Tag Archives: Store Cupboard

Reducing the spending… week 9

Shopping day has come around fast – by the time I got to the supermarket tonight I had spent the best part of the day in Leeds trekking up to St James hospital for blood tests then getting the train back to Huddersfield and going to work.  I worked until 6 o’clock then walked around to Sainsbury’s in the downpour and stood dripping at the counter waiting for a very welcome hot chocolate!

I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for shopping but managed to grab a few bargains.  My total spend has taken me over my £50 by £7.05 but I took advantage of some of the offers still on this week.

Groceries

Groceries

Fruit and veg

Fruit and veg

The offers 

  • 2 more packets of Oatiflake cereal still on offer for £2 a box,
  • 2 packets of Birds Eye frozen petite pois peas at £1 bag,
  • 3 x Soya milk – 3 for £3,
  • 2 organic Cheddar cheese – 2 for £4.50,
  • 2 x organic semi skimmed milk for £3,
  • 2 x organic Braeburn apples for £4,
  • 2 bars Green and Black organic chocolate 2 for £3.00,
  • 2 boxes mushrooms for £1.50
  • 2 organic granary loaves reduced to £0.59 each

Because the mushrooms were such a bargain I will be amending my original menu plan to incorporate two mushroom meals one of them a Stroganoff.

The cheese I will grate into a container and freeze.

The chocolate is also a bargain and I have bought this ready to make chocolates for Easter.

The bread I had sliced and this will go in the freezer.

Total spend £63.34 less savings £6.29 = £57.05

Reward points 122

Total rewards 885 worth £4.42

I am building up a nice stock of some items that have been on offer for a few weeks – cereal, cheese, soya milk so that when the offer finishes they should last me a while hopefully until they are on offer again!

We still have a lot of food in the cupboards but until the threat of snow disappears I am not going to run my cupboard stores down just in case.

Menu plan for this week

We never got to make the curry last week and I had to adjust the menu plan to fit in with the fact we came home late on the Wednesday and Saturday.  Wednesday we had Pizza as I bought  2 Marguerita Pizzas for £1.59 with salad and Saturday good old Egg and Chips.

I made the curry on Monday evening and we ate the rest tonight.  Lovely hubby made a big pan of soup on Sunday for lunch and so I have been able to take this to work for 2 days.  I also bought a crustless Quiche in Sainsbury’s which I will take for the next 2 days and have with salad – this will save me £8.20 on my lunches.

This isn’t the most exciting menu but it will use the cheap mushrooms and the left over courgettes from last week.  I haven’t planned to try out a new recipe this week as I know I will be a bit short of time.

Monday

Lunch – homemade veg soup leftover from Sunday

Evening meal – Veg and Lentil Curry with brown rice

Tuesday

Lunch – last of homemade veg soup

Evening meal – Veg and Lentil Curry with Taco shells

Wednesday

Lunch – salad and 1/2 Sainsbury’s crustless Quiche

Evening meal – Mushroom Stroganoff with green beans

Thursday

Lunch – salad and 1/2 Sainsbury’s crustless Quiche

Evening meal – Ratatouille (using mushrooms) and Baked potatoes

Friday

Lunch – sandwich and salad

Evening meal – Lasagne with ratatouille as a base and Broccoli

Saturday

Lunch – homemade soup / something on toast with salad

Evening meal – Shepherds pie with brown lentils and frozen broad beans

Sunday

Lunch – homemade soup / sandwich

Evening meal – Shepherds pie and frozen broccoli

Hopefully I will be able to keep to the plan this week but I can recommend making a plan to anyone who wants to save money and reduce waste as even a very loose plan is better than none.  It helps to focus on making the best use of the food already in the cupboards and fridge and reduces the amount of fresh food that is wasted if it doesn’t get eaten in time.  I find with careful planning I buy fewer veg – but what I do buy we eat at its best and I am not ‘guess’ buying only to find I have over bought.

Reducing the spending week #8

Groceries Wk 8

This week I spent a hefty  £57.95 on groceries and a further £13 on Britta water filters, (half price for a box of 6).  As I thought I didn’t need very much shopping this week I was a little surprised at the amount.

However, quite a few of the items were expensive buys this week as I was running out of a few things or come to the end of a roll.  Some of the dearer things were –

  • Cling Film (biodegradable)  £1.95
  • Foil  £1.65
  • Flaxseed  £2.40
  • Coffee Espresso x 2  £7.18
  • 1 doz organic eggs – mixed sizes  £3.70
  • Rubber gloves  £2.15

I saved on the offers on Ecover washing up liquid, cheese, bread and Kitchen towels.

My lunches at work were dearer this week than last.  I only managed one lunch taken from home and the rest I bought at a cost of £9.04.

I also bought two bottles of supplements – Vitamin D £8.79 and Acidophilus £7.55.  I haven’t been taking these for a week or two and my plan is to take them every other day as a compromise to try and save money on these over the year as this is definitely and expensive category in my budget.

I spent a massive £34.72 in the stationery shops – Staples and Rymans.  I am working on simplifying our home office at the moment and I am changing one or two of my systems for keeping track of all the paperwork.  So as well as decluttering I am also spending some money here to try and improve the set up.

I needed to renew my 3 lever arch files which have worn and split due to continuous use.  I managed to get some new ones at half price and they are sturdier than the old ones so should last longer.  I use one for filing my papers that relate to my bill account, one for my bank, credit card and savings statements and a third for my mum in laws paperwork.

However, I decided this week that I would begin a separate fourth file for my savings statements and remove them from my bank statements file as it is an expanding section which is overloading the file.

What I bought this week

Stationery

Four white lever arch files £3.34 x 4 = £13.36

8 narrow plastic wallets (I have a purpose for these wait and see!) £10.13 with 15% off

1 slimline purple pen for my notebook £2.99

1 Martha Stewart stick up pocket £5.49

Filofax Expenses

1 pack of Filofax expense forms – did I really need these – probably not! £ 2.75

Spring Flowers

Various Spring flowering plants for the garden £15.95

    • 1 Hellebore Niger
    • 2 pots Dwarf Narcissus
    • 2 pink Cyclamens

1 box of 6 primulas

Cyclamens

Polyfilla

Decorating items – £12.98

  • Hairline crack filler £5.99
  • Filler tools  £3.00
  • Tester pot  £3.99 (not shown)

I will be doing a post soon about Simplifying our home office and all will be revealed.  Meanwhile this coming week has to be a no spend /low spend to compensate for last week.  There are only 5 days left in February and although I have overspent in Stationery and Supplements I am still within the whole housekeeping budget because my food spending is only £115.95 so far for the month.

Tomorrow I will post my coming weeks menu plan and review last weeks.

Menu Plan for the week

  Now my January Financial Focus has finished over on my other blog where the journey takes me all posts about reducing my spending will be appearing here as this is where I log my weekly spending.

I have been reviewing our meal planning this weekend –  in fact not just reviewing but resurrecting!  Whilst I was focussing on our finances last month I put very little thought into our meals and this can end up quite wasteful.

Recipe Folder

I have decided that I must make an effort to use more of my recipe collection and get rid of the ones that we either do not like or have been a complete disaster so I have been compiling a small folder of recipes that are both firm favourites and a few new ones to try.

Recipe Folder

Generally my menu plan has to work around

  • my working days – Monday to Thursday,
  • my shopping day – probably now a Tuesday
  • any leftovers in the fridge
  • stock items in my fridge and cupboards

I am also looking to take more packed lunches to work, my favourite being soup or salad rather than sandwiches.  I am aiming for 2 packed lunches out of the four days.

So firstly a review of my fridge and cupboards as it is a while since I did a stock take.  Some food items seem to come and go quickly and others linger forever in the back of the cupboard waiting for what I am not sure!  Perhaps it is waiting for the right recipe, the right season, a specific other ingredient or just for me to notice it!

I do like to keep a bit of an emergency stock in my cupboards during these wintery days when snow can render me almost housebound overnight so it is not wise to play Old Mother Hubbard and run the food supply down too far –  I will save that for the better weather.

After a good rummage in the cupboards I find I have a stock of…

  • Beans and lentils
  • Passata
  • Halloumi cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • Courgettes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • White Potatoes
  • Celery
  • Spring onions
  • Onions
  • Green Beans
  • Red peppers
  • Carrots
  • Frozen chips
  • Frozen peas
  • Frozen Broad beans
  • Cherry and Apricot Compote
  • Patak Korma paste
  • Rice
  • risotto rice
  • half pot of soured cream
  • bits of salad items

So it doesn’t look like I will have much shopping to do this week other than the basics!

Sunday

As I have a number of eggs to use up I will make a Farmhouse Fruitcake this will also use up the remains of the dried fruit from Christmas I had about 10 oz in varying proportions and I added dried Apricots rather than candied peel.

Fruit to use up

 

And this was the result.Farmhouse Fruit Cake

I can also make some little ramekin Crumbles with the jar of Bon Maman Cherry Compote so we can top them with the end of the sour cream.  The remaining crumbles can be frozen for another day.

 

Monday – Red Pepper and Courgette Frittata with salad

Frittata would be good today to use the rest of the eggs.  I have a new recipe to try – Red Pepper and Courgette Frittata.  I can use up the little gem lettuce and cucumber and cook a few frozen broad beans and salad potatoes and make potato salad.  I will need to buy a few tomatoes.

Any leftover salad and potato salad I will take to work with some bread and butter and a little cheese.

Tuesday – Macaroni Cheese with Fusilli Pasta, tomato and breadcrumb topping, green beans

Shopping Day after work so a quick meal tonight and pasta is easy.  There won’t be any leftovers for work though.

Wednesday  – Curry and Rice

I can use up the carrots, courgettes, celery,  onions and add a few potatoes.  If I make double the amount we can have it another night with Taco shells.

Whilst cooking tea I will boil an egg for tomorrows lunch and make egg mayonnaise sandwiches with fresh watercress.

Thursday – Bought ravioli and sauce

I have a ‘Leaving do’ tonight and will be eating out so I will buy a pack of fresh ravioli pasta for hubby to cook with cheese sauce – he can make this in 5 minutes flat and add peas if he wants to make it more healthy!

Friday – Curry with Tacos shells

A nice easy leftover meal tonight so I could use the time I would normally take to cook tea to make soup for the weekend and work next week from all the leftovers.

Saturday – Griddled Halloumi, Courgette and Sweet Potato on a bed of Brown Lentils

Another new recipe to try – once opened I will need to look for another recipe to use the remainder of the Halloumi cheese next week.

Sunday – Baked Potatoes and Ratatouille

This is a fairly quick accompaniment in case we go out or get busy.  The potatoes can be put in the oven on automatic.  I can add a pack of Red Kidney Beans to the Ratatouille for extra protein.

Click here for table format  in PDF Weekly Menu Plan

How are you doing with your menu planning do you find it helps keep the grocery spend down?

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.

Reducing the spending…week 39

Meal Day 1 – from the store cupboard / fridge and freezer only

Mushroom and Leek Pancakes

Main Course – Mushroom and Leek Pancakes baked in a cheese sauce with steamed Broccoli

To make the pancake batter I used some Buckwheat flour which is gluten free, lactose free milk and 2 of my remaining 10 eggs.   For the filling I used up the remaining 4 chestnut mushrooms and a further 8 button mushrooms – so I have half a pack of mushrooms left for another meal.  I used 1 generous leek and I will use the other 2 in soup.  I had fresh parsley for the filling and grated cheese for the sauce in the freezer.

Plum and Apple Crumble

Dessert – Apple and Plum Crumble with ice cream

The apples came from our Beach cottage garden and I already had the plums which I left to ripen from last week.  The crumble topping was the end of some ready made in the freezer and I used up the end of a tub of ice-cream.

I will post the recipes in my recipe pages.

The weekly shopping #39

A slight change to my shopping this week as I will not be doing a ‘big’ shop but rather buying as I need.  Today’s purchases.

Groceries

  • Yoghurt 2 for £2.50 a saving of £0.68
  • Creme Frais £0.77
  • Salad Cress £0.25
  • Bag Lettuce £1.00
  • 4 Kitchen rolls – £1 a pack of 2 saving £1.16
  • Kleenex Compact Tissue offer 2 packs of 4 for £5.00 saving £2.36 although not on my list I took advantage of this offer while it was still available (they are the flat handy little boxes that fit neatly into my glove compartment and dressing table drawer).

Total Spend £11.77 less a Brand Match coupon for £2.66 = £9.11

Although the Tissues at £5 will take me over my budget for the week it was too good an offer to miss.

My new points balance is now 11338 worth £56.69 – I think I have just discovered a good source of extra income!

In Boots I bought a pot of basic No 7 Night Cream with my £5 off coupon – cost £4.95.

I also purchased a card and bunch of flowers for a colleagues birthday – cost £5.99

And…I will say this quietly as I am trying not to draw attention to the fact that I bought my lunch – soup and a bread-cake – cost £3.22

These small birthday gifts and cards do add up over the year and it would be good if I could turn my attentions to making some cards.

Well that is a full account of today’s spending. Tomorrow I have another Boots coupon to use and I will be making another store cupboard meal.

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?