Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Budget - Feeding the Family

Feeding the family on a budget is something I have been trying to do for a while.
It is the probably the main area that most families including myself try to focus on to slim the monthly spend.
Some months it is more some it is less than expected
For our 2 adults and 1 child household this is £325.00 per month for 2014. It would be so easy to just accept that as food prices increase so will my budget. As we know for most of us unfortunately our earnings don't increase in line with that. If only!
At some point a line has to be drawn in the sand and we have to get creative with the figures.
To some people my budget is too much and to others this is not enough. I don't know what it is to us just yet. It is a work in progress.
Tracking the family spend is an eye opener. You soon realise where your unneccesary spending is.

For January our grocery spend to include nappies and toiletries came to £374.81. A whopping £49.81 over budget. In that there was a few convenience food purchases which were unnecessary. I know if I cook all meals from scratch they are going to be tastier and cheaper. A win win situation. I love my food really I do. This girl didn't put on 4 stone during pregnancy eating lettuce!

This got me thinking did I need to buy that 4 bird roast on offer that was reduced and did I need that pizza that looked appetizing.
The answer is no.
I do believe in buying items if the deal is right and you buy them regulary and they aren't perishable. In January this was nappies for Little D. Morrison's were having a baby event where nappies were half price. I bought 2 boxes which are still going strong now.
In my defence though the freezer is full of meat and vegetables so I could take a good chunk of that off my total theoretically but I won't because that is cheating and it has been spent.
So far for February my spend is at £273.56. This leaves me £51.44 to spend until the end of month. From this I have to buy all the food for little D's 2nd birthday party and top up of bread, milk and fresh fruit and veg.
In an ideal world this should be easily achievable, the stores are full and menus are planned but a kids party too this is going to be a challenge.
I have to focus on using up what I have, after all its not there to be looked at. It isn't going to keep me warm at night. Although there is something very comforting about being able to open your fridge and cupboards and see they are full. Reflecting on it though I have lined the supermarkets pockets before I had to when it could have been sat in my bank account keeping the other pennies warm
More effort needed for sure.
I will update at the end of the month as to how I got on.
Going forward I have realised it's all well and good making a list and doing a meal plan but I have to incorporate and use what I have already. I am therefore for March going to take a stock take of what I have in the kitchen. Every morsel of food and condiment will be counted.
From this I will know what I have and don't have. I have never done this before so should be quite the eye opener as I like to think I know exactly what's in my cupboards.
From this I will be able to devise a meal plan utilising what I have and be able to make a more accurate list of what I need. 
Nobody wants to spend more than they have to on anything especially not me. Not the new me!
What are you doing to feed your family on a budget? 
What is your budget?

(Boy do I need to organise those food cupboards - excuse the mess!)