Plan Menu Before Shopping
Planning and budgeting for your family shopping with an irregular income could be a daring task. You have so much to think of and many things to consider especially when you’re planning menus for two to three months.
Will your stock last for that period of time? And how will you handle things when supplies run out? With that in mind, thorough planning is all that is needed.
These are the views of Sun Shopper of the Week, Meresiana Labaticagi has been doing this to keep her family together.
The 28-year-old housewife says her husband dives for sea slugs as a source of income for the family.
While his wife and son lives in Suva, he spends most of his time on in Ono-i-Lau where he dives before coming to Suva to sell his produce.
According to Mrs Labaticagi, her husband usually spends two to three months on the island before coming to Suva.
And if there is a problem with transportation, that will also delay his return to Suva.
“When he comes to sell his produce, we can get around $7000 to $8000. The lowest we got so far was $3000 because he spent less time diving,” Mrs Labaticagi said.
“I live with our son, my mother-in-law and my two brothers-in-law so I have to budget for us.”
She said after putting their savings away, paying for her husband’s return trip to the island, she is left with the amount to spend on groceries and bills.
“Imagine I have to budget for at least two months and I have been doing that well,” Mrs Labaticagi said, who is originally Buliya, Ono in Kadavu said.
However, she is also thankful that one of her brothers-in-law, who works at a wielding company also give her money to help out.
Although getting a monthly income, she still prefers to do her shopping on a weekly basis.
“It is easy for me do that rather than stocking up on groceries for two months,” Mrs Labaticagi said.
“If I stock up on my groceries, they will not last till my husband comes back.”
She spends only $50 weekly on shopping just to buy basic food stuff and groceries.
“Yes. $50 for a week and we are managing well on that. You can see today (Wednesday), I have a lot of shopping because we have a lot of people at home.
“Sometimes our extended family members come home and that is when our budget goes up to $100 or more in a week,” she said.
She does her shopping early in the week from Monday to Wednesday because that is usually when the supermarkets are not crowded.
And while many people will not be able to survive on a $50 weekly budget on food, Mrs Labaticagi said they rely mostly on vegetables and root crops for their daily meals.
“I buy a lot of vegetables and we have that in our daily meals to go with a bit of meat or tinned stuff,” she said.
“I make sure to visit the market every Saturday because that is when we get the best deals on everything. We have the freshest supplies from farmers at very lower prices.”
Mrs Labaticagi said the best time to go the market is at around 6pm.
“That is when I get the best deals. Vendors are usually on a hurry to return home and they need to sell their produce before returning and they sell them at very lower prices. I tell you the prices are really low around that time. You get most of the stuff at 50c and that is when I usually stock up our supplies.”
When it comes to shopping, she said the best thing to do is always go out with a list of what you need to buy so that you don’t miss out on things that are out of stock at home.
It will also saves you time for another second trip to the supermarket.
“But most women know what they don’t have at home by heart so they do not usually need a list. I think having a list will also stop you from impulsive buying.”
Mrs Labaticagi is also advising other shoppers to be careful when they are shopping.
They should look at the items well to ensure that they are in good condition and not expired. She encourages others to shop early in the week because this will make their shopping experience enjoyable.
“At the end of the week, there will be a lot of pushing and shoving. Supermarkets are always crowded and shopping will again become a hassle for you especially when you have to wait for long with the cashiers,” she said.