Monday, January 31, 2011

Frugal Grocery February -Week 1

A couple of weeks ago I had this idea that it might be good to look at challenging myself by living frugally for a month in February. I mentioned it in a post here , and since a few people said they wouldn't mind hopping along for the ride I posted about how I was going to do it here.

Welcome to Week 1!  In  the interest of being honest and real, I wanted to share with you what I'm dealing with here because it will explain why I absolutely need to do this. These  are two of my three freezers ...

300 litres of space


425 litres of space -chock full of food

And this is what 300 litres of food looks like spread out on a bench. Before you ask -those frozen  bananas are for cake. Waste not - want not.



There is enough meat alone there for over 40 meals. Ridiculous. I'm too ashamed to tell you what's in the bigger freezer.

Now that I've publicly confessed to being  a food hoarder (hey at least I keep it in appropriate places - not like some of those people on Hoarders that keep mouldy food on their lounge room floors -yuk) we can all move on. Admitting you have a problem is the first step.  Over the next month , I'm not putting anything more in those freezers. I'm only allowed to take stuff out of them. Not buying crazy meat bargains is probably going to kill me.

My menu plan is all done ....(see how truly anal organised I am? )



If you want to use the same menu plan you can download it for free here . I love this menu planner because I can write my grocery list on it as well.

I'm a little  freaked out about seeing my actual handwriting on the Internet . Like weird stalkers all over Adelaide will be watching now to see who buys just ham, pepperoni , tomato and milk at the shops this week so they can say "I know who you are"...

Becks Exploding Burgers will make an appearance. They don't really explode - they just did the first time I made them. It must have been the gunpowder. They still tasted fantastic and have become a regular meal at our house. Easy, Cheap and a crowd pleaser.

Kirsten's Yogurt Parfaits is on the menu because it just sounded so divine. I stewed up some apricots, peaches and apples a few days ago and chucked them in the freezer in preparation. I cannot tell you how glad I am that I met Kirsten. Her blog has provided an opportunity for me to try a lot of new recipes over the last year, most of which I make over and over.  I cheated and bought butternut snap biscuits to crumble up in place of her homemade ones. Hey -I'm back at work this week. Just keeping it real people.

Lots of sandwiches this week for lunches because I want to use up the bread  that's taking up scads of room in my freezer, plus it's going to be really hot here this week. It was sandwiches or ice blocks and my dental hygienist tells me sugar is bad for your teeth.

I budget $150.00 a week for my entire grocery shop which works out to $600.00 bucks for February.  I'm aiming to only spend $300.00 . That's my goal. Out there - in the open. I'm pretty confident I can do it. The beauty of this is that I don't really have to change my eating habits- I just have to use what I already have!

I can't wait to see what you do if you decide to join me.  Leave a comment so I can be sure to visit!




22 comments:

Seams Inspired said...

Wow! That's quite a mass of glaciated goodness, Shay. :o) I'm hopping on board the Frugal train. My plan is to stockpile Shampoos, Toothpastes, and other like items using coupons. I'm not much of a couponer anymore because it all seemed to be for junk food. I'm giving the clipping thing a whack again. It will be interesting.

Can't wait to see how all your meal plans turn out. :o) Happy Monday night!

Kate said...

Looks like a marvelous plan! Planning dinners around our house usually takes the form of "where are we stopping for take out"!

Angie said...

Don't feel bad, my freezer(s) look EXACTLY the same! I can't pass up a great deal either and I am the 'coupon queen'. One day my hubby was in the pantry looking for something and says 'do we really NEED 16 bottles of salad dressing?' I said 'if I got them for 50 cents each then YES'. Then one month we had an unexpected bill of $500 that had to come from somewhere, and you guessed it, it came right out of the grocery budget and no one missed a thing! Good job saving money AND getting freezer space! Plus the less money you spend on food, the more you can spend on fabric, right? ;)

Sarcastic Quilter said...

OMG you are my MOTHER! She has freezers full like that and it's just her and my dad. lol Of course, she did this when we were all in the house, too. One year she took a trip to Ireland and dad gave me permission to clean out the freezers b/c she never did and I couldn't stand (young teen) trying to find things and seeing freezer burn foods, years old unidentifiable foods, etc. (NOT saying your freezer looks like that.) I thought maybe she'd like it.

Anyway, she was PISSED. I mean, I still remember how pissed she was and so does she. If we bring it up, she'll still say she was angry. Can I tell you, we tease her but none of us attempt to clean out her freezers for her anymore. lol

Now, I have 2 freezers that are those little boxes above the refrigerator. One is full with frozen fruits and veggies (yeah me), a few Lean Cuisines (again, yeah me) and some Weight Watcher Ice Cream (yeah hubs). They wouldn't be full if we got around to eating those. The other is almost empty. It has some frozen veggies but that's it.

Then we have a standalone freezer which contains primarily 1 whole freaking Elk. (Just in case anyone wondered how big those actually were.) Some pork, some chicken and some fish.

There you have it, I really shouldn't talk about anyone, should I? So, GOOD FOR YOU for keeping it real and for naming my burgers. Kids think it's a great name.

Marie said...

shay ... you are a hoot! the fun part -- by the end of the month you will have ate better too! we took the pledge of no (less) eating out ... don't know if I'm up to no McD's but it's worth a try ....

P. said...

I would love to have a freezer(s) big enough to stockpile that much food! I don't know that I'll be officially jumping in with you, but I'm with you in spirit. I plan to cook the turkey that's taking up 1/4 of the freezer space this month, and I bought some lentils yesterday (we need to eat less meat, and they're very frugal). We'll see what else we can utilize, although I fear some of it may be freezer burned already, and I am quite afraid of those wild goose breasts (aka shoe leather).

Brenda said...

My big freezer is looking sadly empty (I too have 3 - 1 large and 2 small). I don't know why I have all of these freezers (2 fridges too) now that all of the kids are gone. We bought a 1/2 a cow (all butchered up) this year and that filled it for awhile, but it's nearly gone. BUT - I have a big storage area in the basement for food storage and there is a LOT of stuff down there...
P.S. You'll be happy to know it's supposed to be like 3 degrees tomorrow night - but I have some pretty divine looking boots to wear...

Logopaedchen/Kirsten said...

O.K. NOW I know why you need to clear out your freezer...I probaly have enough meat for 4-5 meals at the most and veggies for about 6 or 7 meals. So that´s why it´ll be hard for me to join...but I´ll be watching and I like the menue planner...I always plan but usually things get thrown over by the latest on Wednesday..
Good luck..I´ll be watching

Ann Marie said...

I am in with you..........gotta get the freezers and the cupboards somewhat empty..the groceries are sitting on the counters now, because there isn't anywhere else to put them, I have had enough. We normally spend $1000-$1200 a month, so I am aiming to keep it below $500 for the month...... so I have room to find the food in the back of both the freezers and the cupboards.

Marg said...

OMG you were not kidding, you really do have s loads of frozen stuff.
You have now blown the myth that you don't eat vegetables! I am sure I saw the word salad at least once on your menu planner, and roast veggies too, although you could get away with no green colored food there!
With that amount of food in your freezers you could do Frugal Decade!!!

JKP said...

I'm in, but I have to admit that I haven't bought a serious amount of groceries in quite a while. I was noticing yesterday my pantry shelves are visible. Usually I can't see them because the cans of vegetables and spaghetti sauce and tuna and soups are stacked three and four high.

Elizabeth said...

Love the little menu planner. I downloaded it.

You are super organized. I love your menu and I'm cheering you on!

xo -El

Baa-Me Kniits said...

I like the idea of a menu planner but I am never that organised. We have a big freezer because we used to do our own beef, now I just buy the cuts we use in bulk about every 9 mths or so. My weekly menus consist of whatever i remember to get out of the freezer the day before :-) Sundays seem to get planned as we usually have a family roast, its the only day Billy is home at tea time with the boys. Thats a pretty lean budget but if you succeed then it a heck of a lot of material ,-) I couldn't stick to that my boys go thru 6 boxes of cereal, 18 litres of milk and 10 loaves of bread a week....can't wait till they are teenagers!!

Lisa said...

Great idea on the food, we did that when we realized we were moving- hardly had to buy anything besides bread/milk/etc. for a long time! Easy on the pocket, and it's fun to be creative with what you have.
Love all the quilting, and your walkway/plants look great! I love the dresden plates, you are samazing! If you'd like- Send a quilt this way and I'll quilt it for free if you pay postage. =)
Looks like you have been very busy and productive, fun to pop in!

Lisa said...

..... and yes- opened jelly rolls are kindof pathetic after the initial excitement of the outside appearance. I've decided I'm not so into those pre-picked/made fabrics, I'm trying to make pretty things with my own combinations instead. Then you don't have a bunch of prints of the exact same thing in 5 different colors. =)

Cynthia L. said...

I am in awe of your huge amount of frozed food! I have two freezers, they are both attached to refrigerators. My usual budget for the month is $400.00 which includes shampoo, TP, etc. I typically have a "stash" of those types of things. When the Baby comes home, she always says she has to go "shopping," she then opens the closet door and gets what she wants.

I plan on reducing my budget from $400 to $300. I know it is not much of a reduction, but I think my beginning amount is pretty low already.

I am off to take photos and post about what I am up to! This will be fun.

Kirsten's Cooking said...

Shay -

I'm so excited that you've decided to include us in your journey!!

hilarious about the grocery store stalker identifying you by your handwriting!!

I was just telling Rob today how much I love making things from almost nothing - simply what I have on hand!

I hope you love the yogurt parfaits - apricots and peaches are genius! I so wish it was summer here, too!

good luck and thanks for bringing us along -

Alisa said...

Hey, hey, hey! If you're making menu plans that means slack tea thursday is no longer slack! I protest!
Or are we not doing that anymore this year?

Susan Entwistle said...

Sadly, I had to cancel following along with you this month. We're leaving town next week and had to load up the fridge for the housesitters (daughter and boyfriend). I've spent half of what you plan to spend all month on just two quick stops at the store on the way home from work.

Janean said...

Shay, my stash is not as large as yours but I'm with you, ba-bee!!!

Donnie said...

I came over from Seams inspired and I enjoyed reading about your February Challenge. Looking forward to following what you're up to. There's just 2 of us so I have only the regular fridge and freezer. Mostly it's fairly empty.

Deb said...

You really do have a huge Stockpile of food. I don't have nearly that much but I like your idea and am going to try to use up what in my freezer this month too.
Thanks for the great idea.