Sunday, June 27, 2010

Budget challenge food diary - week 2

Monday 21/06/10
Breakfast: porridge with yoghurt and blueberries
Morning tea: 2 hokey pokey biscuits
I also had a very large chunk of another cheesecake that appeared in the office. I would have preferred a smaller piece, but Roger did the cutting. (Yes Rog, I am trying to get you in trouble: Hi Andrea!)
Lunch: leftover rice from last night and some more chicken creole from the freezer, the eating of which was somewhat delayed since I was full of cheesecake. I didn't manage to eat my banana.
Dinner: chilli con carne with a tortilla from the freezer

Tuesday 22/06/10
Breakfast: porridge with yoghurt and blueberries
Morning tea: 2 hokey pokey biscuits
Lunch: chilli con carne (Wow.. the chilli got quite a lot stronger overnight!); 1 tortilla; 1 banana
Dinner: a couple of potatoes, zapped in the microwave and topped with chilli con carne, (you'd think I'd be sick of the stuff, but I'm not!) grated cheese and yoghurt.

Wednesday 23/06/10
Breakfast: porridge with yoghurt and blueberries
Morning tea: 2 hokey pokey biscuits
Lunch: pumpkin soup from the freezer; banana

Dinner: conscious that I have been a bit remiss with the veges for the past few days, I put a bit of the leftover chilli con carne in the frying pan, and stirred in some chopped carrot, frozen peas, and the few spoonfuls of defrosted pumpkin soup that wouldn't fit in my lunch container. I topped this mixture with mashed potato and a little grated cheese, and stuck it in the oven for a bit. The resulting 'mishmash pie' was very filling and quite different in taste from the chilli con carne I started with.

Thursday 24/06/10
Breakfast: porridge with yoghurt and blueberries
Morning tea: 2 hokey pokey biscuits
Lunch: Leftover 'mishmash pie'; 1 apple
Snack: 2 hokey pokey biscuits
Dinner: Curried sausages with rice; veges from freezer; carrot.

 Friday 25/06/10
Breakfast: porridge with yoghurt and blueberries
Morning tea: 2 hokey pokey biscuits
Lunch: leftover curried sausages and rice; 1 apple
Dinner: Leftover curried sausages and vegetables (I know: twice in one day? But it really doesn't bother me as long as what I'm eating is tasty enough)

I used up the last of my first batch of yoghurt this morning. Luckily, a few weeks ago I bought a packet of yoghurt mix when it was on special - they're always handy to have in the cupboard. I find I don't get the best results with my Easiyo in the winter though - I guess the cold creeps in. So when I'm using it in the winter, I make sure I don't set the Easiyo on the cold stainless-steel bench, and I wrap it in an old towel for extra insulation. It seems to improve the result.

Saturday 26/06/10
Breakfast: porridge with yoghurt and blueberries
Morning tea: 2 hokey pokey biscuits

Now satisfied that I had (just) enough rolled oats to get me through, I took my remaining $2.20 to the supermarket and got myself a bottle of milk. Yay for Milo!

Lunch: 2 cheese and curried sausage toastie pies
Snack: hokey pokey popcorn
Dinner: I should have been a bit more imaginative, but I wasn't very hungry after the popcorn, so just took the easiest option and ate the last of the curried sausages.

Sunday 27/06/10
Breakfast: porridge with yoghurt and blueberries (see: didn't I tell you I have this every day?)
Morning tea: 2 hokey pokey biscuits
Lunch: 2 cheese toasties with tomato chutney
Dinner: chicken creole from the freezer; rice.

And there you have it: 2 weeks - $25. I couldn't do it all the time, of course, or my cupboards would be totally bare after a while. But it was useful to redirect some funds towards getting all those little bits and pieces for Canada.

What's more, I still have some chicken creole, chilli con carne and pumpkin soup in the freezer - enough to see me through a  few more meals this week, anyway!

And I had fun doing it. It wasn't at all difficult. I didn't really eat differently than I usually do; the pattern of making a dish and eating leftovers for a day or two, then putting the rest in the freezer, is pretty much standard for me. It was just a matter of picking out some cheaper recipes, particularly those which I wouldn't need to buy many ingredients for. I keep my pantry fairly well-stocked, so there were several recipes for which I didn't need to buy anything at all! The part I found the trickiest was remembering not to casually buy food while I was out and about at malls and similar. It's so easy to think "oh, I'll just get something here" even when there's food waiting for you at home.

I should confess that I did actually do my grocery shopping for the coming week this morning, BUT (and this is important) I have not used any of it, nor will I until tomorrow. So it's not cheating! It was just more convenient to get it done today - and I wanted to take advantage of some of this week's specials.

So now you know it can be done, why not set your own challenge? It's a chance to exercise your organisational skills and use a little of that famed Kiwi ingenuity. Naturally, you have to fit the challenge to your own situation:
  • think about what you already have in the cupboard/fridge/freezer, and how you could work with it
  • find some recipes based on cheaper ingredients like canned fish or mince
  • set a time frame - try one week if two is too long.
  • set a challenging (but realistic) budget. Mine was a bit under 1/4 of what I'd usually spend in a fortnight, but I was taking it to extremes!
  • shop around for the best prices
  • don't forget the basics when you're doing your shopping (for me, this was fruit and yoghurt. I had everything else already)
Have a go! It's only for a week or two. It's not hard: you just need to plan in advance, be prepared to improvise if necessary, and resist the habit of buying lunch or droppping in to the supermarket. Then you'll have a little extra cash to spend elsewhere - which is always useful!


  1. Very impressive Robs and even more impressive was your forgoing a fish and chip feed to stick to your $25 challenge.c

  2. Normally I'd never forgo fish n chips, but there was a principle at stake!

  3. Have a look at they have some great ideas and recipes for living on very little. I have the book and you can't go past it.

  4. Thanks for the tip: I'll take a look


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