Opinion,  Parenting

How NOT To Go Shopping

If you were to go shopping, I’d recommend you bring a list with you.  Before you made that list, I’d tell you to do a stock take of your cupboards to see what you have.

I’d tell you not to go shopping on an empty stomach.  Then to go at a quiet time with no distractions.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a shopping failure for me. If you want to know how not to go shopping, read on.

Lists? Who needs lists? I knew I only needed bread. Just bread. 1 loaf, that would do me for a few days, I always buy it fresh to keep space in the freezer if I need it. Sure I know what I have all the time, I am (after all) a frugalista.

<Insert loud warning horn here.>

Hungry? I ate some muesli at 7am and had a cup of tea. I wasn’t hungry when I left the house to get the 4 year old from school but flip it, I sure as heck was by the time I got to the shops (1pm).

<Insert even louder warning horn here.>

Do a 17 month old in a sling, a 4 year old and a hubby count as no distractions? I’m being a bit optimistic.

Okay, more than a bit.

<Insert a bright flashing light, siren and a klaxon for good measure.>

I started off the day with €18.99.

1 trip to the supermarket (for bread only) later and I’m €7.64 lighter.

I had the baby facing outwards which meant he was very “grabby”. Himself offered to carry the bread, we spotted a special deal for 2 loaves so he carried them. The 4 year old was being as good as gold and as I passed the yellow sticker section I spotted the chocolate rolls. He never asks for anything, never. He could walk through the whole supermarket and not ask for 1 thing. He didn’t ask this time either but the money was burning a hole in my pocket, I know hubby is partial to them too and I gave them to him to carry. He took his precious cargo and treated it like a tray of eggs until we got to the checkout.

There’s no way I’d have bought this much on my own. I would have been disciplined and just bought the bread.

I think.

Remaining balance: €11.35

In case you’re wondering, my money bought…..

  • 1L bottle of orange squash
  • Yellow sticker mini chocolate rolls
  • 2 loaves of bread – 1 now in the freezer, they’ll last us until Sunday I reckon
  • Yellow sticker tin foil – the box had been battered in transit

I still need to get milk for this week. Hopefully nothing else will crop up.

I’ve had a few questions about main meals since Saturday (when I bought my meat in the butcher’s).

Saturday’s dinner was a slow cooked ragout with ox tail that I’d picked up on yellow sticker last week (are you spotting a theme here?).  I served that up with pasta.  There was a decent amount of leftovers so I removed the remaining bones, mixed the sauce with some quick cook couscous and baked it on Sunday with cheese on top as there was very little meat left in the sauce.

Monday I cooked homemade beef burgers in soft white rolls made with the pound of mince I bought on Saturday. That left me with a whole chicken and a pound of sausages.

Yesterday I made a full roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings. We barely ate half the meat from the chicken. So today I’ll strip the chicken of the meat, then make chicken stock with the carcass. I’m not sure yet what our dinner will be but it’ll be chicken leftovers anyway!

Breakfasts this week have been mainly cereal or porridge. Lunches have been sandwiches or soup with some toast on the side. Snacks are plenty of fruit – dried and fresh, there are still chocolate eggs left over from Easter so if we fancied a very sweet treat there are plenty of options. There was also the cheesecake I bought on Saturday, it had to be eaten on the same day, it was a terrible hardship. Yesterday’s mini chocolate rolls were very nice after dinner and there are plenty left for treats this evening too.

I’m very aware that if we didn’t have a medical card but still had this grocery budget, we would now be operating at a minus balance after bringing the 4 year old to the gp on Friday.

It’s a sobering thought as I know of many families in this situation.

Onwards to Friday. I know I need to get milk today but realistically it’s only to last me today and tomorrow as I can withdraw money again on Friday. If I do have any leftover balance by then I’ll put it towards next week’s shopping as I need to replenish my store cupboard ingredients.

Remaining balance: €11.35

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • Grainne Halligan

    Enjoying reading your posts this week and you’re doing great with your budget. I know how you feel, you go into the supermarket to buy bread and a few distractions later, you have a basket full of things you didn’t know you needed!

  • Sadhbh

    Hello! Found your blog recently through twitter and just wanted to let you know how much I love it! I’ll be taking parental leave later this year for 5 months and living off some fairly meagre savings, I had envisioned us living on beans on toast for the duration, but your posts are inspiring to be a bit more creative 😉

  • kathryn

    In the days when I was even more broke than you – yes, truly – I used to only take the amount of money to cover what I was going shopping for. It meant I couldn’t take advantage of deals but I couldn’t overspend either 🙂

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