Slapped cents-less by the global recession, we’re counting on a strict weekly food budget to bring us back to our economic senses. In the holidays, our $100 worth of groceries easily lasted a week, making our goal of buying a rental investment property next year look possible. Then something happened: it was back to school.
“What can we take for lunch, Mum?” was the question of the week.
Staple lunchbox favourites of biscuits, chippies and yoghurts are now an expensive luxury. A pow-wow decided that a can of fruit is a healthy, easy and economic food item to plan lunch around. Just don’t forget the can opener. I thought the girls might get mocked at school for their tin of peaches, but apparently, it’s catching on.
But food wasn’t the only problem. Can you relate to the horror of the extensive, expensive school stationery list, an expense multiplied by the number of students you are buying for? Even before the budget, I dreaded both the boring hunt around the stationery shop to locate the 3B1 notebook or the 1E8 (7mm) maths book and the ensuing large bill. Strictly speaking, the back-to- school stationery items are not officially included in the grocery budget, but every penny counts.
I was intrigued when Danni, 16, and Stevie, 11, announced they had reduced the stationery lists to mere shadows of their former selves by recycling items barely used from previous years. They sifted through the art cupboard’s pens, pencils, half-used books and drawing supplies. The remaining stationery requirements became so minimal that I was able to throw them in the supermarket trolley and still remain well under budget for the week. Who knew an exercise book could be purchased for 29 cents? The grand total expenditure for a year 7 and a year 12 student was $5.11. It’s amazing what you can do if you try.
Next week: How our pets are faring on $100 a week.Read More