Surprise! I'm a single parent


feed a family on $130 a week?
July 17, 2012, 9:54 pm
Filed under: economy

Flicking through the DomPost I see Sofie Grey (of The Destitute Gourmet) is criticising TV show Masterchef for creating unrealistic expectations of what we should be dishing up at home.   Good call. I don’t watch it myself but just from the commercials I can tell those chefs shop in aisles that I rarely slow down in. Still, of all the rubbishy reality shows out there I would put Masterchef well on top of the pile and also way ahead of all the mockumentaries. Cooking is a skill and it seems a good idea kiwis are watching and, maybe, learning.

On the same page a woman in Hamilton – apparently a single parent like me – is revealed to be spending $130 a week feeding her family. They are meat and sugar low and dairy free, bake their own bread, use home made cleaning products and grow a lot of their veges. And they have chickens. The chickens sound like the only fun part quite frankly.It is also ironic that in a country that exports meat and dairy we have people cutting these things from their diet to save money.

I’m pretty sure I could manage on $130 a week too. I don’t make my own cleaning products – I just clean less. A big saving at my house is porridge for breakfast – tasty and cheap. I take leftovers for lunch and don’t buy coffee often. I buy fruit and veges in season. We have a lot of pasta and rice. We bake potatoes. When I make a casserole it lasts a few meals. A topside roast like my mum taught me (but recipe is in Edmonds). But often I splurge. We like watching Glee and eating a block of chocolate on a Friday night. I will buy 2 for one biscuits. I don’t bake much – I work full time and do volunteer work, there isn’t a lot of time for that. I do make pizzas though – often frm scratch because dough smells great and it is much cheaper.

I’ve just been reading the undercover economist’s blog.  He was explaining about poverty lines. How they are inately subjective and change over time according to our current understanding of what is required to participate in society. Now wifi is on the British list of essentials. I don’t disagree. Sitting at home surfing the net is a lot more informative than surfing TV channels. The net to me is a very egalitarian place in terms of content. It is interesting though that wifi is on the list but saving for retirement isn’t. This seems extremely important to me and I worry we are heading for a wide rich vs poor gap in our increasingly large aged population.

One of my favourite books on the subject of low wage survival is Nickel and Dimed in America. In it a journalist travels America and works low wage jobs. It’s very readable and made me so grateful for my education, home and family support. I sometimes fantasize about low wage jobs where delivery might be less stressful (my job requires a lot of brain work and review and response to review…) but the book shows the stressful reality of counting the cents. This recession has hurt my pocket but if I’m truthful I have to say I can ride it out – I can spend a little more than $130 a week at the supermarket. I can buy the odd coffee and even a pair of new boots last month.

 

 




3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

  1.    jo 11.23.12 @ 8:44 pm      

    Hi there, could you please send me a copy of your separation agreement, I am needing to iron one out for myself, thanks :)

  2.    Jon 03.30.14 @ 6:44 pm      

    As a family of four we spend about $30 just on milk, but altogether I would guess about $130 a week on food. Buy reduced bread from the supermarket, small portions of meat and seasonal vegetables (rarely eating peppers, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in the winter :(

  3.    wordmonger 04.01.14 @ 1:02 am      

    You are doing better than me. I never go under $200 a week at the supermarket. We eat with the seasons which I must say is OK and I have quite a bit in the garden: rhubarb, apples, figs, blueberries and rampant parsley and spuds. I quietly think of one of the kids as ‘the dairy queen’ as she seems to knock back 80% of the milk.



Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>