Food budget challenge

As part of this kind of wannabe minimalist, living simply, eco and thrifty kind of vibe that I am getting into, I thought I should try and cut down our family's grocery bills.  Not easy in Japan, I am finding...although maybe there are people out there who want to share their ideas on that subject?  I would love to hear them.

The above is today's grocery list for food to last until Wednesday after breakfast and includes food to make a double serving of veggie curry so we have something to eat straight away when we get home on Saturday night after going out.

Anyway - this is going to be an evolving project.  I am setting myself a budget of 8050 yen, which at today's rates came in at just under AUD100 per week for food.  It doesn't include nappies, toilet paper etc, but I am hoping that one day it will. So far, I am doing the following;

1) Meal planning - I have been a meal planner for a few years, and I find it really cuts down on waste.  Recently, especially with the advent of Little Miss O, I have been a bit slacker about checking what we have in the pantry and inventing meals around that, so I am going to try to get back into it.

2) Buying generic.  Mostly, I buy the local ItoYokado home brand stuff - and I have never had any issue with the quality.

3) Some sale buying.  I definitely only buy the frozen fruit and veg when they are on sale - they have half price sales on a regular basis at my local supermarket, so I stockpile a little bit - we only have a very small fridge and freezer.

4) Cooking and making from scratch.  I make stuff like bread and muesli...which I think saves me money...but it's also really healthy, so I will be taking that into account.

5) Not buying pre-packaged.  Aside from stuff like....frozen veg and fruit, tuna, hijiki, tinned tomatoes etc., I really don't buy tooooo much pre-packaged stuff.  A lot of it is still one ingredient food.

6) Shopping more regularly.  I know - some people say shop less and you will buy less, which probably makes sense, but for me, I find that I am OK as long as I have a list.  My reason for shopping more often is that food doesn't go off.  I find after a day or two at the moment, my carrots are very droopy and sad, for example, and I don't want to throw stuff away.  Also - I guess I can take advantage of the products that are discounted because their use by date is coming up soon as well as I know I will be using them pretty much straight away.

One thing I do want to do is try to eat organic as much as possible - so I am currently researching what is the most important stuff to eat organic and what doesn't matter sooooo much.  I know - organic is better for the earth so I should be eating it as much as possible, but when you are on a budget, sometimes it is hard to afford it all.  It's also harder to buy here....and mostly imported.  Sigh.


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