The Golden Rule of Household Budgeting


Ever wonder where all the money goes just two or three weeks after pay day? Or feel like you don’t have the makings of a dinner at home – even though the kitchen cupboards are bulging? We’ve all been there.

Here’s one quick and easy way to figure out where the money goes (provided you are not a shopaholic): If you do a “top-up” shop a few days after doing “the big weekly shop”, the money you spend on the “top-up” shop equals the money you could be saving weekly. It all adds up. Catch yourself next time you’re forking out €40 at the till when you only went in for a litre of milk and a bag of Rocket.

The absolute Golden Rule of household budgeting is to only do the Grocery Shop once a week. This might involve going to two different shops or going to a grocery, butcher and veg shops – just try to do it all in one day and work off a list.

To get your weekly list together, you need to plan out the week ahead – this only takes 10 minutes. You can use the Magneplan or do it on the back of an envelope. Here are some tips:

  1. Decide what your shopping day is, you might want to do it on a Saturday morning as you have time after a busy week of work. Or it could be another day of the week when you get paid weekly. Plan dinners from that day on.
  2. Factor in any big events for the week ahead, e.g. a nights off galivanting or visiting at the weekend – whatever it is. You don’t want to have wasted food or leftovers that night. There are many bonuses to meal planning and cutting down on food waste is a big one.
  3. Choose meals with fresh ingredients for the first few days after the shop and later in the week you can use defrosted meat, chicken, frozen veg or tins or packets. There are loads of dinners you can cook from the freezer or cupboards at the end of the week. It’s handy leaving these till the end of the week as you can chop and change easily if your plans change.
  4. Better to use the Corner Shop if you just need bread or milk later in the week and just bring the money you need. It might cost you an extra €1 but better in the long run to avoid the inevitable overspend at another grocery shop.
  5. You might be able to stretch it out to a fortnightly shop – (fair play to you if you can – I’m still trying!) with an extra visit to the butcher or fruit & veg shop in the second week. This will even save you even more time and money.

Before you start your new smart way of shopping – catch yourself at the till spending that extra cash so you have the joy later of knowing how much you are saving. Good luck and I hope you see the benefits of meal planning very soon!