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My $75 per week grocery challenge


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#16 Amelia Jane

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:17 PM

I am nearly at the end of the second week, going on a Sunday-Monday week. So far, in total from 31st Dec we have spent $201.63 on food. That includes a $15 KFC meal when I was hung over last weekend. ph34r.gif I have been doing brilliantly but my husband went and bought a lot of expensive ingredients last weekend when we had friends over on Saturday, and went and ruined the budget the first week! It is going to be hard getting him completely on board. But I am hoping that if I can make up for it in the other weeks it will average out over the year to be $75 a week, or close.

I spent $20.15 on F&V on Tuesday, and $27.31 last night on 2 x steak, prawns, curry paste, hokkien noodles, one small tin of tuna, bread and milk. I'll spend as little as possible over the next few days to try and repair the damage from last weekend's blow out...seriously, DH spent $80 on ingredients for one dinner, more than the entire week's budget!

A trip to Aldi this evening or tomorrow and I want to get plain flour and look at the meat, and I want to look through the pantry today too to try and see exactly what we have hiding in the back. We've done a lot of bulk buying of canned goods from the SPC outlet (best place ever!) and I know we have tins of beans and dried packets of beans etc but I need to hunt them out.

Dinners this week:

Monday: Fish and chips that a friend shouted us.
Tuesday: Chicken story fry using remaining frozen chicken breast.
Wednesday: The remaining kangaroo roast, home made potato wedges and salad.
Thursday: Asian vegies and noodle stirfry, with prawns for me and steak for DH.
Friday: Prawn for me, steak for DH, salad.
Saturday: Going to a friend's for dinner, not sure if we are required to bring anything.
Sunday: Vegie Thai-style red curry.

Lunches have been salad sandwiches and left overs. I will take stock of what we have and see what I need to buy to make dinners for the coming week and get back on track.
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#17 bluenomi

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:16 PM

Where do you live to get such cheap fruit and veg? Stone fruit at $1-2 a kilo, I wish! Even at the markets it's still $6-7 here sad.gif

I had to say $75 a week is awesome. I consider $160 to be a cheap week for us ph34r.gif
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#18 melin

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

My 1st week doing meal plans and budgeting I've spent no more than $140 which I'm pretty impressed with. And i've only had to go to the supermarket once to get bread and brown rice!!

It is so much easier meal planning. And I've even been making P separate food some nights and still not gone over.

I only have to do 3 nights for the next week as we're going away Tuesday so I'm going to go through my pantry and freezer and hopefully won't have to buy much at all!!

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#19 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

QUOTE(bluenomi @ Jan 11 2013, 03:16 PM) View Post

Where do you live to get such cheap fruit and veg? Stone fruit at $1-2 a kilo, I wish! Even at the markets it's still $6-7 here sad.gif


I was at Fyshwick today and was surprised to see how exxy it was! I did a Coles online order on Monday for the first time and everything was $3.99 k/g so that paid off (but it was so good it's nearly all gone and it's apples and oranges only for week 2 of the fortnight rolleyes.gif )



I am now trying to get on board with this too, aiming for $100 a week but that will include other household goods too, not just food. I'm going with planning 4 weeks of meals so I can buy meat in bulk and a fortnightly online order as it totally stopped me from buying random crap!

#20 Amelia Jane

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

I'm in regional Vic. $6-7, ouch! We have a great fruit shop we go to just down the road and it's really really cheap, apricots are $1.99 a kg, peaches $2.50, yellow nectarines are $1.99 I think and white nectarines $2.99. Spuds are around $1.50, more depending on the brand, tomatoes $3, iceberg lettuces 70c each, etc. It's great. The farmers' market is more expensive here.
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#21 drom

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

We went to the supermarket yesterday for dinner last night and a few other incidentals and came out $65 less for next to nothing. I've gotta get more serious with my meal planning. blush.gif

#22 toska

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

This is such a great idea! We really need to get our spending on food down, we've been eating a lot of delivery lately (because I broke my arm) and it adds up fast. How is everyone doing with their budgets?

#23 Amelia Jane

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:22 AM

A long overdue update:

I'm definitely not sticking to $75 per week. I've decided it's not achievable for us because I have been spending over that every week and I will not compromise health or quality just to get the budget down. I have realised that we eat very little in the way of 'staples' so even though we've got a cupboard full of rice and pasta and beans and grains, we don't actually eat much of it. 90% of our food is fresh proteins and vegies and to buy good quality meat and fish and fruit and veg just wasn't possible on $75. I have upped the budget to $90, and although we've still been going over that, it's because I'm slack and under a lot of stress, not because it's not possible.

So even though I'm not sticking to a budget as such at the moment, I'm happy with how we are going. We are not wasting much food at all, and anything we do waste (usually half used tins of beans or corn) goes to the dog. I'm shopping regularly and I'm getting a bit more savvy...only buying things in season, using up fruit in stews and vegies in soups before they go off, hardly shopping at Woolworths at all, only Aldi and the F&V shop. I did go to Woolies this morning to get milk and bread, but only spent $28 which is cheap for Woolies! I got 6 litres of milk, a loaf of Helga's bread, some swordfish, 2 x long life noodles (they had 2 for $4) and a bubble wand for DS. I didn't plan on the bubble wand but it was $2 and he's obsessed with bubbles (bob-boh) at the moment. I'm not buying much processed stuff and making things from scratch where possible. I'm hoping once life calms down a bit it will improve again.

Meal plan this week has been
Mon: Roast chicken
Tues: DH out and me a toastie with left over chicken etc
Wed: Spaghetti bol
Thurs: Chilli con carne
Fri: Baked fish with noodles and vegies
Sat: A chicken based stir fry
Sun: Maybe a tuna bake or something using 'staples'

I've baked a couple of fruit loaves and I'll make some mini quiches today using some smoked salmon we have in the freezer and an apple slice and some soup.
Piper 08/12/12
Scooby 08/04/13
Playing together on Rainbow Bridge

#24 Kerala

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:04 PM

Well done!! You have done great, just cutting down on waste is a massive achievement!!
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#25 Amelia Jane

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:30 PM

Hi!!

I've been very slack at updating this thread. I'm still plodding along. We are doing quite well at the moment because DH has pulled his head in and we haven't had any really expensive dinners or anything lately. I think on average we are still spending over budget but only in the realm of about $100 per week.

I've been doing most of my shopping at Aldi and we have done a couple of big online orders from Woolies. DH likes drinks other than water so most of the online orders have been for drinks. It's expensive and totally blows out the budget for the month but each drink individually is very cheap, like 40c cans of soft drink. I'm spending less than $20 at the fruit and veg each week. As I've mentioned earlier, our F&V is really cheap anyway but I've also been very good at only buying what's in season. If something is really dear I just don't buy it. I'm not used to shopping this way as I usually just buy what I feel like, but I'm getting better at learning what good prices are for something.

The thing I'm most excited about is that I bought a yoghurt maker from Aldi a few weeks ago for $15. I bought one Easi-Yo Greek yoghurt sachet from Woolies for $4.30 or something, and since then I've made each batch using leftover yoghurt. I love it! We eat a lot of yoghurt and I think I made 4 batches using the sachet and subsequent yoghurt so it's just over $1 per kg, plus my initial investment. I bought another sachet for $3.30 or something, it was a bit cheaper, and I'll use that to make the next few lots, apparently you can stretch it out and just use a few tablespoons for each new batch.

I've also been making my own muesli using oats, processed home brand bran (like Allbran), sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, a few currants or craisins, flaked almonds and powdered wheatgerm. I haven't worked out the cost per serve but none of the ingredients are very expensive (well, the sunflower seeds are but I don't use many of them) so it can't be very much. I think my new breaky of yoghurt+muesli+fruit is probably cheaper than toast and so much healthier and more filling.

I'm not sure how to cut down on spending on meat, apart from just eating less of it, which we are doing. For a while there we ate heaps of chicken which I don't really like much anyway, gosh I was sick of chicken! I haven't had much red meat at all lately but that is one of DH's non-negotiables so he is still having steak a couple of times a week.
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#26 Porthos

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 06:57 PM

Piper, I have got to admit that I was quite relieved to see that you had to up the budget, it was blowing my mind that you could even get close to $75 for a week.

We're two adults and three kids (I'm counting Emmett because he goes through a fair amount of solids these days) and we spend between $80 - 100 at Aldi and $20 - 40 at Woolies each week. On top of that we buy nappies, bulk washing up liquid, bulk spray and wipe and bulk washing powder from Big W, plus we have a local F & V shop that we visit almost daily (at a bare minimum it would be 3 visits a week). Our weekly spend on food, groceries, petrol and entertainment is $400 - 450 a week and usually by Monday we've got about $40 of that left (if we're lucky) (pay day is Thursday).

For sure the best thing we've done to save money is meal plan. That is DH's department and he's great at it. We don't include lunches in the plan but we mainly eat staples like toasties / frozen fish and salad / soups.

We find Aldi's meat fantastic and we buy all of our meat from there (we regularly buy mince, pork sausages, bacon, steaks, chicken thighs and chicken breasts). We used to bulk buy it from an abattoir but that wasn't working well for us as a 'bulk buy' session was costing us $150 and it was hard to find that money up front (even if it did take off the budget once we had the meat, we never had the money to start the process).

Typical dinner meals in our house are:
* Chicken won tons (easy to make and freeze, great for a quick dinner)
* Steak and salad
* Lasange and salad
* Pine nut pasta
* Spag bol
* Quiche
* Shepherd's Pie
* Fish and salad
* Homemade pizzas
* Chicken and vegie soup
* Asian style soup (with dumplings)
* Chicken and Broccoli (which is a stew type dish)
* DH has lots of homemade curries (I don't eat curry)
* We used to do tacos and burritos regularly but I went off these when pregnant with Emmett and haven't come back into them yet wink.gif

We never have roasts because we are hopeless at eating leftover meat so it becomes a waste. My folks often cook me a roast if I am going over there because they know how much I miss my roasts!

I think you must have access to one of the cheapest F & V shops I have ever heard of!! Ours is great produce and it definitely has its specials but we would usually spend between $25 - 30 a week on fruit and vege alone. We're also hopeless with milk (we got through 6 - 8 litres a week) and my kids would eat bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let them so when we have bread, a loaf lasts us 1.5 days at the most. I hate buying bread daily though so we try to go through no more than three loaves a week (more like two).

I am contemplating making my own yoghurt as we go through 4 1.5kg tubs a week...all three kids are OBSESSED with yoghurt. I saw a great blog post that inspired me to give making it a try but I still haven't bitten the bullet. We'll see how we go wink.gif
*Here's the blog post if you want a read: http://www.digthisch...ake-yogurt.html

I look forward to reading more of your check ins on this thread smile.gif

#27 Angel_Elle

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:18 PM

Thanks Piper for your update smile.gif Well i think I might take up the challenge....but not just yet...to hard with a potential big move for us so shall wait until we have settled in but I think I should be able to do a lot better than here - a $1k a month grocery bill here is insane as there isn't a huge amount of luxuries just (a) lack of choice (cool.gif sometimes sacrifice price for quality.
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#28 Thelma

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:43 PM

Oh Porthos, that looks like a really complicated way of making yoghurt! Super easy just to do it in an easiyo maker. You can either use powdered milk and this is the recipe for that: 1 1/3 cups powdered milk (and about 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tspn vanilla essence if you want if flavoured), shake up with some water, then put in 3 tbspn yoghurt and top with water and shake again and put in easiyo. If you don't want to use powdered milk just use milk and all the other stuff the same. You can't use skim milk though, lots of people have reported that it doesn't set.

I don't feel guilty for plowing through the yoghurt as I know it's not going to affect the budget.

#29 mango

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:01 AM

That yoghurt sounds good Thelma. Does it make a nice vanilla yoghurt? I might give it a try. For natural yogurt is it just milk powder no Sugar or vanilla? I tried that but found it really bitter, I think that's because I leave it too long though. Is that right the longer you leave it the more bitter? How long would you leave vanilla and natural for?

#30 Thelma

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:17 PM

Yeah, no sugar or vanilla for natural. I put half of 1/3 cup and 2 tspn vanilla essence in and leave set for about 10 hours and find that that's enough for it not to be bitter but not sweet. You would need more sugar and vanilla (or vanilla bean paste) for a proper vanilla flavour. Alternatively, if you want flavour you could add puree fruit once finished or even some jam if you wanted to cheat a bit




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