Grocery Budget Busting ~ Week 3

3 weeks ago, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. If you haven’t read my previous posts here’s the start, Week 1 & Week 2.

Money Spent: I’ve now gotten quite low on a lot of things thankfully. My regular shop has been able to be lowered to approx $100-$120 per week. However, I feel this was due to running out of a lot of staple items. Going forward, I will lower by regular budget from $180 per week, to $100 per week, with also putting aside $20/week for those items that don’t come up regularly (laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning items etc)

I’m hoping that I can lower this even further as I feel I have a better grasp on what my family actually uses and needs for a full, healthy diet.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Devilled Sausages – this was a delicious family fave!
  • Shepherds Pie
  • Nachos (bulked up with beans, which made it last 2 meals, even though the kids weren’t a huge fan of the black beans)

I also discovered The Healthy Mummy website. It has heaps of free recipes that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m glad I stumbled across this site and I don’t need to purchase a whole pile of strange ingredients that I won’t be using again…..

Food Wasted/Thrown Out: this week I went through my sauces. Some expired 4 years ago! Oh dear. But it’s freed up room in my fridge, and enabled me to rearrange it a bit – I like it much more now. Less is definitely more with my new grocery mindset.

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: I have 2, TWO jars of Red Curry Paste. Guess I better cook something with it….

I think this will be the last regular post in this series, as I have happily gotten my pantry, fridge & freezer down to a less cluttered, usable level. I have cooked more, my family has eaten out less and I have saved money, enabling us to use it on other things (like a belated Valentine’s Day experience, an Apple Slinky machine and also paid for new makeup and uniform staples for myself because I’m going back to an actual job that I need to get dressed for) that we otherwise would not have been able to afford.

I really hope you’ve found inspiration in my self-imposed challenge. I will sporadically do more challenges and report back once I’ve found my happy medium of a new grocery budget.

Christine xx

Grocery Budget Busting – Week 2

2 weeks ago, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. You can see how I went with Week 1 here, and now, I’m doing a Week 2 progress report. Who knew we had that much food in the pantry and freezer!!!!

Money Spent: I took out $180 (my usual budget) and have only used cash.

  • 3x 3L Milk – $9.00
  • Hot Roast Chook – $8.00
  • 4x Tins Dog Food – $9.60
  • 850g Green Apples – $4.90
  • 500g Cheerio’s (Frankfurters) – $3.50
  • 2kg of Chicken Drumsticks – $6.35
  • 500g Beef Mince – $4.00
  • Cornflakes (Coles Brand) – $1.80
  • Nurtigrain – $3.70 (half price)
  • 1.4kg Weet-bix – $4.50
  • 1x Box Macaroni Cheese – $2.90
  • Box of 24 Water Ice Blocks – $2.80
  • Box of 8 Lemonade Ice Blocks – $2.70
  • 12 pack of Chocolate yoghurt – $4.80
  • 5x Yoghurts for lunch boxes – $3.75
  • 1kg Carrots – $2.00
  • 1.4kg Royal Gala Apples – $3.82
  • 1kg Granny Smith Apples – $4.27
  • 700g Tomatos – $4.27
  • 2x Cucumbers – $5.00
  • Smooth Peanut Butter – $5.68
  • 1x Loaf of Bread – $3.00
  • 12 Eggs – $3.00 (we usually don’t buy eggs as we have chooks, but I needed to make some cupcakes for the class for a friend)

TOTAL SPENT: $103.35

As you can tell, I’ve started running out of things, so needed to stock up a little. My biggest expense this week was an Apple Slinky Machine. My kids go CRAZY over the apple slinky’s from the school tuck shop, therefore it’s worth it financially for this expense. Plus I saved this amount of money from groceries last week.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Hot Chicken & Macaroni Cheese – hubby & I had a date night / late Valentines Day Dinner Event and left the kids home with my 90 year old nan. We wanted something quick and easy for her to give to the kids that I knew they would eat without any fuss. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
  • I gave 1/4 of the pumpkin from last week to a friend, and then used the remaining pumpkin for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup. Yum. Also found 4 mini bread rolls in the freezer so had them with the soup. Again, this was 2 nights worth of dinner.
  • We had extra kids over one night, so we used the chicken drumsticks, but it only lasted us 2 meals instead of the 3-4 I was expecting, but that’s ok.
  • Hot Chook & salad rolls.

Food Wasted/Thrown Out: This week I come across an old packet of cranberry and nut mix in the pantry. Was fairly out of date and the nuts weren’t the right colour any more. Feeling a bit wasteful right now!

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: Room in my Freezer and pantry. I also discovered some choc mud scones in the freezer, so a morning or afternoon treat for myself coming right up 😉

Did you attempt this challenge? If so, did you make it to week 2? If not, are you inspired to try? Next week most likely won’t be the same, as I am starting to run low on things, but I’m hoping this changes my shopping outlook and moving forward allows me to allocate an extra $80/week elsewhere in the budget!!! Looking forward to next week.

Christine xx

Grocery Budget Busting – Week 1 Report

Last week, I decided to attempt to save some money on my groceries. 1 week later, here is my progress report.

Money Spent: I took out $180 (my usual budget) and have only used cash. When it comes to tomorrow (“grocery day”), I will take out another $180 to put in my cash envelope, and what is currently in my envelope has been moved to my “holiday” envelope.

  • 4L Laundry Detergent – $13.00
  • 2x 3L Milk – $6.00
  • 1x Cucumbers – $1.00 (my kids eat these like they’re going out of fashion!)
  • 500g Nectarine’s – $2.45
  • 680g Granny Smith Apples – $3.40
  • 1x Iceberg Lettuce – $2.00
  • 1x Tub Philly Cream Cheese – $4.00
  • 1x loaf of bread – $3.00
  • 200g Feta Cheese – $1.65 (purchased from the Deli section is so much cheaper then the packets)

TOTAL SPENT: $36.50.

My biggest expense this week was obviously my laundry detergent. but it’s always allowed for in my regular budget. My biggest eye-opener was the thought of how much I’m spending “just because that’s my budget”. My family didn’t starve. I purchased items that probably weren’t necessary (Philly Cream Cheese & Feta Cheese for example) but overall, I was more intentional with my shopping and saved quite a substantial amount this week.

Recipes Cooked:

  • Lasagne & salad (used a large lasagne in my freezer, leftover salad ingredients etc, this meal done us for 2 nights)
  • Mixed Berry Crumble (1 bag frozen mixed berries and misc baking ingredients from pantry) – this actually done us for 3 or 4 nights.
  • Seafood Marinara – we didn’t have any wine, so just left it out and substituted 1/4 cup water and used spaghetti instead. This lasted us 2 meals, with the kids having Sausages and salad the second night (sometimes they just like a picking plate)
  • Chicken, Pumpkin, Quinoa, Basil & Feta “Salad” – I forgot that there was a pumpkin in the shed, and also discovered some unopened, still-in-date basil with cashew and parmesan chunky dip. We were also given a roast chook from a tournament hubby was involved in over the weekend – Bonus! So I had to use it up. Plenty leftover for dinner the next 2 nights as well.
  • Last night, because hubby had enough of just having the Chicken & pumpkin dish, I got out some steak and we had that with the chicken dish as a side. We could have easily had no steak as there was enough, but 3 nights in a row was too much.

Food Wasted/Thrown Out:

  • One bag of something from the pantry. It was possibly Buckwheat. It seems to ring a bell when I look at it, but no idea what it is or what I would use it for and because of this, I had to throw it.
  • 1 and a half bags of Almonds
  • Half a bag of Veggie Crisps – these last 2 were full of weevils, which I didn’t realise until I packed some for hubby and he called to let me know. Oops.

This Week’s Amazing Discovery: Well, did you know we are apparently lolly hoarders. I have discovered a PILE of miscellaneous lollies as well as 6 Pez Dispensers – yes, SIX!!! For 2 kids. That rarely get Pez lollies. I have no clue why we have the amount of lollies we do, but I removed them from my pantry and after discussing with hubby, we tossed up between a) throwing the lot b) making ice cream treat cups or c) cutting up the chocolates etc and turning them into Cold Rock style Mix-in’s. We will be going with b I think and purchasing a 2L tub of ice cream and some disposable cups with lids, mixed-in the chopped up chocolates and put them in the freezer. Then I will throw out the remaining / not very nice looking ones.

Did you attempt this challenge? How did you go after 1 week? So far, so good and I’ll be going for another week yet at this stage.

Christine xx

Grocery Budget Busting

Usually tomorrow (Friday) is my grocery day! But this week, tired of the overwhelming mess in my pantry, I’ve decided to challenge myself by not grocery shopping – or at least drastically reducing the amount spent.

The honest mess in my pantry.

The plan: Use as many items in my fridge/freezer and pantry as I can.

Exceptions: I am allowed to purchase Milk, Bread/Wraps, fresh salad ingredients and fresh fruit (lunches and snacks). But ONLY when I’ve run out of the items we already have.

I have plenty of items to bake snacks for school – biscuits/cakes/slices, my freezer has enough meat and misc. items in there, as does my pantry. There were some things I’ve purchased because they were for a recipe that I never made (Tamarind Paste anyone).

My normal grocery budget is $180/week to feed a family of 4 (2x adults, Miss 5 and Mr 4). Overall, I would love to cut that down if possible.

My Goals:

  •  To save as much money as possible from my grocery budget.
  • Stop unnecessary overspending.
  • Get creative with my recipes using food I currently have available.
  • Declutter my freezers (we have one fridge/freezer combo plus an additional freezer).
  • Declutter my pantry.
  • Become more intentional and smarter with my grocery shopping and hopefully get my budget down as much as possible.

What I will report back: Recipes used, actual money spent on purchasing groceries and what I bought, updated pictures of my pantry, a list of anything I’ve thrown out (because of out of date etc) and amazing discoveries (because who knows what’s actually in the freezer & pantry).

CHALLENGE: Look in your pantry and freezer – could it do with a clean out? Instead of throwing out and being wasteful, could you maybe skip a week (or 2) grocery shopping and save yourself some money? What difference would this make to your family?

Let’s bust this grocery budget!!!

Christine xx