Posts Tagged With: grocery shopping

Frugal food watch!

This month I’m really making an effort to keep an eye on the pennies. We’ve got some nice festive gatherings coming up which we want to enjoy and I would like to get a few extra treats in for Christmas week.

Since we are already paying the minimum/best prices currently possible on utilities etc, the obvious areas for me to try and watch are: general spending money (I budget ‘pocket’ money for myself for going out and buying non-food items), food shopping and petrol. This month I am only using my debit card (though I will try to keep around £5-£10 cash on me just in case) and am then recording every purchase in a ‘spending journal’ sheet in my filofax. I’ve just done the weekly shop and it came in at a fantastic £24.04. Using a combination of what I already had and what I’ve bought this evening, this is my plan for the week:

  • Tonight: Covent Garden soup (bought yesterday on offer at £1) followed by bread and butter pudding (using a reduced loaf bought yesterday for 36p).
  • Saturday: Cereal/Beans on toast/ Lasagne and veg
  • Sunday: Cereal/packed lunch (out at band practice) of sandwiches and fruit/ roast chicken thighs, potatoes and parsnips with carrots and broccoli
  • Monday: Cereal/packed lunch (sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt)/Stir fry veg with noodles and soy sauce
  • Tuesday: Breakfast and lunch as above / Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese followed by apple crumble
  • Wednesday: Breakfast & lunch as above / Evening meal at parents 🙂 Later in the evening I will use up most of the remaining vegetables to make some soup
  • Thursday: Cereal/Vegetable soup, bread and fruit/ Beef stew (from freezer) with mashed potato
  • Friday: Breakfast and lunch as above / Dinner at a friends (will buy/make something on the day to take along)

I’m kind of ‘off’ a lot of cooked vegetables at the moment (something to do with the texture makes me feel nauseous) so I’m making up for it by eating lots of fruit. Tomorrow I will be making a batch of lasagne and a batch of bolognese sauce for the freezer. On Sunday I’ll be using up the chicken that I bought 6 weeks ago and put in the freezer. I might even see if I can squeeze a bit of baking in this weekend.

I always spend more on food when I’m not organised. When I start making a plan for the week I check my diary to see when we are going to be in or out. For example, I know we are going to be out for most of the day on Sunday so I have planned for packed lunches. This means we won’t be tempted to go to the shops when we get hungry! I also know that Mum and Dad will be providing us with a meal on Wednesday so I don’t need to plan anything for that evening. However, I also know that there will be some vegetables left over that might be going past their best by mid-week, hence planning to make some soup. I always try to keep to my plan though, invariably, life gets in the way from time to time. Every now and then it all goes wrong and I end up buying something extra. As it is important to watch my spending at the moment I am going to try to be extra careful!

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Day 61: This little piggy went to market

pork casserole

I have been really naughty this week. I’ve taken out extra money (on top of my regular spending fund) and basically spent it on junk food. I can’t explain why I’ve done this. Today I have eaten: bran flakes and raisins with milk, 3 doughnuts, ham, egg and chips, an entire (large) pack of chocolate crispy cakes, a large packet of chocolate raisins, two ham rolls and a bowl of raspberries and cream. I hope you are impressed. I won’t talk about yesterday. Or the day before come to that. I wonder if I am having a weird rebellion against not spending money on crap? Clearly it has got to stop. I feel bloated and uncomfortable (hardly surprising I know) and distinctly roly poly.

When I started this blog I cut the food budget for both Husband and I to £25 per week. Perviously we were spending £50 – £60. It was the easiet area to make a cut and I have definitely been able to save more because of it. Gradually the budget has been sneaking its way up again. This month the budget was, I think, £37.50 per week and I actually managed to go over! It wasn’t that difficult to feed us both for £25 a week. Yes, I had to make a plan and make sure I wasn’t wasting anything but that was all part of the exercise. I’ve mentioned my food budget to a few friends and colleagues and most seem to be fairly shocked that we are ‘surviving’ on so little. The only real drawback I have been able to find was getting a decent variety of food and not being able to have my favourite soft fruits and berries, hence the increased budget.

I think the trouble with me is that I am a bit all or nothing. If I have a really tight budget then I am really on the ball and rise to the challenge. If I have enough not to worry too much then it all seems to slip. What’s an extra £10 when I’ve managed to save £550 this month? Not a lot actually. And yet I have basically invested £10 in making myself feel sick and grumpy. It doesn’t add up.

To stop a repeat performance next month I am going to pay more attention to what I am spending my money on and what I am eating. If I can muster the energy I will try to record every penny I spend on food for the month and probably what I have eaten as well. Holding myself accountable should make me think twice before picking up snacks. Bizarrely, before this project I hardly ever ate biscuits or cakes. I was more of a chocolate bar kind of gal. Particularly Twix. And Double Deckers. Old school stuff. Now I can’t seem to leave biscuits and cakes alone! It is all Tesco’s fault. They seems to have a permenent special offer on certain packets of biscuits for 44p. Why is junk food so cheap? Grrrr. If I could get a lovely honeydew melon or a punnet of strawberries for 44p I would pick them over the biscuits every time. Anyway, it’s all about mind-set. When I started out I was being very strict about every purchase and didn’t buy any junk. I need to go back to this way of doing things.

For June I am setting a budget of £120, so basically £15 each per week. I hope it is enough that we can some nice things but little enough that I have to be careful and stick to a decent eating plan. This budget will also include non-food items like loo roll and cling film but not necessarily food bought for social ocassions. This should be interesting as we have our week long ‘holiday at home’ coming up in a few weeks. Yippee! I can’t wait. I haven’t had a full Monday to Friday week off with both weekends tagged on since AUGUST. I cannot wait for the break. I am somewhat torn between planning a load of stuff for us to do and not planning a thing so we can lazily see how each day unfolds…

From the challenge-a-day list:

  • Planning: getting spending and food planning under control! 
Categories: Budgeting, Frugal food | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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