Monday, 29 September 2014

Getting ready for October

After yesterdays’ reflections today is a day of resolutions.

I like what September has done to my bank balance so much that I want to keep up the good work.  I’ve decided to carry forward any of my remaining £10.71 which I haven’t spent by tomorrow evening and add a further £50 to it.  I will need to replenish my supply of homemade ready meals after I have done a freezer inventory and I want to start thinking about Christmas so that seems frugal but realistic.

My October project is also partly about Christmas.  I usually make a lot of my own Christmas presents and I need to get a move on if I want to do the same this year.  Also there are quite a few things I want to make for myself.  Add to that a stack of UFOs and a very considerable stash of fabric and October’s project becomes obvious – finish thirty small projects.

I’ve got quite a few half finished bags, a couple of small quilts and a huge list of ideas.  Now all I need is a bit of self discipline.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Reflections on a Sunday

Although there are still two days of this month to run, today feels like a good time to review the month.

This last week I have been more or less confined to barracks because of the cold which has been such a pest.  Friday I went out to a family funeral but that’s the only time I have left the house since Monday.  I’ve had a couple of bottles of Ribena, my usual treat when I have a cold as I go off my usual black coffee.

So, my food shopping so far has been

Corn on the cob                 1.00
Market vegetables             2.80
Marfona spuds                  1.00
Elmlea                               0.70
Bread buns                        0.50
Coke                                  5.00
Cucumber                          0.49
Milk                                   1.00
Eggs                                  1.00
Yellow fat                          1.00
Lemons                              0.80
Ribena x 2                         4.00
Total                                  19.29

Now by my standards that is amazing, (even though I say it myself) but there is no way I want to live like that long term.  In many ways it has been a very easy month anyway because I have had garden fruit and vegetables, both home gown and gifts from other people.  I have a ridiculously well stocked store cupboard and freezer and at no time have I had to be overly inventive in order not to be bored or malnourished.  I have had quite a lot of meals with other people and have done little entertaining in return.

So what have I learned?

Lesson one from the egg.  It is not a good idea to bulk buy perishables when one lives alone.  Small quantities may be more expensive per unit but they are better for the budget.

Lesson two from the apple butter.  There is no point in preserving food which one doesn’t like anyway.

Lesson three from the freezer goblin.  Take a LOT of care in labelling.

Lesson four from my cold.  Home cooked ready meals are fantastic - but see lesson three.

Lesson five from my reflections.  I still need to rationalise my stores.  An inventory would be good, both for the freezer and the store cupboard.  I haven’t managed to defrost the freezer yet but that will be the time to make an inventory.

I’m beginning to think about my frugal challenge for next month.  This month has done wonders for my bank balance and I’ve got ideas both about carrying on with the frugal food budget and about facing the challenge in other areas of my life.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The benefits of the stash

I’m so glad I have a freezer stash – even if I do wish it wasn't quite so big!

I’ve got a cold this week.  I don’t often get them but when I do I am a total wash-out.  I don’t like anyone and no-one would like me.  But I still need to eat.  

That’s where the freezer stash comes into its own.  Good home cooked food, prepared in advance and just needing to be dinged n the microwave.  Yesterday I found a single portion of chicken casserole and a single portion of mashed potato.  Brilliant.

And there is enough in the budget for a bottle of Ribena.  Normally I’m a black-coffee-no-sugar sort of girl but when I’ve got a cold only Ribena will do.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

An Adventure in Freezerland

I label everything which goes into the freezer but there is a goblin in there who delights mucking up the system.  Sometimes he blames it on my pen, saying that I must have used a pen with runny ink.  Sometimes he isn’t that subtle – he just eats the labels.  Whatever strategy he uses the result is the same.  I have mystery parcels in my freezer. 

Last night I was feeling adventurous so I dug one parcel out.  It had lost its label.  It was something cheese topped so cauliflower cheese, lasagne or macaroni cheese were all possibilities.  Anyway I bunged it into the microwave and hey presto – cheesy potato bake!  And very nice it was too!

Lesson number three – take even more care in freezer labelling