We've been spending too much money lately. Story of my life! It has been a very long haul between jobs and whilst things are manageable, they have been extremely tight. We have a buffer in our joint account, but this buffer has been damaging to us because we think nothing of nipping to the One Stop we live opposite and spending £6-£10 on junk – a bag of crisps we fancy, some fruit bars on offer, a few bottles of Coke and look, we've now spent £10. Well no more! This will not be happening in May. After careful thinking we are slashing our £250 per month food budget (and let's be honest, I'm not too sure we stick to that. It is more like £350) to just £150. Not to mention our fizzy drink habit, my love of Del Monte ice lollies and our taste for sweets.
£150 might seem harsh, but we are also very guilty of stockpiling. Earlier in the year we started Slimming World, which meant that things like tinned tomatoes and baked beans featured heavily in our diet. Since we stopped going to Slimming World (followed by calorie counting which wasn't terribly successful and then 5:2 which has been great!) we've not really reached for these items and they sit under our stairs. We also love stockpiling when there's an offer on or we use coupons. So this challenge will allow us to use up some of the stockpile we have! We did have a second freezer but that recently died, which makes our challenge just that little bit harder.
We're also very guilty of somehow forgetting that I go to work on a Monday – and then 5 minutes before I leave I need to rustle something up. Cue lots of packet mixes or more expensive cheese sandwiches. Now on the topic of cheese…when I lived at home, I was the only person who ate cheese, so I could expect to find the cheese exactly where I left it, and exactly the same amount. I moved in Tony in October last year, and I firmly believe that cheese accounts for most of our arguments. I do not understand how someone can cut their cheese slices so thickly, nor how there can be a brand new block of cheese in the fridge one morning, then the next morning there's less than half left! I've learned that I really need to get over this cheese obsession and just accept that my boyfriend eats a lot of it – no amount of training will get him to cut the slices any thinner!
Because I've got a new job, Tony does all the cooking in the week, and this sometimes extends to the weekends, although I try my best to make weekends my domain. Whilst he's a good cook, his recipe knowledge is pretty much pasta bake, spag bol, stir fry and some form of meat with (Slimming World) chips and baked beans. So the first hurdle is going to be to create a realistic meal plan – things that Tony can actually cook. My heart fell one day when I returned home to find that he'd had a mishap with some chicken – instead of getting some more out of the freezer (microwaves have a defrost setting for a reason) or resorting to replacing it with something we had in the fridge, he'd gone to The Co-op where he spent a massive £4 on some diced chicken. I rarely pay as much as £4 for a whole chicken!
Things you need to know:
- We will be eating out – we currently spend £10 a week on a take away – possibly one of the only things that gets me to a Friday night. This will not be coming out of our food budget. We could cut this out completely, but most of the time we now share a fish and get two portions of chips, so it ends up coming in under the £10. We also have a three meals out planned in May which won't be coming out of the food budget.
- I work 5 days a week – two of those days I'm following the 5:2 diet so won't be eating breakfast and usually have something small for lunch and a small dinner too.
- Tony is 6ft tall. This means he needs a lot of food. I'm very round (read: fat), this means I
needlike a lot of food
- Any left over money will be put straight into our Florida fund
- We have a BBQ planned this month.
- We've already spent £10 of the budget buying 10 bottles of Pepsi. Yes, already!
- I like to bake but I lack the time to do it! I'm going to make an effort to bake at least one sweet treat every weekend.
- Tony doesn't like vegetables. Perhaps if you cut up some peppers, mushrooms and onions small enough in a pasta bake we could get away with it, but certainly not serving him a side of vegetables.
- I like coupons and I will be using them for this challenge (if I find any that is)
- This challenge includes cat food, cat litter, fish food, cleaning products and toiletries.
What we currently have:
Gulp, this is hard to admit, but as I mentioned, we really did stockpile the food! Without spending a good hour or so looking through our cupboards, under the stairs, fridge and freezer, I can say that we currently have a heck of a lot of food! It would take me ages to list it all, but we certainly have enough pasta, noodles and rice to feed us, possibly for the month. We have usual store cupboard ingredients such as spices, flour and sugar. Our freezer is also full of chicken, bacon and sausages. We have enough cheese in my mind to last about 3 weeks. In Tony's mind, perhaps 5 days.
I'm slightly nervous about this, but I think the biggest relief will be to use up some of the things that have been stockpiling – I really don't think we need 12 tins of baked beans at any given moment!
May Grocery Challenge: £10/£150 spent.