Tips to Afford to Become a Stay at Home Mum
Master the Art of Meal Planning.
This becomes easier when life is not so frenetic and you’re home more to cook all those gorgeous ingredients in the fridge.
- Planning a fortnightly meal plan and shopping once a fortnight rather than once a week or more.
- Work yourself up to a monthly meal plan. Have a running list of your family’s favourite, never-fail meals and snacks. Fewer trips to the shops equates to a decreased chance of blowing your food budget, wasting your produce, and impulse buying. To do this, work out what produce stays fresh for up to a month in the crisper, and get in the habit of utilizing your freezer to retain nutrients in food towards the end of the month. Use up vegetables like mushrooms and leafy greens in the first week or two, carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, capsicum last until week 3 and 4 in the crisper. Peas, beans and corn are always great to keep in the freezer.
- Substitute ingredients in recipes if you find something discounted.
- Use the ingredients you’re buying in more than one recipe to reduce waste.
- Join a food co-op for cheaper produce and if you can’t stop the impulse shopping, order online.
- Use that slow cooker. Spend an hour or two after your monthly shop prepping a few meals and freezing them in Ziploc bags. Dump the lot into a slow cooker in the morning and save yourself the temptation of ordering take-away when five p.m. hits and the wheels have fallen off. Pinterest has a glutton of slow cooker meal plans. Unlike the oven, the slow cooker won’t heat up your whole house on already hot days.
- We have managed to stick to a food budget of $100 per week for three people. That includes higher welfare eggs and meat and plenty of organic produce. We don’t really buy packaged snacks except for corn cakes and rice crackers, saving money by baking snacks from scratch like muffins or mini frittatas.
- Buy dried beans and legumes in bulk and then rehydrate them yourself. Use them in vegetarian curries, tagines, casseroles but also to bulk out any meat dish like bolognaise, kofta, and soup. Make hommus and oven roast chick peas in a spice mix for a tasty, crunchy snack.
- Cooking every second or third day will save you in utility bills and that precious time you so crave to spend with your baby. When you do have the oven on, cut up some veg and roast them for another meal. Make the most of the oven space.
- Eat less! Eat less meat, avoid expensive processed food, reduce alcohol intake. It’s too expensive. Portion your meals so you have leftovers for the next day or to freeze for later.
- Make your own dips, yogurt, ice blocks, bread and baby food.
- Grow your own herbs, fruit and vegetables, even on a balcony; go fishing or foraging.
- Rather than celebrating over restaurant dinners, meet-up for brunches, or better still, have your relatives and friends bring a dish and party at home. Saves on babysitting fees too.
- Get in the habit of taking lunches, snacks and water with you when you leave the house. The budget goes out of the window when you’re out and about with a HANGRY toddler.
- Allow some money in the budget for dining out, an ice cream or a take-away coffee so there’s no suffering the guilts when you have a little splurge. Set a cash budget and stick to it.
Coming up in part 3: All the stuff and finding the free stuff.