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.