I've always considered myself to be pretty shopping savvy; I follow all the usual tips of making a list, not going to the supermarket when I'm ravenous and shopping around for the best offers. That said, I've still felt recently that our weekly outgoings are gradually creeping up and - despite having a menu plan for the week - I am ashamed to admit that we are guilty of wasting food by failing to use it while fresh.
How could I reverse these discouraging trends? I decided to combine some advice from one of my favourite financial websites MoneySavingExpert, along with the ethos of a blog I've recently discovered by Elaine Colliar, Mortgage Free in Three.
Over the weekend, I now discipline myself to withdraw a stated amount of hard cash that I feel should cover our family's food supplies for the week. By the time I get to Thursday (when, let's face it, we're all tired and feel we deserve a treat), I am resisting the temptation to trundle off to M&S for a 'Dine in for Two' special. Instead, I am trying to make do with what's already in my fridge and store cupboard.
Sounds a bit bleak and boring? The more I do it the easier it gets. Honest! And I have to confess to a certain degree of self-satisfaction when I resist the lure of the M&S special or takeaway option and stick to my own resources. They say necessity is the mother of invention and the upside to my new regime is that I'm becoming a little more creative in the kitchen. Last weekend when all the 'usual' breakfast options had been depleted - and it wasn't quite time for my weekly cash withdrawal - I discovered after a quick internet trawl and a rummage through the cupboards that I had the ingredients to make Nigella's American style pancakes instead.
Come to think of it, I could get used to these new family 'traditions'. Every cloud and all that...
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