Leftovers are the new takeaway

Allison Tait blog
Posted on January 22, 2010

*Edit: I keep this post because it was the very first post on this blog in 2010

My move south last year coincided with the GFC, which wasn’t a bad thing. It actually helped me through those first few months when my shopping options dwindled to not very many and the home delivery menus no longer needed a drawer of their own.

From a funky inner-west bastion of Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Lebanese, Italian et al cheap eateries, I have been reduced to multinational pizza joints, multinational fast food joints, fish and chips, a whole lot of Chinese restaurants (sweet and sour anyone?) and one lone Indian (pretty good, since you asked).

So I’ve hit the kitchen. Now if I want a night off from cooking for the family, I need to have planned (48 hours in advance) leftovers. Tasty leftovers. Leftovers that people will actually eat without turning their noses up and feigning sudden illness. Leftovers that won’t cause sudden illness.
It’s not easy. My new BFFs are recipe mags like Super Food Ideas and Good Taste, and you know what – they’re great! Easy, tasty meals that don’t require a list of gourmet ingredients as long as my arm. I’m in love. But not as much as I love taste.com.au, the online archive of these two mags and three more besides.
We’re saving heaps of money, too. I fed four of us for $107 last week. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I know that there are people who can do it for less (possibly the same people who save their soap scraps to make new bars), but it used to cost me closer to $200 and we’d have takeaway two nights a week on top of that.
I discovered that a shopping list is the best place to start when you want to save money and eat well. Plan your meals like Nanna used to. Turns out that old-fashioned is the way forward.


  1. life without mathematics

    I’m marvelling at your economy! Yikes! I’d hate to say how much I spend to feed my tribe. I’m loving the Rewind Weekend. So good to be taken back to so many great beginnings.

  2. Kellie

    I love reading the earlier comments in comparison to the later ones on all these “first posts”. So interesting.
    I really relate to this post, living in a regional area, with little takeaway choices. I have to say one of the greatest things to us becoming more frugal is online shopping. Now I only buy the absolute essentials and can delete items if I go over the budget.

  3. georgi hampton

    there is some great advice here -i stopped by from weekend rewind.. glad I did! x

  4. Charis

    Came to read this through the weekend rewind… great first post!

  5. Mumto5

    Taste.com.au has som awesome recipes. I’ve found some great ideas for kids parties on there.

  6. MultipleMum

    I think you should add more of these frugal posts to your blog! That is an incredibly cheap week of shopping – I wonder what you ate? Hi from Weekend Rewind x

  7. Maxabella

    Far out, now you have twenty comments on your very first post. That’s gotta be a record, right?! x

  8. Catherine

    Allison- how wonderful to hear you in the beginning! Sad to say but even with blogs I follwo I seldom go all the way back in the archives.

    And I feel your pain- we’re in semi-rural suburbs south of Portland and take-out is a foreign concept. Lots of leftovers in our hosue!

  9. allison tait

    @hearts_in_asia I wish! Some weeks are better than others, but there’s no way I’d feed us all for that much anymore! I’ve really noticed the increase in food prices in the last year or so.

  10. hearts_in_asia

    So are you still keeping the food budget down? I keep meaning to start doing it properly and never seem to quite get there.

  11. Shelly - Tropical Mum

    It’s too expensive to eat out in Cairns as everything is tourist prices. I will have to take a page from your book and save up some leftovers for lazy nights off cooking.

  12. Hear Mum Roar

    What a great way to look at it!

  13. Salamander

    I remember reading this the first time around…..you’re still a domestic inspiration!! xxxx

  14. InkPaperPen

    I’m with Glen…8 comments on your first post? Awesome

    I wish I had read this post ages ago. $107.00 to feed a family of four for a week is brilliant. I need to take a leaf out of your book…

  15. A Farmer's Wife

    Love it. We live in a town with only two takeaways that are almost identical (think bain-marie, Mrs Macs and Chiko Rolls)… I am jealous of the Chinese outlets and don’t even get me started on the Indian.

    Excellent budgeting to feed four on $107!!!

    I liked your first post.

  16. Glen

    8 original comments on your first post? It took me 6 months to get one!

  17. JoyMama

    Good writing, from the start! We plan weekly menus with lots of leftovers-nights around here as a matter of course… partly for the cost savings but mostly for the benefits of being organized and not having to make last-minute trips for one ingredient.

  18. @jencull (jen)

    We have takeout about once a week, kind of a habit now and I feel I deserve ONE day where I don’t cook. We have even less options available than you do 🙂 Still, that was a goodly amount of money to save in just one week! Thanks for joining in Blog Gems. Jen (dunno why you had reservations about this, it is brilliant!)

  19. 4timesblessed

    It was great reading your first blog. I tried the GFC diet and it did not work for us. What can I say, my son is stubborn. LOL… Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

  20. spectrummymummy

    Hi, visiting from Blog Gems too. With my kids’ allergies, our food budget has about quadrupled, but after 6 months I’m able to handle “extreme cooking.” I long for the day I can go back to cooking for pleasure!

  21. Lady Estrogen

    Planning and cooking is one things I seriously lack in – good advice! 😉

  22. allison tait

    Good question @BlueSky – I used to have a picture as my header, in the very early days, but then my sister made me the glam one you see today and I don’t have it anymore. I’m planning a revamp early next year, so I might install one then. 🙂

  23. Looking for Blue Sky

    Great to read your first post, but am still wondering, is there a picture of the famous pink fibro anywhere?

  24. jazzygal

    Hey… nice first post! Some good advice too…given the times were in.

    Saw your name and Blog Gems and had to drop in 🙂

    xx Jazzy

  25. Trish

    Hi Allison, I’m visiting from the Blog Gems carnival. Nice to meet you!

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