One of the most important parts of eating in a frugal way is sticking to your budget: which is best achieved by making a menu plan and a list and only buying what's on that list when you visit the supermarket.
I try to stick to around $35-$45 a week for groceries, but last week my budget blew out to $65. Was I worried? No.
You see there was method in my madness. In her book 'destitute gourmet: Everyday smart food for the family' Sophie Gray talks about making a little bit of something luxurious go a long way: buying a little something special each shop that can be eked out over several weeks and add interest to a frugal meal plan.
The week before last, as I was doing my shop, I noticed that haloumi was on deep discount. Now I love haloumi but can't justify it at the moment at full price. I checked the tag* and saw that the special ran for another week so made a mental note to add it to the next menu plan and shopping list.
It was a good week for deep discounts on things I love but can't justify at the moment. So I made the decision to spend more on my groceries this week in order to stock up on little luxuries, while they were at a good price. Especially little luxuries that have a long use-by date.
This is what $25 extra bought:
(and this is what $25 extra saves: I ended up spending $65 on $90 worth of groceries).
(*I assumed everyone knew this trick but after talking to a couple of friends, it would appear that I may have been wrong. So:
At the bottom of supermarket sale tags are two important and useful bits of information. On the left, as on all tags, is the price per kilo (ml, piece, whatever). It's always worth checking this against other sizes of the product that aren't on special as they may still work out cheaper per kilo than the 'special'. And on the right is the date that the special runs through to. This is useful so you can work out if you need to buy the unexpected bargain right now, or if you can hold off until next shop.)