Welcome to my cooking blog. My name is Michelle Jenkins. Let me start by admitting that these are NOT gourmet meals, they are NOT fine dining, but they are mine. I have cooked all of these recipes and taken my own photos. They are fairly simple recipes, most of them are quick to prepare and cook and all of them are delicious. I only post my successes! If something doesn't work out, I don't post it. I hope you enjoy this blog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

$120 Food Challenge : Week 1

This is the first week of this challenge. 'Challenge' is the most suitable word for it, because I seriously cannot see how I will be able to feed my family meat and veg for under $120.

Before shopping
Before I left the house I took the book's advice and did a stock take on my fridge, freezer and pantry and worked out what else I needed to buy to feed us. The only meat I needed to buy was some chicken because I already had meat in the freezer. I also intend to use up the crumbed fish and packaged pies that were in there, along with the eggs in the fridge - they will go into a quiche. Below is my shopping list. You will see I have a list for Woolies and a separate one for Aldi with the meals list on the right.

The bill
Below is a photo of my shopping bill. I don't like everything Aldi sells, so I still insist on buying certain items at Woolies even though they are more expensive. I don't buy from the butcher usually, so decided I wouldn't start doing that until I had shopped 'normally' and set a benchmark so I could gauge the challenge. I have refused to believe meat is cheaper at the butcher, so I will be monitoring this very closely as the challenge progresses. I had to rule out the non-food items like toilettries, cleaning products, pet food, etc so the figures on the sticky note are separated. As you can see I spent more than $120 this week...and the only meat I bought was chicken!!!

The meat
The only meat I needed this week was chicken. I prefer the breast and always buy it at Aldi. Today it cost me $15.30 and weighs about 1 and 3/4kg. I didn't look at the kilo price until I got home - it was $9.49 per kg. I just happened to notice that the butcher I pass every shopping day had chicken breast for $6.99 per kg. So as of next week I will buy it there.

I usually buy ham for the kids sandwiches, but today the silverside was cheapest, so I bought that instead...I hope they like it. Bread this week cost $5.00 for 2 loaves of wholemeal. I bought it from the bakery section of Woolies - not the branded loaves. I also bought an 8 pack of flat bread for wraps. I will grate carrot and cheese for fillings when the sandwich meat runs out.

5 things I learned this week
  • chicken breast is cheaper at the butcher
  • buy the sandwich meat which is on special 
  • non-food items really add to your weekly shopping bill
  • make home made snacks for the kids lunch boxes instead of buying expensive processed snacks
  • buy generic brands when you can...they are often cheaper

See the Introduction to the Food Challenge.


  1. Quick tip for bread - go the no brand loaves from Woolies ($1-$1.50 each) found in with the regular branded bread - but get in quick they are usually all gone by lunch in my local store. They are just as fresh and tasty as branded and freeze just as nicely if that's something you do with it.

  2. Yeah I do. I buy either the wholemeal or seedy bread. Last week they were two for $4.00. Today they were 2 for $5.00. I am there at the same time every week so I guess they must have increased 50c per loaf in a week.