Week 1 $50 challenge

Have you joined me in the $50 eat from within your home challenge? If so how did you do?

Well, to be completely honest I failed. Not by a huge amount but I spent $74.79 ok I know I can’t even stick to my own challenge!! I did feel guilty about this but I decided to focus on the fact that I only spent $74.79 instead of the usual $150-200 we might spend in a week so that’s a win.

I have to say I’ve never really budgeted what we spent on food which is why we have a pantry full of yummy food which all needs eating rather than being horded. So this week has taught me to think about what we are able to eat, from the what is within the house, rather than just what we feel like for dinner.

So what did we eat? I didn’t write to all down so I’ll do better this coming week. Some of the meals we ate were chachouka, lentil spaghetti bolognese, smoothies, yoghurthomemade bread,sushi, chilli con carne in burritos, banana bread. We’ve eaten really well and have all been very satisfied.

So far I have enjoyed the challenge and this week I will make sure that I stick to my budget. Though with the week resetting today I have plenty of food in the cupboards and fridge after last week so we won’t be going to the supermarket soon. Maybe only (and not look at the rest of the specials on at the supermarket as that is how I got caught out last week) to get some milk powder as we’re almost out.jerf_pantry_chellenge

So how did we manage to cut our grocery bill in half in this week’s challenge?

  • We JERFed (Just Eat Real Food) it. We just bought raw ingredients and cooked with them.
  • We ate leftovers several nights rather than just dinner then lunch (which is what we normally do. I love leftovers they are like eating free food!). We then ate them again for tea another night when we would normally freeze the meals for later. We would change the meal up a bit ie add eggs.
  • We ate fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden, we were also gifted some beautiful courgettes and spring onions from a friend’s garden.
  • Bought vegetables and free range eggs from the local morning market.
  • We focused on what could we make with what we had rather than what do we feel like for dinner and have to buy ingredients to make that meal.
  • We cooked up dried beans we had in the back of the cupboard that I grew last year.
  • When we ran out of cheese we did without (we made a cheese sauce out of nutritional yeast, cashews and a head of broccoli).
  • We didn’t replace items that we ran out of instead I added them to a restock shopping list and moved onto other items in the pantry that we have bought and forgotten about. Which of course is the whole point of this challenge; to use up before buying new.
  • We didn’t eat out at all. Didn’t go out for any coffees. This week I’ve organised a friend to come to my place for a catch up rather than going out for dinner. I’ll make a yummy raw cake.

So do I feel deprived? Do I feel like I’m cramping my style? Do I feel like this is all just too hard?

No, actually I feel rather proud (though wish I haven’t over spent but on wards and upwards and most of the extra food I bought will feed us this week), I feel full of good wholesome food, I’m enjoying the new variety of food in our diet and am enjoying thinking of yummy different meals to make.

If you’ve joined me I’d love to hear how you’re going. I’d love to hear your tips for saving money and how you make your meals go further. Or do you feel like join in now? It’s never too late come join the fun.


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8 thoughts on “Week 1 $50 challenge

  1. Bobbie
    January 14, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Congrats on a job well done are in order!
    I live alone, yet my small pantry seems overcrowded. After reading your post, I looked, and saw two boxes of stuffing on the top shelf that seem to have been there for quite a while! Time to clean it out and time to eat what’s in there.
    I did, however, see chicken and some beef on sale at the grocer’s. I made beef stew, along with a big pot of vegetable beef soup, and a pot of chicken soup and put in the freezer. Big savings! Even though I’m 67 and alone, I STILL like good food and like to cook healthy meals for myself.
    Thanks for such an enjoyable blog!
    Bobbie from PA, USA

    1. January 14, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you for your comments. A good pantry clean out is always fun – amazing what you find hiding in the back!Wow that sounds like amazing savings with those meals you made. Well done. Just because you live alone is no reason not to eat well. Good for you on not giving up. Mx

  2. kelly
    January 16, 2015 at 7:29 am

    I shop every fortnight because of where we live, did a shop yesterday and for last week and this week come to about 80.00 each week, really pleased with that, usually I would spend aout 220-250 fortnight. But I reckon next fortnight can do alot better as I have heaps of odd bods to use up first in the freezer.

    1. January 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Fantastic well done. What things did you do to half your bill? Mx

  3. Alicia
    January 16, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Great work. I keep meaning to do this!

    1. January 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Come join the fun it’s very rewarding.Mx

  4. Beth
    January 16, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    I haven’t actively started this yet as I am away from home for a couple weeks, but it’s something I’ve been kinda working on for a wee while, and which I will amp up in coming weeks. Husband has just retired and is now spending a few hours a week at the local community garden and so there will be an abundance of ‘free’ seasonal vegetables which cost no more than labour. As it’s also summertime, we are having lighter meals, too. Sadly, when winter comes, he’s not really big on leftover casseroles, etc. and so it’s hard to stretch those budget-friendly meals into a few meals (truth be told, I think he only usually tolerates casseroles at all as he’s a meat and vege kinda guy). Still, we’re working on eating ‘real food’, too, and limiting the processed stuff.

  5. Suzie
    January 18, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Love this! We have been on a similar journey as your own for a few months now. We had planned to eventually become as self-sufficient as possible over the next few years after buying a property, but 3 weeks later hubby lost his job and I have not yet finished my study. Sadly we have had no work since being made redundant 7 months ago, so we have had to bring forward our plans and have spent the last 6 months working hard to make our back yard provide for us and our food needs. We make everything pretty much from scratch, as we had been doing for the last couple of years (since I was diagnosed with cancer for the 4th time in my life) – but now we are growing much of it ourselves, instead of buying it from the organic shops. One book that helped heaps on our initial journey into being more healthy and living cheaper, was “Changing Habits, Changing Lives”, but Cyndi O’Meara, which sets out week by week, different things to change until you have made your life as healthy as you can.

    We had initially budgeted $50 per week to feed ourselves, but have since managed to cut that back to around $30-$35 per week, so are feeling very proud of ourselves! We have put in two huge ground gardens and two large raised bed gardens as well as using the original garden that was already at the house. We are growing every kind of vegetable that you can get in NZ, as we eat anything, and are learning so much as we go. Next year we will be trialling putting in some grains, as that is about the only thing we have had to buy that we could avoid by growing. None of our friends can believe how little we spend on food, the things we manage to make for ourselves, and how much we are managing to grow and how well we actually eat and live!!

    We buy raw organic foods in bulk – a lot of millet (costs just $1 a day for breakfast), lentils (which cost about $1 per meal with some veges), dried beans & chick peas (which are also great value for money), and also a bit of quinoa and polenta, although these last two are a bit more expensive (around $2 per meal). I volunteer at the local organic co-op whenever I can, which is a not for profit store, so we get discounts off the food. We have managed to fill our chest freezer and huge fridge with produce from the garden and I have been using the outside cabbage leaves (and carrot thinnings with home-grown radishes for making Kimchi) and also Sauerkraut. We make our own coconut yoghurt and Keffir (a pro-biotic tonic drink which is fermented). We are pickling tomatoes, zucchinni, cucumber, carrot, cabbage, beets, beans and peppers. The herb garden is growing really well and I love being able to go out and pick whatever I need what I need to eat for the day, and not having to rely on the shops. We have found out you can eat the whole of radish plants, the leaves and the flowers and that you can also do the same with kale flowers, and that broad beans are just as nice sliced up when small as they are picked at medium size and eaten before they are old and tough. Seaweed is also great collected from the sea for making liquid compost. We are even growing our own Sunflower seeds and pumpkins for seed! We put in 100’s of garlics and onions and beetroot, and the harvests of these are going great.

    About the only things we buy now is basic cleaning items (vinegar, washing soda, soap nuts, baking soda), coconut milk and oil and olive oil, some grains at the moment, gluten free bread – because try as I might, the ONLY thing I have not been successful at making gluten free, is bread!!, the odd bit of fish from the fish wholesalers at our local port town – as our own fishing ventures have not proved so successful yet!, eggs (we would love to get chooks but sadly the neighbours have 7 pig dogs, so that would simply not work), olives – as we have not yet been able to grow our own, avocado’s for the same reason, salt & pepper – as we can’t mine or grow them, the odd middle eastern spices – as it is not hot enough here to grow them, baking powder, butter – as we don’t have a goat or any sheep because the section is too small, some jaggery or sucanat sugar for the keffir, honey – as my husband doesn’t want to keep bees – he is allergic to them, some different kinds of nuts as we don’t really have room for nut trees, toilet paper – as I am not brave enough to try leaves as my friends suggested! along with soap for washing ourselves- as I have not yet ventured to make my own, but it is on the list of things to try, (although we are growing soapwort which works brilliantly, but we don’t yet have enough to make all our own personal cleaning products.)

    Great blog, love to see others encouraging humanity to use less, care more and look after themselves, others and the planet. 🙂