Friday, 3 October 2014


Frugal in Derbyshire (who writes a wonderful blog) posted today about the wisdom (or not) of Stoptober as a no spend or low spend month.  As I am now on my second consecutive low spend month it made me think about whether it is a good idea.

My primary aim was to focus on how I spend money on food.  I wanted to look at the stocks of food that I have and decide if what I bought was really what I wanted.  As I work my way though the cupboards I am finding that I am ready for Doomsday and my reserves were ridiculously high.  Even after making about forty jars of jams and chutneys I have a whole unopened five kilo bag of sugar for example.  I didn’t have to buy any sugar or vinegar this year and I could make just as much preserves again without having to buy either.  Supplies of rice, tinned goods, frozen peas are also at disaster readiness level.

Another thing I have had to face is impulse buying.  Let me let you into a secret – I love Tesco paella.  Actually I just love paella but if I was feeling lazy or down I would buy paella.  If I was out shopping and I would buy one (or three) just because.  Having a low spend month has made me realise that what once was a treat had become a regular part of my diet and it was not money well spent.

And that leads me on to the fact that at one time I cooked almost all my meals from scratch.  Usually I bulk cooked and froze meals but nevertheless my food was mostly home cooked.  I’m hoping that as I use up all the bits and pieces in my freezer I will be able to have some good cooking sessions again, knowing that I will have space in the freezer because the odds and sods will have been used.

So for me, low spend is proving useful.  Yes, I know that I shall have to have a “proper shop” before long as I but ingredients for cottage pies, chicken casseroles and sausage hot pots – but having found the pot of goose fat I won’t be buying roast potatoes.  I’ve found the boxes of chicken stock I’ve made each time I’ve roast a chicken so the so ups will be good. 

I’m not kidding myself that a couple of low spend months have solved all my menu problems but they have shown me the issues I need to resolve.


  1. While I cook for six adults every week (meaning we go through food fairly quickly), I've also discovered the need to re-train my brain when it comes to food shopping. It's so very easy to stock up on sale priced goods. Then I get home, realize I already had this or that in the cabinet, and now I have enough to feed our small town. Things like boxed cake mix for $1 sit in the cupboard untouched for months, and how much canned fruit do I need?

  2. FinD does make a strong point. However, it appears to me predicated on the assumption that folk shop at maximum efficiency. This is a worthy aspiration in itself but not everyone is there yet. In practice it is likely that people accumulate stock they hadn't used as intended, miscalculations, forgotten items etc. we can only do our best and try strategies that might work for some but not others.

  3. I just need to empty my freezer once in a while for organisational purposes, and there are some months I really could do with cutting out unnecessary expenses. Its a psychological thing. Over the summer holidays we spent far too much, it was getting almost habitual to open my purse whenever...come september I need to re-train my brain into thinking frugally.

  4. It seems that those who do a low spend month whenever it is, do it to bring themselves in line over previous errors in purchasing - or as Philip put it not shopping at maximum efficiency. I think if I ever get to that point I will no longer be able to call myself Frugally Challenged! It's a long way off though.

  5. By that point I mean shopping at maximum efficiency!

  6. I know what everyone is saying about stockpiling. I've never tracked how often Barilla pasta goes on sale but it's often. Still my hubby buys the max number of 1# boxes you can. I had over 20 boxes once, taking up major space in small pantry. Treats stop being treats if too often. I have to remember that with gourmet olives.