It has been suggested I should occasionally throw out an actual ‘tip’ on how we afford to raise our big, beautiful family. Sounds reasonable.
If your family is like ours the 1kg bag of tomatoes will disappear from the crisper at the bottom of the fridge within a day of arriving home from the supermarket.
To save money and ward off starvation we made contact with a guy who drives two hours to the fresh fruit markets to supply the local restaurants and shops, meaning we pick super fresh stuff up at wholesale prices. We also order for a large family up the road.
Things to ask yourself when buying fruit and vegetables in bulk are:
- Will we eat them all before they go off? We have several worm farms around the yard for scraps and occasionally they’re treated to a whole apple or two, but rarely a mandarin or a banana. If a 10kg bag of potatoes, for example, would be too much for your family, consider sharing with someone – it only takes a couple of minutes to divide them up. We don’t need to – our 10kg of potatoes from two weeks ago is still going strong. Alternatively, you could make jams, cakes, pickles, relish or sauces if it looks like it’s starting to turn.
- Where will you store them? We tend to leave the fruit in the boxes until they’re about half way empty (usually a couple of days). Then we fill glass bowls around the kitchen, which looks nice and makes for easy access. Even the boxes aren’t wasted – the kids love making cars or buildings with them.
This week, for the two families, we paid $164 for the following:
Two boxes of Pink Lady Apples $48
Two boxes of Lady Finger Bananas $58
Two boxes of Tomatoes $30
One box of Oranges $20
10kg Onions $5
1kg of Garlic $3
This isn’t a weekly order. It’s unlikely we’ll need to order anything for a fortnight and even then it might be one box of fruit or spuds.
To give you an idea of how buying in bulk can save, the tomatoes in the shop late last week were $5 a kilo – our price was $1.50 a kilo. I’m told the same garlic was over $10 a kilo in the supermarket yesterday. It’s not always as big a saving, but half price is usually a good rule of thumb.
We bulk a lot of things – meat especially. Buying a side of pork or a quarter of cow puts good quality protein on the dinner plates for the price of cheap mince. Yesterday we stumbled across chicken breast fillets for under $7 a kilo so we filled a tray in the fridge. It’s often just a matter of keeping your eyes open and some money available.
Despite how things appear around the snack table at their friends’ birthday parties, thanks to the boxes of fruit and veg we buy in our kids certainly don’t starve at home.