If I have learnt anything from these years of being a home manager, it is to mimimise things and keep work flow processes simple because stages of family life change1, every person goes through a different life stage2 and in so doing goes through a developmental stage too.

Frugality is a value transmitted down my side of the family; and for me, I have internalised it as part of my outlook on life3.

This value has translated into the application of ‘waste not, want not’ in the home and for my husband and I, do form part of a common outlook, to educate our children on home economics.

A budget set aside for food is a part of home economics and minimising food wastage is an approach also taken to adhere to a part of the household allowance set aside for food every month.

In our family we minimise this by:

  • Organised pantry

We had already kept our kitchen organised. Recently, thanks to a clever tip, we put   together all ‘carbs’, ‘protein’, ‘fruit’ , and ‘vegetable’ and ‘flavour enhancers’ (Eg. soy sauce, sugar …) accordingly which enabled us to survey quickly what we had in the pantries so that we could plan a healthier meal. Neater arranged categories were even more necessary now because more people were involved in the kitchen.

  • Buying what we need (groceries) OR finishing what we ‘take out’ (buying food from local food vendors to eat at home)

My husband only cooks his signature dish of ‘fried noodles’, on average, once a  month. He is the one who drives out to ‘buy back’ food from our local food vendors though. Now, he only buys what we ask him to and everything gets eaten up (Eg. Sometimes we ask for half the amount of rice or even no rice if we already have some at home).

For those whose turn it is to cook, they check the pantries to decide if making a trip to  the markets and stalls is necessary. My children, who are younger adults now, are still improving their game at planning ahead for cooking family meals, but I think they are doing a fabulous job, from what I observe, during these two months of Covid-19 virus circuit breaker stay-in. I cannot ask for a better team with an attitude to learn and keep improving! A good attitude also drives the main caregivers to keep going, resulting in a contented home environment.

So this is how food budgeting is carried out in our home, and if applied consistently, contributes to overall caregiver well-being.


1 University of Nebraska – Lincoln. (September 2012). Families across the lifespan: The normal, to-be-expected, satisfactions and challenges couples and families experience. Retrieved on May 29, 2020, from  http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g2124.pdf

2 Mehta, K.K. & Ko, Helen. (2014). Gerontological counselling: An introductory handbook. Singapore: Write Editions.

3 Fung, H. & Jiang, D. (2016). Cross-cultural psychology of aging. In K. Warner Schaie & Sherry L. Wilis (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (pp. 323-334). USA : Associated Press. Retrieved on May 31, 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301776464_Chapter_17_Cross-Cultural_Psychology_of_Aging