If you have not already done so, please consider giving to "The Trussell Trust" - I have set up a just giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/OnePoundADay.

Late Start! January 14th

Within 48 hours of setting up my just giving page, I'm stoked to see that this madness has raised 190 so far for the "Trussell Trust" - many thanks to everyone who has donated!

I find the sponsorship motivating, but the desire to succeed is starting to create a pressure of it's own - how do I best use the food I have, and the limited budget remaining, to make it till the end of the month?

How today's 0.85 was spent:

Porridge 0.19

Beans on toast 0.20

Tuna & vegetable rice 0.46

Morning

I awoke this morning slightly later than I had intended. This was my second mistake. My first was to fail to prepare todays lunch yesterday evening. There is nothing like an immediate need to invite murphy's law.

Fortunately, porridge this morning was not an issue - I'm unsure if yesterdays mess was a freak accident, or if I averted it today by using an extra sized bowl. Complexity and hassle lay elsewhere - first the can opener went missing, then I couldn't find any suitably sized tins for the beans. I ended up leaving the house over 30 minutes later than I had intended.

I've been a little concerned that on some days, the meals I have eaten seem to resemble some dodgy two week weightloss plans I've found on the internet, which has prompted some research. After reading some scary words on the NHS website regarding the dangers of over-exercising that is burning more calories than is consumed within a day, I have decided to put an effort into taking things easier - so whilst I had a swim at lunch, I limited the session significantly.

Following a more than likely inadequate beans on toast for lunch, I had what felt like a substantial dinner, pairing vegetable rice with the remaining tuna from yesterday.

Ingredients Vegetable Rice & Tuna

ItemCost
1 Portion Rice4p
45 g Frozen Peas5p
50g Frozen Veg5p
25g Chilli Sauce7p
1/2 Tin Tuna25p
Total0.46

From the mailbag:

Yesterday I received the following question via email from Nick:

Quite inspiring too actually, I thought I was doing well at trying to eat as much from the freezer as possible through january, but the stark contrast of my shopping bill to yours makes it clear that I really could be doing a lot better in terms of diet and frugality with relatively little effort.

I'd be interested to know how much tupperware this exercise has required, and if there are any other bits of 'infrastructure' that have made this exercise any 'easier'. A good thing restricting it to one supermarket too, as I could see myself spending more in fuel looking for bargains than on the food.

Nick Harewood, via email

I'm happy to share. Lets start with freezing and storage - we have a three drawer freezer, which was reasonably full at the start of the challenge, and my wife has been supporting my efforts by dutifully munching through the contents of the freezer to liberate space for my challenge.

Storing Food:

Until I started this diet, my wife and I have been foil tray addicts - regulary freezing large batches of homemade soup, chilli, bolognaise and the like to act as easy to cook, home made ready meals. However - these foil trays do not come cheap, and Tesco charge 1.50 for 6 - 25p each, not a price tag that seems in any way compatable with this diet.

I therefore opted for two 3 packs of "pruta" tubs from ikea to use in place of the foil trays. Whilst re-usable, given the numbers of portions I was going to freeze at anyone time, I used them as a freezing mold for soups and other liquids, placing a small food bag inside a plastic tub, placing the tub inside the freezer, and removing and tieing the bag once the food had fully frozen.

For the tomato sauces, I used 1 tub to hold three bags next to each other, and froze the sauce in the bags, which were, in turn, in the container.

Preparing and cooking food

Beyond the now typical microwave, toaster and kettle, which are to be found both at work and at home, I have found my electronic scales ( which were purchased from aldi ) essential for portion control.

In terms of preperation equipment, beyond the usual sets of knives and spoons, I have a hand blender, and a magimix that I intend to use a lot more over the next few days.

And that brings me to the best bit. For the purposes of this challenge I have no oven. Almost all of my cooking is done on the hob. And not just any hob - an induction hob. A one ring induction hob, purchased, incidentally, at Aldi some time ago.

Shopping

I popped into Aldi this evening on the way home to buy milk. Shopping with such a tiny budget, and a a relativly large amount of time to go before january 31st is somewhat disconcerting, as I'm not even half way into the month yet.

ItemCostServingsCost per Serving
6 Pints Milk1.4816 x 200ml 0.10
Total1.48  

Using a smaller quantity of milk, with 50ml of water added to make my porridge will have the effect of reducing the cost of my morning porridge from 19p to 17p. I suspect, however that this will not have a noticable effect on my daily diet - putting a price on what I ate was a valuable tool at the beginning of this project, as the gameplan seems to be changing from one where I need the pacing that the costed daily spend gives, to a game of strategy to balance my intake of vegetables, carbs and protein, with a view to each lasting until the very last day of january.

Note: On the 16th January, I noticed another error in the "Totals to date" table below. Cash spent to date at this point should read 24.52, not the 25.52 stated. There is therefore 6.48 left, rather than the 5.48 stated. The error caused some stress at the time, and discovering it was a huge relief.

Conclusion

After a less than perfect start, I'm ending the day on an optimistic note. Fundraising looks like it is going well. I now have almost all the milk and oats I need to prepare breakfast until the end of the month, and I suspect I have a couple of days to decide what to do with my last 5.48 before I need to make some serious spending decisions.

Totals to date

Cash Spent25.52
Value of Food Consumed:13.32
Waste0.09
Cash Remaining:5.48
Cash Reserved:0.00
Cash to spend:5.48
Days Remaining:17