My $21 week

A good friend of mine lent me a book, she knows me well.  I took on the challenge of spending $21 on groceries for the week to feed my family. The key points of the book were:

• Use what you already have & only buy extras if needed.

• Do a stocktake of your pantry, freezer, fridge & garden to see what you can use. I took the easy way out & didn’t pull everything out but had a good look & wrote a list of what I had. Some of what I found was:

o Freezer: The ham bone from Christmas, {forgot about that!} Mince, 4 chicken legs & some chicken patties.
o Pantry: Lentils, 2 opened packs of lasagne noodles, tomato soup,
o In the garden I had one lettuce & I also have fresh eggs from the chooks.

• Create a meal plan for the week based on what you found.

• When you go into the shops – take a list & stick to it. This was a challenge. I’ve recently found myself wandering in the shops, looking at all the specials & buying them if they look good. I.e: if I can get something ½ price I buy it! If I can get 2 for the price of one – I buy it! The book suggests that supermarkets are sneaky & put the more expensive foods at eye level & that they are really depending on those of us who wander aimlessly to buy more & more. I’ve recently found my grocery bill had risen for this very reason I think. It was such a good reminder to me to shop for what I need & not to be tricked into buying more & more. So I went into the supermarket this week & only bought what I needed. That was a challenge.

I have included a picture of my meal plan on my chalk board. I was already meal planning but this one was a little more fun. I love meal plans as it takes away the pain of having to think of what to make each day.My meal plan

On Thursday night I sent the following text to my husband: “Hey would you mind stopping at Coles & getting: some green dried peas for soup? That’s all! As doing the $21 challenge”.
What he come home with… (Selective reading?)
• 2 packs of dried peas, (I will only count 1)
• a cherry ripe (for me as I’d made it through Easter eating no Eggs for the first time in my 39 years – so surely I deserve this & it was my husband’s purchase & I love Cherry Ripes – so that’s okay & not counted right!!)
• 2 packs of ice cream 10 packs, they were (HALF PRICE) he told me($6 for both & important to have in freezer for future deserts).
• 1 packet of crackers?
• raisin bread (HALF PRICE)
• I loaf of bread as a spare – (which I will not count & no one is allowed to eat until next week)
I did the maths & luckily I’d only spent $8 previously in the week on some apples, bananas & potatoes. We were still within budget phew!

Now this challenge is not to be done every week, as obviously you’d run out of food. But a good way to save money from time to time – I probably saved around $150 this week. I like the idea of planning the weeks food by what you have in your garden and pantry or to your budget. Of using up the things you already have, may have forgotten & could go out of date. I like the idea of being a more savvy shopper, buying what you need & not what the marketers are influencing us to buy. And I like the idea of being creative with your cooking, making do/ substituting & saving money.

So we’ve made it through the week – as long as we stay away from the shops for this weekend!  The peanut butter is empty – ahhhh, we are on long-life milk & have no cheese.  This was a good challenge. (This is not an advertisement for the book, but something I thought was worth doing & sharing). Have a go…. If you dare??


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