$50/week – going lower (19 March 2017)

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Thai pork red curry with basil
Thai pork red curry with basil

This week I almost got by spending just $3.  But then I splurged and spent $6 on organic shoyu soy sauce.  So grand total $9.

Sorry I have been a bit quiet. I was still recovering from a cold and was just tired and worn out, but am now bouncing back with lots of energy.  And my Dad visited last weekend, i.e. over the Canberra Day long weekend.  He helped fix the kids bicycles, put in shelving above my laundry, and best of all, he moved the last of the items out of my storage unit so I can finally close it (saving $300/month).  Yeah!

While he was here we had some good meals, including a lovely Thai red curry pork and a Vietnamese caramelised fish I cooked one night.  We also used up some pizzas in my freezer – not homemade, but they came in handy.

The week my Dad was here I spent $50.15. My big splurge that week was buying a bottle of extra virgin fish sauce.  I am really into buying quality ingredients.  At home I am making soy sauce, a process that takes up to six months.  We eat a lot of Asian food and, unfortunately, the quality of a lot of the sauces used is not always so good. I want to feed my boys the best, thus the organic soy sauce this week.  Plus it is in part market research for me – I want to compare it to my own soy sauce.

This week’s low food total was more laziness than good planning.  I purchased two loaves of bread for $3 from my work cafe (end of day sales), and while waiting to pick up my boys I bought a bottle of organic soy sauce ($6 for 250ml). I kind of forgot to go shopping, well at least I got busy.  And I was eating out a lot – planned, not a result of nothing in the cupboard.  I ran with it and surprisingly I made it work.  Making lunches on some days was a bit of a struggle, but we got by.

This is what we ate:

Sunday night:  I made cheddar and blue vein cheese scrolls for afternoon tea to have while friends came over to visit.  Then I cooked Thai red curry, Vietnamese caramalised pepper fish and cucumber salad (rice, chicken soup and Chinese pork floss for my boys) for dinner.  We had some Taiwanese nougat for dessert.

Monday night: I took Dad out to dinner to a local Vietnamese place. I could have cooked, but I was feeling tired and I also wanted to thank him for his work.  My boys loved the egg noodle soup there. Note to self to cook it at home.

Tuesday night:  Mr Red Sports Car and I enjoyed a cheap local bowl of Pho beef noodle soup before heading out to meet someone.  My boys had dinner with their Dad.

Wednesday night:  I cooked Chinese: Thai basil omelette using eggs gifted by my friend who came around on Sunday; baked fish with ketchup manis sauce; baked potatoes; and gai lan vegetables.

Thursday:  I had a lunch box of assorted leftovers for lunch.  I was home late as I was at tai chi (the boys were with their Dad).  I came home and cooked pasta with assorted leftovers in the fridge, which was a bit hit and miss but still okay.  The final pasta dish used up slow roasted cherry tomatoes, cottage cheese (note: it doesn’t cook as well as ricotta as it goes a bit stringy), and home brined olives.  I added some foraged fennel seeds – I thought it would work but surprisingly it wasn’t quite right.  I’m still happy that I innovated.

Friday:  A cheap meal with friends at the Burmese Curry Place, which was closing down.  My meal cost $5 because they were shutting and there wasn’t quite a full serve left.  Afterwards I went to see Mr Red Sports Car and helped him cook a Hello Fresh meal.  I had a bit of food there, but was fairly full so didn’t eat much.

Saturday:  I caught up with some girlfriends for yum cha.  We ordered way too much. I insisted on packing things up in containers to take home, and ended up with a container of leftovers.  My boys had chicken nuggets with some leftover yum cha whitebait and calamari for dinner.

After dinner I did some cooking for a playdate the next day.  By this stage I had very little left in the house, but I cooked based on what we had.  I ended up making a chocolate zucchini cake (recipe coming). I also made some homemade mayonnaise from an egg yolk I had spare, which I used to make egg sandwiches for the playdate (using the backyard eggs my friend gave me and the $3 bread loaves).  Turning up to the playdate with not one but two plates of food, I am sure no-one believed me when I said I was a frugalista.

The finished product – homemade mayonnaise

Thank you to everyone who shared recipes and suggestions for using up zucchinis. I have used up a bit, but I still have more to use. I will probably try another go at zucchini fritters, but still welcome recipes. I am collecting quite a few on Pinterest.  Well, slowly.

Having stepped on the scales recently, my new goal is wellness (aka I really, really need to go on a diet). Despite eating within my weekly grocery budget, I indulge way too much, have been busy and haven’t exercised as I should, and it is catching up with me. Part of the reason for the $50/week grocery challenge was to reduce the amount I eat, but I still need to focus a bit.  So over the coming few weeks I will seek to demonstrate that you don’t actually need to spend a fortune to lose weight.  Fingers crossed!

So do you think it is possible to lose weight on a low income?  Or do you think that you need to eat expensive proteins to lose weight?




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