Tuesday, July 22, 2008

$21 & 'no supermarket' challenge explanation

A couple of people asked for more information on the challenges so here's a more detailed explanation.

The $21 challenge was created by someone on the Simple Savings site (see banner on the right). You use this in an 'oh no I have no money until next payday and need to feed the family for the week' situation! The idea is to use up what you have in your pantry / freezer and stretch it as far as possible. The tin of chickpeas you bought when you were on a health kick, the meat that's worked it's way to the back of the freezer etc - time to haul them out and see what you can make.

The first step is to inventory what you have - go through your cupboard, freezer, fridge, fruit bowl etc and make a list of everything that can be used to make a meal. Then get creative and make a menu plan - remember Google is your friend :) Look for substitutions for things you think you need - if you think outside the square you can really stretch your food.

Then work out the things you absolutely *have* to buy and try to keep it to as little as possible (in the case of the original challenge the limit was $21). That's it - stick to not buying anything else for the week and you'll succeed.

It's not something you can do all the time - generally the meals lack a bit on the nutrition front - and certainly in my house, the peasants revolt after a while :)


The 'no supermarket' challenge has a different purpose. You won't be able to do it unless you have a bit of a stockpile. The idea isn't necessarily to save money (although that can be a handy side-effect) but to challenge yourself to be more self-reliant, and to avoid paying money to the big corporations. Ideally I'd like to get to the stage where I could go an extended period without buying food, but until the garden is producing and my stockpile is bigger, it's baby steps.

So my challenge is to not go to the supermarket for 4 weeks. I'll be using what I have at home, and if I need anything else I can only buy it from local shops. So I can buy from the fruit & vege shop, butcher, and the small independent servo. Oh and I only have $20-odd to do so lol

That's my rules - feel free to adapt it to your circumstances. I shop fortnightly, so I'm just doubling the normal time I usually go - if you go to the supermarket every couple of days, try to extend to a week. If you shop weekly, try to extend to 2 weeks etc.

Let me know if anyone decides to take part - I'd love to hear how you go.


BTW, there is a truckie's strike happening from Monday next week. Opinions vary as to what the effect will be, but it mightn't hurt to be a bit prepared.


louise said...

I haven't done the $21 challenge yet, I'll have to try it one day, but I enjoy reading how people do it on the forum and seeing what menus they come up with.

Busy Woman said...

I have been following the truckie strike news as well. It pays to be prepared!