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My $75 per week grocery challenge


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#1 Amelia Jane

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:48 PM

One of my new year's goals is to stick to a $75 per week budget for groceries. During 2012 we were spending about $160 a week on groceries and for 2 adults and a nearly 18 month old, I think that is excessive. We've deliberately set it low at $75 per week, so it will be challenging but not impossible.

My strategy for each week will be to start with a rough menu plan. I've got a rough monthly plan that I swap and change the meals in but the idea is to never be completely void of inspiration. I'll go to the F&V shop and stock up on F&V first, then to Aldi for staples, and then meat wherever I can be bothered going. If the Aldi meat looks okay that will be my first port of call, then probably the butcher then Woolworths. I did a shop yesterday and I'm doing it the wrong way around this first week because I didn't get to the fruit and veg shop before it closed, so I did supermarket yesterday and I'll do fruit and veg today. Once I've done the shopping I will do a better menu plan and attempt to use every scrap of fresh food so nothing is wasted. Left over vegies will go into soup for the following week's lunch!

I spent $56 yesterday and got enough meat for a week, cheese, bread, milk, prawns, and toilet paper. The meat was kangaroo sausages for a BBQ we are going to tonight, a kangaroo roast which will do 2 nights and a beef roast which will do 2 nights. We'll have a couple of vegetarian nights. So I've got $19 left for F&V and that will buy HEAPS at our F&V shop...it is very good value there. If I've got some left from my $19 I'll buy some wraps for lunches this week.

Some notes:
*I'll shop weekly on a weekend. Any mid week shops will be strictly for bread or milk.
*I'm starting off with a pretty well stocked pantry, filled with staples, spices, condiments, jarred sauces and tinned beans and fruits. I've got I think 2 chicken fillets in the freezer and some frozen veg and herbs. I'm not going to account for the cost of this stuff in the budget because I can't be bothered and we bought it all in bulk so a jar of passata is maybe 30c or something.
*We've got some health issues so eat no saturated fat and I always aim for very little processed food, but sometimes fail miserably. This means we can't eat any fatty or processed meat which is usually the cheap stuff, but win on the junk food and frozen food as that is usually expensive.
*We're lucky to live within easy walking distance to Woolies, Aldi, a great F&V shop and a butcher.
*DH is fussy about quality and doesn't like bread or meat to be frozen...he will just have to get over this!
*The $75 is for ALL food for the week, including lunches for DH and I. DS eats at childcare 3 x a week. Lunches at work are left overs or salad sandwiches/wraps.
*I'm including normal toiletries and cleaning stuff in the budget but not nappies or an unusual purchase, for example I bought some teeth whitening stuff yesterday which I didn't include, but I would include normal toothpaste.


This thread is to track my progress and because Kerala was interested in how I went. tongue.gif I'd love anyone else to join in too if you're on a mission to reduce your grocery bill.



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#2 ClaireBear

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:22 PM

Sounds great! You've definitely got it sorted. I would be keen to join in but I think I'll watch a bit first. My husband is always going on about how much we spend on groceries (2 x adults, 2 x very hungry preschoolers and 1 x Hoover baby) so I don't think it is realistic for me to get mine down to less than $100, given how much my boys eat.

Having said that though, after complaining about the cost of shopping, we then followed it up with a $100 just now on completely unnecessary stuff for tonight.
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#3 Kerala

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:48 PM

Yay! Great stuff Piper - I am so keen to hear how you go, you are inspiring!

I should join you.... I am a terrible stasher of food and then we waste so much (freezer burn, out of date etc). It almost killed me the other week when I threw out $30 worht of organic chicken because I forgot it was in the fridge. It wouldn't have been so bad if it was the first time ph34r.gif

My aim is to (need to turn my aim to action, that is the bit where I get stuck!!)

*Meal plan each week - including DD dinners and all lunches*
*Eat to the back of the pantry and bottom of the chest freezer before I do anymore cooking or buying*
*Shop strictly to a budget and a list* I need to confirm a realistic budget
*Kurb my excessive bulk purchasing (multiple items when I have them already!)*
*Where possible eat organic produce*
*Avoid too much packaged and processed food*
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#4 melin

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:14 PM

I will definitely be following this thread as we waste so much food by not using it before it's use by date and my pantry is full but I never use any of it!!

From the end of January P will be eating all bar breakfast and dinner at daycare 5 days a week so I think $75 is doable if I'm smart about it!!

So it will mainly be breakfasts, my lunch and dinners that I'll need to worry about and if I can do salads for me with a bit of meat or some kind of protein I think we'll be able to stick to it!!!

Might even make an extra account so whatever money I have left over goes into that so I can start a savings plan!!

Hawaii here I come!! LOL
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#5 Daybreak

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:30 PM

I'll be following for now as Andrew and I are living with my parents (we try to keep grocery costs down, but it's harder with other adults)
Hopefully we'll get our own place earlyish in the year though, so then we'll definitely be looking to keep our costs down!
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#6 kisma

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 09:02 PM

Im glad you started this, I'm interested to see how you do it.

We have a budget of $280 p/fn for everything, groceries, toiletries, consumables. And we feed for lunches 3 adults and 2 kids. That is changing to 2 adults and 2 kids, and hubby will soon be taking lunch as opposed to being at home for lunch. We pretty much dont eat out and if we do I usually try and budget that in too (so hard). I must say though, I find it much easier to do one shop a f/n as when I go in for just bread etc, it never ends up being just that. So the less trips I make the better laugh.gif


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#7 Amelia Jane

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:15 AM

Having a budget for all consumables is an interesting idea. Do you include petrol in that? I don't know how much we'd spend on all consumables together.

Kerala, are you familiar with the $21 challenge at all? https://www.simplesa...ollarchallenge/ I haven't actually done it before but it is apparently a great way to work through the contents of the freezer and pantry. It might be worth a go for you for a week or two!

I spent $15 on F&V yesterday and that was lots of fruit, salads, broccoli and spuds. We've already got carrots, cucumber and spring onions. So I've got $4 left for the week and we are definitely going to need more bread, and probably milk, so I might have to get over my fear of cheap bread and get a $1 loaf instead of a $5 loaf. We are fussy about bread, well, moreso DH as I would be happy to eat rice cakes or home made bread.

Meals for the week:
Sunday: garlic prawns and broccoli salad
Monday: BBQ at a friends', we provided kanga bangas and I made a potato salad
Tuesday: Cold roast beef and salad
Wed: Cold roast beef and salad
Thurs: A tuna or smoked salmon pasta
Fri: Kangaroo roast with sides (not sure what yet, either hot vegies or assorted salads)
Sat: Kangaroo roast with sides (not sure what yet, either hot vegies or assorted salads)

Lunches are pumpkin soup, sandwiches and/or salads. Snacks are fruit and I will do some baking (I have everything already so won't add anything to the grocery bill).


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#8 Thelma

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:29 AM

Wow, that is an amazing challenge! I would easily spend about $50 at the fruit and veg shop alone! (DH and DD eat a LOT of fruit)

Whilst we're not too bad when it comes to food wastage, I do want to try and clamp down a bit more as I know we could do better.

Will be watching this with interest biggrin.gif

#9 drom

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 12:45 PM

Great idea for a topic, I'm also interested in joining in and watching how you go. smile.gif

We are not too bad on food wastage now we live a couple of min walk to a supermarket. I try to budget with our food costs, but we could do much better than what we are.

Our main problem areas are not so much dinner but more so lunch. With us both working, I try to take my lunch each day, but hubby finds it difficult to impossible to do it. Partly due to the nature of his work where he has to regularly take clients out to lunch and also because he just hates doing it! tongue.gif Which blows our food budget out the window most weeks.

One thing that helped us to reduce our food costs was to grow as many of our own herbs and vege's as we could - all in pots. So you don't need to have a huge vege garden. This year we have a big pot with lettuce that will keep us going for salads most nights and also some basil and coriander in pots that (going off last year) saved us heaps from buying fresh herbs each week. We are also going to plant some cucumber but may have missed the boat. Every little bit helps though I guess...

#10 Rosita

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:20 PM

Last year we redid our budget and se it at $170 a week for 2xadults and 2xtoddlers. Fruit and veg are our killers too. Only supermarkets here to buy it from. There are farmers markets but I can't always get there and they are closed for 3 months atm
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#11 purpledixie

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:43 AM

Will also be watching how you all go. I am always trying to get our food bill down.

We also try to buy all of our F&V from a greengrocer and local markets it is so much cheaper and fresher. We get a big box full for $30. We also buy our meat from a butcher that has great specials and we also buy it in bulk once a month or so.

I agree about growing your own herbs and some vegies. I have a few pots with bits and pieces in them.

One good example of the farmers market versus the supermarket is I needed some fresh mint to make mint choc chip ice cream for xmas. I bought a bunch for 50 cents at the markets, then proceeded to make mint scrambled eggs out of my ice cream mix mad.gif so had to buy some more at the supermarket and the exact same sized bunch cost me $2.65.

#12 hanes

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:07 AM

We too spend far too much at the shops and end up wasting far too much food.

I don't know if I could keep it at $75. We have to provide lunch for daycare and my kids eat so much fruit we really need shares in a F&V store!

But, I love the idea of being more economical with your shopping. I will be watching with interest!

Good luck! Your menu for this week sounds great! smile.gif
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#13 Jane Doe

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 04:11 PM

Ohh... we really need a total budget overhaul, so this is something I'm interested in.

Piper I was always vocally opposed to my mum using Aldi meat when we went to visit, but I recently bought some chicken and it was yum! Since then I've tried one of their flavoured roasts, and we use their bacon. All great price and quality. I still find their F&V pretty hit and miss. Anything where theres a few things in a packet (stonefruit, strawberries, etc) tends to have at least one rotten item, but mushies, salad leaves etc have been ok.

My husband works such varied hours that it's so hard to meal plan.

I reckon there's weeks where I waste more food than I consume, and that makes me sad and angry.
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#14 Amelia Jane

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:23 AM

It makes me angry too Kate, and sometimes it makes me feel physically sick, like I just feel so disgusted with myself when I throw a whole lot of previously perfectly good food out.

Well this week has not gone to plan, because we've had unexpected house guests. We've had BIL staying all week and FIL stayed last night. Plus I went to the SPC outlet with MIL which I would never have gone to because it's a budget shopper's nightmare, so I have failed myself a bit. I only spent $5 on packaged tuna and biscuits for work, but still, it was $5 I didn't need to spend. I also spent $2 on yoghurt and cream, but counted that out of my $4 that I had left.

I was doing okay though, even with BIL here I stuck to our existing food for meals, plus my friend dropped round some sausages from the BBQ so we had curried sausages on Tuesday night. But it's the essentials that have done me in, we are completely out of bread and milk, and going through the toilet paper so quickly that the 12 pack I bought on the weekend won't last long. It's amazing the difference one extra adult makes. Last night was good though, I used one of the frozen chicken fillets and made pizza from scratch with yeast and flour we already had, the chicken, tomato paste and bbq sauce and jarred capsicum and eggplant, olives, anchovies and cheese. So bulk buying in the past has paid off because I managed to produce a delicious, not-too-unhealthy meal for 4 (with leftovers!) for no extra cost.

So basically, I had $4 left until Sunday and I was planning to buy bread and milk with that if needed. Instead I spent $7 on other stuff, so I'm $3 over budget and still need to get bread and milk to see us through the weekend. So I will go about $8 over this week, plus more if I can't scratch something up for main meals for the weekend. Still probably not too bad really for an extra adult.

The meal plan ended up looking like this
Sunday: garlic prawns and broccoli salad
Monday: BBQ at a friends', we provided kanga bangas and I made a potato salad
Tuesday: Curried sausages
Wed: Cold roast beef and salad
Thurs: Pizza
Fri: Kangaroo roast with sides (not sure what yet, either hot vegies or assorted salads)
Sat: Kangaroo roast with sides (not sure what yet, either hot vegies or assorted salads) OR tuna pasta if the roo doesn't stretch to 2 meals.

I've still got pumpkin soup in the fridge so lunches will be soup, pizza and sandwiches.

It's interesting and good the way I'm already starting to look at things differently. This week I've been having muesli for breakfast instead of toast to save the bread for DH and DS. I should always have muesli, it's better for me than toast and keeps me way fuller. Rice cakes instead of bread with the same fillings, same deal, yummier and healthier. I eat so much bread and I really shouldn't, we only get pricey bread so we would easily spend $10 a week on bread before this.

Our F&V shop is really cheap so I think I worked out I got about 8kg of stuff for my $15. All the delicious stone fruits at the moment are only $1-2 a kg.
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#15 Kerala

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:51 PM

I say well done you - that is amazing!

To feed extra mouths and still come out a couple of dollars over budget is brilliant!
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