Saturday, March 06, 2010

Grocery Challenge- Week 1

Flamingo Mama over at One Crazy Journey  is doing a March Grocery Challenge.  The concept is really simple. Work out how much less you think you can spend on groceries for the month and challenge yourself to do just that. Easy huh? I love easy.

I have always had a grocery budget ,in fact I have a budget for EVERYTHING,  and since I'm into the frugal living concept, (don't mention my fabric habit) I thought it would be lots of fun to try this with a group.

One of the important things to remember is you aren't competing with the other people who are participating , this is about setting a personal goal and trying to stick to it. Groceries in Australia seem to be significantly more expensive than in the US , so I doubt I could aspire to spending only $300-400 for the month, at least on a routine basis. I'm doing well here if I spend less than $200.00 on meat a month.   No coupons  here either and not  an Aldi or CVS in sight making this just that little bit more tricky.

I tend to shop at the same  grocery store , and it's always  an independent not a multi national chain.  I find rushing round to more than one place doesn't save me money.However I might pop in more than once, although I try not to. That happened this week, because we ran out of lemons and needed them for a curry, I needed candles for a birthday cake and then I needed limes for a pie (what is it with me and citrus this week?) 

I already do menu plans and always shop with a list but I'm flexible about what I buy even within the list. If washing powder isn't on the list but is on sale for $1.99 I stock up big. Ditto TP and dishwashing liquid. Thanks to habits ingrained by Patty, my incredible budget juggling Mum, I have plenty of freezer and pantry storage space and it's usually full.  I already manage to squeeze around 10%  savings out of my allocated grocery budget every month, but I know I can do better!

I'm shopping for three adults so I shop weekly. I've tried fortnightly and that just doesn't work for us. I try to pre-cook and freeze  a couple of meals a week in advance so I know at least two nights will be easy to get dinner on the table. This is a lifesaver when you're working. I don't like to have to think too hard after a full day at work !

So my current budget is $225.00 a week. That's a total of $996.34 for a calendar month. I am aiming for $664.00 for the month and I'm not going to stress myself out by worrying about whether I go over a weekly amount, I'll just work out how I went at the end of the month. That's because some weeks I go over my weekly amount and then next week, I might spend a very small amount.

So far since the 1st of March  (yes I've been keeping a tally because I was so darn excited about this challenge ) I've spent $179.40. That included 5 kilos of meat for the dogs  and a couple of kilos of people mince , which is mince for people to eat not mince made out of people,  but no other meat and nowhere near what I'm thinking we need for fruit and veg for the next week or so if we want to get nutrients into our systems.  I stocked up on non perishables that I know we'll need for the month that were on special like coffee, tea, butter, cheese , olive oil  and other pantry stretchers. Hoarding groceries  is the way I roll.

I'm considering doing a run to the farmers  market tomorrow morning to buy fruit and vegies because it will be cheaper than topping up at the supermarket. I used to do this and it cut our fruit and vegie bill in half! Then I got lazy.....

I'm really looking forward to reading how other people are going, and to supporting and cheering one another on. And if you have any frugal meal or grocery  ideas feel free to share them!


Flamingo said...

1st i'm so glad you are excited!! aldi's or coupons??? wowsers! that would be incredibly hard! i will try to do better about posting what I Have found to work that does not involve coupons. that is crazy how expensive things are! maybe you could be the 1st lady to bring coupons to austraila! how cool would that be!! lol

Shay said...

I dont know about the "lady" bit Flamingo!

We have Aldi in Australia but not in my state. I hear it's awesome. But what can you expect from a state that doesn't have a Krispy Kreme store either. ( I love those darn donuts)

I don't know why we don't have coupons, we just don't . I doubt the grocery stores would go for the idea of them here...sigh.