Where to go from here? - Frugality and Budgeting Diary

CJRyder
CJRyder Posts: 238
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edited 13 July 2022 at 2:12PM in Old style MoneySaving
Morning all,

I am just trying to work out where things can be cut. We don't drive (so no car or fuel to account for) we don't watch TV, streaming is either YouTube or paid for by one of my parents and we're already pretty energy efficient (use of combi microwave rather than using oven, using pressure/slow cooker, etc.), there's not a line of takeaway drivers outside the door, I have a bit of veg growing in the back yard and the budgeting is reasonably under control. As we all know though everything is going up in price so where to go from here? 

Budget (not including bills)

Food and household - £30/week
Milk float milk - £0.89/week
Veg box - £9.50/week
Personal Entertainment - £20/week

Other costs to follow when realised! Household is DD, DW and me.

There are possible cuts to be made I am sure.

With the milk float I have it as a cheap standing order mainly to keep CC2 active as it got dinged for inactivity. I could cut that to 1pt/fortnight.

With the veg box it's from a local cooperative rather than a major player. I get a box fortnightly. I work for a small business so would rather not cut this unless absolutely necessary.

I budget £20/week for Personal Entertainment. Essentially it's one night a week where I will actually leave the house and sod off somewhere, usually to the pub or to see a neighbour. This goes into a dedicated current account that, when £100 is reached, any surplus is sent back to the main account. I did suffer from burnout not too long ago when unfortunate circumstances conspired against us but this does help with giving me a short break.

Sins - We don't smoke but we do drink in moderation. We did build up an impressive collection of spirits which we are drinking now rather than buying more to replace it. Once this has been pared down then we will just buy as and when rather than having a selection that genuinely rivals a high-end cocktail bar. I am a brewer so tend to get the odd bottle of beer or box of cider from work at a decent price. We don't really drink tea, coffee or sugary drinks.

Food - We shop around and have at least three different good-sized supermarkets within walking distance of home/work. I cook so tend to plan meals around what needs eating as well as cooking meatless on a fairly regular basis. Tins and dry proteins are usually my weakness, usually tomatoes and kidney beans for tins and lentils when on a deal. I occasionally get yellow stickered when available but had to remind myself that it's only saving money if you would buy the thing anyway after going nuts a few years back. I get a truncheon of black pudding (equivalent of 1/week, usually 3-4 in the fridge in one go) from the butcher whenever I am in town (£4 for 1.3kg) as it's surprisingly versatile as well as being both economical and tasty. I usually also keep sausages in stock. Other meats not so much, usually either frozen chicken or mince. Occasionally I will pick up a small chicken to roast. I am also trying to learn more cold food recipes (for example I made coleslaw for the first time) that will save on the energy bill.

If anybody wants to weigh in with suggestions then please do. Otherwise it's just helpful for me to have this all in a readable place! We're not uncomfortable or in a bad place financially by any stretch but watching the world burn doesn't fill me with hope...

Thanks for reading.
Mortgage free by 33 - (21/07/22 - 32 years and a bit...)

Most DIY problems can be solved by a combination of spanner, pliers, screwdriver, Allan key and a blade. (Hold it, twist it, cut it!) Very occasionally industrial language, a hammer and an adhesive may need to be added to the mix. (Curse it, hit it, patch it!)
«134567

Comments

  • Longwalker, how about a chicken & mushroom risotto? 
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  • Longwalker
    Longwalker Posts: 909
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    Longwalker, how about a chicken & mushroom risotto? 
    Theres that as well :)

    Three adults, all differing tastes, does my head in at times finding something all three will eat. Id eat risotto every day, well Id swap with pasta dishes, but the other half is a meat and 3 veg man and the other just picks and what she likes last week, can no longer eat :(
  • MovingForwards
    MovingForwards Posts: 16,825
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    @CJRyder If you won a competition and the prize was a paid for meal in a different restaurant each day for a week, what type would you opt for?

    My OH makes pizza cooked in a frying pan and finished under the grill for a few minutes, fried chicken, stir fry, Thai curry, Chinese curry, spag bol, soup, stew, etc 

    I do Indian curries, pilau rice and returned to being a vegan, therefore it's bean, lentil, veg based.

    Without knowing flavour profiles, we could write up ideas / recipes, but they might not be your thing.
    Mortgage started 2020, aiming to clear it in 2026.
  • CJRyder
    CJRyder Posts: 238
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    Dont discount the yellow stickers - or orange in the case of lidl

    Today I got two huge chickens for £2 each, a large pack of mackerel ( 5 fillets ) for 90p, a 2 pack of hake for 90p, and 4 cod fillets for £2.60, and a fish pie mix for 90p The earliest sell by was the 15th. All tucked away in the freezer for when Im ready to use them - we do eat fish at least once a week 

    This is how I use my freezer, buy when dead cheap, no matter if Ive already got 2 chickens in it, if theres room for another two - in they go.

    The biggest headache for me is - how to make 3 chicken dinners in a week different, because one roast chicken will serve 3 of us 3 times - 4 when I make soup out of a few carcusses  ( they go back in the freezer till Ive a good few to fill the slow cooker )

    The other two will quite happily eat roast dinner two days and a salad the third , but I hate potatoes so to me thats boring, Looking at different recipes, like fajitas makes the chicken go further and brings a bit of interest 

    Getting out of the rut of cooking the same old, same old, can really open the eyes for saving on the food bill

    I have a slow cooker, that helps a lot with fuel costs, but of course Im still stuck in the rut of cooking stews etc, when they are very versatile. I have cooked roosters we have had to dispatch in it, very tasty and I know so many cook a joint in one with great results.

    Im reading a lot more cook books - online mostly, following chefs like Jaimie, and whilst I might not have every ingredient asked for, I can still get something pretty tasty on the plate :)

    We also have a bar at home. We do have spirits that we dont drink , there for friends. We stick to the same circle so we dont buy JIC. I drink scotch, Mr L drinks Guinness and both are always on offer in one supermarket or other. If you arent spending your £20 social money every week, how about replacing what you do drink week and week about ? Because the drinks cabinet will dry up eventually and restocking from scratch is expensive

    Getting as many meat free days as possible or very little meat will always help. Mr L will not eat meat free unless its curry, then he dont care :) So Ive learned to cook curry, from scratch as you get so much more flavour then from a jar and most curries start with the same basic spices and herbs. Chickpeas, lentils, aubergine, squash, sweet potato - soak up flavours and are quite meaty 


    I know we wont starve moving forward, its the fuel bills that are scaring me., so for me its one pot cooking if possible, using steamer baskets, and avoiding using the oven unless its full to capacity
    Believe me I don't discount the reduced stickers! However I have in the past loaded up on reduced stuff only to discover that my fridge is packed even with playing Tetris...

    The bar is of a ridiculous size to be fair. We don't need 20+ bottles of gin, 10+ different vodkas and a massive assortment of other stuff. Numbers used are not an exaggeration! That also doesn't take into account my 100 bottle whisky collection. Plus I am a professional brewer so, believe me, we will not go thirsty in this house! It just took starting a family to realise that we are not the aspiring mixologists that we used to be...

    I do eat meat free fairly often. Mum is a vegetarian so I got used to eating meat free on a regular basis. Unfortunately, DW had never knowingly eaten a meat free meal in her life and was literally terrified when I made a cheese and tomato tart for our dinner... Improvements have been made though!

    One pot for me too, but that's because I don't like washing up...C_J said:
    When I am stretching a roast chicken to several meals, we will have a roast dinner with lots of veg plus a Yorkshire pudding and gravy on the first night. Padding things out is definitely the key.

    Then I strip all the meat from the carcass which I cook down into stock for soups. The largest chunks of remaining chicken meat get chopped and mixed with veg into a pie (chicken and sweet corn in a creamy sauce, or chicken and leek, or chicken with onions, peas, carrots and cubes of potato in gravy for example) with some home made pastry. This will usually feed two of us for two meals. 

    The remaining smaller trimmings from the roast chicken go really well in a rice or noodle stir fry, with lots of veg thrown in to pad it out. I keep a Tupperware box in the freezer and add ‘bits’ to this, so for instance every time I slice up a red or green pepper, some pak choi, mushrooms etc for something else I deliberately add a bit to the box and I have a frozen veg mix ready for any stir fry. Bean sprouts freeze well too, I just snap off a chunk of them and throw them in the wok.

    Occasionally there’ll be a handful of chicken left even after making all of the above, and I will add that to lots of peppers, onions, chilli and tomato to make fajitas, or I spread a tortilla with refried beans, chopped chilli, a scattering of chicken bits and some grated cheese then top with a second tortilla and pan fry them as quesadillas.

    Another trick I do if I am cooking with minced beef is to buy a large pack and portion the meat up before cooking it. The recommended portion size per person is 100g so I buy the Aldi 750g pack of minced beef and pork and weigh out 7 x 100g portions plus one remaining 50g portion. This way I don’t cook too much each time, and the extra 50g is useful when making something like stuffed peppers which don’t need as much meat as they are padded out with rice and more veg. I just bag the meat portions up and freeze them until needed, and I am definitely stretching the pack further this way. I somehow always feel that the last 50g bag is like a little freebie!

    I will try those out and definitely make a stir fry box in the freezer!
    Mortgage free by 33 - (21/07/22 - 32 years and a bit...)

    Most DIY problems can be solved by a combination of spanner, pliers, screwdriver, Allan key and a blade. (Hold it, twist it, cut it!) Very occasionally industrial language, a hammer and an adhesive may need to be added to the mix. (Curse it, hit it, patch it!)
  • CJRyder
    CJRyder Posts: 238
    First Anniversary Mortgage-free Glee! Photogenic Name Dropper
    Forumite
    @CJRyder If you won a competition and the prize was a paid for meal in a different restaurant each day for a week, what type would you opt for?

    My OH makes pizza cooked in a frying pan and finished under the grill for a few minutes, fried chicken, stir fry, Thai curry, Chinese curry, spag bol, soup, stew, etc 

    I do Indian curries, pilau rice and returned to being a vegan, therefore it's bean, lentil, veg based.

    Without knowing flavour profiles, we could write up ideas / recipes, but they might not be your thing.
    I have a good curry base recipe that I usually use for stews/casseroles but am always happy to receive more store cupboard recipes! Maybe a biryani recipe wouldn't go amiss though...

    At the moment I am trying to learn some Mexican and Asian recipes as well as cold sides. Maybe a pickle or chutney base would be good...

    My cooking style is usually make a base (say fry onions, garlic and aromatics), add bulk starch (rice if risotto, usually potatoes if not), add featured ingredient, add final touches then add liquid. I am definitely interested in variations though!
    Mortgage free by 33 - (21/07/22 - 32 years and a bit...)

    Most DIY problems can be solved by a combination of spanner, pliers, screwdriver, Allan key and a blade. (Hold it, twist it, cut it!) Very occasionally industrial language, a hammer and an adhesive may need to be added to the mix. (Curse it, hit it, patch it!)
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