I have had a few people ask me about how I’m eating ethically at such a low budget with the $40 grocery challenge. This week I decided to document how I do it, recipes included, and include links through to my grocery receipts on my Instagram to show it is possible. With my challenge I am shopping for one person, I occasionally cook for friends but mainly yours truly. If you are a couple take your budget up to $80 and if you are a family add to your budget again. I’m not always perfect, I go over budget from time to time. With my challenge I am aiming to get creative, eat ethically in order to donate an extra $20 a fortnight to charity.

This week’s menu:

  • Weekday breakfasts: Smoothies
  • Lunch/dinner option one: Chicken Risotto
  • Lunch/dinner option two: Carrot and lentil fritters and slaw
  • Friday night dinner/Saturday lunch: Homemade pizza
  • Saturday breakfast post cycling: Omelette and toast
  • Sunday breakfast: Pikelets
  • Delicious evening snack with cup of tea: Easy biscuits

Weekday breakfasts: Smoothies

I bought the pears and celery on the 9 February, the oats I bought back in December and the cacao I bought on the 28 January. I buy my protein powder once a year from Bulk Nutrients (I use the plain raw one), in honesty I haven’t been counting this in my costs and I have been drinking this Monday-Friday a scoop a day since 2013, I buy 5kg a time, it costs me 56c a serve according to their website.

As well as my smoothie on the three days a week I cycle 60km before work I also eat a banana.

Lunch/dinner option one: Chicken Risotto

I bought the free range chicken on the 9 February. The chicken I used in this was the leftovers, about 2 1/2 c of cooked shredded chicken. I made my own stock from two chicken caucuses I froze and some leftover vegetable scraps I have had in the freezer over the last few weeks waiting to make stock.

Lunch/dinner option two: Lentil and carrot fritters with a side of homemade slaw

I bought the lentils and garam masala back in December last year, these are two staple ingredients that I use in my cooking a fair bit. I bought the carrots, eggs and flour on the 9 February shop.

For the slaw I will combine the last 1/8 of a red cabbage with grated carrot, spring onions and yoghurt. I bought the red cabbage back in January, this is the last of it, I find cabbage lasts so well. Slaw for me is pretty basic: red cabbage, carrots ( 9 February shop), red onion/spring onion (re-grown from the spring onion ends originally bought on the 10 January shop) and greek yoghurt (bought on the 4 February)

Friday night dinner/Saturday lunch: Homemade pizza


My pizza base is king and I make it all the time (it is also the recipe I use for homemade flat breads).

I usually make my pizza Italian style with pretty simple toppings such as: Parmesan, chorizo and onion (17 February shop) , tomato paste (9 February shop) and whatever else I have lying around.

Saturday breakfast post cycling: Omelette and toast

I’m still using up eggs (9 February shop) from last week and am still using up bread (28 January shop), I always freeze bread and just use a bit at a time.. I usually put fresh tomato (17 February shop) in my omelette too as I love it!

Sunday breakfast: Pikelets

This is a pretty easy weekend treat! I use an easy recipe from Taste Australia: flour, egg, milk, caster sugar and butter. I usually top with honey, cinnamon and whatever fruit I have lying around.

Delicious evening snack with cup of tea: Easy biscuits

Really easy, yummy and super cheap!

Some facts about The Economiss:

Before I sign off I thought I would share with you a few facts that align with my way of cooking

  • I’m active: I cycle about 200km a week and attend 3-5 yoga sessions a week
  • I like eating: I like gourmet food, I like low pressured cooking (i.e. not in the week as I just want to literally crash in the evening after work)
  • I typically cook my entire weekday menu on a Sunday and I usually make two meals and five serves of each meal (yeah hashtag meal prep). It’s a mission typically and sometimes I get to the point where I’m pretty over eating the same meal over the week but makes my week so much more relaxed
  • If I’m exhausted and haven’t got meal prep or do not fancy meal prep for dinner I typically eat tomato on toast with butter for dinner or omelette on toast for dinner (yeah breakfast for dinner)
  • I have rules with buying pre-made food: it has to be a social occasion, I can’t get takeout and eat alone, but social takeout with friends is okay
  • I tap out and give myself a rest with a treat for restaurants a couple of times a week: typically brunch on Saturday and sometimes Sunday too, typically drinks on Friday and typically dinner on Saturday. Normally I eat out at least twice a week but this week is pretty tight on my budget because I spent $300 on gifts this fortnight, I’m paying my chiropractor due to my injured back and paying another bill that was due.

Personal rules The Economiss sticks to with groceries:

I thought I would also share with you some rules I generally stick to:

  • buy free range, cruelty free and chemical free meat and eggs when possible
  • buy organic milk
  • don’t use plastic bags for fruit and vegetables or to bag groceries
  • don’t plan the menu before the shop and adapt the meals to fit with what’s on special

What hacks can you give The Economiss to further reduce her grocery budget?

The Economiss is a single, female, millennial on a mission to buy her first home in Australia. A Kiwi by birth, she jumped over the ditch after she finished her tertiary qualifications in search of employment. The narratives quite often showing up online overshadowed her thoughts of buying a house alone changed in 2017 The Economiss started super charging her finances and saved over 30% of her after tax income towards her house deposit as well as cash flowing four overseas trips. In 2018 The Economiss decided to create a new narrative and share her journey saving 36% of her after tax income for a $60,000 house deposit by December 2018. Do you have some tips to share or want to be featured on the blog, please get in touch!

Meal prep for $40 a week
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