Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce

Slash your grocery bill by living sustainably

$100 Budget 27/6

Photo by Robert CharlesTo survive in modern times, we need to adapt to change.

Lately, with recessions  and so forth, this means getting out of  your comfort zone on an almost  continuous basis, which is tiresome,  particularly for no-longer-young-folk who  are happily stuck in their ways. But how  secure is your future?

The $100 a week grocery budget has been a great tool for me to fight back against the recession and see some cash build up in my bank account where no cash lingered before. Although for me the budget was borne from lack of funds, that may not be the case for all of us. What I am trying to say is that the concept of paying more attention to how much money is going out in grocery bills applies to all of us, rich and poor. Money wasted on unnecessarily expensive packaged products is better off in your own pocket, no matter who you are.

Here are some reasons I’ve heard why various people resist cutting back on grocery spending:

We’ve got plenty of money, so we don’t need to.

I have a teenage son.

My husband will have a fit.

My wife won’t do it.

I work, so I don’t have time.

The facts are that we don’t like change and so we dig our heels in. Here’s a hint: recognise that you are likely to be resistant to changing your spending habits. Set a lower budget and be prepared to feel uncomfortable in the beginning. Accept the feeling of anxiety but resist the temptation to return to your old ways. Look forward to the day where you feel confident using your new knowledge and skills, you’ve integrated the lower budget into your lifestyle and are enjoying feelings of familiarity, mastery and accomplishment. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

And this week, a camera crew came to visit from TV3. Watch out for me on Monday night on Campbell Live at 7pm.

Next week: Do you really know how much things cost?

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$100 Budget 20/6

Instead of being frittered away on  unnecessary grocery items, my  hard-earned cash is staying in  my pocket. Here’s an example of how to trim your grocery bill  down without missing out on  much. Imagine it’s one of those  expensive weeks where  everything you need has run out  at once. Here are some actual  prices of middle-of-the-range  items randomly selected in my  local supermarket: Ordinary shopping list:

Loo paper 12 rolls, $7.99

Dishwashing liquid 1litre, $3.79

Laundry powder 1kg, $7.99

Spray cleaner, 1 litre $5.29

Toothpaste Max White, $5.59

Deodorant, $5.69

Mouthwash, $11.89

Shampoo, $7.99

Conditioner, $7.99

Moisturiser, $12.26

Bread – 10 @ $3.70, $37

Pet food rolls 3 @ $7 $21

Total: $134.47

Save money shopping list:

Loo paper 12 rolls Homebrand, $4.58

Dishwashing liquid 1 litre, home-made, $0.43

Laundry powder 1kg, home- made, $2.66

Spray cleaner 1 litre, home- made, $0.06

Toothpaste Yuk White, home- made, $0.68

Deodorant, home-made, $0.06

Mouthwash, home-made, $0.10

Shampoo, home-made, $0.45

Conditioner, home-made, $0.15

Moisturiser, home-made, $2.50

Bread – 10 Homebrand @ $1.49, $14.90

Pet food rolls at Matador Fresh (best deal in town) 5 for $10 $10

Total $36.57

I hear you shriek: I haven’t got time to make all those things myself. How gross, washing hair with baking soda. I haven’t got time to go to Matador Fresh to get cheap pet food and that Homebrand bread tastes terrible.

Well, it only took about five minutes to make all that stuff, my hair looks and feels better with baking soda than ever before, I get some great deals at Matador Fresh, not just on pet food, I like Homebrand bread and I’ve still got $60 left to spend on food.

Classes on making your own cleaning products at home are now running every Tuesday at 7pm or I will come demonstrate to groups of 10 or more people at your venue.

Just look at the money you can save.

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$100 Budget 6/6

The kids brushing their teeth

The kids brushing their teeth

The kids are revolting! Actually,  they’re rebelling and it’s the the taste of  the home-made toothpaste that is  revolting. I made the toothpaste myself,  for a few cents, using my new pal  baking soda, and must admit it needs a  bit of fine-tuning in the taste department. However, it does a good  job of cleaning teeth and after the  initial shock has worn off, even Danni  and Stevie will admit, your teeth feel  clean and white and your breath stays  fresh. And that is the main aim of  toothpaste.

Baking soda alters the pH in the mouth, making it less desirable for bacteria to hang out in there. So I’m sticking to my refusal to buy toothpaste anymore and I’m hoping we will soon get used to the home-made stuff. After all, you aren’t supposed to eat it.

Baking soda is also useful as a personal deodorant/talcum powder and body spray. Pre-budget, I bought some lovely talc ($20) and body mist ($15) from The Body Shop. I had a good think about what was really in these products for the price and I can’t really justify the amount I spent. It was really all about the fragrance. A teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of your favourite essential oil in 200ml of water produces a fragrant body spray for only a few cents. The deodorising effect of baking soda means most of us could also get away with this as deodorant – and ladies, a real advantage is that it doesn’t sting when you apply it immediately after armpit shaving.

Add a few drops of the same fragrance to a small shaker and there you have a deodorising powder that is also great to put into smelly shoes. Baking soda can also be used to wash your hair – and although it’s not what I’d call conventional, it works well and doesn’t strip the natural oils from your hair, which actually gives a better result.

All these quick and easy-to-make products are either naked or use recycled packaging and cost next to nothing. The hardest part is getting your head around the fact that you don’t have to spend much money at all when the marketing gurus have been brainwashing us for years and successfully convinced us that we need the expensive bought stuff.

Enrol for my lessons – they’re starting soon.

Hair Washing

Wet hair, sprinkle with baking soda, massage in, rinse out.

Optional: Rinse out with small amount of white vinegar before final rinse. Leaves hair looking and feeling beautiful and surprisingly, leaves no smell.


1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/ Mix together with warm water.

2/ Apply to hair and leave as long as desired.

3/ If this leaves a residue, rinse off with white vinegar, then water.


1 Tbsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

A few drops of glycerine

Peppermint Essential Oil to taste. (experiment with the amounts to get a taste you like. You can add a tiny amount of artificial sugar if you really can’t stand the taste)

1/ Mix to a paste in a small container and dip brushes in it. Should last one person about 10 days.


1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

500ml water

1/ Store in recycled Listerine container, because you won’t be spending money on that again. There is now one less plastic container in the landfill.

2/ Rinse out mouth as you would with commercial mouthwash, but at a fraction of the cost.

Smelly Feet Remedy

4 Tbsp baking soda

Enough hot water to cover feet in a container.

1/ Soak feet to dissipate odour, and bring comfort to your tender toes. Baking soda may also help with athlete’s foot.

Next week: How much could you save a week on groceries?

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$100 Budget 16/5

There you have it: A fortnight’s worth of groceries for less than $200.

This can be achieved week in, week out, but some skill and a small amount of shopping around is required.

If you are affected by brand snobbery, this type of budget may prove beyond your reach. The products listed here are mostly Home Brand and sourced with much backstrain from the lowest, most unpopular shelves in the supermarket.

The products are not all from the one shop, either. Four local outlets, I have discovered, consistently deliver the lowest prices for certain things. The time taken to shop around between Countdown, Matador Meats, Spudz and The Kiwi Butcher is minimal and well worth the effort.

The astute home executive will have already noticed the absence of milk and cleaning products from the list. Up until now, I was lucky enough to meet the family milk requirements directly from the cow – one of the few perks of a sharemilking job. Now that I have dried my cows off, I will have to factor at least 6 litres of milk into the budget – more on that next week.

In my quest to save my money, I have found that for minimal outlay, an absolute fraction of what has been spent/wasted previously, I can make my own soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, washing powder, dishwashing liquid, window cleaner and more. If you are interested in more detail on practical, environmentally friendly, everyday household products made quickly and easily at home, saving literally thousands of dollars, contact me via the Taranaki Daily News and I will share my secrets, or you can wait and read about them in upcoming columns.

Next week: The price of milk

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