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    • CattyCatX
    • By CattyCatX 27th Sep 17, 7:06 PM
    • 76Posts
    • 448Thanks
    Can it be done?
    • #1
    • 27th Sep 17, 7:06 PM
    Can it be done? 27th Sep 17 at 7:06 PM
    Hi all,

    I've been a lurker of these forums for a decade but never really contributed much
    My circumstances have changed a lot in the past few months - as of last week, I've just lost around 95% of my income.

    So, my outgoings are much higher (as I recently moved in with my partner) and my income has just dramatically reduced compared with a few months ago. My OH is also going to be out of work in the next couple of weeks.

    Obviously, I'm trying to increase my income (and hopefully OH will find more work) but in the meantime after bills and travel costs etc I'm going to have around £200 to feed both of us each month for at least the next couple of months. This has to include all toiletries (luckily I have a big stash of these from always buying when on special offer in the past), cleaning products (and toilet roll etc), plus any entertainment spending (er- looks like it will have to be nil for a while!). I don't think we will need any new winter clothes, luckily, as I always get these on sale off-season, though we do *need* (definitely not a 'want') a new duvet.

    So, I guess I just want some re-assurance... Is it possible to feed 2 adults 3 meals a day, plus keep the house and ourselves in a reasonable state/warm, on ~£200 per month or should I start to panic?? I'm going to start meal planning and batch cooking tomorrow (something I did a little anyway but never made a priority as just didn't have the time (was working 14 hour days etc))

    I've appreciated all the invaluable advice and helpful comments I've read on here in the past so thanks in advance for reading my slightly jumbled panicked post!
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    • culpepper
    • By culpepper 7th Oct 17, 9:21 AM
    • 3,911 Posts
    • 7,284 Thanks
    Make every food thing you can from scratch. we've done that for over 30 years and our food bill is about £10 a person a week for 3 adults.
    If you write down your spending for a couple of weeks, it will home in on the things that you spend the most on and then you can target them.

    There are loads of free things for entertainment.
    Keeping warm is about keeping your bodies warm not the whole flat.
    Consider hot water bottles in bed and a blanket on the settee.

    Don't be afraid to tell people you are cutting back on your spending so they understand you aren't just being unfriendly if you decline an invitation or two (it's your choice to be sensible with your money, not their choice for you to blow it all) .
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 7th Oct 17, 9:29 AM
    • 744 Posts
    • 5,256 Thanks
    Apologies for being very late to the party but I only saw your post this morning. £200 a month is very do-able. My suggestions:-

    • Start a grocery purse and put £100-£140 in it for the month. That way, you’ll have set aside your budget for food/groceries and won’t suffer from “spending creep”. You can see the money disappearing.
    • Join the Grocery Challenge, not just because it helps you hold yourself to account but for the support and ideas.
    • Don’t shop weekly. Try to string it out to fortnightly or even monthly. That may mean you buy bigger packets of stuff but often they’re cheaper per unit. (FWIW, we do one big shop a month. We do a couple of small top up shops - mainly for yoghurt - and visit a farm shop for veg twice a month.)
    • Do an audit of what you have in the cupboards. You may be surprised what is lurking in the larder. Include toiletries and makeup (when I did the latter, I discovered that I had 32 lipsticks!). Resolve to use everything up before buying replacements.
    • The cheapest meat in the supermarket is cooking bacon at around 60p for 500g. (That’s what I paid last time in Mr T’s.). One packet can easily make 3 different meals: cheats carbonara, quiche, and Cuban Black Bean Stew.
    • Take your lunch to work. If the tea/coffee they supply is rubbish then take in your own rather than buying it from the coffee shop. (My employer only supplies vending machine coffee/tea, which is “almost but not quite unlike tea” to quote Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.)
    • Use your local library for free entertainment; as well as books, my local library offers e-books, electronic magazines, audiobooks and DVDs for loan.
    • More on free/cheap entertainment: what tools do you have already? If you have a smart phone, you can listen to podcasts. If you have a laptop, tablet or Wi-fi enabled telly you can watch video casts. Got a stockpile of DVD’s? Watch them.
    • What can you downgrade/swap to save money? Do you have cable/satellite TV? Can you swap to freeview? Are you paying a premium for your mobile phone service? Can you swap to a sim-only deal? Cancel the gym membership and join a local running club instead.
    • Set aside a small amount of money each month for “entertainment later”. We like live music, so we have a small fund accruing to pay for concerts.

    Hope this helps.
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. #47 Official Brain Harvesting Body Counter
    • CattyCatX
    • By CattyCatX 12th Oct 17, 12:36 PM
    • 76 Posts
    • 448 Thanks
    Thanks again everyone! These are all great tips - what has let me down this month is definitely having a friend visit with a much higher budget than mine... I did try and try to say no to his spending. But it was so difficult as he just didn't get it... e.g. when eating out yet again (which I didn't want to do and suggested several times that we stay in), he ordered some extra dishes to share that I didn't want and I said so (as I was genuinely full, not just trying to save money) and he ordered them anyway but then we ended up leaving quite a lot of food as he was full up after the one extra dish too but ofcourse we had to pay halves for it all... I just don't know how I could've been any more forceful about saying noor offering cheaper alternatives, I really did try.

    No visitors planned next month so hopefully that will help..
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 12th Oct 17, 5:36 PM
    • 3,675 Posts
    • 5,519 Thanks
    Next time ask for a doggy bag. I have discovered that this is now common practice this side of the Atlantic.
    • Glad
    • By Glad 13th Oct 17, 11:51 AM
    • 17,877 Posts
    • 39,168 Thanks
    some wonderful tips in this thread
    in case this hasn't been brought up have a look in your supermarket's 'world foods' section as blogged by the MSE Deals Hunters

    Find HIDDEN supermarket discounts in the !!!8216;world foods!!!8217; section !!!8211; up to 80% off herbs, spices, sauces & more
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    • chirpychick
    • By chirpychick 13th Oct 17, 2:49 PM
    • 930 Posts
    • 8,361 Thanks
    Next time ask for a doggy bag. I have discovered that this is now common practice this side of the Atlantic.
    Originally posted by bouicca21
    I do this all the time when we eat out (though that's not been for a long while)

    So many great tips!
    IVA entered Dec 2010. It's been a long hard road but we FINALLY made it! IVA COMPLETE Dec 2016!!!!
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