in smaller quantities and just take to cost increase when it comes. Storage was an issue and you can’t justify an expensive bulk purchase on a tight weekly budget. ‘Sorry kids, no food this week – Mummy’s just bought a year’s supply of sugar!’ But it made me think about my own personal sugar consumption, which has crept up on me a bit over the years. I’m going to have to alleviate the sugar crisis by cutting down my usage. It will be easy for me to cut three spoonfuls in my coffee down to one – and eventually I could just cut it out altogether. My waistline and wallet will both be winners.
Same thing with electricity and fuel costs rising – you’ll have to cut back your intake and if you are anything like me, it will be easy, because chances are you had never thought about it before and used the resources willy-nilly, taking it all for granted. Danni has become the electricity police at my house and drives us all mad switching off the lights and turning appliances off at the wall. I’m not allowed anywhere near the clothes dryer anymore and the heater is a no-no. I hate(her) it! But when the leccie bill came and it was only $70 (it is usually about $230), I had to thank Danni for her efforts.
So use the price hikes as an opportunity to examine your spending and utilisation and try an few changes here and there. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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Times are Tough

Posted by on Feb 12, 2011

Really starting to notice the $75 has to stretch thinner each week as the cost of living soars. The GST increase is starting to bite into even the most basic foods. Thank goodness we have broken the cycle of buying expensive, unhealthy pre-packaged food. My motto for living on a strictly limited budget is to buy the cheapest ‘most acceptable’ item. We have discovered that despite many people having negative feelings towards budget bread that the $1-51 loaf at most supermarkets covers our toast and sandwich needs adequately. Even this staple item has recently gone up to $1-63.
I had a limit on butter at $2-99. If it cost more than that I wasn’t allowed to buy it. I am a butter fan and when butter prices rose I extended that limit to $3-99, otherwise we would have never had it. I just got one and it cost $4-29, we will only use that butter for baking. If I happen to see any butter for less than $4, I will buy as many as I can afford that week and freeze them. Same for cheese. My limit of $8-99 has been extended to $9-99. Occasionally Countdown has it on special for $9-49. I didn’t buy cheese today as the cheapest one was $11-09.
On the bright side that will do my waistline the world of good. I have been spreading avocado or banana on dry toast which is actually really yummy and healthy. Still it is a worry that basic foods like bread, butter and cheese and becoming unaffordable. Thank goodness we’ve got heaps of veges coming along in the garden…..

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Shampoo Shame

Posted by on Feb 2, 2011

We have a bottle of shampoo in the bathroom given to us by a friend who refuses to believe we prefer to wash our hair with baking soda. As a novelty (as I haven’t used shampoo for 2 years) I lathered up. How slimy and strange the once familiar foam felt and how overpowering seemed the perfume…. actually rather unpleasant.
I looked on the plastic bottle to read what I had actually just put on my hair: aqua.sodium laureth sulphate.PEG7 glycerol cocoate.sodium chloride. Disodium cocoamphodiacetate.glycol distearate.sodium benzoate. Benzopenone-4.laureth-4.laureth-2. Polyquaterium-10.acid violet43….. plus about 10 more equally unfamiliar ingredients. And my friend thought she was doing me a favour getting me to put that on my hair and skin! I think in future I will just stick to Baking Soda – at least I know what is in that.

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