I will be the first to admit that I haven’t become completely minimal. I’m not sure that I ever will, at least, by “The Minimalist’s” standards. However, I started on this minimal journey before the new year and I’ve now been a “practicing minimalist” for a month. In my last blog post, I wrote about how this journey has been slow and I even detailed the “Top 10 Things I’ve Learned About Minimalism.” This self-inflicted journey is far from over but, just today, I realized a few things about my first month.
I haven’t once thought about buying anything I do not need. There are a few things that I do need that I do intend to buy (when on sale). I don’t want to pay for a gym/CrossFit membership for my family (expensive over time). I want to have a modest home gym where we can enjoy workouts together, privately, and without having to drive to our nearest gym. We have four kids (two are under 3) and it is easier to step away if the gym is in your garage. I realize that the prior sentences may make the most ardent minimalist scoff and cry foul, that’s fine, I’m not living your minimalism… I’m living mine.
Aside from the home gym, there has been absolutely no thoughts of buying the next gadget, the bobbleheads, the Star Wars collector’s edition box set of all nine movies, or 42 tubes of toothpaste just because it’s on sale. This leads to our next topic; groceries and budgeting.
Groceries and Budgeting
As I’ve likely mentioned, my wife and I, have four kids. We also have a dog, “Boba Fettch”, and a leopard gecko “Striper”. We go through food and baby supplies like no other. We started tracking how much we were spending and not including dining out we were at an average of about $275 a week. This was not sustainable. We’ve gotten that budget down though.
Grocery Budget Tips:
- Meal plan around things on sale/bulk prices
- Sam’s club or Costco membership can have great perks
- No ordering food or eating out – save for very special occasions
- Leftovers are better the day after (flavor melding for the win!)
- Prepping all of the meals on Sunday for the following week
- Leftovers are typically for lunch the next day or the weekend
- Name brand isn’t better, you’re just paying for the name/advertising
- Buy in bulk, freeze what you can – careful some things have special ways to be frozen so google what you want to buy a find freezing instructions (Sorry Sweet Potatoes, I should’ve read about you first!)
- Ground Beef
- Beans (Kidney, Chickpeas, and Black Beans)
- Variety of Veggies
- Bread (although, I hope to start making our bread soon)
- Brown Rice
As you can see in the list above, our pricier items are at the top and we try to get them when they are on sale or the stores we go to offer savings in bulk. I’d be interested in hearing any tips you might have, aside from coupons, because that’s a very rare thing for us.
We don’t go crazy with exotic dishes, having 4 kids, it’s impossible to please everyone. Sam’s Club has a pretty good deal on 1/4 pound hamburgers (frozen). We season these, add hamburger buns, and sweet potato fries on the side and we’ve spent less than $10 for a meal for six. Outside of that we also utilize our instant pot for almost everything, shredded chicken for countless dishes, meatloaf (YES!), as well as cooking up large batches of turkey chili with beans and diced tomatoes (with lots of seasoning).
The bottom line is to find where you’re spending too much (we spent too much on delivery meals) and cut it out. Focus on the things you like, buy in bulk, and plan recipes around that.