Monday, February 28, 2011

Frugal Grocery February - Wrap Up

Today is officially the last day of summer in Australia and coincidentally happens to be the last day of the  Frugal Grocery February Challenge . I reckon we have some reckoning to do people.

In case you're new here , this is the deal, I decided not to buy meat for all of February after I was hit in the head by 476 kilos of dead cow, chicken and lamb falling out of my freezer in late January. Buying no meat morphed into not buying anything we didn't need because seriously folks I have so much food it's not funny. There - you're all caught up.  Continue reading.

My goal was to halve my grocery bill for the month - which means I had 300 bucks to spend. Gone are the halcyon days when I had a grocery budget of 1000.00 bucks a month . Of course there were 4 of us then. I have been aiming monthly for around the $600 .00 mark since Mr. P and I reclaimed our house after 20 years of servitude last November.

I mentioned last week  that I was going to have some shopping to do this week, since we are pretty much running out of some of the essentials of life, like gherkins. I made the tactical mistake this week of looking through the local store catalogue (which I have avoided every other week this month ) and spied so many special specials it felt like manna from heaven. I managed to blow my good intentions big time and spent $152.00. Lesson learned - avoid the catalogues. That $152.00 spend was more than I've spent in the previous three weeks combined.

In my own defence I haven't bought a piece of meat for about 4 weeks which for me is nothing short of miraculous. But when  Chicken boobies are on special as well as 2 kilo whole chooks, lamb chops and Porterhouse Steak my will is weak. It was a wonderful feeling to know I could legitimately stroll past the meat cabinet this week because for the last three weeks I've run past averting my eyes like a crack addict trying to avoid her street corner dealer.

In the end my grocery spend for the month was 303.75- a saving for the month of 296.25 , so I almost made my goal. Yes I could have done better - yes I could have held off to buy meat and crackers this week but that's sort of cheating isn't it? To deliberately hold off to make my stats more impressive?
It doesn't matter how much meat I think I'm using my freezer never seems to get any emptier. I think my freezer is like that never ending pack of Tim Tams from the TV ad.

I don't know why I stopped menu planning.  I kind of lost  it in November of last year and just never started again until I did the challenge. It really helped me stay on track. It also made me look in the freezer for inspiration rather than just buying the same old things week after week and ending up with 6 packets of peas in my freezer.
I learned to get creative with leftovers. A quarter chicken can be made into Laksa soup for two if you add a few other ingredients. Mr. P makes a mean chicken fried rice from almost nothing. And if we don't eat it and it's a leftover from  leftovers  it goes into dog food.

I still have two freezers full of meat. I still don't know what's in the freezer in the shed because I never needed to use anything but meat from the inside freezer. I'm sure that confirms I have a serious issue.

Mr. P has stopped laughing at my propensity to stockpile meat , toothpaste, plastic wrap, alfoil  toilet paper , washing powder, soap and canned goods. It kept him fed/clean and unsmelly for the month !

There is the small matter of me sending some fabulously Australian  food  to whoever saved the most percentage wise off their groceries for the month. If  you  played along and you'd like to pop your percentage saved in an email and send it to me , I'll announce the winner in my FTF post for this week.

I'm giving some consideration about whether I'll continue to torture myself for March or come up with another cruel and unusual punishment....








24 comments:

Deb said...

Be proud of yourself, you would be fine if you were in a disaster, you'd have plenty of food BUT then of course you'd need the camping gas cooking gear and you probably wouldn't be able to eat all of it so you would be able to keep your street fed in the disaster days. You could end up being woman of the moment or the meat lady. Have to eat it quick though otherwise its through out material and claim on insurance!

Marg said...

I think you did a fabulous job of saving for the month, and so close to what you were aiming for too. Well done.
Menu planning makes all the difference doesn't it.
Yep if there's ever a disaster in Adelaide, you'll still be able to feed the whole suburb.

Can't wait to see who is the ever so lucky recipient of a kilo jar of Vegemite.

Helsie said...

Well done! Don't stop now! Finish the job and empty those freezers! You can only freeze things for a finite time before they lose quality so keep going. Anothetr upside is the amount of electricity you will NOT be using if you empty some of those freezers and think of all the variety you are putting into your diet.
Cheers
Helen

melissa said...

Yeah fantastic effort there Shay, so do you get to spend all your savings on fabric now? I agree with Helen , i think you should keep going and clear out your freezers. Just think you could spend all your saved meat money on fabric and when your freezers empty you can go mad at the meat section in your local Woolies!!!

Seams Inspired said...

Excellent job, Shay! You met your goal within a few pennies. I'd say that's something in which to be proud. As a reward, you should use the leftover monies for fabric. ;o)

Mistea said...

I'm impressed - half the grocery bill has to mean there is some money for fabric surely.

Sara said...

You missed it by less than 1.5%, and anything under 2% is considered a rounding error.

Can I have your magic freezer, but in icecream mode? I'd really appreciate it.

Kris said...

Well done Shay! Food prices just seem to be going up all the time. Saving so much is pretty amazing. I have been doing the whole menu planning thing myself of late and it has saved me heaps of money too!

P. said...

Congratulations on your successful frugality! Think of all the fabric you can buy!

I like forcing myself to make dinner from what's on hand. It led me, this past week, to try a new recipe for Thai Coconut Shrimp and Rice, which is a keeper. Why did I make this? Because the ONLY meat we had in the house was a frozen solid whole chicken and a pound of frozen jumbo shrimp. Well, I suppose I could count 3 cans of tuna, but we'd eaten tuna the day before. Oh, wait, we had some lake perch in the freezer too, but that involved deep frying, which we don't do indoors in the winter. Anyway...

Brenda said...

20 years of servitude - hahahaha. I was just discussing with a friend last night how we don't want to have too big of a house, because then the kids will move back in FOREVER if it's too comfortable for them.

Cynthia L. said...

I can't believe you have so much meat! I do think you have a meat obsession!

I posted about my tally and what I learned on my blog. I spent a grand total of $331.65. Went over the $300.00 I had hoped for, but stayed under the $400.00 I normally allow. So I am happy.

I say we keep up with it, but make it a linky thingie!

Tracy said...

Wow, very impressed by your accomplishment! Seriously, you did good!
I'm not sure I could do that because I like what I like when I like it!

Lisa said...

My word, you have been one busy lady! I love the baby quilt, the snowballs are looking great, and that chest you painted white to showcase what you made.... I want one! =) Good job on the groceries, just keep trying, it would be fun to see how long you could go with buying meat? My husband has the same problem with meat sales..... he cleans them out if there are things we'll use in the clearance section. By the way, thanks for keeping it all real. =)

Donnie said...

I think you should continue just til you get into the freezer in the shed. It might be a hidden stash of meat...lol....You spurred me on to use up some of what is in the back of the pantry too. This was fun.

My word verification word is "diners"...too funny.

Thea said...

Very impressive! even with splurging this week .. and you could have waited until 3/1 to buy some of the stuff. I wasn't able to joing along, partly because I only have the freezer above the fridge and partly because I have absolutly no idea what I spend on groceries each month ...

vawriter said...

Congratulations on your frugality, Shay. I can enjoy yours without having any of my own whatsoever. I have a bunch of chicken boobies (snicker,snicker) in my freezer that will still be there when I die or move, whichever is first.

JKP said...

Thanks to the flu and my need to stay in bed for a couple of days, my husband felt deprived and felt the need to go the store. Since he took the Taradiddle Teens with him, that was a recipe for disaster. Budget blown, frugal February failure. Next time...

P.S. I have since banned him from taking teens to the store. It won't last, but it's worth a try.

Sqquee said...

"...for the last three weeks I've run past averting my eyes like a crack addict trying to avoid her street corner dealer." I actually laughed out loud at that!
I've been reading through your posts, and I have to say I'm glad I came across your blog, it's very cute and clever!

Alisa said...

How is it that a post about your groceries can make me laugh until I nearly cry?

Jenny said...

I think this amazing. You have inspired me to keep going with this challenge, although last night my husband was quite confused with the weird dinner I made - ha!

Kirsten's Cooking said...

I cannot imagine spending $1000 a month on food - kudos to you for cutting your bill in half (!)

You have some tough readers - making you go out into the shed and dig into your freezer! :)

Maybe you and Marg could tackle that when she comes down to visit - just kidding.

I do go through my upstairs freezer about every couple months and throw away anything that looks suspect.

Thanks for taking us along in your challenge - please do come up with something for the month of March!

Susan In Texas said...

Well done! We tried something similar to that last year for Lent. You know, eat out of the pantry, get some throughput on the mystery meals in the freezers, spend less, stockpile not at all. We had limited success last year, but I'm planning to try it again because Ash Wednesday is just around the corner.

Eat hearty!
Susan in Texas

Kate said...

Well done Shay!

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

That would not be me with the saving of the money. Good job, Shay. I've still been thinking about your spideys. Now that summer is ending, will they go away, or do they just move into your heated guestroom? Just wondering.