A week ago I wrote about my mission to trim our family’s food and wine budget.
To be accurate, I actually confessed we didn’t have a budget – for food and wine or anything.
Our pending house move gave me added incentive to save and eat up what already existed in our home. The benefits were plenty, save money to put towards our new mortgage and reduce the amount in the pantry, fridge and freezer that would need to be packed up and moved.
Linda from Nifty Mums Network had told me about the concept of the $21 challenge from Simple Savings.
Seeing as I was too tight to buy the book, I set about creating my own version.
Essentially the idea is you use up existing food in your home with a budget of $21 for a week to make up any odds and sodds required. I did not include milk for Little T in our calculations.
We easily made it through last week without spending a cent on food!
Our Menu was:
Monday – frozen pasta bake (my mum had brought around a few weeks earlier)
Tuesday – Red lentil, Tomato, Chorizo and Vegie Soup
Wednesday – Dinner at my parents house
Thursday – Prawn and Vegie Stir fry with Brown Rice (frozen prawns & Vegies left over from previous week’s shop)
Friday – Smoked Salmon and Pea pasta with Ricotta (Smoked Salmon had been in the fridge a few weeks, frozen peas and tub of Ricotta)
Saturday – Fish and Chips with Salad (frozen whiting with homemade potatoe chips @ basic salad – left over from previous week’s shop)
Sunday – Slow Cooked Leg of Veal with red wine, potato, pumpkin and peas (Veal and peas were from freezer – rest used up from previous week’s shop)
Snacks – lots of homemade popcorn, homemade avocado dip with jalapenos and corn cakes, Oranges and mandarins (a few week’s old but still nice and edible).
Mid week lunches were made from left overs (and I was lucky to have several “work lunches”)
On the weekend I used up a packet of “Little Boy” Frankfurt's (a previous week’s impulse buy) with bread and sauce and there was also some left over soup from Tuesday.
The important part. Wine makes up a fair chunk of our household food budget. I needed to find some cheaper alternative and put it out there via the blog and twitter for some suggestions.
We road tested a few cheapies and purchased our first cask of wine in years (A Banrock Station Cabernet Merlot). The highlight was the $2.99 Chambourcin Shiraz cleanskin from Dan Murphys, closely followed by the $8.99 Hanwood Chardonnay (matched with the fish and chips on Sat!).
So onto this week…..
Yesterday I went shopping at Aldi and the nearby Green Grocer’s.
Here’s what I bought: Corriander, Rocket, Mini Roma Tomatoes, Butter, Museli, Greek Yoghurt, Green Capsicum, Cucumber, Parsley, Fresh Chillis, & Half a rockmelon, bread, 2L Milk
Grand total: $28.10
Our menu is:
Monday – Falafels with Homemade Tabouli and Garlic Yoghurt (picture above – used up frozen falafels)
Tuesday – Chicken Fajitas (with Capsicum, Onion, Salsa and Sour Cream)
Wednesday – Arancini Balls with Salad (Balls from our freezer)
Thursday – Shitake Mushroom and Rice Noodle Soup with Dumplings (Dried Mushrooms & Noodles used from Pantry, Dumplings from Freezer)
Friday – Pasta Bolognese (Bolongese Sauce I made a few weeks ago and froze)
Saturday – Homemade Pizzas (Pizza Dough made from scratch with what ever toppings we can scrounge together)
Sunday – Homemade Dahl (One of my signature dishes)
So for a 2 week period, I cut our supermarket spending to $28.10
It would normally be somewhere between $300 and $400.
By not going to the mainstream supermarket and sticking to my list, I wasn’t tempted to impulse buy (which is why our freezer is well stocked).
There’s also less waste and spoilt foods being tossed from the fridge, plus less stress each night as we have planned ahead. The only other purchase was nappies for Little T from Aldi (outside the scope of this challenge)
We’re going to continue over the coming weeks (as the freezer and pantry still have plenty of life left in them).
I also am keen to fine tune our “quaffing” wine options…. not fussed on the chatau cardboard, so my challenge it to find a few alternatives.
I am now pretty enthused to see just how little I can keep next week’s menu down too. We don’t even seem close to using up the tins of baked beans and spaghetti in our pantry!!
Are you proud of me? Ok, I am
very a tad spoilt by having my cheffie husband to help plan the menu… but all in all, I am loving our new spend thrift ways.
Are you up for something similar?