Extreme Food Planning

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Even though we are usually very careful with our money, we had a bit of a bad time with bills last month.We had an extra water bill, nearly £400 is gas and electric, car tax and I also started an online teaching assistant course. Nearly £800 all in all, is a pretty sizeable amount to pay in one month, whatever your income. As we only have one income it made things a little tight for us!

The only thing we really spend money on is our food, and it occurred to me I had been a little frivolous with our housekeeping money recently. I did the same shop every week whether we needed it or not. It’s not a massive shop, or an expensive shop, but we could do without it. I started worrying that we had no money to live on and we wouldn’t be able to buy food. I took my notebook and decided to do a full inventory of what we had, the fridge, both freezers, cupboards, pantry (read shelf) and dry food rack.

Well, we have a LOT of food. I mean A LOT!!! I seem to be a bit of food hoarder. We have soooo many packets of dried food, stock, sauce packets, loads of tins, freezers full of food. Suffice to say, once I realised I could have sushi once a week for the next 6 weeks without going to the shop, I started feeling a little less sorry for myself! We can comfortably eat for a while without doing a real shop or starving.

The whole thing made me think, we don’t waste any of this food as it can all be stored, but it’s so easy to bulk buy and shop out of habit, I can see how easy it is for people to buy so much food that they end up wasting it. I don’t want to become one of those families that throws away food because they just can’t eat it all! So, we decided to make a meal list of everything we can cook with the ingredients we have, and we have set ourselves a budget of £15 a week for bits like milk, bread, eggs, and fruit and veg. It helps that the toddler is now fully toilet trained as we are saving money on her nappies. We also gave up alcohol for lent, so this is saving us a bit too. Hopefully this will save us the money we need to get on track, and free up a bit of space in our kitchen!

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8 thoughts on “Extreme Food Planning

  1. Danielle, what a wonderful example you set to us all!! Waste not, want not. Just goes to prove that 1. we all waste too much food & we could make it go further. 2. living out of the store cupboard from time to time is a good thing to do. Like you, I’m a hoarder because we live well out in the sticks here in SW France & we plan our shopping trips to make sure we get everything we need in one go. 15 kilometres is a bit of a way to go if you’ve forgotten the litre of milk & wasteful too. Congratulations to you! Let us know how it pans out!!
    On another note, isn’t it just awful these days that many families have to choose between paying utility bills & eating? Shame on them & the government!

    • Thank you! I used to live in a village with my parents and we didn’t drive, so I was brought up to buy lots of packets and tins when you can. We were snowed in a few times, so the pantry was essential!
      The bills are becoming extreme, we must have paid over £100 more than we did this time last year and we are with the same provider and using less! I know a lot of people who are just going without their heating to get by. It’s disgusting!

  2. Might be time to take up brewing alcohol as an “after lent” exercise. You get a whole lot of bang (sometimes literally!) for your buck when you brew your own booze 🙂 Kudos on the careful planning and the food stores. It is becoming harder and harder to pay the bills as the utilities just seem to go up every time and there isn’t much you can do about opting out of utitlities when you are renting. We live 50km away from the city and shop fortnightly. We buy our milk and bread on the day and freeze it. If we run out…tough! 😉 It has certainly made us more inventive with how we see “meals” 😉

    • I really am considering brewing up some moonshine. I saw someone who made brandy out of a marrow. It looked amazing! I can’t imagine living that far out in the sticks, but I sometimes wish we did. It’s so easy for my to just pop out to the shop and spend £10. I have about 14 places to buy food in a 2 mile radius from my house as well as about 20 takeaways. It’s difficult to value your food when it’s so easy to just get more!

      • Funny you should mention that marrow as I was only reading about it yesterday and researched it. Here it is called “marrow rum” and the process involves cutting the stem end from a marrow, scooping out the seeds, filling the marrow up with brown (for dark rum) or white (for white rum) sugar and putting the top back on and taping the marrow shut. After a while the flesh of the marrow disintegrates with the sugar and you tip it out of the marrow, add some wine yeast and let it ferment on till it becomes delicious and potent. Sounds like something right up my alley if the stupid zucchini’s hadn’t succumbed to blossom end rot this year 😦

  3. We bulk buy when we come across something that is not generally available…but keep a close eye on using it.

    We home brew, given the exorbitant price of wine here, and have plenty of fruit available around the house.

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