It has been extremely satisfying doing this challenge. Some things we have achieved, others we haven't attempted yet, but it is all a step in the right direction.
Here are the preliminary results:
* make up a food budget and take only that amount of money to the supermarket with you. - Done. I have $150 for groceries and this week spent $114.00. This is more than last week, but it includes extras for my grocery stockpile.
* create a menu plan for the week so you know what you need to buy for each meal. DONE - this not only saves you money , it saves time and your sanity because it stops you from getting to a weeknight later in the week and asking ' what on earth are we having for dinner tonight ?
* start tracking your spending. Done - usually do this anyway.
* start a grocery stockpile. I like this one and have done it at varying times over the years. My Grandmother always had a ' one up principle'. She had the item that she was using plus at least one more of it in the cupboard. When you finish the one you are using you put it on the list, start using the spare and then replace the 'one up' item.
* cook from scratch. - have been doing this for a while no.
* ban yourself from eating out or buying takeaway for this entire week. failed this one because I had to go to a farewell dinner on Friday night. I did only spend $20 though and that included a tip !
* shop for specials. - I always do this. I have had a price book for years. I will post some pictures of it soon.
* make your own shopping bags and fruit and veg bags so you're not bringing home plastic bags. Taking your own shopping bags is easy. The only problem that I have is bags for the fruit and veg. Loose potatoes, broccoli carrots etc are fine but it is hard to take loose pistachio nuts to the checkout ! I need some ideas here. Do you sew your own little bags for smaller fruit and veg/nuts etc? I often buy loose almonds, pistachios, beans etc and would appreciate some feedback.
* buy meat from a butcher, not a supermarket. Done. Luckily we have a great butcher in the little town I live in.
* stop buying individually wrapped or bagged groceries, like snack foods. Done.
* watch the unit price. - always do this using a price book. ( although once you have done your price book you will find that you just know your prices )
* look for and support products that have minimal wrapping. This has not been easy. Sometimes you are limited by where you live as to how easy it is to access particular products. Not eating preservatives does make this a little easier, in that it minimises your packaged foods anyway.
I am looking forward to the next challenge. I hope to maintain many of these principles.