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Half way there! January 16th

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.

How today's 0.83 was spent:

Porridge 0.17

Minestrone 0.31

Cheese Toastie 0.35

From the mailbag

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!

Shopping

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!

ItemCostServingsCost per Serving
Summer/Blackforest fruits1.496 x 80g 0.25
Eggs 10 pk large1.1510 x egg 0.12
Large brown rolls0.524 x rolls 0.52
Baby Potatoes0.4914 potatoes0.04
Onions0.497 onions 0.07
Passata0.321 x 500ml 0.32
Dried Recipe Mix0.251 x packet 0.25
Total4.71  

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.

Recalculating Totals

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.

Conclusion

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.

Totals to date

Cash Spent29.23
Value of Food Consumed:15.03
Waste0.09
Cash to spend:1.77
Days Remaining:15