Saturday 30 January 2021

Went the month well?

 It's almost the end of January and I am very unlikely to spend again so here is my report on my no spend month.  

I've paid all my usual direct debits of course, and this is my discretionary expenditure

Carrots                43p

Parsnips                49p

Peeling knife        £6.49     (wholly paid with Amazon vouchers from surveys)

Frying pan        £32.24     (£15.20 Amazon vouchers, £17.04 cash.)

Iceberg lettuce    60p

Eggs                    £4

Magazine subscription   £5 plus Tesco vouchers

Twirl (chocolate bar)    43p

So, as far as no spend I failed, but to be honest I expected to.  £5.52 on food is miraculous, as far as I am concerned.  I had some Tesco vouchers which would soon expire so I needed to spend them.  I explained the knife and pan here. 

And the chocolate amuses me.  I get a Twirl delivered by Amazon for 43p.  If I went to Sainsbury I would need to pay my petrol and pay 70p.  I rather like inconveniencing Amazon.  

Friday 15 January 2021

Reporting in at half time

It's half way through my no-spend month so I'm reporting in.  

Carrots                43p

Parsnips                49p

Peeling knife        £6.49     (wholly paid with Amazon vouchers from surveys)

Frying pan        £32.24     (£15.20 Amazon vouchers, £17.04 cash.  That hurt.)

Menus are getting more creative and the freezer is being "rationalised" but I can't claim to be starving.  Root vegetables are the essence of winter comfort food for me so the carrots and parsnips were necessary.  My non-non-stick frying an was ruining food and driving me crazy.  I tried various hacks from YouTube involving dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid, vinegar and bicarb but in the end I had to give it a decent burial. 

Friday 8 January 2021


This is a time for a confession.  I do not plan my weekly menus.  I am very envious of those who do.  I have many times planned menus but I never stick to my plan!  

What I do plan is meals.  When I create a shopping list I have in mind something I want to cook and I order the ingredients accordingly.  Today I have made six portions of cottage pie.  I ate one for lunch and I have no idea when the remaining five will be eaten but I know they will be eaten and I will enjoy them.  On Sunday I knew I had cooked too many vegetables but I had in mind various meals I could cook with the leftovers.  

Because I plan meals I knew I had everything I need to make my cottage pies.  There was a bag of frozen lean mince, a couple of onions, and carrots.  I'd got the food processor out for something else so I grated the carrot and onions which was very successful and I shall do that in future rather than chop them.   I had a brainwave and added a portion of very thick butternut squash soup along with the gravy to increase the vegetable content.  I had a bag of frozen mashed potato and I used that for the topping.  It was one of the best cottage pies I have ever made and probably one of the healthiest.  

I also have to confess to ordering a new vegetable peeling knife.  Mine has disappeared from the face of the earth or more likely it went in the bin with vegetable peelings at the weekend.  That is not a frugal way of being!   I paid for it with my Amazon vouchers.

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Cook once, twice, thrice

 Cooking for one can be a dispiriting experience, or it can be fun, calling on extra creativity.

On Sunday I decided to have roast vegetables with my pork chop.  I roasted carrots, parsnips, onions and sweet potatoes but also cooked baby carrots and broccoli from the garden.

There was, of course, far too much so Monday the I cooked Bubble and Squeak, using half the leftovers but all the remaining broccoli.

Tuesday the other half became soup.  I'd planned it this way and as I don't like leafy sprouting broccoli in my root vegetable soup I was glad I'd used the leftover broccoli on Monday.  

And there's a bowl of soup left for today.

I think tomorrow I may need to cook again!

Monday 4 January 2021


 No-spend January is no small undertaking but I have all sorts of assets.

The first is very well stocked stores.  January is often a very depressing month for me and I have noticed in previous years that when I get depressed I can't be bothered to cook.  There's just me and it seems like too much effort.  Just a sandwich - again! - will be OK.  This year I started to prepare for January back in November.  I stashed away some batch cooked meals and didn't allow myself to eat them.  So far I haven't touched them but I know they are there.  

Secondly it's the things I don't eat which could trip someone up.  I don't use milk but others would consider that to be an essential.  I drink my coffee black and don't drink tea.  I don't eat breakfast cereal and, at the moment, I don't need to think about visitors.  I've got UHT milk in the cupboard and I can use that for cooking.  I'm not bothered by wanting salad in January.  I make my own bread.

And thirdly the biggest asset of all - I have vegetables in the garden.   I had leeks, broccoli and carrots from the garden yesterday.  I save the fresh garden veg for a treat on Sunday and the rest of the week I can eat frozen vegetables or the carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and parsnips I have in store.  

It may be that I will need some emergency purchases and I have to admit I have a small cheat up my sleeve.  When I do market research surveys I am usually paid in either cash (PayPal) or Amazon vouchers.  I am going to make strenuous efforts not to use the cash but the Amazon vouchers will be used if absolutely necessary.