At lunchtime today, I paused halfway through my minestrone to mark the passing of the halfway point in my January madness.
I haven't wanted to put any dampers on today's "celebrations", so I haven't spent a great deal of time trying to figure out the second half of the gameplan. After spending the first two weeks getting used to a reduced portion size, I now need to spend the last two weeks on menu planning with near military precision in order to get past the finish line.
I've had a couple of emails over the last two days. The first was from Geoff, who made some observations regarding my spending levels:
Steve, old boy, I cannot believe you are doing this. Considering I probably eat in a day what you're spending in a week it's going to give me pause for thought to how and where I spend on food.
I will do this whilst sat in Costa having a coffee, panini and muffin...
... Keep it up, I am happy to sponsor you if it keeps you motivated.Geoff, via Contact form
Similar thoughts have passed my mind Geoff - prior to this plan it wasn't unheard of me to come into the office, grab a takeaway coffee and sausage & bacon buttie, pop out for a burito at lunch, and round off the day with a coffee and muffin - perhaps a hard life on my organs and pocket, but not exactly slumming it.
The cost of my extravagance - about £11 - over a third of my monthly budget! It was activities like this which formed part of my motivation for doing this - well that, and spending a fortune at supermarkets for what seems like very little.
My next mail is from Sue, author of the blog "Our New Life in the Country", and "365 Days - £365" - documenting Sue's mission to live frugally for a year. I found Sues blog a couple of days ago, and left a comment introducing my January mission.
Brilliant challenge, thanks for the comment on my Blog today ...
... A little tip, I don't know if you already do this or not, is to soak your porridge oats in the milk/water mix in your bowl overnight in the fridge, it really makes them taste creamier and in fact they can be eaten cold this way too, it's like a creamy soft muesli taste.Sue, via Contact form
Sue, thanks for your kind words and support. I decided to try your porridge oats suggestion this morning, they were creamy, delicious and convenient - very useful when one has several jobs to do. I'll be using the same technique in future!
As my food stocks have began to diminish, I realise I have been eating myself into a little bit of a proverbial corner. I therefore decided to do something risky, and inject some variety into my diet, with a shopping trip that has almost blown the remainder of the budget!
|Item||Cost||Servings||Cost per Serving|
|Summer/Blackforest fruits||£1.49||6 x 80g||£0.25|
|Eggs 10 pk large||£1.15||10 x egg||£0.12|
|Large brown rolls||£0.52||4 x rolls||£0.52|
|Baby Potatoes||£0.49||14 potatoes||£0.04|
|Passata||£0.32||1 x 500ml||£0.32|
|Dried Recipe Mix||£0.25||1 x packet||£0.25|
I've attempted to source some protein ( eggs ), carbs ( bread, potatoes ) and vegetables. It's hard to buy cheap fresh fruit in winter, and aware that my clementines ran out some days ago, I decided that it was important to buy some. After a great deal of contemplation between the relative merits of an 89p pineapple, and some frozen blackforest fruits, I opted for the frozen fruit.
I've taken a little gamble with some of the shopping - the Passata, Chilli Con Carne Mix, and some of the onions, as I am hoping to make something approaching a lentil chilli, assuming that is, that I still have sufficient change left for a tin by the time Aldi restock the kidney bean shelf.
Given that I had made one or two errors to date, I had become a little worried that I had got my totals wrong. Therefore, earlier today, I entered all my shopping into a spreadsheet in order to make sure my totals were correct. In hindsight, It would probably have been far more sensible to use a spreadsheet to keep accurate records of my spending from day 1.
It took a few checks to ensure I had worked everything out correctly - it transpires I have a massive £1 more to spend than I thought I had! It may sound somewhat crazy, but it feels like a massive sum that can make a massive difference to how I "invest" my remaining cash.
I suspect the knowledge of this extra pound affected my earlier shop somewhat.
Now I have just £1.77 left, there is very little room for manoeuvre in the budget. I've started planning what food I have left, but am still playing the game by gut.
Out of recognition that I need to plan a little better, I weighed the rice today - I have 475 grams - or just over 6 portions remaining. I should probably repeat the exercise with the rest of my stockpile.
|Value of Food Consumed:||£15.03|
|Cash to spend:||£1.77|