Thursday, October 1, 2020

Shelftember: Or How I shopped at Home and only Spent $104 (810 HKD) for Groceries Last Month.

I love a good challenge, and during this travel-less school year, I decided that I would make it a goal to save as much as possible, so when one of my favorite frugal bloggers (Jordan Page @ Fun, Cheap or Free) announced her Shelftember challenge for the month of September, I was all in. The basic premise is that you "shop" from your shelves first (pantry, freezer, fridge) to see what you have available before going to the grocery store. This ensures that items are not getting lost in the back/bottom and that you are actually using what you have on hand, before it expires or starts to mold. As a bonus challenge, you are only supposed to spend $25 USD a week on groceries, no matter the size of your family. Not gonna lie: it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be! Hong Kong groceries are quite a bit higher in general for items like meat, dairy and baking supplies. On the other hand, fresh fruits and vegetables can usually be found for less at the local markets. 

I began each week writing a menu (nothing new) based on what we had and then ONLY buying the few fresh things I needed. It was not a month to "stock up." I ended up baking more than normal-bread, bagels, muffins and cookies, to name a few. I'd never tried bagels before; it wasn't that difficult, but it was time consuming. I used sesame seeds and a Mideastern spice mix that I had on hand for toppings.

I also tried a couple of new recipes, including this Thai Pomelo Salad, which was delicious. Pomelos are like giant grapefruit. Check out the thickness of the skin!

I should also note that we did spend one night at the Conrad Hilton (on a free night voucher), and because of my Diamond status, a perk of my Amex credit card, we were upgraded to a large suite, which came with TWO fruit plates and a box of 12 handmade chocolates. NICE. That was 14 pieces of fruit that you can bet came home with me. 

During the month, the school provided breakfast, lunch and snacks for 2 Pro-D daysWe also didn't give up our Friday night date night, but we still ate the majority of our meals at home. We had people over for 3 different meals and I provided food for another family for one meal. We also ate at friends' houses for 3 meals. 

Will I participate next year? If I remember, I probably will. It was a worthy challenge and one I would recommend. I didn't quite make the $25 a week, but $26 wasn't too far off.