Regular readers will be aware that we have been on a £35 per week grocery challenge. For the whole of August we have been saving money at Shoestring Cottage by keeping our food bill as low as possible.
If you need to make some quick savings – if you have an unexpected bill, for example – try reducing your food budget. A grocery challenge is a great place to start.
How low did we go?
Did we stick to our reduced budget? Yes, pretty much. We have been under some weeks and over on others but so far we have spent just £150 on food for the three of us. This works out at around £37.60 a week. We still have a week to go as August is almost a five week month. We have plenty of food in the house so should be able to keep to about £25 for this week’s shop. How did we achieve this?
Every week I check the cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what we already have. I then make a meal plan for the week ahead. If there is something that needs using up I incorporate that into my plan.
I check to see what is available on the veggie patch and include that too.
I work full time so I don’t have time for fussy food. Dishes that are fast, tasty, cheap and nutritious are required. We are fortunate at this time of year to have a lot of fresh produce from the garden, which helps a lot as it is more or less free food!
Did we live on pasta?
Of course we didn’t! We ate dishes like roast chicken and ratatouille, cheesy vegetable hash, sausages and mash, spinach frittata and courgette and tomato eggy bake. We took leftovers for work lunches or home made soup. Breakfast was usually porridge and fruit. When I am stuck for inspiration, I search through my frugal recipes.
Were there any exceptions?
The challenge excluded household items like toilet roll and cleaning supplies. We also had a burger out when we went to festival and a family party that was from a separate budget. Our challenge didn’t preclude the odd bit of spending on fun.
This grocery challenge has been an interesting experience and a great discipline. I am pretty frugal most of the time anyway, but will loosen my purse strings a bit when we hit the end of the month.
Has anyone else tried a grocery challenge? How do you save money on food?