Welcome to the first of what I hope is many posts in a new series: millennial life hacks.
This post was sparked by a debate that happened during the Christmas period. We were talking about the Christmas food shop and the sheer heart attack that I was having at spending nearly £100 for Christmas Day. Que some confused conversations from the girls about how this was on par, just over or way under what they would normally spend on a weekly shop. I was Shooked.
I like to keep a tight watch on my money (I’m not great with money, but that’s another story for another day.) Yes, I have a spreadsheet and yes, it looks beautiful. Every Pay Day I sit down and budget out all the necessary outgoings we have as a household. One of those is the weekly food shop. My husband and I budget £35 a week for the weekly food shop, which equals (gets a calculator out as mental maths is not her thing…) £140 a month. £175 if it’s a five-week month.
This budget covers breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Snacks also. Basically, any food that’s in this house and I take to work with us. We don’t deprive ourselves and don’t buy anything too basic (we’ve even brought tender-stem broccoli and asparagus tips on this budget!) It’s all a balancing act.
My friends looked at me like a guru and I was somewhat motivated to prove it could be done. For the entire month of January, I kept an even closer eye on our food shop- noting down what worked and what we could have improved on. I like notes and self-reflection.
Are you ready to save some pennies and join the revolution?
Millennial life Hacks: The basic
So, how did our shop actually break down over the month of January? Well, here are the amounts:
First Week: £53.75
Second Week: £26.13
Third Week: £39.18
Fourth Week: £33.60
Grand total spent: £152.66
Giving myself a pat on the back for this one! Slightly disappointed in the fact that I went over budget by £12.66 (the perfectionist inside me is not happy) However, I managed to feed two humans who love their food for an entire month! Want to also achieve this? Well…
It’s all about the prep. To live this way of life you need to prep your meals. And actually, stick to them. No mid-week changes, once we’ve committed to a meal on a certain day- it’s happening! I’ve done a previous post on meal prepping like a boss if you need some help or a refresher.
Think about the monthly total, not the weekly one. You’ll notice that on some months we went way over the budget and some weeks we were way under. Way back when Lee and I were meticulous to sticking to the exact amount every week and low and behold we would always have to do a medium shop half way through the week and the budget was blown out of the water. Some weeks you’ll need to buy bigger items such as olive spread/ butter. Other weeks it will be so much simpler.
Bulk buy your meat. For the first week, our budget was quite large. This was down to the chicken, or rather the ten chicken breasts that we bought for £10. This chicken lasts us the entire month and I simply portioned it up when we got it and put the rest in the freezer. Where you can buy in bulk and stick the rest in the freezer. Your freezer will become your best friend over time.
Weekly food shop prepping
Use your Sundays wisely. Sunday’s have become an amazing day for us to do a big roast (yas!) We’ll cook some meat that would feed at least four/ six people, with the intentions of the leftovers being used later in the week. This can be anything from an actual dinner in the week (Save With Jamie has some great recipes) to making up at least three days worth of lunches for us. If roasts aren’t your thing (who are you…) then any big batch cooking is great to do on a Sunday. One week my husband was not in so I made loads of lasagne and put some leftovers in foil trays with cardboard lids (think your non-plastic Chinese takeaway boxes). These then went into the freezer and we had a one-person portion ready for another time.
Keep a stock of what you’ve got. Hands up if you can tell me right now what’s in your kitchen cupboards. Gold star if you can, but I imagine not many of you can. There are two lists that are always kept on our fridge door; our meal plan for the week and a list of all the items in our freezer/ cupboards. This means we never buy anything that we’ve already got because no can of beans gets lost at the back of a lonely cupboard. Sometimes being this organised pays off.
Balance the luxury meals with some basic ones. Lee and I never deprive ourselves of meals that we want. However, we recognise that we cannot eat lobster every night and have a low food budget. So whilst we may treat ourselves to a lovely rich meal one night, another night we will go very simple. If we’re dedicated to the cause, we might go so basic one week that it allows us to do a luxury date night dinner at the end of the week. Whatever works for you, it’s all about the balancing act.
And that’s it!
It’s as simple as that! I hope you found this insightful and it helps you. Do let me know what you think- I really do love it when you guys comment and give me feedback. It’s the only way I can actually find out if you really like the post and what can be improved upon. Please also let me know if what other subjects you would like me to cover in the millennial life hacks section.