Yesterday the Sunday Independent in Ireland carried 2 pieces about how a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) would struggle living on a tight grocery budget of €175 per week for groceries. As you may know, our budget is far lower. Here’s how we have been getting on since Friday and I’ll update this post again later on on the week.
I took out €90 for the week ahead. We needed a bin tag. Each bin lift is €8.75 which we get once a fortnight, less often if we jump on the bins.
Remaining Amount: €81.25
The 4 year old has been screaming in pain with his ear so I bring him to see the GP. Thank goodness and every last bit of luck for having a medical card due to a low household income. I didn’t have to pay for the GP. She recommends that he be referred as soon as possible to the local paediatric hospital for possible grommets, he has been struggling with his ears and deafness for a number of months. Both ears are bulging with pressure, she’s not sure it’s infected but gives me a prescription for him just in case he gets worse over the weekend to save me having to call an out of hours service. Trusting me with my judgement that I won’t give it to him unless he’s far worse, she says I should keep him topped up with alternating pain relief of infant paracetamol and neurofen. I get both in the chemist next door costing €14.50. I’m aware that sugarfree options are cheaper but it makes my children hyper so I opt for the more expensive medications.
Remaining Amount: €66.75
I have to pick up some essential lady supplies, I spend the best part of 10 minutes trying to figure out which is the best value in the long term. Cost €3.30.
Remaining Amount: €63.45
The 4 year old is running a temperature and I can’t seem to control it with pain relief so I decide to get the antibiotic. Dispensing a prescription on a medical card costs €1.50 per item. I buy it and guiltily look the other way when the counter assistant recommends that I get a probiotic to boost his immune system. It’s not in the budget so I’ll boost him with food instead. Still having the Mammy-guilts over that one.
Remaining Amount: €61.95
I need meat for the house for the week and I know that the budget is running low. I drop into the butcher and get a whole chicken, pound of minced beef and a pound of sausages. This meat will cover our main meals for more than 4 days. Cost: €12.99
Remaining Amount: €48.96
On the way home I walk into our local Supermarket. We need fresh bread, some supplies for lunches for the week, fruit and vegetables. Whatever I get I need to fit it on the buggy. I spy some golden syrup on special for 99c per tin. Dither over whether to get 2 or 3, not because of space in the shopping basket but whether it’ll tip my budget over the edge. I pick up a high quality cheese cake in the yellow sticker section for €2.95. I’m delighted with the treat but know I’ll have to pinch it elsewhere in the budget during the week. I come home with bread, milk, apples, bananas, onions, broccoli, raisins, salami, cheese cake, 2 tins of golden syrup, pasta, juice and sausage rolls also from the yellow sticker section. Edited to add: I just checked my receipt and this shop also contained a packet of dried coconut flakes, a box of tea & a toothbrush.Cost of shopping: €26.17.
Remaining Amount: €22.79
I have to make a trip to Drogheda. We have a dither moment as to whether to take the long way (which uses up more diesel) or to take the short way and pay the toll charges. We decide to pay the toll charges to save time and diesel costing €1.90 each way.
Remaining Amount: €18.99
Plan for the rest of the week:
I’ve enough money to get us more bread and milk during the week when we need it. Here’s hoping there are no major emergencies or unexpected expenses. My larder and fridge are full and I’ve meals planned for the week ahead. We will eat extremely well on what I have in the house and the kids will want for nothing.
Note: This is not a poor me post. I
frequently always get asked with incredulity how we manage on such a tight budget. We do it because we have to. Yes it takes a bit of knowledge, skill and yes it is time consuming.