The importance of simply staying in control of your kitchen cupboard and the freezer, can’t be emphasized enough in helping you stay in control of your budget.
I am following a blog called storage solutions 101 and in it the writer, Taylor
Spalding Flanery, wrote about decluttering your house and planning your meals against the inventory in your cupboard. That way you don’t buy things in duplicate unless they are on a really good special.
Today my monthly groceries arrived from Pick’n Pay. We save over R1000 a month by NOT going into the store. I specify that it must be kosher and on some things I stipulate no substitutes. This month I only need to return the 2 blocks of cheddar cheese and a bulk pack tomato and onion mix which were incorrectly delivered. I am very careful to only go as far as the customer service desk and not into the store itself. You do earn points and you can redeem your vouchers. Only VIP vouchers must be redeemed in person.
I do not order my milk, bread or fresh fruit and vegetables from them. For the milk and bread (needs to be Pas Yisroel, for school – baked by a Jew/ under direct supervision of a Jew), the fruit I buy from Fruit and Veg City as they are much cheaper, I know they are not always the best quality and don’t always last that long, but I have a way around that, which I will talk about another time.
I buy milk and bread once a week and freeze. I would buy more but that is all my freezer can hold. We average 1 ½ loaves of bread and 1 ½ litres of milk a day and more during holiday time (like now!).
I buy most of my meat from Meat on Main. The advantage is that it is cheaper, the disadvantage is that you can’t see what you are getting till it is delivered. If I want to buy chops or steak I would go into the butchery as going by the Kg won’t work in that situation. I buy a lot of marrow bones for cholent, from the butchery. You can make a delicious cholent using mostly vegetables and still get your protein and flavour from the bones, even if you don’t eat the marrow.
I decided to do my inventory today as I needed to pack my freezer to hold a month’s worth of groceries and the grocery cupboard is over flowing. This is some of what was in the first two shelves of my grocery cupboard.
Lasagne sheets to last a while!
I found 2 more sealed boxes after I took this picture.
This is what the shelves look like now! I admit that there is stuff behind what you see, but not much. I also threw away some stuff that expired 3 years ago. With products that say “best before: —“, you can use them for a while longer, but I think 3 years is pushing it. Products that say ‘use before’ should not be used much after the expiry dates.
Something else I discovered while emptying out the cupboard is that I have over 600 teabags, because one 200 bag pack was buried at the back and I ordered more, complaining that we were using too many teabags (400 per month). Turns out we weren’t! Then I found that I have 4 different types of chamomile teas and a whole assortment of herbal teas.
Two members of my family are coffee drinkers and insist on Nescafe. I learnt a trick from my mom a while back and no one has cottoned on. She put Frisco into the Nescafe jar! She also has a bottle of real Nescafe in the freezer and takes this out when guests come to visit. It lasts ‘forever’ and the granules stay separate. So that is what I did today. Frisco is nearly a quarter of the price of Nescafe and the family have not noticed the difference!
I didn’t manage to do all the shelves tonight, but I am happy with my progress.
The freezer is full and with the repacking I found 3 packets of mincemeat and some falafel mix which I did not know I had!
I have put the fruit and vegetables away. I am grateful that 3 of my 4 kids like fruit, so even with the short shelf life the ‘fruit and veg’ produce has, we use it before it goes off.