Category Archives: September Challenge

Reducing the spending…week 39-days 4-7 update

Meal day 4 from the store cupboard, fridge / freezer

On day 4 hubby was away on business and I was home late so I tucked into one of the left over portions of the curry and instead of a baked potato I had taco shells – a mixture of cultures I know but quite yummy all the same.

Lunch

I took the remains of the Chickpea dish and had it with some of the Ciabatta bread.

Meal day 5 from the store cupboard, fridge / freezer

Slight change of plan here.  The menu was Halloumi and salad however my elder daughter and I went to visit to my younger daughter in Masham and we had lunch out – Cheese and Tomato Toasties with Salad.  Hubby was expected home from his trip away with instructions to warm up his left over portion of curry which was waiting for him in the fridge, but he had forgotten and started to make himself some pasta.  I was supposed to be eating my tea at Ikea where we called on the way home to return a duvet cover.  I was looking forward to their Mushroom pancakes but oh no they have once again stopped doing them and all the remaining dishes were meat or fish. To help with the hunger pangs we had a drink and a bowl of chips.

When I arrived home I had the left over curry portion with a slice of bread and hubby continued with his pasta!  Curry 3 times in one week for me was probably a bit much but very cheap.

Day 5 Spend

  • Lunch £16.30 for two
  • Xmas Chocolates £5.16
  • Ikea drinks and bowl chips for 2 £3.00
  • Card and homemade tiny heart from daughters shop £2.00

Total spend £26.46

Meal day 6 from the store cupboard, fridge / freezer

Halloumi and Salad
Halloumi and Salad – instead of the planned Frittata

This is the first time I had used Halloumi and I wasn’t sure how I would cook it as I do not have a griddle.  To improvise I cooked it in my pancake pan for a while then sprinkled the crumb topping on made of seeds and breadcrumbs from the freezer, then popped them under the grill for a few minutes to brown.

I had been gathering bits of salad items all week and then added the tiny new potatoes and a pack of beetroot in the fridge.  We both enjoyed this meal and I discovered I really like Halloumi so now I am searching my books for more recipes.

Lunch

Leek and watercress Soup followed by Apple and Plum Crumble

I made some of the Leek and Watercress soup again using up the last of the leeks, a stick of celery, 2 sweet potatoes, a bunch of spring onions and most of the bag of rocket, watercress and spinach.  I stirred in some of the Creme frais, leaving a blob each for the pudding.

Day 6 Spend

  • 1 bag rocket, watercress and spinach £1.49 the bag I bought earlier in the week smelled like compost on opening so I had to go and buy fresh.
  • 1 bunch spring onions £0.75
  • 2 pkts Lavazza Espresso ground coffee (for hubby) £5.76 on offer

Total spend £8.00

Meal day 7 from the store cupboard, fridge / freezer

Risotto

Risotto – you may have noticed this changed from the planned Nutloaf

This was a bit of a throw it in risotto cooked by my hubby and using most of the button mushrooms (still a few left), spring onion, frozen broad beans, frozen peas and a few sun-dried tomatoes from a packet in the cupboard.  I had a packet of Organic Arborio rice and there will be enough left for another meal another day.

Lunch

Egg salad using the remains of the salad from Day 6

Day 7- No spend

To summarise

So that is the end of the first week and I spent £20.78 on groceries – £5 of which was on the stock of tissues and another £5.76 on the stock of coffee.  Without these items I would have spent just £10.02.

The £10.02 was spent on fresh produce to go with my store cupboard, fridge and freezer items that made our 7 main meals for the week plus lunches and breakfast.

I can say that we had some lovely meals – all freshly made and not a ready meal in sight.  Of course the fridge is looking quite empty now but the challenge is to see how far I can stretch the remaining store cupboard groceries over the coming week.  Tomorrow we will be beginning a new month –  October or should I call it Stocktober – the month I use up all our stock of food.

And you might be asking did I manage not to use any of my wage before the end of September – all will be revealed tomorrow.

Advertisements

September Challenge

Reducing the Spending – ideas to cut the grocery bill to get to the end of the month

Although I have just received this months pay on the 20th I am trying not to spend any of it until until I can combine it with my hubby’s pay at the end of the month.  It is so much easier to do a budget for a combined income starting on the same day rather than be part way through one wage when the other arrives.  Ideally my aim is to be one months pay ahead so we are spending the previous months pay when the current one is received.

For the remaining days of September I am looking to use up food that I have already bought and create menus to fit the items I have.  So far this year I have spent £2,222.56 on groceries over 38 weeks which is an average of £58.50.   This is just for groceries and does not include face creams, shampoo and conditioner or supplements, remedies and occasional whole food items from my local health / wholefood shop.

If I were to stick to my target of £50 a week then I will only have £377.44 to last me until the end of the year, which works out at £26.96 per week.

Something tells me that £26.96 a week is going to be a tough target and, if I am both realistic and honest, one that I will not succeed in meeting no matter how creative I am!  So what are my choices?

  • Find free food – I do not grow our own food yet, it is on the cards for next year so free food this year would have to be foraged foods and I don’t think hedgerow berries or wild mushrooms would give us a good meal every day and I doubt very much that I would come across some road kill Lentils!
  • Perhaps I could sell some of the ‘stuff’ I am getting rid of and use the income to add to my grocery allowance.
  • I could try buying my food daily as it is needed, although I am not convinced this would work out cheaper although it might stop me buying items just in case.
  • I could go back to being non-organic and also buy the very cheap basic economy foods.
  • I could make savings in another area of my budget and add this to my food allowance.

Instead of any one of the above list I will put all of them into place except the non-organic.  I think staying organic is well worth it on taste alone.

Foods I already have in stock

Fresh Fruit and Veg

  • Carrots
  • 4 Leeks
  • Bunch Celery
  • A head Broccoli
  • Pack Beetroot
  • Courgettes x 2
  • Pack button mushrooms
  • 4 sweet poataoes
  • Bunch spring onions
  • 5 onions
  • Handful potatoes
  • 3 Braeburn apples
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Kiwi

Also

  • Frozen Broad Beans
  • Frozen Peas
  • Frozen Spinach

There is plenty of frozen fruit in freezer which will be fine to go on my Yoghurt and I have fresh apples for my snack at work.

As a standby there are two pies in the freezer should I not get to cook the intended meal for some reason.

Groceries / fridge

There are a selection of herb teas and a unopened box of decaff tea, 2 packets of ground coffee, a new tin cocoa and a large drinking chocolate.

In the fridge I have an unopened fresh orange and apple juice and 1 carton Almond Milk.  We have just opened a Lurpack tub butter 9should last the week) and I have 2 tubs Bertolli spread.

In my cupboard I have an unopened box of wheat free Museli and some linseeds to use up for breakfast and a few Spelt flakes.  I also have a whole tub full of Porridge Oats – this might become Flapjack, Melting Moments or even just porridge.

I have bread in the freezer so I will take the Pitta breads to work for my lunch and buy some fresh salad to put inside and add chopped boiled egg or Feta Cheese from the fridge.

The plain Indian Chapattis will be fine with some curry and rice. I have a bag of rice and I can use the courgettes, onions, celery, potato and carrot in the curry plus 1/2 tin coconut milk from the freezer.

Breads

I bought Halloumi to try a couple of weeks back so I must find a recipe for this.

The eggs will provide another meal – probably pancakes with the buckwheat flour and I have leeks and a pack of mushrooms for the filling.

Dairy

Below are a few more of the items I have in stock.  The Butter Beans will go in a soup or Tuscan Casserole,  the Bulgar and Quinoa with roasted vegetables.  I have already mentioned the curry and I will find a recipe for the sun dried tomatoes.  Not in the picture are a selection of mixed nuts which I bought on offer earlier in the year.

Store Cupboard

So putting that altogether the weeks menu plan is looking like this-

Menu Plan

  • Monday – Pancakes with Mushroom and Leek filling with Broccoli florets and peas
  • Tuesday – Curry and Rice
  • Wednesday – Tuscan Casserole – Butter Beans, Leeks, Courgette and Tomatoes
  • Thursday – Left over Curry with Baked potato.  Hubby away this meal
  • Friday – Halloumi – recipe to find for this – will probably serve with Salad
  • Saturday – Frittata using left over veg, some Parmesan in the freezer and served with Salad
  • Sunday – Nut loaf with Broad Beans and roast Sweet Potatoes

With any other leftover veg I will add beans / lentils and make some soup for the weekend and lunches at work the following week.

The additional groceries I will need to buy to complete the meals above and for general use:-

Shopping List

  • 1 Baking Potato
  • 1 bag fresh salad leaves with watercress
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4pts 1% milk
  • 1 Lactose free carton milk
  • 1 tub Lurpack butter

A quick add up and I estimate that the foods I have in stock for the menus above together with breakfasts and packed lunches will save me about £80.  My only costs for the few items required in the shopping list will be about £10 less the £2.66 brand match coupon.

Now going back to my saving money ideas can any of my readers tell me how you sell on ebay – is there a good article somewhere on how to do it?